Max Gilligan was a stand up guy. He worked hard his entire life and was well rewarded for it. He married to his college sweetheart, going on 15 years. They loved each other today just as much as they loved each other back when they met. They had 2 wonderful and creative children, a boy and a girl. They lived in a house that was almost paid off. It wasnt a big house, nor was it a small house; just right for Max and his family. They also had great friends and neighbors, who visited them often. You could say that Max was living a pretty swell life.

Unfortunately for Max, today is not his lucky day. He was driving down I-5 on his way to work when the truck drive in the lane next to him started to doze off and hit Max's car, causing it to go through a barrier and freefall a little over 4 stories into the valley below. Max's last words? "well, this is gonna suck." And it did. Max died instantly. :(

Right when his car impacted the trees and ground in the valley below, Max awoke in a room somewhere. To Max, the time between the impact and being in this room felt like only a few seconds. Max looked around the room and saw clouds floating by, and beautiful music playing all around. He also saw that he was wearing a robe. It took Max a few minutes to realize just where he was. Max then proceeded to freak out for the next 45 minutes. We dont need to go into detail of what he freaked out about, im sure all of us can imagine.

After his 45 minute freak out session, Max decided he was ready to step out of the room and meet his maker. As he opened the door and started to take in his surroundings, Max realized that this place was a lot like he had imagined, and what religions had tried to describe to him... Except for the people. This place was quite heavenly, yes, but the people walking and running about seemed to be freaking out and overall just completely stressed. He had always imagined people frolicking about, swinging on swings, and playing harmonicas and those large harp looking things he couldnt remember the name of(he later realized what he was thinking about was a harp). Max noticed a desk with a sign over it saying "receptionist" and proceeded to walk over to it.

"Hi, Im Max Gilligan" Said Max to the receptionist, but he thought the receptionist probably already knew that, and they were probably expecting him, right? "Hi Max. Im the receptionist here. Im sorry for the mess and chaos. You see Max, you arent suppose to be here."

"Well, where am I suppose to be? Please dont say hell..." Max said reluctantly.

"Haha, hell, thats funny. There's no such thing as Hell. Anyways, like i was saying, you arent suppose to be here. All our incoming processing is done by computers, Max. But this morning our computer system crashed. Any other day, a computer would take your life file, and send you somewhere according to the life you lived. But with no computer, we have no file. We basically dont know a thing about you Max."

"Well, that kinda sucks. So I dont get to go to heaven?" Max asked, with a sad puppy look on his face.

"ya, sure, if you want to call it that, its fine. Yes Max, you dont get to go to "heaven", yet. But dont worry, we have protocol in case things like this happen. You wont understand it quite yet, because your new here, so Ill explain it to you in terms people on earth can understand. Listen careful, ok Max?"

"sure, im listening. lets hear it." Said Max.

"Ok, so the basic grading curve to get into "heaven" is determined on the type of life you led. Basically what we are trying to find out is if you found the meaning of happiness and the meaning of life. Typically our computer would do this for us, but we dont have any working, so we will just have to try something else. Were going to send you back to earth, Max. two days before your accident. You will remember everything that has happened since. We will be monitoring everything you do. In these two days, you must display to us that you can find the meaning of happiness, and in turn, the meaning of life. Seems hard, Max, but dont over-think it. Its easier than it sounds."

"well, no not really. Im guessing your not going to tell me what I need to do to find the meaning of life?" Asked Max.

"No sorry, that would completely void this whole "interview process". Kind of a shitty deal on your end we have to do this to you Max, but we have no other choice. But Im sure you will do just fine. At the end of the two days, you will come back here, regardless of whereever you are. 5pm, two days from now. Any questions before I send you back?"

"Yea, just one... What happens if I dont find the meaning of life? Where do I go then?"

"Thats kind of a tough question. You dont really want to know the answer to that, do you? Trust me Max, just be yourself, and you will do fine. Good luck Max." And before Max could say anything else, off he went.

