Short Story Press Presents White-Out Man by Janet Marie Lewis
Everyone it seems wonders, at some point in their lives, what will happen when they eventually stand before the “Pearly Gates”? One man seems stuck somewhere between, in a groundhog effect, approaching and re-approaching the Gates in a repeatedly futile attempt to attain a bottle of white-out. In order to follow standard protocol, the clerk must annotate on the requisition form what exactly the white-out is being used for. Peter is his name, and he has seen the White-Out Man many times over the past months and his patience is running thin. As he inquires of the reasoning behind the request, White-Out Man becomes irate and difficult, overheard by Peter’s Boss who intervenes on the intercom.
White-Out Man is haggard, and doesn’t seem to realize that the same old mistakes can’t be covered up over, and over again. The file-purging time approaches yet again, and he has discovered that before he can purge, his form needs to be clean, hence the necessity of the white-out. He also doesn’t recognize that he is in impeding danger of being hauled down the seemingly endless stairs to the “Sub-levels”. Poor White-Out Man, he knows what lies down in the Sub-levels; but is unsure if there is any way to avoid them other than to white-out his mistakes time and again.
This rare metaphorical work, White-Out Man, broaches age-old questions of humanity in a purely science fiction manner that most people today can relate to. In a world that is all but overcome by technology and requisite red tape, where not even a simple pen can be accessed without filling out a form, it seems all but impossible to maintain any semblance of composure. The question is… will we be faced with these same or similar endless circles of frustration and bureaucracy even after our time on Earth is complete?