When Paulo passes away, it’s on a Saturday morning as uneventful as his life has been. One moment, he is speeding in his Subaru, and the next, he is standing before the towering stone giant who guards the gates of the afterlife.
“Got milk?” the giant asks. Paulo frowns.
“I don’t understand.”
The giant grunts, obviously displeased. “Got milk? Milk goes well with cookies?”
Paulo swivels to stare at the spot the giant is pointing at. There’s a massive bag of chocolate chip cookies next to him, in a spot that had been vacant just a few seconds ago.
“I still don’t understand what you mean,” he says. The giant sighs heavily and crosses its arms over its stone chest.
“See for yourself,” it says, and suddenly, a large screen appears before it, and Paulo finds himself staring at … himself.
“Hey, that’s me!” he says. Onscreen Paulo is sitting at a computer and moving his mouse pointer between Accept cookies and Decline cookies. After a short moment of deliberation, he clicks on Accept cookies.
“Yes,” the giant rumbles. “Paulo Mukanga, you have spent the entirety of your mortal life recklessly accepting cookies on the internet. These are your cookies, and you will have them with milk.”
Paulo frowns. “But I don’t have any milk.”
The giant begins to laugh, a rumbling sound that rattles Paulo’s bones. Milk begins to spout from holes in the wall and the floor, the level of the fluid rapidly rising until it is at Paulo’s neck, until he is treading milk in a paddling panic. And just before he goes under, he hears the giant boom, “You do now!”
Innocent Immaculate Acan is a medical doctor and writer. She won the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2016 and has published an illustrated children’s book titled The Pearl Trotters in Black, Yellow, Red. She was part of the 2018 class of the Young and Emerging Leaders Project.