Wednesday, January 27, 2010

01 Hello Death

I’ve always loved days like today. Brilliant blue sky, gentle fragrant winds. People moving around. It’s a perfect day but I won’t survive it.

That’s because I’m with this perfect girl. She’s smart and funny and absolutely gorgeous.

Here’s the problem.

She’s death.


I met her this morning while walking in the park. Death arrived as this really cute girl, a comfortable arm-full of chocolate-skinned female with one eye blue and the other green, and fine chestnut hair. As if every human female archetype had been rolled into one.

She was following me around just keeping her distance which is sort of cool; being openly stalked by a cute girl until I become interested, which I figured was her intent. Some girls are shy like that.

However this girl was just waiting for the proper moment to kill me.

I turned around finally and I’m standing there smiling at her as she walks up and she’s going to touch me and then she says Oh you can see me. What do I look like? And without knowing at the time that she’s death I tell her she’s drop-dead gorgeous and can I buy her a soda or something and she eyes me up and down before she smiles and says yes.

Death apparently has a highly refined sense of irony.

You are wondering how I know she is death. It’s like this. We had just made a date and we’re walking up the sidewalk out of the park — she about arm’s length distant because she’s already said she can’t touch me without killing me — and I’m saying yeah right you’re death then prove it when she blows lightly into a tree overhead and all these insects, spiders and birds literally fall dead to the sidewalk at our feet.

It was the most horrific thing I’d ever witnessed.

And then she looked at me and said that she really did need to kill me before too long but as long as she was visible she was good for a cup of coffee, if I was still interested.

So coffee it was.


Now we’re seated at a small table under an umbrella at an outside cafe. Nobody is paying us any attention.

I can’t take my eyes off of death.

“I don’t get it,” she says, picking up her cup. “You shouldn’t be able to see me.”

I’m really nervous, being this close to death. But I manage to sound casual.

“Yeah? Then people have been seriously missing out because you are really beautiful.”

She smiles at me sweetly and takes a sip.

“I mean,” I continue. “Death is supposed to be a skeletal dude with a sword —”

“Scythe,” she corrects me.

“Scythe. How did they get that so wrong?”

She shrugs. “Those as can see me at all give me the shape they think I ought to have. The grim reaper was only one such projection. It just happened to make its way into the popular press.”

“So I made you gorgeous?”

She leans forward, eyes glittering. “So it seems. Very curious. You have an uncommon outlook on death, soon-to-be-dead-guy.”

I manage to ignore that last part. “So you don’t know my name? Aren’t I written into some book of souls or something?”

“I don’t, and you might be or not, I’ve no idea. I just kill things.”

She says it like it’s nothing.

“I see, so you go around randomly killing people?”

“Death is supposed to be a random thing,” she says with a faint smile. “Or would you rather I place personals ads?”

She leans back and thinks for a moment then says, “Death seeks M/F S/M for STR. Age not important. Must be alive.”

She giggles and looks over at me for a reaction.

It figures that death would have a warped sense of humor.

I keep reminding myself she’s going to kill me, too.

“Wait. Aren’t you supposed to be — out working or something?”

Maybe she’ll forget I was on her list.

“You mean I should be killing things.”

“I don’t want to mess up your schedule or anything.”

“Not to worry,” she says while looking closely at a dessert menu. “Death is everywhere. How else can I kill 100 people a minute? And that’s just the people. If you will excuse me a moment —”

She gets up suddenly and walks out onto the sidewalk.

My heart skips a beat. Is she really leaving?

And if so then why am I disappointed?

She waits there a moment and then touches a guy as he walks past. He walks another few yards, clutches at his chest and falls down dead.

She returns to our table and sits down across from me.

I’m happy and terrified at the same time. Beautiful women can do that to a guy.

“Where were we?” she says.

“A tiramisu, perhaps?” I offer, hoping to distract her.

She laces her hands together under her chin and regards me a moment before smiling thinly and saying:

“I should be going.”

And so, my time is up.

Out of habit I pull out my wallet to settle the bill, but she shakes her head and says, “We were never here.”


We walk until we come to a secluded place in the park.

“It’s time,” she says, and reaches to touch me.

“Wait!” I cry. “Um — can I make a last request?”


“Could you — maybe kiss me?”

Death smiles. “I was hoping you would ask that.”

I lay down on the grass and she kneels and without preamble lightly kisses me.

The kiss of death. It is the most amazing kiss. Ever. Seriously electric.

We part and I open my eyes. She’s looking down at me and says, “That’s odd. Let me try that again.”

She sits on top of me, takes my face in her hands, and kisses me hard. For a long time.

We separate breathlessly and I’m looking up at her still.

She smiles and with her eyes shining says, “Let’s walk some more.”


It’s long after dark. Death and I are holding hands, walking and talking. She’s been telling me what she knows about dying. Which is a lot. And oddly, we’ve spent a lot of time making out.

At this point I am completely intoxicate by her.

What a day.

“How about we get a room?” she offers, and squeezes my hand.

What a woman.


She’s keeping me alive for some reason. Maybe death needs someone to talk to. Maybe she likes that I made her attractive. Probably I’ll never know.

What matters is I get to be with her.

I know the score; one of these days she’ll grow tired of me and then the next kiss will be the last.

Until then I’ll be happy.

Each day as they come, living with death.

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