Here at Brad OH Inc., we’re happy to announce that the beta-reads of our upcoming novel ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’ are coming to a close, and the book is moving into its final revision phases as we research publishers. This is a pretty exciting moment for everyone here at Brad OH Inc., as ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’ will be our first full length novel to seek publication.
To celebrate, we have a gift for all our dear readers—a sneak preview of ‘Edgar’s Worst Sunday’.
We Hope you enjoy it.In life, Edgar Vincent had always maintained one great passion—himself. A semi-successful composer, his rock star lifestyle suited him well, and his narcissistic outlook had always ensured he was a man with few regrets. Callous comments, thoughtless promiscuity, binge drinking, and excess sufficient to shame Caligula were standard Saturday night fare.
Sundays for Edgar had always been a painful haze of sickness and regret.
But when Edgar finds himself in the cloudy planes of the afterlife on one particularly bleak Sunday morning, he must put aside his ever-present hangover and try to figure out how he ever got to this point…and where he’s meant to be going now. But as Edgar traverses the spiritual realm, he comes to find that facing his death is hardly as difficult as facing himself.
However, heaven also presents Edgar with an unending smorgasbord of hedonistic entertainment, so he’s in no particular hurry to change his self-serving views. After all, considering that he’s already dead, what more could he possibly stand to lose?
Edgar’s Worst Sunday
A Novel by Brad OH Inc.
-Chapter 1: The Pearly Gate-
For as long as he could remember, Sunday mornings for Edgar Vincent had been a painful haze of sickness and regret. On many such mornings he’d awoken, and pressing shaky forefingers against pounding temples to steady his vision, watched the world assemble itself into appalling mockeries of intentions he barely remembered having the night before.
From the delicate and well-rehearsed act of lightly removing a dainty arm which clung around him in its peaceful slumber, to gathering his scattered belongings from amid the less valued refuse of storm drains, Edgar had long since grown accustomed to Sunday’s special brand of cruelty.
Some had been spent poring over unending lists of indecipherable text messages and records of inappropriate outgoing calls as his brain turned over in the dry interior of his skull, planning an increasingly complex series of explanations and excuses.
Other Sundays had found him shielding his eyes as he stumbled down the radiant aisles of his local drugstore. Every time he found himself there, it seemed harder to find the essential combination of cover-ups to conceal the scars of his failed endeavours.
Once, he’d woken up comfortably in bed, only to find he had sorely tested the patience of its rightful owner the night before in explaining how certain he was that it was in fact his own. That morning had been a hasty retreat—frustrated especially when every attempted apology Edgar offered was rudely rebuffed by his unwilling host, who repeated only that he’d already heard enough bullshit from Edgar to last a lifetime.
Edgar’s friends liked to relate one story about an especially obscene Sunday morning involving his disturbing abuse of a freshly stolen ‘Slip-n-Slide’. However, Edgar had no recollection of this incident, and had long since settled on its falseness.
Yet still, none of that would ever compare to the day Edgar died.
An ongoing source of frustration for Edgar—in part because it had always acted as the herald to his greatest regrets—was the first ray of sun which crept surreptitiously through his blinds each Sunday morning, waking him from his dead sleep and calling him back into the realm of the accountable.
Today it was far worse. Even as the sun rose upon the scene of his demise, the glaring light penetrated his eyelids, searing into them and charring his very being. “Fuck off!” Edgar rolled over, but it was no good.
He felt the painful cracking as he forced his eyes open, his lashes slowly breaking apart to take in his surroundings and begin to decipher the sentence of this particular Sabbath. He had little enough to start with—his memory was a taint of flashing lights, loud voices, and the lingering sense of uncertainty that had always played the harbinger to poor decisions.
Glancing about, Edgar searched for the usual suspects, but found them sorely lacking. Where he instinctually expected dirty alleys and broken bottles, he found only pristine white, as if he’d somehow awoken in an unsullied arctic tundra—which would be a first even for him.
Dragging a rough hand across his face and burrowing the heels of his palm into each eye in turn, he slowly pushed himself up to one side as the pain in his head sloshed about like the unwanted remains in a discarded highball glass.
“Fucking hell,” Edgar mumbled, his deep voice breaking the otherwise perfect silence as he steadied himself, trying to wrestle up any certain account of the previous night’s decisions. “Bad,” he speculated, “…they were definitely very bad.”
Very few memories came—an indistinct image of a distant building, tall and ominous, yet its recollection filled Edgar with an unusual sense of longing. Beyond that were only vague flashes of bars and lights, bits of laughter and the thrill of alcohol passing over lips. These swirled about in their regular pantomime, sliding slowly in and out of the familiar haze which always preceded his blackouts. There was little more…just the building far off in front of him, and a strange sense of imbalance. Imbalance, then fear—terrible, paralyzing fear.
After that, his memories faded into nothing but a strange, calming sense of understanding. In the end, he was still left with no guess as to his present whereabouts.
Mustering his strength, Edgar inhaled deeply. The air was sweet, like half-remembered childhood nature-walks. All was still and peaceful, and the temperature seemed to match his body perfectly; a comforting bath embracing his tired body. He struggled uneasily to his feet.
Everything was white. White…and very bright. Wherever he looked, Edgar was blinded by the brilliant light. Squinting against its intrusion and grinding his dry lips, he found that his mouth tasted like stale cigarettes and whiskey. Only one flavour short of the trinity, he noted.
“Where am I?” Edgar wondered aloud as he forced himself into motion—with such a homogenous environment, one direction seemed as good as the rest. His only certainty was that he was ready to move on from wherever he was. “So much damn white!”