Max Woke up in the bed he always woke up in, next to his beautiful wife. 6am, the entire house was still sleeping. He kissed his wife gently on the forehead, then went to his childrens rooms and did the same. He did it ever so gently, as not to wake them. He had no time to waste, there was a lot of work to be done. Max was a quick thinking, and he already had a plan.

Max went down to his bank and withdrew most of his savings. He went to the newspaper stand and bought the wallstreet journal, finance weekly, and every other paper or article written on the stock market. Max didnt know much about the stock market, but he did know that if he wanted to make a large sum of money in two days, that would be the way to go. He spent hours and hours reading and memorizing the market. He looked and found patterns, and predictions. He put some of his money into one stock, and some of his cash into another. He waited and watched. The market closed, and he was up big. But not big enough, he thought. He stayed up that entire night, researching the market as much as he could. He looked up old trends, new trends, everything he could possibly think of. The next day began, and Max put his money into sure winners. And they were. He spent the rest of the day repeating the same process. And the next morning came, and Max put all of his money into two sure winners. And they were. 4pm rolled around and max went back to the bank to deposit his earning into his families account. two days ago, he had withdrawn $28,000, his entire life savings. And here he was, depositing $104,000 back in. 5pm came, and just like the receptionist had said, Max was whisked away from earth, and found himself standing at the same receptionist stand he was at two days ago.

"I did it. I made a lot of money. A LOT. Im sure no one could have done what I did. I researched as hard as I could, used my education to make a lot of money. And provide my family with a financially sound future. The key to happiness, not worrying about money. The meaning of life, making a name for yourself and providing for your loved ones. I did good?" Asked Max, exhausted but estatic.

The receptionist looked distraught. "Is that really the meaning of life, Max?" he asked.

"Yes! I mean, I think it is. It must be, no? Society has always said it is.." Said Max.

"Sorry Max, but I cant let you in. But I like you Max, and this situation sucks. We dont know a thing about your life and are trying to judge you on two days. Tell you what, ill give you another chance. Same rules as last time. Think hard Max. What is the meaning of happiness? What is the meaning of life? Good luck Max. See you in two days." Said the receptionist, and off went Max again.

He awoke in his bed, next to his wife. Max was a smart man, and he already had another plan. He kissed his wife on her forehead, went to his childrens bedrooms and did the same thing. He had no time to waste, and he didnt know if he could accomplish his plan in two days.

Max ran out of his house, and straight to the local food bank. He spent the rest of the afternoon serving poor and under-priveleged people. He didnt leave until the kitchen was closed. He went to the nearest Walmart, and bought a few dozen blankets and jackets. He drove around the entire night handing out blankets and jackets to people who were sleeping on the streets. He did not sleep that night. The next day came, and he went back to the stock market. He used his previously learned knowledge of the market and made himself $50,000 that day. He took every penny he earned and donated it to three different charities. Afterwards, Max sat down at a diner and made a list of all the people in his life he may have affected negatively. He spent the entire night doing this. Early the next morning, the last day, and went around town meeting with these people, and apologizing for any wrong doings. He called the people who lived too far, and sincerely apologized to them as well.

5pm rolled around, and just like before, Max was taken abruptly and placed infront of the same receptionist.

"Ive done it." He began saying. "I donated my time to help the less fortunate. I donated my wealth to people who need it more than I do. And I made amends with people I have hurt in my life. I sucked in my pride and said sorry to those who I have hurt, and had no intention of apologizing to. The meaning of happiness, giving yourself up to help others. The meaning of life, being good and leading a great and unselfish life." Said Max, completely exhausted but still smiling.

"Is that really the meaning of happiness, Max? Is that really the meaning of life?" Asked the receptionist.

Max was getting a little pissed off at this point, but he kept his composure. "Yes! I mean, I think so. My whole life, religion and family taught me to be a good person. And the key to being a good person is helping others and being unselfish. This is what I have been taught. This MUST be the meaning of life."

