Monsoon season had arrived on Gerald’s face, the sweat beading on his nose-tip before splashing into the puddle growing by his feet. His heart threatened his chest cavity’s structure as it pounded against the inside of his ribs. He was dizzy, he was trembling and his least favourite part, if he were to be asked later, was most certainly the shortness of breath.
As his face rushed to meet the puddle of sweat, Gerald found himself disparaged by how little his wife seemed to care. Upon reflection, he wished he had boldly requested aid from his partner: help! He even would have settled for a manly shriek. He truly would have given his life for anything to come out, anything other than that relieving flatulence.
“Yes dear,” his wife said, her hands still working the cross-stitch in her lap, eyes laser-focused on the pattern.
Finding himself oddly retrospective all of a sudden, Gerald observed that perhaps the reason his pleading failed was that his life was no longer his for bargaining. An unsettling thought at any time, the bony tap on his shoulder seemed to shake his entire existence; or was that non-existence now? He had never been a particularly clever man, but this whole business of the after life had his head spinning most uncomfortably.
“Name?” the gravely voice asked, “and if you would indeed hurry it along a touch, I have a terribly busy day ahead of me. Gas explosion at the supermarket on King St in. . . is that the time?!”
The mixture of ethereal buoyancy and panicked flapping seemed at odds with the clarity which was slowly chunking its way into Gerald’s brain. If this was Death, why was he dancing like a chicken, and why was he wearing a purple gown? Clearing his throat and working some moisture into his chalky mouth, Gerald began to answer, “Gera…”
“Nope: no time! Wait. . . here. . .” Death said and with a purple-flourish of his cloak, he was gone.