Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom – Day 60 of 61

Chapter 10

I booked us ringside seats at the Polynesian Luau, riding high on a fresh round of sympathy Whuffie, and Dan and I drank a dozen lapu-lapus in hollowed-out pineapples before giving up on the idea of getting drunk.

Jeanine watched the fire-dances and the torch-lighting with eyes like saucers, and picked daintily at her spare ribs with one hand, never averting her attention from the floor show. When they danced the fast hula, her eyes jiggled. I chuckled.

From where we sat, I could see the spot where I’d waded into the Seven Seas Lagoon and breathed in the blood-temp water, I could see Cinderella’s Castle, across the lagoon, I could see the monorails and the ferries and the busses making their busy way through the Park, shuttling teeming masses of guests from place to place. Dan toasted me with his pineapple and I toasted him back, drank it dry and belched in satisfaction.

Full belly, good friends, and the sunset behind a troupe of tawny, half-naked hula dancers. Who needs the Bitchun Society, anyway?

When it was over, we watched the fireworks from the beach, my toes dug into the clean white sand. Dan slipped his hand into my left hand, and Jeanine took my right. When the sky darkened and the lighted barges puttered away through the night, we three sat in the hammock.

I looked out over the Seven Seas Lagoon and realized that this was my last night, ever, in Walt Disney World. It was time to reboot again, start afresh. That’s what the Park was for, only somehow, this visit, I’d gotten stuck. Dan had unstuck me.

The talk turned to Dan’s impending death.

“So, tell me what you think of this,” he said, hauling away on a glowing cigarette.

“Shoot,” I said.

“I’m thinking — why take lethal injection? I mean, I may be done here for now, but why should I make an irreversible decision?”

“Why did you want to before?” I asked.

“Oh, it was the macho thing, I guess. The finality and all. But hell, I don’t have to prove anything, right?”

“Sure,” I said, magnanimously.

“So,” he said, thoughtfully. “The question I’m asking is, how long can I deadhead for? There are folks who go down for a thousand years, ten thousand, right?”

“So, you’re thinking, what, a million?” I joked.

He laughed. “A million? You’re thinking too small, son. Try this on for size: the heat death of the universe.”

“The heat death of the universe,” I repeated.

“Sure,” he drawled, and I sensed his grin in the dark. “Ten to the hundred years or so. The Stelliferous Period — it’s when all the black holes have run dry and things get, you know, stupendously dull. Cold, too. So I’m thinking — why not leave a wake-up call for some time around then?”

“Sounds unpleasant to me,” I said. “Brrrr.”

“Not at all! I figure, self-repairing nano-based canopic jar, mass enough to feed it — say, a trillion-ton asteroid — and a lot of solitude when the time comes around. I’ll poke my head in every century or so, just to see what’s what, but if nothing really stupendous crops up, I’ll take the long ride out. The final frontier.”

“That’s pretty cool,” Jeanine said.

“Thanks,” Dan said.

“You’re not kidding, are you?” I asked.

“Nope, I sure ain’t,” he said.

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