by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|“The goddess can’t resurrect herself, y’know.” Diana looked at me with scathing hot contempt. I hate shaving, like well used scruffy clothes and wearing a bit more than average body odor. It keeps all but the most earnest troublesome brand of humanity at bay.
“You might as well be holding a cardboard sign on a corner. We’re supposed to be going Walmart shopping. You may think it a welcome disguise, last time they made you enter the back door, handed you a broom and a job as a janitor.”
“Got the employee discount for you, didn’t I?’ I smirked, batting away a pet fly.
“And a transfer to taking care of dead bodies in the basement of a mortuary smelling better than you do, I might add.”
I had to admit she had a bitter job on her hands. Wives like keeping tabs on husbands and I wasn’t making it easy. Not only was it difficult tracking me down employment wise, when we were seen together the snide remarks, disparaging patter and outright rudeness turned her into a pariah and as much of an outcast by association as me.
Lately, I’d had to take measures. She didn’t know the half of it. I enjoyed and favored being a low life. Whenever possible, I was largely ignored. It made the surfacing rumors of Diana becoming everyone’s scapegoat for any smelly thing going on, hard to ignore.
“I’m having nightmares over it,” Diana shuddered. “Look at me. I’m growing wrinkles and white hair before my time. You treat me like a princess, but I’m shunned by death itself.”
“Small price to pay babe.” The Grim Reaper and I had clicked, become instant friends. We’d met by chance, when he’d received a special call to create an accident as a special favor and take Diana away before her time.
“So you say. If I am the goddess you say I am, something has to change.”
Women thrive on emotion. Reason takes second place coming up to bolster why they need something impossible to be done. “Let me talk it over with my boss. I’ll see what can be done.”
Tripping only to catch her balance on our flight of stairs had been only the first accident befalling her. The Grim Reaper hadn’t noticed me taking out the garbage. I’d startled him when he’d become aware that sickening scent moved and was me. It had given Diana the chance she needed to right herself. Death shivered into the worst case of laughing at black humor I’d ever seen.
“I’ll let it go this time,” He’d said, finding the situation amusing. “Say, did you know, you’ve inoculated yourself into being immune from any disease I know?” We shook hands and disappeared together to talk shop. Diana, shaken up by almost losing it, hadn’t noticed a thing.
I was an admirer of his, having seen some of the more grisly ways men meet death by the kinds of remains at the mortuary. The Grim Reaper wasn’t used to being idolized. Just for fun, he let me in on a few of his capers.
“Bored? Yes, I’m bored. Got any suggestions for trying something new?” The Grim Reaper had run out of ways to make mayhem.
“Yeah. I’ve gotten used to married life. I’d kind of like to have Diana around for a while. Give me a little time and I’ll get back to you.”
The Grim Reaper snapped his boney fingers. It was a snap decision I approved of. As we’d been talking outside my house getting my garbage cans settled, Diana had come out searching for me. Death casts a heavy shadow. She couldn’t see me and called out. “Bob? Where are you?”
As she stepped out on the curb a drunken driver turned our street corner, sped up aiming directly for her. At the last instant before she turned into dog meat, a miracle happened. When Death snapped his fingers, the car swerved away from a black cat in its path and struck my garbage cans instead.
Everything went flying. The cat lost all of its nine lives. The driver went through the windshield, did a triple somersault, and like drunks often do, landed safely on his head using the cat for a soft cushioned landing. The Grim Reaper cackled his teeth together in another unearthly display of laughing at black humor. “Bad luck for the cat. You got a freebie with your wife. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next.”
So, I became Death’s good luck charm, adding novelty to his act. Diana doesn’t know how many times I’ve saved her pretty ass. There have been a lot of near misses leaving her shaken. Those nightmares had good cause for waking her up nights.
“Bob? I can’t take it anymore.”
I’d just gotten off shift. It was just before dawn. Death had dropped me off and waited in the wings to say his goodbyes. We’d been busy and he had some ideas he wanted to try out on his incoming guests. I felt guilty for not being there for Diana as much lately. Keeping her alive took up too much time to have enough to treat her like the princess she deserved to be treated as.
“Take what, babe?”
“I’ve heard rumors I’m being fired. I’m doing everything right by the book. My boss is getting pressured to let me go. A stinker of a niece of the owner wants my job. I could murder her.”
“Really? How would you do it?” I was curious to see how her mind turned. I felt Death’s dark presence become a shadow at my back.
Diana looked right through where the Grim Reaper was standing. Her woman’s intuition must have felt something. “I wouldn’t want to get caught. If I could, I’d scare her to death without so much as touching a hair on her head.”
That dry scuttling whisper of laughter awoke from the Grim Reaper. I could tell this was the kind of challenge he’d been waiting for. The next day an ambulance cart wheeled in the lifeless corpse looking white as a ghost from the curled tip of her toes to every strand of her straight white hair. “Died of shock, they say,” the driver tsk’d. “Somehow plugged herself into an electrical outlet by accident, instead of the break room coffee maker.”
Death waited, chuckling himself into hiccups, down in the mortuary basement. “Sshh. Don’t you dare tell your wife or she’ll be wanting more.”
I nodded. The impossible happening could be something women expected. Diana was not immune. “She’ll find out anyhow, but not from me.” We shook on it. I’d keep my part of the bargain entertaining Death and he would continue unobtrusively safeguarding Diana and my lives.
It is funny how urban legends get started. The connection was made that Diana should be treated as a princess or bad things might happen. I get left completely alone as if Death might come at just one look in my eyes.
It is surprising how many catch their death of cold when starting to whisper and spread an ugly lie about Diana. A princess has been resurrected from a very unlikely source, my friend, the Grim Reaper.