Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘Reaper’

The Reaper…a short story

“Hello,” she said.


“I’m The Reaper and I’m on vacation.  What can I do that’s fun?”

“Uh,” he said.  “You’re the Reaper?  The Grim Reaper?”

“That’s a giant misconception,” she sighed.  It’s just Reaper.  I’m rarely grim.  In fact…I can’t remember the last time I was grim.”

“Wait.  If you’re on vacation, what will all the people who want to die do, while you’re gone?”

“Stay alive.  But no worries. I asked a friend to keep an eye on things.  Not literally, of course.  I mean, she’s going to watch over things for me.”

“Can your friend reap?”

She shook her head.  “No.  Only I can do that.”

“Are you here for me?”

“What?  No,” she laughed.  “I’m not here for you.”

“Then what about the people who are suffering and want to die?”

“I’ve never had a vacation.  Not once.  Do you know what that’s LIKE?”

“No.  But still…”

“I never stop working…EVER. I’m not asking for much.  Just a day or two off, so I can do something different for a change.”

“Don’t you like your job?”

“Sure I like my job.  It’s a great job.  I help all living things.  I stop suffering.  I also know that when people die they have more fun on the other side than they could ever have here.”


“Think about it,” she said.  “How much fun can anyone have here.  The gravity alone is killing you.”

“It’s also keeping us on the planet,” he said.

“Is that a good thing?”

“If you don’t want to float around in space, then yes, it’s a good thing.”

“You guys depend on sooooooo many details to keep you alive.   You need just the right amount of oxygen, gravity, sunlight, food, medicine, contact lenses…”

“We don’t all need contact lenses,” he said defensively.

“…clothing, warmth, places to live…and then you die anyway.”

“Did we evolve?”

“If you had evolved, you’d be in better shape than you are now, that’s for sure.”

“So did god make us?”

“Seriously?  God?  Oh, please.  Some Gamers were drunk out of their minds on a mixture of space dust and something they found on NP47-543.  It was late, and they came up with a design for a planet and put all of you on it.  Did they follow up on what they had done?  Nooooo, they did not.  And here you are, still left on your own, trying t kill everything. Believe me, evolution would have made you a lot stronger and better equipped to survive.”

“You’re making me tired,” he said, yawing.

“That’s another thing,” she said, pointing at him.  “You need to SLEEP.  You all have to be unconscious for a huge chunk of your short lives, or die.”

“You’re not what I expected,” he sighed.

“You thought I’d wear a hooded robe and carry a scythe?”

“Kind of.  And be male.”

“Why would I be male?”

“I don’t know.  I just thought you would be.”

“Look.  I don’t have much time, so just tell me what bowling is all about.”

“Bowling?  Really?  That’s what you want to know about?”

“What is it?”

“You throw a heavy ball down a wooden floor, called an alley, and try and knock down all the pins at the other end.”


“They’re about this big,” he said, using his hands, “and shaped like this.  There are ten of them.”

“That can’t be right” she said.  “Who would want to do that?”

“A lot of people.  There are teams and they play against each other.”

“To knock down pins?”

He nodded.  “It’s fun.  Kind of.”

“Okay.  This place is a lot more boring than I expected.  I’ve been here a day and a half and I’m ready to go back to reaping.  Since I’m here, do you want to come with me?  I’ll show you some cool stuff, like the moons of Saturn and…”

“No thanks.  Nice of you to offer, but I’m going to stay here.”

“Up to you, as long as you know I’m coming back for you…eventually.”

“I do know that.”

“You guys don’t have long life spans.  It’s funny how you celebrate those who make it to a hundred.  Think about it…things have been here forever, in spite of what your scientists say.  FOREVER!  Do you know how many years FOREVER is?”

“A lot?”

“Yes, a LOT,” she laughed.  “And you live a few years and think that’s great.  See, that’s what I mean.  You’re flawed.”

“I get that,” he said.  “But we don’t know anything else, so it’s okay.  And you haven’t walked in our shoes, so there is that.”

“Why would I walk in your shoes?” she asked, obviously confused.  “I have my own shoes.”  She held out her foot and showed him her sandal.

“They look comfortable.”

“They are,” she said, smiling.

“So what are you going to do now?”

“I want ice cream,” she said.

“I can take you to a place down the street, if you like.”

“I’d like that very much, Scott Anderson.”

“You know my name?”

“I know everyone’s name.  It’s part of my job.”

“So you work with dead people every single day?” he asked, as they started walking.

“They aren’t really dead, they’re just different than they were when they were here.”

“Is everyone who dies okay?”

“Better than okay.”

He nodded.  “Have you ever had ice cream?”

“No, but I know it comes in colors and it’s cold,” she said, excitedly.

“You should probably try a chocolate and strawberry mix.”

“I will.  And if it ever gets to be too much, and you want to leave earth early…just whisper my name.  There’s no need to suffer,” she said.  “I’m always here.”

“Thank you,” he said, sincerely.  “I’ll remember that.”




Picture from:  Pinterest


“How can I help you?” he asked, leaning against the window.



