Editor's Note: The following excerpt is the first chapter of a longer work, also entitled Popcorn 9.
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"It is I who lift up the arm of Him who is inert; I have gone out of Hermopolis, I am a living soul, I have been initiated into the hearts of baboons."
- From The Egyptian Book of the Dead
"I try to think, but nothing happens!"
- Curly Howard
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A soul departs the being it inhabits in one of many possible ways. Sometimes it actually does leave, as Hollywood so often tells, with a noble sigh of the long-suffering, the soul floating heav-ily up from barely parted lips, dying eyes watch-ing it go. More often it makes a rushed, rude es-cape from the body's other mouth, or perhaps it flies away from a hole freshly opened with the aid of a surgeon's instrument, if not his intent. A soul may find freedom courtesy of a catastrophe, such as an earthquake, a car collision, a terror-ist's bomb, a slip in the shower, which rends the body in such a way as to make its continued existence impossible, and the soul's release inev-itable. Often - more often than generally thought - a soul simply leaks away over a period of years, eloping with eternity one breath at a time, until the day a body looks in the mirror to discover