(Keywords: soul, farmer, dispute, bathroom)
Dave took the last sip of his wine and, although disappointed that the glass was empty, was glad he finally could excuse himself to leave. His bladder had been bursting at the seams for the last twenty minutes, but he had been reluctant to leave the gorgeous woman sitting opposite him. Cassandra was everything he had dreamed of. She was pretty, had a good set of brains which she used well, and she liked him. Not a lot of people liked Dave. He was a defense lawyer, defending rapists and murderers. It was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it. And it made good money. Very good money. Dave put the glass down and looked into the dark eyes of the enchanting beauty opposite him. He put his hand on hers.
“Excuse me, my dear, but I have to visit the bathroom. I’m reluctant to leave your company, but I’m afraid I will embarrass myself if I don’t go now. Please don’t leave during my temporary absence,” Dave said.
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” she answered and bashed her eyelids at him. She pulled her hand back and caressed his. Dave smiled at her.
‘We’re on a roll,’ he thought.
He pushed his chair back and made his way to the restroom of the restaurant. It was a fancy restaurant, one that only high-income earners could afford. Dave had no financial problems and had always taken his first dates here. There had been many. Unfortunately, most of them were never up for a second date after he had told them what he did for a living. Cassandra was different though. She also was a defense lawyer, and they had zinged from the moment their eyes met.
Dave entered the restrooms and picked the middle stall to relieve himself. As the fluid left his body, relaxation returned to it. When he was done, he zipped up. Before he could turn around to exit the cubicle, a sting of pain went through his chest and up his left arm. Automatically, Dave half collapsed to relieve the pain. Then it was as if there was a band around his chest being pulled tight. He couldn’t breathe. He grabbed at his chest, trying to get rid of the band that wasn’t there.
There was a single knock on the cubicle door.
“HELLO,” said a voice on the other side.
“Take another cubicle,” Dave managed to say while he loosened his tie.
“I’M NOT HERE TO TAKE A PISS,” the strange voice said.
‘What the fuck?’ thought Dave.
“I don’t care if you want to do a number two. Take the cubicle next door.”
“I’M NOT HERE TO RELEAVE MYSELF,” the voice said again.
Dave was panting. He really wasn’t feeling too good.
“Then what are you knocking on my door for? Can’t this wait?”
“I THINK THIS IS THE PERFECT MOMENT. MY TIMING IS USUALLY PRETTY GOOD,” the stranger continued.
The voice sounded odd, but Dave thought that was due to the blood pressure rising in his ears.
“What do you want, man? What are you?” he said. He was sweating like he was running a fever now. He leaned against the wall of the cubicle. Hopefully getting some weight of his legs would help make him feel better.
“YOU COULD SAY I’M A FARMER,” the stranger said.
‘A farmer?’ thought Dave. ‘Farmers don’t earn enough to be able to afford to eat here.’
“Fuck off!” Dave said. Another shoot of pain seared through his chest. “Aargh!”
“I’M SORRY. IT USUALLY IS AN INCONVENIENT TIME, BUT HARVEST TIME IS HERE.”
There was no humor, no sarcasm in the voice, and through the spasms of pain, Dave was wondering what mushrooms this guy had been eating. He would have to look at the restaurant’s menu a bit better next time.
“I’M THE GRIM REAPER. I’M HERE TO TAKE YOUR SOUL,” the stranger said.
“Look, I’m not in the mood for Halloween jokes. It’s still September for fuck’s sake.” Dave took a few more shallow breaths. Suddenly, a hooded head appeared through the cubicle door, like a ghost only could. Dave couldn’t see the face as the shadow inside the hood was too dark.
“What the fuck?” he managed. He straightened up a little, trying to get as far away as possible from the apparition. A new pain-wave tortured his body, and he doubled up.
“I REALLY AM SORRY ABOUT THE TIMING, BUT YOU ARE DYING AND I’M HERE TO TAKE YOUR SOUL,” Death said looking down at Dave.
Thoughts raced through Dave’s mind. ‘Dying? Dying? It’s just a bit of indigestion, heartburn. I don’t want to die now. Cassandra’s waiting for me. I haven’t had a fuck in ages and my chances have never been better for getting laid.’ The pain subsided again and Dave straightened himself carefully.
“Okay, I get it. You reap souls. That’s your job. How about I give you three instead of my single one?” Dave said.
“THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. THERE ARE RULES,” Death said, now standing next to Dave in the small space of the cubicle.
“Rules are there to be broken, everybody knows that,” Dave responded. He was panting while looking Death straight in the eye. Well, where he thought Death’s eyes would be.
With a bony hand, Death stroked the presumed location of his chin.
“NOBODY EVER TOLD ME. SOUNDS GREAT. TELL ME MORE.”
“I’m a defense lawyer. I’m defending three guys on death row at the moment. If I make them lose the trial, they’ll be executed and you’ll have three souls to reap. What do you say? Is it a deal?”
Dave stuck his hand out to Death. Death hesitated for a moment but shook Dave’s hand. It felt unreal and cold.
“DEAL,” Death said and disappeared into nothing.
Dave took a deep breath and felt his chest muscles relax. He left the cubicle, washed his hands, and straightened his tie.
Back in the restaurant, Cassandra asked what took him so long.
“Sorry, I had to settle a dispute,” Dave smiled. “Now, where were we?”
Dave made love to Cassandra that night as if there was no tomorrow.
Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus