Story #25
wordcount 1543
Copyright 2005 C.E.

The following is a transcript of the Grim Reaper's report to Lucifer detailing how it is his boat capsized on the river Styx on account of violating the maximum capacity limit and why it was that the gates to hell had a longer line to them than the one for the wake of Pope John Paul the Second. None of the persons, places, or things depicted have been changed to protect them as they are already dead and/or lacking material consistency...

*****
Death’s Soliloquy

"Those are both really good questions you ask to which you deserve the most detailed account providable. And, I would just like to say, that the answer to both of them is a really amusing anecdote. Besides, it's not really my fault. I can't help it if Jehova maintains such a ridiculous amount of faith in humanity.

"It all started last week. There was this debacle in purgatory involving some poor soul who was trapped and couldn't proceed in either direction due to the fact that no one could figure out if he'd been good or bad. And I was like,

'Look, I was told to come and get this guy, now where am I taking him?'

"And they were like,

'Gee, we're really sorry to pull you up from Hades, what with you being so busy and all, but we really thought he was heading your way. However, it turns out nobody knew he was coming or has any idea who he is.'

"I can't believe the ineptude of those people! Anyhow, I ended up having to wait for them to get a hold of Jehova and bring him down and straighten matters out. He takes one look at the guy and is completely baffled. HE doesn't know who the guy is either! I mean, can you imagine my surprise when the Supreme Creator doesn't even know who the hell the dude is!? If it were me, sure, I could understand how I would overlook a person or two in all the infinite universe, but the Creator? Despite this incongruency, Jehova makes a snap decision and says,

'Well, humanity is inherently good at heart and I can't imagine this one man having done anything to warrant eternal damnation. So, I'll forgive him of his sins and bring him with me to heaven.'

"Now, on the surface, everything sounds all good and wonderful, but you know me and my mouth when it comes to humanity. I mean, here He is suggesting all humanity is just a gathering of righteous, kind hearted angels. But, I know better than that! After all, I'm the one who has to get the bastards when they croak! I'm the one that takes 'em to purgatory, where they're supposed to tell me where to take 'em....and most times, they're comin' here!

"So, I says to Jehova, in front of everyone and their brothers,

'Excuse me, but I beg to differ.'

"And Jehova looks all puzzled and stares at me in that condescending way of his and says,

'Of what do you differ? I have cleared this man of whatever crimes he has committed. Are you so lacking in souls?'

"And I'm like,

'Not at all. By all means, take the whelp. Where I differ is on humanity's being inherently good. I say they're inherently evil, straining to be good, so's they can get to heaven.'

'That simply just is not true.'

"He retorts back, thinking he knows more than me on that issue. And I just smile back, well, try to anyhow, considering I have no lips, and decide to challenge him to a friendly wager.

'All right,' I says, 'let's say you're right, and they're inherently good. Then you wouldn't be opposed to a little bet, would ya?'

'It is not wise to tempt the Lord,' he counters, like I've got anything to lose. Hell, I'm already ferrying the damned. What more's he gonna do to torture me than continue allowing me final reckoning with every asshole in the known universe?

'Well, if you're afraid to be wrong...' I said and shrugged.

'What's your flavor, ferryman?'

"Ferryman, can you believe that!? Like, somehow, that's a cut that's going to hurt me! He crosses his arms and stares down at me, curious as to what I had in mind.

'Alright, here's the deal, I'll choose three people to usher in the apocalypse. And you get to choose any number of those you'd like, even the three I chose, and try to convince 'em not to let it happen.'

'What's the catch?' he asks me. What's the catch? No catch. Humanity is just stupid.

'None. But I guarantee my three will overrule your collected world. And when the apocalypse occurs and they're all pouring into purgatory, we'll see which direction they're headed,' I taunted, not really thinking about what I'd just challenged him.

'OK, you're on. But you'll see that the power of good will far outweigh the malicious forces of evil,'

'Uh-huh, sure.' I replied to his nonsensical beliefs.

"So, he gets the whole world and I can only chose three people. Sounds pretty one-sided, eh? Well, I end up choosing the President of the United States, the fiercest leader of a terrorist network in the Middle East, and Kim Jong Il, cause we all know what a balding moron he is!

"It really wasn't difficult to piss off those three lunatics. Just have the terrorist bomb an American interest and have the President declare war, and then have Kim Jong Il kick out the U.N. and become the world's leading dealer of nuclear armaments on the black market.

"Jehova gets the whole world to lash out verbally against the U.S. for declaring war on any country brash enough to piss on their parade. Even their own citizens were in on the act. The Creator even talks to the President in a dream....and he gets to my other guys as well, you know. The President says he wants to work on diplomacy and bring to justice those terrorists responsible for the bombings. OK, a slightly notable change in his attitude. The terrorist leader just doesn't want a change to occur in the way his people live and doesn't want any woman telling him what to do. Ha! That'll last long! An interesting development to say the least. Kim Jong Ill is too busy writing hymns about himself to hear what Jehova has to say. I knew he was a team player.

"All three of them have their fingers on the nuke's in their respective arsenals. Jehova comes down and says, in another dream to all three, whereas I'm also invited to stand beside them and listen to him gloat,

'See there the face of Death, who awaits your arrival should you not seek peace in the world,'

"The three of them look at me. The President is crying, knowing he really doesn't want to see the world destroyed. The terrorist has some compassion in his eyes, but is terrified of the future and still willing to see his goals through to the end. Kim Jong Il....well, he just stands there pickin' his nose and scratchin' his ass, but Jehova and I were sure he heard something. So, I venture a chance and look at the three individuals I had chosen in my mad gamble with the Supreme Creator and say,

'I say Fuck 'em and let God sort 'em out...' And they all look at me in understanding, knowing that any that stand in their way can go to hell.

"Each one of them wake up and one by one set off their nukes. The whole world is engulfed in flaming balls of gas and searing heat which led to everyone dying and entering purgatory at roughly the same time.

"Since they'd all died at the same time, no one, save a few mind you, had any time to atone and repent for their sins...which meant they all came our way.

"It was then I realized I hadn't really thought my plan through as it meant that much more work for me. And I saw the millions standing there in exasperation,

"And I was like,

'Hey! Don't mumble at me! If you'd done a little more than bowing down and cowering like sheep, those three morons would have been taken care of and thrown into jail or a pit to fight each other or something...so, I don't want to hear it!'

"Which is what led to my boat sinking, since I was just trying to get the job done faster. And that's the story. I'm guessing this is why you only challenged Jehova over Jobe, eh? What? Why are you looking at me like I'm some sort of moron?"

*****
The Grim Reaper was severely reprimanded for obstinance and extreme stupidity on the job. He was sentenced to cleaning all the toilets in hell for one thousand years as well as ferrying the damned into the underworld. Which meant all the more work for him. Jehova rebuilt Earth and Lucifer sent everyone back in a neat little package marked 'Return to Sender.' All memory of this incident was wiped from the collective conscience of humanity and neither Lucifer or Jehova ever spoke of it again.

Email: kaipur@aol.com