"Im sorry Max. But I can not let you in. Your putting me in a really bad spot here, Max. But im going to give you another shot. your LAST shot. Any other time than now, I wouldnt give you another chance, but the paperwork and computers are still down. No one will know that I did this. Good luck Max, this will be the last time im able to help you. Go out and find the meaning of happiness, the meaning of life."

"Please...I dont know how.." But before he could finish, Max was sent off again.

Max Woke up in his bed, next to his wife. He didnt jump out of bed like he had the 2 previous times, however. He laid there and thought. "become famous? travel the world? Meet new people? save someones life?" He thought about what he should do, how he could find the meaning of life. He layed there thinking for a couple of hours, and before he knew it, his wife was awake. She smiled at him and gave him a great big hug and kiss. They laid there and talked all morning. Soon, he began to forget about his task...actually forget is a bad word; he began to not care about his task. His kids came into their room, bouncing and laughing. "ill take care of it later" Thought Max. And he went on to enjoy his day like he use to. They had breakfest, talked and laughed. He drove his kids to school, and took his wife out and enjoyed her company for the rest of the day. They picked up his kids after school, and took them to the park. His kids loved playing football, and so did he. They got home late that night, and Max was exhausted(he hadnt slept in almost a week) he laid down in his bed next to his wife, and closed his eyes. "Ill take care of it tommorow.." he thought.

But he didnt. He spent the day pretty much the same as the day before. He went and met up with some friends, and enjoyed their company, for the last time ever, he thought. He even went to work for a couple hours. He had always enjoyed his work. "Why work somewhere that I dont like going to everyday" was his philosophy. It was a little after 8pm when Max finally decided. He wasnt going to go out and do anything. He realized that he only had a few hours left, and he wanted to spend it with his family and friends. It was an odd feeling for Max; on one hand, he was giving up, and in turn he knew he wouldnt get into heaven. But on the other hand, he was given a chance to spend his last few hours on earth doing what he wanted to do. Not many people in the world can say that did that, mostly because we dont really know when we are going to die.

He slept peacefully that night, and woke up in the morning without any worries. He spent every minute until 4:59pm with his family. And right as 5pm stuck, there he was in front of the receptionist desk again.

But the receptionist wasnt at his desk to meet him this time. But Max knew things would be different, he had failed his task. The door behind this desk, however, was open for the first time, Max noticed. "shit, maybe I can just sneak into heaven." he thought as he walked through the doors. It was very lovely on the other side of the door. There were unicorns, and lollipops, and rainbows, and people singing and dancing. Max tried to blend in as much as he could, so he started dancing along with the others. This didnt last for long, as a man came up to Max, grabbed him by the should and took him over to a man sitting at a desk. "Sit down, Max." said the man. This desk was a lot bigger than the receptionist he was use to dealing with, and this man looked more official. Probably the boss, he thought.

"Did you find the meaning of happiness, Max? Did you find the meaning of life?" Asked the man.

"No, im sorry I did not. I didnt know what to do. You have to understand. Our whole lives on earth we ask ourselves what the meaning of life is. People have given up their entire lives trying to find the answer. There are dozens of books written on it, whole religions based around it. But no one could ever find the answer. How do you expect me to go out and find it, in two days?" Max was near tears, a broken man who had failed the biggest test of his life.

"Why didnt you try on your last two days Max? Why did you do what you did, even though you had plans in your head about what the meaning of life could possibly be?"

"I.. dont know. I was going to, I swear. But then I realized I would never see my friends and family again, and I just wanted to spend my last time with them." said Max.

"Tell me Max, what do you think is the meaning of life?" asked the man, looking genuinly interested in what Max had to say.

"Well, I thought it was wealth. Making a name for yourself. Being remembered. Or maybe giving yourself to benefit others. Charity, donating your time. Being unselfish. things like that."

"Why didnt you try and achieve these things in your life then, Max? If these things are the meaning of life, as you say." asked the man.

