Hank Jasper was an average guy, living in the suburbs with his wife, two kids, and a dog, earning $52,000 a year at his job, playing softball on Monday nights, calling his mother every Sunday, and having the Grim Reaper as his boss. By day, he worked for "Conglamorated Foods" as the district manager for the entire East coast. He dressed in pin striped suits, wore wing tips and silk ties and schmoozed his way into the hearts of supermarket chain managers. His kids believed he was the best father this side of the Mississippi and his wife, Madeline, adored him. "What was there not to like?" he thought as he looked at his image in the mirror by the light of a full moon. He was tall, muscular and rugged in a way that caused women to look twice or three times as he walked by. His eyes conveyed genuine warmth when his face was illuminated by a smile. Only he knew what was beneath that handsome exterior and he liked it. He liked it a lot.
Madeline was already dreaming as Hank was preparing for his nightly occupation. On nights like this when the moon was full and the neighborhood slept, he knew he was a fortunate man. He held the power of life and death in his well manicured hands. He walked over to the bed, bent over with a flourish and kissed Madeline on her forehead as she dreamed of a romp with Mel Gibson through the glens of Scotland. Hank walked soundlessly from his bedroom into the boys'' room strewn with toys and clothes. They were fast asleep in their bunk beds. Hank patted each of his boys gently on the head and then kissed them good night and was on his way.
Hank practically floated down the circular staircase and into his den. He opened up his briefcase that contained his work order for the evening. Hank picked up the parchment that was rolled and tied with a black silk ribbon.
Biff Divet, the haughty manager of the local Country Club, was his assignment for this fine evening. The parchment stated that orders from the Heavenly Gate Commander had come down to Hank's boss, through proper channels of course, that Biff Divet's chances at eternal salvation were equal to the perennial snowball in hell and that in precisely 10 minutes, Biff would suffer a massive coronary while doing the horizontal bop with his 22 year old secretary. Seems that in his 26 years of wedded bliss, he had been unfaithful to his wife twice every week with anyone of the female persuasion who would sleep with him. Hank would have the pleasure of escorting Biff to a special place where the fire down below was really the fire down below.
Hank exited the house and looked at his Rolex, a special gift from "Conglamorated Foods" for securing the "Eat 'n' Gas" account. He had 7 minutes till he would escort Biff on his last journey. He didn't need to rush. Biff's secretary lived in the apartments just down the street. She was a nice kid, but couldn't resist the offer of a free country club membership from Biff. It would be a perfect place to find that white knight she had been seeking and she didn't see the harm in giving in this once.
Autumn brought chilly nights that Hank loved and he breathed in the crisp air and admired the bright moon that cast stark shadows on the side walk. Such a lovely night to go to hell, Hank thought and grinned broadly. He always got psyched just before an assignment and Hank was going to enjoy this one. Biff was a hypocrite of the highest degree looking down on those whom he considered beneath himself, unless of course it was a woman who foolishly said yes to his obvious flirtations. He had in fact denied Hank and his wife membership to the club last year saying that Hank's career didn't quite fit the high standards of the club. Hank didn't usually let personal feelings interfere with his night job, but this was going to be sweet!
Hank looked up to the second floor of the Greenwich Royal Apartments and saw candlelight flickering behind ivory sheers. He glanced at his watch, but by instinct, knew it was time to go 'a reaping'! In a flash, he was in Jenni Lou's bedroom just in time to see Biff's face blossom into surprise at the hammering pain in his chest just as he was going for the finish line...one that he would never reach.
"What are you doing in here? This is an absolute outage!" Biff yelled at Hank.
"Poor sucker! Doesn't even know he's dead," Hank thought as he wrapped his arm around Biff's neck in a headlock.
"Biff, let me introduce myself. I'm the Grim Reaper's district manager for the entire East coast and I've come to escort you to hell!"
"Let me go! You're crazy, you low life high paid check-out clerk!" Biff yelled as he struggled to get out of Hank's grip.
"Look down on the bed, you jerk! You're dead! Though I do feel sorry that Jennie Lou will have to wake up to your cold, dead body! But enough of this. We have somewhere to go!" Hank hissed into Biff's ear as they passed through time and space in an instant. Biff's face was full of terror as he realized the true nature of what was happening. He struggled intensely, but to no avail. His screams did not exit his mouth. They just hung like icicles,
frozen and dead.
Hank soon approached the edge of the pit still holding Biff's struggling form. The dense air surrounding the pit was strangely icy considering the molten heat contained below.
"Foreeeeeee!" he yelled as he threw Biff over the edge. "Incoming!"
Biff's screams finally took form as he was catapulted to his eternal reward. Hank watched as Biff's form disappeared into the scarlet glow and whispered, "It was a pleasure to serve you, Mr. Divet."
On his way home, Hank hummed quietly as he strolled along thoroughly enjoying the autumnal night. He thought of Madeline and the boys at home sleeping soundly and smiled. He indeed was a most fortunate fellow. He had a beautiful wife, two great kids, a championship Labrador retriever to greet him when he walked through the door and two satisfying jobs. Could it possibly get better? Hank walked into the house to the den and closed his brief case with a snap.
On the way to the staircase, he passed a mirror.
"What is there not to like?" he whispered and smiled at his reflection, which smiled right back.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing."