Hallo! Bit of a weird post, this one. I've been struggling to find the time this month to do anything other than writing pages of to do lists and zombie-ing my way through them. Here's some stuff that's happened:
- Went to Reading Festival. For the first time felt about a billion years old in amongst the swarm of dancing "yoots". Was an okay time, though. If I remember to, I'll blog about it. Promise!
- Got Becky flu on the last day of Reading (like man flu but several times more pathetic & potent) and tweaked my back just..standing about. Because apparently that's a thing that happens to me now. As a result, watched Biffy Clyro's set through a fog of painkillers and sadness because "I just can't enjoy the nice bearded man with his top off properly because even my spleen hurts, waaah!"
- I may or may not have (i.e...I have.) started the process of BUYING A NEW FUCKING HOUSE LIKE A MOTHERFUCKING GROWN UP! HOLY FUCK, I'M NOT READY FOR THIS KIND OF COMMITMENT!! But I've never owned a breakfast bar before, so that should be nice...
What with all of the coughing and organising, I've mostly just been running around, shouting at myself like a deranged army major about getting shit done, all the while trying to remember whether I've put deodorant on that day and feeling like my hair is on fire. Cool as a cucumber under pressure, me.
Because I don't have the brain power for anything new at the minute, I've cheated by deciding to use some short (very short, promise) fiction I've written to amuse myself in the hopes that it'll at least raise a smirk for you too.
Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page (search Rebecca Writes & Runs) if you want to see me do more silly fiction in future, or whether you would like me to know that it's terrible and that I should burn my hands off for ever having tried my (currently still attached) hand at it. Here goes nutt'n...
DEATH VS GERRY
Gerry Smith, 37, divorcee and father of one’s stomach clenched as an icy tremor ran through him. He let go of the ivory hand that helped him to his feet.
“Cheers, love.” He pulled a cigarette from his jacket pocket and perched it precariously on what was left of his bottom lip. “You’re strong for a little ‘un.”
“That’s alright, Gerry.” How does she know my name?
“You the work experience girl?”
“No, Gerry.” Reaper One found it best not to formally introduce herself unless prompted. She had learned from experience that introduction upon her arrival tended to freak people out, and she had no time to wait out a meltdown today. “It’s time to come with me.” The air behind her shimmered subtly before bursting into a glowing, human-sized blotch against the backdrop of the construction site. Gerry felt that tremor again. Why could he hear screaming? He shook his head and turned in the direction of his porta cabin.
“Flattered as I am, sweetheart, you’re a bit young for me. If you’re sticking around, make sure you put a hard hat on. Dangerous places are building sites.” He gave the yellow plastic on his head a knock. A tooth skittered off his boot. “‘Scuse me, mate.” He stepped over his own corpse and staggered past the left side of his face, which was clinging limpet fashion to a wrecking ball. The crane’s operator was occupied in watching his lunch make a reappearance into his lap.
Reaper One sighed. Denial. Excellent. Not for the first time that day, she lamented the fact that she couldn’t simply push her clients into The Light. Why was The Boss so taken with the freewill business? It only served complicate matters. Never mind, she thought as she followed her last assignment of the day. Rules are rules.
When she caught up, Gerry was in his office sliding his hand through a solid telephone, brow furrowed.
“Did you do this?” He snapped.
“No, I didn’t. I think you know full well why you can’t touch anything. There is peace in acceptance of the facts.”
“What? Why have you broken my phone, and who the fuck are you? I’d call security, but-” The panic was beginning to bubble in his voice. Centuries of doing the rounds, thought Reaper One, of guiding souls to their final resting places, and the enduring human ability to point blank refuse to see anything other than what they want to is still astounding.
“Your phone is fine. However, you-”
“Go fetch telecomms for me. I’ve got a meeting to reschedule!”
“Telecomms can’t help you, Gerry.” Something passed over Gerry’s face. Realisation? Acceptance?”
“Take anything you want from the safe, just don’t hurt me! I have a daughter!”
“Oh, for the love of - Look. It’s physically impossible for me to hurt you. I can’t. You’ve already left your bodily vessel.” He opened and closed his mouth, his fleshless chin clicking in rumination. They heard the thunk of another tooth hitting the floor.
“You’ve snuffed it. Popped your clogs. Hopped off the mortal coil.”
“You’re dead, Gerry.”
“Yes.” She slipped a hand inside her cowl. Gerry’s hands flew up to protect what remained of his face.
“Don’t shoot!” She produced a gold framed mirror and handed it to him.
“Look. Remember now?” He would have vomited on the spot if his stomach lining wasn’t still sitting in his body halfway across the yard. Didn’t he he have two eyes this morning? His memories trickled back to him. The bronze glint in the dirt. The cold smack of metal against his face. Dave asleep at the crane’s controls. See a penny, pick it up. For all your day, you’ll have good luck.
“So what now?”
“You come with me.”
“And who are you, exactly? Death’s admin girl?” This? Again? How many souls did she have to transport from this world for sexism to actually be dead? She exhaled.
“My name is Reaper One. I currently hold the position of Death.”
“Get off it! You’re too cute to be death! Where’s the skull? Where’s the scythe?”
“The reaper who held my post before I was promoted was...replaced. His methods were deemed unsubtle.” The least you could do to move unnoticed through the human race was to make the effort to have skin and a pair of eyeballs. Reaper Grim chose the flashier route of making an icon of himself. Wanted to be both feared and revered. Needless to say, The Boss wasn’t best pleased. Reaper One dreaded to think where he might be now and never wanted to find out for herself.
“Maybe people would be less scared of The Reaper if they knew how good she looked in jeans!” He stared at her, the exposed muscles of his cheek twitching.
“What are you doing?”
“Hmm. Come on, time to get going.”
“Into The Light.” They were at his body now, where a crowd of hard hats had gathered, enveloped in the eerie quiet of minds struggling to verbalise how it felt to have witnessed your boss’ face hitch a ride several feet into the air.
“Jenkins is eating a sandwich. My dead body is right there, and Jenkins is eating a sodding sandwich!”
“People handle grief in a multitude of ways.”
“I wasn’t aware that the bloody munchies was one of them!” Reaper one swept a hand in the direction of the glimmer that was still suspended in the air, only a fraction smaller now.
“Hurry. It will close soon.”
“I’m not going in there until you tell me where it goes. Am I going to Heaven? Hell? Disney Land? Where?”
“The possibilities are many.”
“You don’t know, do you?”
“Then why are you making me go in there? I could end up watching reruns of Glee for all of eternity for all you know! You go in first. Have a peek for me.”
“I would disintegrate if I tried to. It isn’t my time. It’s yours.”
“I don’t care if it’s hammer time! I’m not going in there!” He glanced at his body. “What’s the alternative?”
“Roam the Earth for eternity and go insane with all of the other trapped souls. They’re not pleasant company.” Right on cue, howls reverberated somewhere nearby.
“What was that?”
“Them. They sense when a soul is about to depart this realm and try to escape with it. I’ve never seen one succeed, but it doesn’t stop the poor wretches from trying.” The leader of the pack appeared from between two portacabins, clutching his own head in one arm and dragging someone else’s along by a long, ginger beard. He gurgled viciously at the neck.
“Fuck this. I could learn to like Glee.” He practically fell into the void.
“Farewell, Gerry.” With a shimmer and a pop, he was gone. Reaper One turned to the neck that was now gurgling at her side. “Sorry, Nigel. You missed your chance in 1993.” He flung the bearded head into the dirt and skulked back to the pub he’d been haunting down the road.