“I didn’t expect you to look the way you do,” I said, staring at him.

“What did you expect me to look like?”

“Oh, you know, bones, hooded robe, scythe, maybe some flames in the background.”

“Flames?” he laughed.  “That’s a new one.”

“Glad you find me amusing,” I growled.

He laughed harder.  “I like a woman with an attitude.”

“Then you’re gonna love me.”

“Actually, I haven’t been in love in a very long time.  It never ends well, for me.”

“Maybe you’re doing it wrong.”

“Perhaps you’re right,” he said, smiling. “Although, I have had thousands of years to perfect my technique.”

“That’s your problem.”

“Excuse me?”

“Love isn’t about technique, it’s about jumping off a cliff and not caring where you’ll land.”

“Ah, a romantic,” he signed.

“Not even a little,” I said, shaking my head.

“What then?”

I smiled at him.  “That’s mine.”

“Really,” he purred, walking toward me.

“Really,” I said, opening my  notepad.  “Now, I’ve heard that you plan to make changes in Death, is that right?”

“What are you?” he whispered, walking around me. “There’s something different about you.” He smelled like new grass in ancient forests.  A little spice but more like wildflowers.

“What I am is a journalist trying to get a story and you can turn down the organic come-on.  I’m not buying it.”

“I think I like you,” he said softly.

“My cat tells me that everyday because she wants something from me. Now about the changes in your Corporation.”

“Do you give her what she wants?”

“Yes, I do,” I sighed.  “I feed her, give her filtered water, clean her litter box and let her sleep on my pillow.  I frequently pet and kiss her.  Her end of the bargain is to let me do those things for her.”

He laughed, again.  “Coffee?”

“No thanks, but I would like some answers.”




“Ice water, please.”

“To keep your heart cold?” he asked, pressing a button and ordering lunch for two.

“Yes, that’s exactly why I want it.  To keep my heart cold.”

“You all give in to me eventually.”

“How can I argue with that?  Death is a winner take all kind of game, isn’t it?”

“No, not really.  I’m just a doorway.  I don’t actually do anything, I’m just here so everyone can get from one place to another.”

“You must be busy,” I said.

“You have no idea,” he snickered.  “Here’s our lunch.”

A man in his late forties wheeled in a tray loaded with food and a large pitcher of ice water.

“It’s beautiful and it looks delicious,” I said, picking up a plate.  “Wait a second, you are NOT going to feed me and chat about the weather.  What changes are you making in the Corporation? There’s a group called, Anti-Death who wants to see people live forever.”

He waited and watched.

“Fine.  I’m hungry, so what?” I snapped, loading my plate with pasta.

“Well, this is a first,” he said happily.  “A woman who actually eats and enjoys it.  I’m impressed.”

“Don’t be.  This is just real food, as opposed to the junk I usually eat, that’s all.  It’s like a banquet and I’m taking advantage of it.  Thank you, by the way.”

“I haven’t had this much fun in some time,” he said, deciding what to eat.

“You need to get out more,” I snarfed, taking another bite of tofu.  “Delicious.”

“You could have lunch like this everyday,” he said, casually.

After I stopped coughing I said, “What?”

“You could work for me.”

“Doing what?”

“Whatever needs to be done.”

“Do people actually fall for that?”

“They do.”

“Well, society IS in a downward spiral, so I guess I’m not surprised,” I said, reaching for a slice of cheese cake.

“I’m serious.”

“You don’t even know what I can do and this isn’t a job interview, I came here to get a story.”

“If you work for me, you’ll get it.  Besides, the pay is exceptional.”

“No thanks, I’m loyal to my boss.”

“That’s too bad, because he’s going to be arrested later this week for fraud and when he’s in jail, awaiting trial, well, let’s just say he’ll be meeting me.”

“Then I’ll work for…”

“Another paper?  They are all but gone and you know it.  Work for me and you can write a book.”


“Didn’t expect the day to go in this direction?” he asked, refilling my glass.

“Something like that.”

“Why don’t you just try it.  If you don’t like working here, you can leave and I’ll give you a wonderful reference.”

“Are you sure about my boss?”

“I am.”

“Two months,” I said, holding out my hand.

“Two months,” he agreed, taking my hand.  And that’s when we felt the current run up our arms and through our bodies.

“What was THAT?” I asked, looking at his stunned expression.

“Do you know what you are?” he asked cautiously.

“What I am?”

“Yes, what you ARE?”

“I told you, I’m a journalist.  I’m also a woman, a cat slave…”

“No, not THOSE things.  Do you know what you actually ARE?

“Apparently not and stop looking at me that way.”

“You, are Life, here to play the game on earth,” he said, running his fingers through his hair.  “I haven’t been here with you since the beginning.”

“Okay.  You need to sit down and take a break.  I’m just me.  Would you like me to call someone to take care of you? Do you need to take some pills, or something?  You did have part of an apple, maybe someone put drugs in it.  You know someone always poisons them.”

“You are Life and I am Death and we just shook on a partnership,” he chuckled and said,  “THIS is going to be so very, very interesting.  Welcome to the Corporation.”





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