Singer Johnny Maplewood of the local band Honky Tonkitis died Wednesday. At least for a short time.
"According to the doctors, while I was under, I flatlined for almost twenty minutes."
Maplewood was in the hospital undergoing experimental brain surgery when the incident occurred.
"I remember being above my body, seeing the doctors and operating table, and then flying up and away at a rapid rate of speed. I then entered a long tunnel and I could see light at the end of it with figures there."
Maplewood said he wasn't scared during the experience.
"I was completely calm. It all seemed relatively natural. These people...at least I think they were people...surrounded me at the end of the tunnel. I felt like they were taking me somewhere."
Was Maplewood going to heaven?
"Again, I felt so calm, I didn't really have the sensation that, 'this is it' and I'm not coming back. I guess I was caught up in the moment. I mean, I'd heard the stories, but it's so strange that it's actually happening."
It was then that everything changed.
"Suddenly, I hear the opening licks of the Eagles' Hotel California, and I'm like, 'What the hell?' I thought I'd just kind of wait and see what happened, but it really threw me off."
Maplewood wasn't sure what to do next.
"I mean, I thought, maybe I'm in limbo, maybe I'm awaiting judgement. Maybe I'm in some kind of afterlife waiting room, and as it turns out, like most waiting rooms, the muzak sucks. Heh! Go figure. They can't even spring for good music in the afterlife! Somebody change the channel!"
But then things got stranger.
"That interminable song finally ends, and on comes that Kid Rock song that's basically a rip-off of seventies rock and I'm like, 'Dude! This tune absolutely sucks and blows! What the hell is going on?"
Maplewood began to panic.
"I'm thinking, maybe this is some kind of test. Maybe Jesus is just having me on. Any second now, Buddha's going to pop out from behind a screen and say, 'man, Mohammed and I totally had you going there!' and we'd all laugh about it and enter the next astral plane. But then that song ends and a Justin Bieber tune comes on. And I'm beginning to realize that the afterlife is not going to be such a pleasant place for me."
It was then that things began to move quickly for Maplewood.
"I just remember screaming, 'I can change! I can change! Don't leave me here!' A microphone and a karaoke TV appeared and I just knew things were going to get worse. After some long length of my screaming, I suddenly felt myself flying at a high rate of speed and a voice saying, 'we've got a pulse.'"
It was shortly after that that Maplewood returned to his body.
"I've never been so grateful about waking up with a splitting headache"
Maplewood has been contemplating his future.
"I realize now that things have to change in my life. I've been given a vision of the hell that awaits me and I don't want to go back there. This may require me quitting the band. I don't know if writing and singing songs about drinking and divorce and drinking are wrong, but if for some reason it irks the Almighty, I've gotta stop."
Maplewood plans to discuss it with his band, Honky Tonkitis, at their show Friday night.
Maplewood: On a dark desert highway with cool wind in his hair?