Best Buy

“Welcome my child to The Great Hall. I hope your flight was comfortable”.

As I looked around for the speaker, my gaze swept the giant hall. The opulence of the surround was beyond belief. The tall pillars, far too many to count, formed an enclosure. They were all either golden or to save money were gold painted. I always dislike big halls which have pillars in between as they obstruct the plain view. Roman senate had such a pillar supported design and see what happened to Caesar.

“Well, we are pleased with how you have conducted yourself. Our Big Data on you shows you were kind to kin, snide to sin and gent to gin. These are all good signs my child. They show that you are a sensitive person with a big heart. That’s actually our kind of sapien. However that’s not the reason why you are present here today in this august hall.”

I had been able to figure out by calculating the voice throw and its intensity, the speaker of these words. It was the thing sitting on left of the zebra striped rabbit. Oh I didn’t mention that the hall was full of chairs all adorned by strange looking creatures. The only one I could identify was a unicorn from the pictures I had seen online. Rest all seemed like an accident of someone’s imagination. Goats who looked like giraffes, Antelopes who squeaked like monkeys, buffaloes who had trunks. I had stopped looking at these experimental weirdos to focus on the grizzly creature who was addressing me.

“The reason you are here is because you are the lucky winner of the annual lottery conducted by our Virtue Algorithm. Let me explain this. You see there are many people who conduct their life within one standard deviation of what here in heavens we call, average good behavior. When their files are to be closed, our accounting software swiftly tallies their debits and credits and assigns them to karmic slab based outcomes. For example, a tiger who just kills for food and not to assert his hegemony is a well behaved tiger while a victorious lion who kills children of defeated pride, earns code censure.

Though our entire judgment system is process driven and fully automated however we felt a need to introduce some randomness into it. We wanted to make it more alive and also a hack so that our learning machines do not become too complacent. Hence we instituted annual virtue rewards to be given away at the central hall to select do-gooders who got a raw deal in their previous births. Here we are in season seven of these awards and you get the trophy this year”.

Trophy, were these celestials kidding me. Since my recent departure from my embodied form, I had yet to find my sense of balance. I could not even walk straight without floating away to a side and they were handing me some silly trophy. Where would I even keep it?

“You misunderstand us. The trophy is not a physical object”.
Boss !! they were reading my thoughts.

“It is a chance to be greater than who you were in your last birth and enjoying best of the world that you could not previously. As the trophy, we will be happy to return you to earth for a year, with a superpower and a body enhanced by features of your choice. You can fly, turn invisible, be super strong or super rich, understand animal languages, harness magnetic or electric forces as your superpower.

Also you can choose special features of dragons, butterflies, bison or any other creature you want as your physical enhancements. In fact we have a roaster of 36 superpowers and 89 features in our inventory for you to make a selection from. Last years winner chose to have orange colored hair as his enhancement and be the President of America for a year. That was totally weird but then such is life or shall I say after-life”.

Hmmm this was definitely something I could use. I had been a measly, sickly girl who had been teased through the teenage and even my death at 32 from a debilitating auto immune disease, had been a total heartbreak.

“Sir can I go back in past or would I have to choose the current year for my after-life”.

“Oh past year can be arranged but then that will be counted towards your superpower”.

“Great sire, give me my own totally healthy body with no other enhancement and then let me go back to my 26th year.”

“Strange choice again, like last years’ winner, I must say. Now why would you want to let go of the best of superpowers and features for the right of reliving a past year in your own body” His voice echoed through the overhead dome of the hall.

“I do not know if you will understand this but giving birth to a healthy child is the best superpower any mother can ever crave for. You see sire, autoimmune diseases are hereditary and my daughter was born when I was 26”.