"I dont know. I mean, I tried. I found a great job that paid good. It wasnt great, but it made me happy. I felt like I could make a difference in the world at this job. And I wouldnt to help others more, honest I did. But, I guess life just took a different direction, somewhere. I got married to the love of my life, and had two wonderful children. This life I made, is what made me happy. So I just went with it."

"So, basically, instead of doing what people told you to do to achieve the meaning of life, the meaning of happiness...instead you did what made you happy? And gave meaning to YOUR life?" asked the man, leaning forward now, growing more curious as to what Max had to say.

"well... ya." Said Max.

"You know, ive seen people give up their whole lives in the search of the meaning of it all. Ever since the beginning of human history, people have been fascinated with the meaning of life. Why we are here, where we came from. In the process, they dont live the life that they have right in front of them. Welcome to "heaven" Max. Are you ready for the next part of your journey?"

"Wait, you mean I passed? But, how? What did I do? What is the meaning of life?" Max asked, curiousity overtaking him. But then he took a deep breathe. He took another deep, calming, breathe, then asked "Ok, I am ready. Im ready to go out there."

"Out there?!" Asked the man. "No, no, Max. This isnt "heaven", this is just the waiting room."

"What? But there rainbows, and unicorns, and people dancing and singing! This isnt Heaven?" Asked Max.

"Haha, oh gosh no. Its funny what religions are teaching you kids these days. Your heaven is through those doors over there. And Max, good luck. It was a pleasure seeing you again."

Max was confused, but did as the man said. He slowly walked over to the doors the man had pointed him towards, and opened them. He looked around at what was inside, and he smiled. The biggest smile he probably ever smiled. He turned around to the man, and said "Thank you." And walked through the gates.

The End.

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Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:09pm


Thu, 09/15/2011 - 9:58pm
Jeff155 Says:

What did he see??? I'm so hooked ha. I love reading highdeas like this. Reminds me of the good ol days of highdeas.

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 8:25pm
yoinkie Says:

ah, sorry but that is the end of this story! If you really read between the lines, you will have your answer.

Also, God himself couldnt define what heaven was for Max, who am I to attempt to? The story had to end the way it did.

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 3:43am
MoLTReZ Says:

i think what he was saying between the lines is that max was living the right kinda lifestyle. he did was makes him happy. even tho he didnt fully know he was untill he died and was given the chance to see what he was doing right.
aka his job,wife kids .. etc etc etc
which is the meaning of life. do what makes YOU happy becuase at the end ... whos there ... YOU. not your best friend , not your mom , not your fav basketball player ... YOU!

and also i do agree with yoinkie ... you couldn't come close to try and define a personal heaven of someone

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 7:26am
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 10:15am
Ctodenbach Says:

Just a giant garden.. Full of cocaine and strippers.

Sometimes after Max would rail a few dozen lines of heaven blow, Max would cut open a stripper and crawled inside her skin and exotic dance for awhile.. "heaven" was weird for him.

Sun, 09/18/2011 - 2:03pm

nah, he woke up laying next to his wife again
..thats heaven.

Tue, 09/20/2011 - 8:10pm

Dear Yoinkie,
Why is it that every time i read a story of yours, there's ALWAYS SOME TYPE OF CLIFFHANGER!!
Sincerely, Me

Thu, 09/15/2011 - 10:28pm
kyled Says:
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 5:39pm
highness Says:

There is nothing behind the doors because the doors don't exist because this is just a story. The message of the story is the only thing that exists/matters (besides the aestheticness of the story). Sure, Yoinkie could have given out the answers, and probably would have if doing so would have added to the message of the story. The main point (I believe) is that you should discover the answer by yourself and for yourself, irrespective of others' viewpoints. But of course, I could be totally wrong, so only agree with me if you agree with me.

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 7:37pm

Does this mean that in the afterlife, computers are still unreliable? That sounds so unfair. But in all seriousness,we may never know the meaning of life for all mankind, but it's family and friends that give our own individual lives meaning, a reason to exist. Because after all, what means more to you than your family? Another creative and insightful idea from a very clever mind. Thanks Yoinkie

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 1:59pm
Joeyb112 Says:
Fri, 09/16/2011 - 8:29pm
yoinkie Says:

no part 2 sir! What would you want to see in part 2? What Max sees? Thats for you to decide. I mean, I could tell you, but wheres the fun in that? haha. Create your own finish, just as Max did.

