This is a bit long. Also, haven’t really gotten the ending yet but wanted to post it at this point.
Death and His Family
Always apologizing to the members of the I Heart Books Book club. This time, Sally, whose husband folded over sudden and heart-stabbed. Death’s wife had pleaded with death, stop taking my friends husbands, but he didn’t listen. Death’s wife remembers their beginning. How he would tell her how the world needed Death. If everyone lived forever, he said, we’d be up to our necks in people and there wouldn’t be any parking. Death’s wife remembers how handsome he was, none of that long robe and sickle. But as the years went on, he shut her out more and more and she turned to Despair, who held her in his arms on Wednesday afternoons and told her about babies who didn’t have drinking water, and she couldn’t take much more. Now she is having an affair with Hope. She is starting to feel a bit better. Brings him along to her book club and tells the women he’s her cousin from Detroit and Hope tells the women how things will get better, just like the book they are reading will get better. The women look at Hope, Death’s wife looks at Hope. They eat their tea sandwiches and wait.
Death’s son has been playing with cap guns and wind gusts learning to twirl them into hurricanes. He knows what his future is. Will have to take over the family business when the old man retires. He has a vague recall of his grandpa. How he was there one day and the next day a cloud. Death’s son knows that Death is one of those things that never dies. And so it is destinged/ Still, Death’s sone can’t help but think what it might be like to be a farmer whose grows things, a bus driver who takes people places. I’d like to make people happy, he said out loud to his mirror once, but stuffed it back down in his throat.
Death’s daughter wants a whole other family.
Death’s mistress is frankly exhausted. Same old thing every time they meet. She knows you can’t just kill death. That it’s way too meta. She thought the whole black robe was sexy, mysterioso. But now it’s little more than a shmata to her. Death’s mistress used to want death all to herself, used to think of plots to call Death’s wife, threatened to leave him, but always fell under his kissspell. Kiss of Death, she called it, and then discovered kiss of death was already a thing. Oh this is the kiss of death, that is the kiss of death. Death hasn’t bothered to change in how many million years? Not likely to happen any time soon, she figures.
Death’s uncle remembers the old days. Plagues and holy wars. Those were easy. He would watch his brother, Death’s father, wipe whole villages off the map. But it wasn’t all good, if he’s honest. First of all, the sib rivalry. Why wan’t he, Death sr’s brother welcomed into the family business. What was he supposed to do with his dead life? It’s not like there were jobs waiting for him or woman eager to get married to such an obvious second-ran. And he also remembers Death Sr’s dark moments. On top of a cliff and wanting to end all of this. Aren’t I allowed the luxury of a ticking clock?, Death Sr. was known to say. If I’m going to be around forever, where’s the urgency? Where’s the anything that will make this whole thing have some goddam meaning? Times like that made Death’s uncle feel better. He was old, older than mostly anything, but he knew that anything was better than being turned into a cloud.
Death himself is busy driving into walls and thinking up diseases. Everything changes, Death laments, but not me. I’m just the same as my father, my son. When somebody dies, there is always sadness. It often makes the papers. Death used to like the feeling of power he had, but now. He does still believe what he told his wife those many years ago. If everyone lived forever, and how would that look. People on people on people and no need to travel or love anyone harder because things are fragile. Life is fragile. But every so often he looks into the eyes of young widow, or flips on the evening news. There he is again, gunshots and virus, famine and war. It’s all so boring, and yet there is no alternative. He goes up again to the top of a mountain, stands there like he remembers his uncle telling him father used to do. Knows this won’t be any different than all those other times.