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Chapter 1

If I'd known then what I know now, I never would have gone toward the light. Seriously. This Heaven, I could've done without.

My actual life before death was much better. I was a movie star, for cryin' out loud. I had it all.

As recently as twelve hours ago, I had it all.

"So tell me, Stag, how does it feel to be nominated for your third Academy Award?" That's what the perky blonde morning show host asked during the live interview.

"Unbelievable." I said it with my patented humble-yet-confident grin, letting the bright lights cast a glare on my teeth. Down-to-Earth, salt-of-the-Earth, salt-and-pepper hair parted on the right. "It never gets old."

"What a track record." She, Susan F., was in a New York City studio. For reasons that weren't clear to me, I was in a separate studio across town, watching her on a monitor. Doin' the ol' split-screen tango. "And with two Best Actor wins under your belt, how do you feel about chances for a third?"

"Crossing my fingers, Sue." I flashed my bright whites and showed my crossed fingers to the camera. "It would be an indescribable honor."

"We wish you the best," said Susan with her most endearing smile, as if I were family.

"Thank you, Sue." Nod and a wink. "I hope to see you at the after-party."

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