Chapter One: A Brief Introduction

through_deaths_door_v1Chapter One: A Brief Introduction

In the words of Mick Jagger, please allow me to introduce myself:  I’m Grim, Grim Reaper.  It’s a family name.   I’m like: Grim Reaper, the ten billionth. What? Did you think there was only one of us? Oh, no, we’re bigger than Fed-Ex, we have more customers than the United States Post Office. I touch more people’s lives than Bill Gates! Yes, it’s true. I’m Death. But it’s not what you think. I’m not the only one. You see, I just cover Michigan, some of Ohio, and down to Gary, Indiana. And believe me, that’s a whole lotta death going on! Per capita, Detroit alone has a higher death rate than New York.  With Gary added in, it’s like covering Florida by myself. And believe you me, Florida is super busy what with all the old people down there.  My cousin Grim (like I said, family name) is one busy little bee. After all, old people drop like flies. But that’s still not as bad as Detroit. Here they come up with all new ways to kill ya. Man, I have to be on the cutting edge of technology just to keep up. And man, the cops out here sure don’t help a Death. Hell, in Detroit, cops shoot you for gardening!  Man, but I love it here. Been on the job here since the early seventies… Boy, were those fun times. Kinda like the old west. The riots were entertaining, too. Now it’s not as fun, but still worth the price of admission. Mayor Archer really put a kink in my business. He cleaned up the city pretty good, too, but then he brought Casinos in and boy did things get hot again. Not like the seventies or the eighties… Hell, Mayor Colman Young damn near ran everybody out of the city or killed them off himself. Nope, Archer has done a fine job, at almost running me out of town. But even when it’s slow, I have plenty of work to do. After all, everyone eventually has to dance with the Reaper.

To borrow a phrase from Blue Oyster Cult, “Baby, don’t fear the Reaper.” I know that sounds silly, but you wouldn’t believe how many people are happy to see me when I finally show up. If I was a gambling man, I’d say little less than half are usually pretty damn happy they’re dead. I mean, if you piss off the wrong (or bored enough) gangster, it could take weeks before they finish you off.  And by the end you’re begging to meet me.

And they all say the same thing. “You’re not what I was expecting.”

And I say, “What, you were expecting Jesus? Your family? A bright light?” Then I laugh.

No one expects to see a teenager in a leather coat and jeans, with a bad haircut. I think it’s kinda funny. Yet they are always expecting ol’ gramps in the black robe and all bones and crap… When I show up it throws them off their game. It’s okay, they never see me for long, I’m just the go-between man. Eventually someone else shows up to take them on, usually family from one side or the other, unless they don’t believe in that kinda thing; then they usually see what they want to see. Death is so much like life in that aspect, people only seeing what they want to, and it’s amazing what people don’t want to see. Sometimes it’s the bad stuff people don’t want to see, but more often than not it’s the really great stuff they look past. Like if they accept the good, it will just up and leave them. Man, people as a whole are crazy.

What was that? Why do I look the way I do and not the old robe and bones uniform? Well, I’m glad you ask. You see, for every new generation born, at least with a wide gap from the one before it, a Reaper is born to it as well. You see, I represent the angst people go through today. You could say my gen is the pissed-off gen.  It all started back in the sixties with the hippies. You think if they would just come down for two seconds and see all the shit they fucked up, they would change anything?  I don’t. It goes back to what I said before. They wouldn’t want to see it. They all think they were saving the world. Man, is that a laugh: They fought against them, and ended up becoming them! What they instilled onto their kids is what made me… Angsty. Now, the Hippies are Yuppies, and their kids (who they swore would never be oppressed like them) are being oppressed by them because they’re too busy making the world safe for their children. Who made the world safe for them? No one, and they survived it. You see, I think that’s what it breaks down to… The Darwinian theories. The strongest will survive and thrive. In nature, if some squirrel goes off on a nut (no pun intended), all the others gang up on him and eat him. Now, think about it; how many squirrels do you see robbing other squirrels? My point, exactly.

Hey, my Pops says I shouldn’t complain. He was in charge of the old west… still runs Arizona and Texas, where the phrase “The Boy Just Needed Killin’” still stands up in a court of  law. He says things were tough back then…  when he covered the Mississippi, West, and people were still discovering new ways to die. Donner party was his favorite. Man, the stories he loves to tell on the holidays. Ever wonder where “Hungry enough to eat the asshole outta a dead horse” came from? That’s my dad! He still wears the old cowboy hat and the faded jeans, and like Grampa with his sickle, he loves to take people out with his two old six guns. Man, I love my dad.

But, back to the point, whatever that may be. I’m the one you will see just before you pick your path to walk for eternity. It’s a pretty lonely job. No friends, no lovers, no one to talk to, at least that will answer back. It kinda sucks. I did fall in love once, though. Man, she was something. She had long blonde hair and a laugh that would make Old Grim, himself, smile… and often did. Well, I spent every minute around her, I had free. Even though she didn’t know me, I think we could have had something. Let’s just say, she liked my type, that bad boy image always got her hot. And ended up getting her a lot more than that. I always wanted to hold her after some jackass slapped her or beat her up. But I knew I couldn’t touch her. Always wanted to soothe her feelings when she found out the guy she was sleeping with was banging her friends, but I never could. If I touched her, that would be that, I could see her for a few minutes and then someone would come along and take her to where she has to be. It was torture, I wouldn’t change a moment of it. Loving her, from afar, was better than never loving her at all.

But, then it happened one day. I popped back into her apartment after a fairly busy day to find her in a heap on the floor. Her current boy had beat her bad. I couldn’t help myself, I ran to her and helped her to her feet. Her soul was willing enough, as always, but her body remained on the floor. I started to cry knowing what I had done. She hugged me and kissed. Then she was gone. Ok, I lied. I would change one thing, I wouldn’t have helped her up, just so I could go on loving her with all the pain of a major heart attack every time I looked at her. The pain is still there, but it seems like a joke because I will never see her again.

Well, judging by the light, our time has drawn to an end. It was nice talking with you and I would say I hope to see you again, but I know I won’t. Have a safe trip and I’m glad it’s the light. You seem like a nice enough gal. Well, it’s your time to go. I know you don’t know it, and won’t remember even if you could, but I meant what I said before. I really do love you; and if I could, I would have taken it back.

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