I think that when I hit my bardo (that frightening state that Buddhists talk about, in between this life and the next), one thing that I will be subjected to is having to find a job:
Dear Hell Gatekeeper,
I got fired from the last job you gave me, sitting still while someone poured molten iron over my head. But maybe you’ve got something else: Five-million years of having my mouth filled with the shit of gossips? Ten-thousand years having my arms hacked off by the people I love most? A hundred lifetimes of being beaten by holy men just after they have another round of margaritas with my friends?
Thank you for reading this letter. I hope you’re well (or not, if that’s how you like it).
Anyway, I was in the East Marion post office a minute ago, checking my box (the old-fashioned kind, with the little dials—nothing), when Chris, the postmaster, asked what I was up to. Now the East Marion post office is 1) the only war-memorial post office in the country, and 2) about the size of a bathroom in a diner. There was only room for Chris and me, separated by a box full of donated toys. I told him I was looking for work, and he said maybe he could help me. He asked what I did, and I told him (leaving out the part about never taking off my pajamas, and crying half the day), and he said there were a couple of people “on the wall” he could talk to: a writer, a reporter on Shelter Island. I don’t know—I thought that was really nice, and it made me wish I’d brushed my teeth before I went out to check on the mail.
On the way home, two little deer ran across my road like puppies, and the monster truck behind me and I just sat patiently waiting, to make sure that no one else was hiding behind a tree. Then we crawled along for another minute, until two more little deer came out, their eyes shining in the dusk light. Maybe there’ll be deer in my bardo, for comfort (without ticks), and postmasters too. Maybe my dog will be there.