Wednesday
Dec112013

The Reluctant Artiste: Death Comes for Breakfast

Sometimes a reluctant writer doesn’t have a choice:

I had breakfast with Death the other day.

I have a 13 year old Aspie kid who is deep into the whole talking in role thing, so when he pitched his voice deep, and did his best to look moribund, and announced that he was the Grim Reaper, I just rolled with it.

He told me about the job—he took over for his dad 20 years back, who took over from his and so on—and the social challenges. Dating is a huge problem. He’s allowed to go out with angels, but they are snooty, and not up for much—but humans are forbidden since the incident. Seems he woke up one day expecting to see his live in girlfriend beside him, and  found a corpse. Tough way to discover his problem with Sleep Reaping.

At this point we were interrupted by his mother:

“Skully! Skully! Come in for breakfast!”

“Ma! Will ya leave me alone? I’m a grown man fer Crissakes. I'll eat when I’m ready!”

 I tried to chime in here, seeing Skully’s mom as my natural entrée into the improv.  But at my first “Skully! Don’t you talk to your mother like that…” he shut me down.

“No. She doesn’t sound like that."

Death and I went into the living room, where Ma couldn’t bother us. He looked at me quietly for a moment.

“I saw your  Dad a few weeks ago…. Is it okay if I talk about this?”

I nodded. Three weeks. To be exact.

“I think he was glad to see me.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.” I said.

“He’s a great guy. He’s on our hockey team.”

I managed another nod.

“Now your brother,  he wasn’t nearly so easy to reap.”

“Well no. He was so…” I wasn’t quite able to get the “young” out intact.

“I have this thing I do with the tough ones. I pull down my hood, show them my fleshless skull, all horrible, crawling with maggots. Scare them to a better place….You know what he did when he saw me like that? He laughed. Can you believe that?”

“Yes. I can.”

“”We’re great friends now. He wanted you to know something.”

“Okay.”

“We’ve solved the problem of atheist heaven. “

“That’s a problem?”

“People like you who don’t believe in heaven or hell. You were a problem. But now we have an atheist heaven. Carl Sagan set it up.”

“He’d be the guy for that.”

“Yah. You get to become part of the cosmos. Like the stars and stuff. Become part of everything.”

“I will be star stuff?”

“Yah. You will be star stuff,” Death looked at me, “Just not for a long time.”

And then, Death went to school.  I sat awhile after, rocking, stars running down my face.

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Touched my heart.

Dec 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Beautiful.

Jan 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Minotaur

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