And that's it. As of this writing (which, admittedly, is a bit past midnight), we're at $3,977.76. Quite respectable. Our winner again this year is Pete DiLillo, who not only rallied nearly $1,000 in sponsorship himself, but took us on a trippy, photoshoppy ride all month long. Thanks and well done to Pete. I'll have to see if he wants another winner's shirt for 2012, or perhaps we'll work something else out.
Thanks also to all of our sponsors and to each of our contributors, who once again made November more entertaining and more cancer-killing than it might otherwise have been.
Me, I'm glad to have this forum and this beard, if only for a few more hours. It's good to see old faces and new, growing hair for the sake of our lady folks' health.
"Hey! You with the beard! What's going on?"
"Well, I'm afraid, Daniel, that you've died. Welcome to the Pearly Gates."
"What? How? I was just driving home from work, then poof."
"That's how it happens sometimes. Of course, if you hadn't been texting, you might have seen the large truck crossing the divider."
"Would that have helped?"
St. Peter turned to a massive book on his podium and licked a thumb. He turned a few pages and then scanned down with his forefinger. "Ah," he said at last, tapping the book, "Nope. Not one bit."
"Oh. Well, it's probably just as well, then. So, uh, you're really here, huh?"
"What do you mean?"
"You. Heaven. Hell. The whole thing. I was pretty sure until a few moments ago you were the figment of someone's imagination."
"Not a believer, eh?" said St. Peter as he turned back to his book. After a few moments, he turned back. "Crossed signals. We get them from time to time. Hmm. Yes, you were bound for eternal nothingness. I can transfer you if you'd like."
"To the afterlife of your choosing. This is a bit embarrassing. Most people don't get the choice, you know. When they cross over, their souls get directed to the proper place and the system runs smoothly enough. But every now and then, as with you, we have a glitch."
"So I can just choose?"
"Yes, well the Jig, as they say, is Up. If I sent you to eternal nothingness now that you know there are other possibilities, that wouldn't be very sporting, would it? Although, I hear it's quite nice. Peaceful in weird sort of way. So what'll it be? Heaven, Hell, Valhalla, Samsara, Elysium? Haven't had an Elysium in a while. Couple of Hades last month, but no Elysium."
"Samsara, that's like reincarnation, right? I think I'd like that."
"Careful, now. Messy business, reincarnation. Don't know what you're going to get when you get back down there. Could be Bill Gates, could be a deformed cockroach. But I repeat myself."
Daniel didn't laugh.
St. Peter did, though. He tried to suppress his mirth, but a chuckle spilled out nonetheless. He continued a moment later, "A little reincarnation humor. Anyway, the point is it's a crap shoot. Plus, you can't have anything you learned this go around go back with you. Has a lot in common with eternal nothingness, now that I think about it. This you just kinda goes poof and a new you pops up on Earth."
"Hmm. Yeah, I guess I'd kind of like to keep my consciousness. What options let me do that?"
"Well, most of the pit or paradise options you people have dreamed up over the millennia work that way. Trouble is, the paradises are full of righteous busybodies, and the pits are, well the pits."
"Alright, fine. How about Elysium?"
"How's your Greek?"