Did you miss me?
One thing's for sure, Jim Callahan, so-called "paranormalist", sure as hell did. No sooner had I started to feel chilly in my cryogenic tank, when I'm suddenly standing in the guy's living room. There he is, on his own, staring into the middle distance, drinking a martini.
"Hi there Jim," says I, "Well I guess you'll be paying me that million!"
He just stares straight through me, like he can't see me! So I did a few things to attract his attention: a couple of card tricks, an a capella rendition of Danny Boy, I even did the soft shoe shuffle. Zip. Squat. Nada. That guy's no frigging psychic, that's for sure. So before I left, I took a ghostly piss in his martini, and wiped myself on the rim of his glass. Boy, he may not have seen me, but he sure as hell tasted me.
So next I pay a visit to James Randi, to tell him what a fraud that Jim Callahan is. Now here's the funny part, I'm standing in front of Randi's desk, and he looks up from his papers and says,
"Hello Barry, what brings you here? I didn't hear you come in."
So basically, James Randi, the skeptic, can see me, but Jim Callahan can't! There's a lesson here somewhere. We got to talking about this and that, and I was getting ready to leave when suddenly I felt hands pulling at me, and whispering voices saying "Come into the light, Barry, Come into the light!" Well, it's not every day that God gets to meet Barry Solayme, so I figured I'd play along until they unfroze me...
I go up this tunnel, and in no time at all I'm in front of these huge shining gates. There's a queue of people lined up, and there's a guy with a book and halo, so I figure this is the gates of heaven.
Sure enough, I sidle up to have a peek, and every time they open to let someone through I can see what's going on inside. First I see Dai Vernon, playing boules with Joan of Arc. Then there's Larry Jennings, showing Mike Skinner how to cook a cheese souffle. Next I see Hofzinser, demonstrating the LePaul spread to the Angel Gabriel; but folks, he's not doing it right! Well, I manage to catch the eye of Al Koran, as I want to get in quick and show him how it's meant to be done. But Al just gives me a smile and nods to the guy holding the book. I'm guessing this is my cue, so I go up to the guy with the book and say,
"Hi there, Barry Solayme's the name! I believe I have a reservation?" He looks me up and down and says,
"Your name is not in the book, Mr Solayme."
"Look fella, I got pulled up here into the light, so you can't tell me my name's not in your goddam book!"
"All are called here," says the guy, "but they are called to be judged. You have been weighed and measured, and you have been found wanting."
"Hey wise-guy, you might be St Peter for all I care, but NOBODY judges Barry Solayme!!"
"I am St Peter," he says, "And you go to hell."
"No Buddy, YOU go to hell. Jeez, you got bad manners for an angel, or whatever."
"You don't understand, Barry Solayme, but you are going to hell. NOW!"
And with that, everything went a bit wibbly-wobbly, like when they have a flashback in Columbo. And next thing I know, I'm standing in front of Satan himself!
Well, I'm not often lost for words, and this was no exception!
"Excuse me Mr Satan, but I think there's been something of a mistake, you see I'm not meant to be down here. And by the way, I hope you don't mind my saying this, but you could really use a bath."
"You are correct, Barry," says Beelzebub, "Whilst you are my instrument of torment on earth, you are not yet ready to take your place amongst the damned," I was beginning to warm to the guy, I admit, "But come, Barry, and see what I have prepared for you."
So I get a whistle stop tour of the underworld, guided by Old Nick himself. The circle of politicians, the circle of financial advisors, the circle of airline stewardesses (boy, was that ever a mess!), and so on and so forth, until we reach the 10th circle of hell, a circle within the circle of Shaitan himself...
"Here is the room I have prepared for you, Barry," says he. And with that, we appear at a door, with the words "The W. Somerset Maugham Close-Up Room!" emblazoned in gilt letters. It was classy as hell, and imagine my surprise when it opened into the hippest little magic bar you've ever seen. There were folks waiting patiently around a close-up table, they looked kinda like the crowd from L&L, and there was my name in neon lights above the table, with an empty chair waiting.
"Anybody got a deck of cards?" says I, as I sidle nonchalantly up to the table. Every hand goes to their pocket or bag, and pretty soon I have an almost infinite choice of borrowed decks. Well, as you know folks, this ain't hell to the likes of me, more like heaven! "I'll take the Jerry's Nuggets," taking a brand new pack from a guy in dark glasses.
Then, the craziest thing happened. I couldn't get their attention. Not a one. As soon as I started a trick, they started talking. It went on for hours! I'd start a routine, and they'd start talking. I'd settle 'em down with a few 'choice' words, and begin a different trick. And sure enough, they'd all start talking, paying me no attention whatsoever. The one time I did manage to hold them for a couple of minutes, a computer appears on the table, and I can see it's logged on to the Magic Cafe. Some guy's flaming me, as per usual, so I have to take five in order to defend myself. But by the time I'd finished, they'd lost interest in the trick!
Well, it was a relief to be brought back by the guys at the cryo-lab. But it started me thinking. I figure I'll spend what time I've got left finding that bit that was 'found wanting', because spending eternity with an L&L crowd ain't my idea of fun, particularly when they're not paying attention. But just in case, I'm working on some new material. I'll swear it's gonna kill 'em down there, just you see if it doesn't!