“Mark Thomas, this is your pre-judgment day. You were not scheduled to be with us yet. However, your guardian angel asked that we review your life up until now, in order to gain redemption from your sins when your time comes to join us in heaven.”
“Gosh mister, how could I have been so bad when I’m only nine years old?”
“Age is a miscalculation by many who arrive at these gates. Satan has no age limit when he tempts to sin. Now pay attention.”
Even though Mark felt wide awake, a dream sequence began.
“Hey cool, that’s me, and Joey and Steve. I remember this day. We were playing in the huge mud puddles after school right after that really big storm. Here comes Piggy Myrtle. She’s so fat…”
“Enough commentary if you please.” Mark felt a gentle rap on his knuckles and decided to zip his lips.
Mark watched as he and his friends giggled and pointed as they saw Myrtle heading their way. They devised a plan to play a trick on her. As she approached, the boys began to chant.
If Myrtle Piggy had her way,
She’d eat donuts every day,
She’d wallow in a crib of mud,
She’d snort and holler and smell like crud.
Mark and his friends rode their bikes on either side of the puddle, slinging mud all over Myrtle, causing her to fall into the mud puddle. They rode off laughing still singing the rude song.
This time, Mark actually saw what their prank caused. Myrtle sat crying until she noticed that she lost her mother’s ring her Aunt Rose gave her when her mother passed away. She searched frantically through the puddle but could not find the ring.
“I can’t go home without mom’s ring. Dad will kill me. He told Aunt Rose not to give me the ring but she did anyway. Dad told her I would lose it. He was right. I am so stupid.”
She did not want to go home but eventually it became so dark that she had too. By the time she arrived she was shaking from being wet and cold. Her father yelled at her for being late and ruining her school uniform.
“Those cost money and you are hardly worth it. Look at you. You will never get married and you are too stupid to finish school. You aren’t living with me forever little girl. I won’t have it.” With that, he smacked her hard on the back of her head and sent her to her room with no supper.
After washing her clothes, she has to take a cold shower. She only a thin sheet across her bed, so Myrtle wrapped her nightgown tightly around her legs to keep warm. Her attic room attic blew cold air through the boards all night.
“Myrtle, why ain’t my breakfast on the table you lazy chit. Git yourself down here girl and fix your pa something to eat. You expect me to go to work hungry?”
No answer came from up the stairs. Myrtles father decided he would treat himself to breakfast out, cussing his lazy offspring.
After work he saw there was no food cooking.
“I’ll be darned if I’m cooking my meal two days in a row.” He stomped out and had dinner at the diner along with a few pints of beer.
Hearing the phone ring as he staggered into the house, he knocked it off the hook then picked it up and yelled “Hello, what you want?”
“This is Rose. Did you know that Myrtle never showed up to school today?” Aunt Rose was the secretary at the school. “Chuck, can I speak with her please?”
“Girl, git you fat butt down here right now and talk to your Aunt Rose. Do you hear me Myrtle?” Not a sound came from upstairs. “Guess she ain’t here,” he said, hanging up then passing out in bed.
Rose didn’t take his word for it since she could tell he had been drinking. Rose drove over and let herself in the house. She walked up the stairs and noticed first the clothes hanging over the rail to dry. When she stepped into the child’s room, she shivered from how cold the air was. That is when she noticed Myrtle on the bed. When she reached out and shook her, she felt how hot the child was and that Myrtle did not respond. She immediately called an ambulance but by the time they arrived at the hospital, Myrtle had passed away.
“Did we cause her to die?” Mark asked.
Indirectly, yes you and your friends played a part in it with your tomfoolery.”
“Shenanigans, pranks, bad behavior…”
“That’s the same day I got ran over by the car. Can I go back and make things right so both Myrtle and I won’t be dead?”
“You can give it a try.”
Mark found himself back on earth and riding away with his friends. “Hey wait you guys. We should go back and check on Myrtle.”
“You check on the piggy if you want,” said Joey. Me and Steve are going to the park to throw some balls.”
Mark turned around and found Myrtle sitting and crying in the mud.
“Did you lose something?”
“Yes, my mother’s ring.” She said between gulps and sobs.
“I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have teased you that way. Let me help you find it.”
Mark did find it and then asked Myrtle to come to his house. His mother scolded Mark and then gave Myrtle something to change into while she washed her clothes. While Myrtle changed back into her clean uniform, Mark told his mother about Myrtle. Mark’s mother drove her home and helped carry two large boxes into the house. One was full of clothes and blankets for Myrtle and the other was filled with food. She helped Myrtle start dinner and then left before her father came home.
Mark saw Myrtle in school the next day and smiled. They each had been given a present, the future.