Straining his eyes against the unearthly glare, he managed to discern a vast outline in the distance, and continued on, feeling somewhat encouraged.
His hands were weak and clumsy as he reached down to straighten out his jeans—which he was surprised to find splendidly clean. Swallowing down a sudden lump in his throat, Edgar slowed his pace and passed his hands carefully over his body, instinctively falling into his familiar Sunday morning check: keys, wallet, phone, shoes, hair, teeth…all there. Better than he could have hoped.
With his sense of relief growing, he lifted a hand up to his eyes to fend off the glare, and determined to get on with his day.
The titanic object ahead was much closer already; far too close for the short time he’d been walking. It now encompassed the entirety of his vision: tall, impenetrable, and…golden.
What the…Edgar took a hesitant step forward, then another. The obstruction grew clearer with each trembling step, until with a splitting headache and gaping jaw, he found himself staring at an endless golden gate extending beyond sight in both directions.
With spires stretching upward before disappearing into the white like a plane losing itself in the clouds, the gate stood as the undeniable centerpiece to Edgar’s strange morning. Behind him, reality seemed to drop away into a disconcerting fog of light, and he shuddered at the thought of turning back now, feeling as if to do so would be to lose himself forever.
It took only a few more steps for Edgar to reach the gate, where he found the door—the only one visible along the entire stretch—waiting directly in front of him. For all the pomp and flair of the wall, the entryway was a simple latticework of gold and pearl, forming two double doors of standard size. Both stood wide open.
A tall man waited directly beside the entry with serene patience. Edgar hadn’t noticed him until that very moment, and was caught quite off-guard. The stranger’s silvery hair was cropped short, and his casual white clothing blended perfectly with the luminous haze which surrounded them. He eyed Edgar with a knowing expression.
Tensing, Edgar tried to shake off the mixed senses of dread and guilt which crept through him under the man’s pacified gaze. Only after an uncomfortably long wait did he accept that he would need to be the one to break the silence.
“Am I in…”
The man smiled, an old and understanding gesture, but only continued to watch Edgar reassuringly through his piercing grey eyes.
“…heaven?” Edgar finished, with only the faint hint of a blush appearing on his smooth-shaven cheeks.
“If you like.” The man’s voice was deep, yet not old. It was strong, but timeless—the creaking of a great oak in a passing storm.
“Then, I’m dead?” Edgar pushed, swearing a solemn oath that his friends would pay dearly if this proved to be some elaborate ruse.
“And this is the afterlife?”
“It is as you say.”
Rolling his dark brown eyes, Edgar suddenly realized the shortcoming of his previous effort at taking inventory. Reaching back once more, he was relieved to find his cigarettes in their customary place. The pack was full as he flipped the lid open and drew one out…which seemed odd after a night of what he could only surmise to be prodigious drinking.
“Heaven…Jesus Christ.” Flicking his lighter to life, he took a long drag.
The man maintained his composure despite Edgar’s blasphemy. No uncomfortable grimace, no hasty, embarrassed self-blessing. Not even a damned ironic chuckle. Something was very wrong; Edgar never failed to get a rise out of those who thought they knew better.
“So then, Pete, is it?” Edgar waited briefly for a response, but finding himself disappointed, continued. “I suppose you’re meant to read from my life-book? Tally my sins; decide if I can enter…all that?”
“The door is open to you.”
Stoic bastard, thought Edgar. “Now that’s just lazy. I’m pretty sure it’s your entire purpose to recount the story of my life, and frankly, that stands to be the most enjoyable part of this whole debacle.”
“You know your story better than I, Mr. Vincent.”
The smoke rushed from Edgar’s nostrils like the trail of a falling airliner, dancing about the strange man’s face. “Don’t call me that.”
“As you say,” the man replied, offering an apologetic nod.
“If this is really heaven, why the hell am I getting in? Priests have actually told me I’m going to hell…more than once! Do you even have a list? Cause I’ve got to say man, your standards seem pretty damn low.”
“My standards are not the issue,” the man answered, his tone never fluctuating.
“Oh fuck you!” Edgar was irate now. Debauchery he cherished. Disrespect he could stomach. Even open ridicule could be endured. “You call this heaven? Clouds and golden gates? Humourless old men with no relevant answers? This isn’t heaven, it’s just…it’s fucking…cliché!” he spat the last word like he’d just drank deeply from his own snakebite.
The man did not respond; his only answer a sympathetic smile.
Edgar finished his cigarette with one last pull and flicked the butt down into the fog at the man’s feet, where it died with a serpentine hiss. He finally decided—much to his chagrin—that he would be forced to relent. “Ok, I’ll cooperate. What am I meant to do?”
“You’ve already done all you were ever meant to Edgar. The rest is up to you.”
Such starry-eyed sincerity always left Edgar with an urge to spike the drink of whatever naive nitwit had the gall to hold onto such childish delusions. Rolling his eyes again, trying to be more noticeable this time, he reached back and grabbed his cigarette pack. Opening it up, he glanced down to find it still full. “Oh God…”
“No,” the man chimed in, and Edgar was certain he detected a flicker of amusement behind his calm repose.
“Well,” Edgar acquiesced, remembering a time tested truth—when the realities of Sunday were too harsh, a strategic retreat back to Saturday was only a few bottles away. “…does heaven at least have a bar?”
“If you wish.” The man nodded, and gracefully extended a long arm to gesture through the gate.
“Well, that’s a start,” Edgar admitted. “If you’ll excuse me Petey, I’ve got a toast to make to a beautiful son-of-a-bitch who died before his time.” With that, he passed heedlessly under the intricate pearl inlay of the gate, and walked with only a mild stagger off into the bright nothing beyond…
-Brad OH Inc.