I have spent days searching for a topic to write about that does not involve hospitals, sickness or death. This task is particularly difficult for me at present because The Reaper recently stopped his carriage at my bedside. He reached his scrawny gray hand out the open carriage door, flittered his bony little fingers invitingly.
"Eh... Not so fast!" I said hoarsely. "I'm not ready."
He squinted his beady black eyes at me. He had heard this from almost every fare.
"Now, listen, you!" He said in a delightfully authoritative voice, "I got a job to do here, and it involves you. Hop in and I'll take you where there's no more suffering."
"But, suffering's just a part of life," I replied, "Like flatulence. It stinks, but we all experience it."
"Yeah..." said Mr. Grim T. Reaper, "But aren't you sick and tired of it? I mean, all your life, one pain in the ass after another. Look at'cha now. You look deader than I do. Hell, that's not right. That's just downright perverse, if you ask me. Now, if you take my hand - which surprisingly smells like roses, by the way - and hop up here beside me, we can leave all this sickness and sadness behind."
My wheezing, coughing, retching and resultant moaning and cursing interrupted our conversation. My ribs were unbearably painful, and I cursed them, too. Mr. Grim demonstrated surprising patience, especially since I was not his only fare that night. He gave me an I told you so smile.
Somehow I managed to gasp, "What part of I'm not ready don't you understand?"
"No one's ever ready, toots. Even the ones who say they're ready aren't really ready. That's a fallacy. And then, when they realize they're dying and all they have to do to be finally dead is to take my hand - why - the look on their face is like that of someone who's just been thrown the surprise party from hell." He paused, gave me that squint again, and his expression morphed into one of sudden realization. "Come to think of it, you don't have that look."
My gaspy raspy voice managed a sing-song rhythm, "That's... be.... cause.... I'm.... not.... ready."
"You must be Irish. They're stubborn bastards."
"I'm a whole lotta stubborn, Mr. Grim."
He waved out his scrawny gray hand to something behind me. "But, look! They're here for you."
I could not turn my head (too stinkin' painful, ya know), but I could see what he referred to in my mind's eye. There they all were, the relatives and relatives of relatives that had already passed. My nearest kin lined up in the front, the older generations rows back, all like they'd been posed for a group shot like they did with us in junior high school. Rows upon rows of dead relations stretching into a mist.
The sight was most disturbing; just about everybody in the front row were people I was not all that keen on seeing again.
"Oh, hell no, Mr. Grim T. Reaper! Oh, hell no!"
"Aw, damn..." the Reaper clicked his teeth with his tongue. "Dysfunctional family, huh? I shoulda known. I got'cha, toots. Don't blame ya. Why, you're already startin' to get a little color in your cheeks! Don't that beat all?"
"Are we done, Mr. Reaper?"
He latched the carriage door shut, adjusted his hood snugly around his head, poked his pale face through the window opening. "See ya next time, kid."
"Not if I see you first."
Well, that was the gist of my latest experience on this earth. I still don't know if I'll include it in my blog or not.
After all, who wants to read about that?