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 4:30pm
HanValen Says:

I think I got one. His heaven is going to finish the life with his family. But not to his family though. Its like he's in a paradox and tricked into believing it is real life

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 2:46pm
Gogojr1 Says:

Amazing piece! I swear, Yoinkie is among the top philosophers ever to walk the face of the joke!

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 10:55pm

thats an absolutely amazing story. It would make a pretty good movie

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 10:58pm
pizzaman19 Says:

yes yes yes! amazing and entertaining, as always yoinkie kudos.

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 11:19pm

All i can say is...Wow! Like usual, i am impressed yoinkie, your stories really brighten my day and i really enjoy the insight that comes with it.

id like to think that he saw what truly made HIM happy on the other side of those doors. a place that was perfect for HIM, whether it was returning to his life or just having some sort of illusion of his family and loved ones. If this was true, it makes me really rethink some of the things i have done and makes me think of the things that would be in my "heaven," the things that make me truly happy

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 12:48am
HighPrime Says:

You have successfully made me go back late from break again. Thank you.

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:25am
Mota509 Says:

damn sir, leavin a bro hanging over here

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 7:29am

I like to think they do that to everyone, the computers being down just being a front to have people find true happiness. Then again that'd mean the people in charge of heaven are liars but still, it'd humble a lot of souls

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 7:58am
StayPuft Says:
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 10:16am
moriorixs Says:

I believe he saw what he wanted to see more than anything else.. his life

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 11:17am
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 12:57pm
mjsb2 Says:
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 12:57pm
SkylarL Says:

Please start a website and post short stories on it

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:09pm
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:24pm
MEJT Says:

I could swear I've heard this somewhere before? Like seriously, I know I've heard this! Major fucking deja vu!

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:26pm

dude that was pretty deep, great highdea

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:33pm
pebbles Says:

the moral is: We are already in heaven. Look around. Look at life, how it functions, how your body is put together in a near perfect system, which is supported by nature's beautiful cycle of life, which is only possible because of the Universe's laws and the random chance that earth was formed in the right place in the universe for life to exist. Don't waste your life trying to get to heaven, spend it to create your own heaven on earth.

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 1:39pm
MEJT Says:

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK! I know I know this from somewhere! shit this is annoying

Sat, 10/01/2011 - 10:50pm
Sat, 09/17/2011 - 2:19pm
NeRoDank Says:

I think what was through the doors to heaven was max's life

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 7:54pm
Herbal_T Says:

Max opened the door to find his heaven. Heaven is a reality in which we are optimally happy. Right before the end, he mentioned he was happiest with his family, friends, and even work. I believe that is what he saw.

The reason I like written stories and books is because almost 100% of the story is us; we read it in a certain and individual voice, we see our own image in out heads, and since we created it, it couldnt be more perfect for the us. When you take out a description of the ending, you allow us to fill in the blank, you eliminate the right answer and the ending that is anything less than perfect.

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 10:28pm

I thought it was fairly obvious. For his third attempt of the last two days, Max did what made him truly happy. Shouldn't heaven for him then be the same thing?

Sat, 09/17/2011 - 11:10pm

wait a minute...i think MAX is actually STAN from that other story...i mean this story like explaind what happend to STAN

Sun, 09/18/2011 - 2:30am
Sat, 10/01/2011 - 3:27am
Brawla Says:

bravo man, bravo. well written, i love it.

Sat, 10/01/2011 - 11:16pm
420lady Says:

you write the most amazing stories ever. i can't stop reading them, and they always leave me speechless. keep doin whatever you're doin because you are a gift to this site

Sun, 12/25/2011 - 2:22am

I love your stories, I couldn't care how long they are. If they are a good read, length is no factor.