I have done my share of moving. Believe me, I don't move for the thrill of that particular adventure. There has always been a reason for my move: new house, new job, or to leave a woman I never should have married in the first place. But, of all the nightmares associated with moving, by far, the scariest one is registering my car with the new state and getting a new driver's license.

As I stand in my new apartment, with my right hand holding my Washington State driver's license a shiver begins shimmying up from the base of my spine, passing through all my danger-sense points. You know, that point behind you telling me Big Brother is watching, that spot between the shoulders getting tense, the tiny hairs on the back of my neck become prickly, and my brain buzzes with alert messages: "Danger, Will Robinson!" Then the inevitable flood of questions from my admittedly overactive imagination kicks in: Will there be a written test? Will there be a driving test? (I failed the last time I took a driving test, I made a right on red where there was a sign saying: "No right on red." Duh!) Do I have to get one of those silly manuals and memorize how many feet between cars on the beltway? What happens if my eyes cloud up on the sight test? Nobody knows the answers to these questions. If you go on the Department of Motor Vehicles website, they answer questions nobody's ever heard of. For example, what question does "Anybody operating a motor vehicle on public roads must have a driver's license" answer?

And, in the other hand is my vehicle registration. The gurgling sound from my gut must be setting off some seismographs someplace. My stomach feels like the epicenter of some geological disaster. I have to exchange my out-of-state registration for an in-state registration. My eyes roll up in their sockets, that shimmying shiver does a repeat performance as my imagination goes into hyper drive. Will there be a safety inspection? Will I have to get a new windshield because the current one has a crack? What about the dents? And the dreaded: Is there an emissions test? Yes, I can feel my bowels revving up, but, I don't need to go into that.

Then, in my silent suffering, I hear something. It sounds like ... like music. It is music. Yes, I can recognize the melody, it's the theme song from Gone with the Wind, it's playing in my mind. I begin to relax. Then I hear the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara: "Oh, fiddle-dee-dee, I'll think about it tomorrow!!" My anxiety leaves me. My driver's license is good for two more years, my registration lasts a few more months. Today is not a good day for nightmares at the DMV, tomorrow might be better. I hear my laundry calling me...

People on earth often call the DMV hell; so it was a rather pleasant if dull surprise for Mr. Smith to find the Reincarnation office in hell was in fact hell but no worse than a DMV. The little yellow arrows led him right to a rather heavy set woman behind a desk. Her face was etched with a look of equal boredom, resignation and hatred for all things. In fact, she looked rather familiar. And with a look of practice she yelled, "NEXT!"

"Um I was sent here and-"
"Take a number."

Mr. Smith struggled for a moment with the ticket dispenser before pulling out number 666. Following more arrows he found himself on a small cramped chair waiting his turn like everybody else. This was the only place that was worse than the DMV, but only because everyone had a set of poorly folded wings, making everything a little more cramped. After what could have been very well an eternity the little board flashed 666 and Mr. Smith followed more arrows to another woman behind a desk. This one wore glasses.

"John Smith."
"I'm being sent back to Earth I think."

She gave him a look.

"Um yes. Back. The man told me that I would be brought back to life, into my old life um, the one I had before I died."

She gave him another look.

"Is this a joke?"
"No ma'am."
"... I'm going to have to check with my supervisor. Have a seat right over there and I'll be right with you."

Hundreds of eyes bored into his back as the glasses women placed a busy sign on her desk and walked away to a back office. Sometime later the woman returned with a skinny old man in tow.

"Mr. Smith?"
"Ruby was telling me about your um, unusual situation. But worry not! I called my superiors and have the necessary paperwork for you to fill out. I must say, in all my years of working here, this is the first time such a thing as happened! So I do hope you understand our surprise."
"My apologies. I didn't know my situation was so unusual. I do hope I haven't caused any trouble."
"No no, no trouble at all! If anything it's rather exciting!"

Ruby nudged the man.

"Oh yes, I'm sorry. Here is the paperwork. Just fill it out and take it to window 1135. Good luck on your journey!"

Ruby sniffed and handed Mr. Smith a pen before directing him to his seat and shouting, "NEXT!"

Mr. Smith found another chair and looked through the paperwork. After reading every line and double checking both sides for fine print, he went to fill out all the necessary lines, boxes and checks. Awkwardly positioning the paper on his leg he uncapped the pen, only to find a blade. He looked around in confusion until a kindly old lady noticed his plight.

"You sign things in your blood dear."
"I'm sorry?"
"Your blood, it's what you use to sign things. Just take that little blade and nick a fingertip. It's ghastly isn't it? But that's hell for you. Mind you, it was much worse back in my day. They didn't give you a knife so you had to make do with what you had."

Mr. Smith nodded politely.

"Thank you. Miss..."
"Just call me Lilith. And oh of course dear. Those were the days. Most people used their teeth but that often led to splattering and smearing and so much confusion."
"Lilith, thank you."
"If you thank me again you'll have to take me out to dinner. Perhaps in your coming life."

Caught off guard Mr Smith managed to stammer, "Well if you are ever in town."
"And I'll be sure to look you up! Tata dear, tata."

With that, Mr. Smith was left alone again, albeit in a chair surrounded by other people. And with barely a wince, paperwork was filled, filed and Mr. Smith was sent on his way home.

In the Beginning

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