In life you have two kinds of people; those who sit by and watch life go by with a hint of malice, and those who are partaking in the life and giving the middle finger to the other guy sitting out in his garden. Most people fall into these two categories; from your friendly neighborhood police officer to the nice man who takes in the bins on a Friday morning with that nice northern accent, everyone, no matter how much they persist and poke hole in the great grand spectrum, tumble into one or the other. However, every once in a while, under the setting sun in between a few virgins while the seventh son of the seventh son wonders for the one thousand times why he hasn’t any powers yet, a person defies the social spectrum and sits nicely in both categories of existence.
These people usually take form in the ever present and always pleasant form of grave robbers.
By nature, grave robbers can either be out risking their lives against the elements for the sake of a few pence, or draped around the house waiting for someone to die, it is all up in the air sometimes, not a very stable job. But, as a life rule goes; there is no business like death and when you deal with the eternal darkness day in day out, you are always guaranteed some form of business (three things you’re guaranteed in life: taxes, death and the half-price sale).
When a caller called on a bright and cheerful June morning in between the mists and the eleven o’clock news, Jimmy knew that he was in for a good dinner tonight. Being the grave robber that he was, Jimmy accepted the business and signed a rather professional looking contract with the old women, to he then broke bread with.
That night under the midsummer chalky sun, Jimmy hopped the cold brick wall of the cemetery, dusted himself off and went about his business. Things where good. All he had to do was dig up some poor gentlemen who had the misfortune of being buried with a rather valuable family heirloom, put the muck and dirt back, say a prayer and return home to his apartment for dinner and tea. What more could there be? After all, it’s not like the dead come back could they?
In amongst the headstones, Jimmy crouched and squatted hoping for a gap. Any second now something or someone would go by and shatter the peace. It was eleven o’clock after all. 3…2…1… sirens sliced the sirens on queue. After a brief commotion over whose side of the hedge was whose across the lane, Jimmy hoped along the cobbled pathway to the late James Murphy.
It was a nice grave by all sorts, as graves go. There was a prayer, head stone and grass. What more would you need? A plot with a view?
Singing away, Jimmy threw back the dirt blissfully basking in the smug thought that he was getting paid tonight and better still… with an actual good meal! Not the cheap stuff he had to go by when business was slow. Oh no, tonight there would be chips and burgers and fish to go around with cans of beer and even if he was good a nice cream cake.
That stuff isn’t good for you, you know.
Jimmy paused mid dig, did he just here that or was it his imagination?
After a brief second of hesitation, Jimmy carried on.
You’ll hurt your back digging like that…
Jimmy shrugged him off, confident that he was merely over tired and hungry and not going insane from some voices.
Look, can you stop for two seconds? I need to talk to you for a moment Mr. Collins and-
Jimmy spun around on his heels, a shot of adrenaline taking over and with the shovel at bay he greeted his intruder…
See, this is a lot more polite isn’t it? Sorry, but I hate when I’m talking to someone and they keep looking away or doing something else. Wrecks my head.
“You’re… you’re…” the words crackled and clamoured their way out of his mouth between a set of stiff teeth.
The tall, looming figure as dark as a winter nightfall outstretched a skeletal hand from seeming nowhere. Graciously, Jimmy returned the gestured, out of fear that his time may have come.
Yes… now introductions aside… to business… You seem to be a respectable man Jimmy by all means. Don’t worry about me, I’m not here to get you all hot and bothered with life and to make you want to clean your act up. Well actually I am, scratch that last part but you still know what I meant. I don’t want to go all Christmas Carol on you.
“AM I DEAD?”
Perish the thought my friend. I’m merely calling to ask a favour off you.
“Yeah sure no bother Mr. Death!! Thanks for everything, see yeah later, goodbye!”
Jimmy, calm down! I’m asking you to stop.
“But what about dinner, I’m supposed to bet getting a watch you see and then a nice dinner with a cup of tea and two sugars-“
Jimmy, every time you open a coffin and pry open some persons eternal rest home, you invade whatever legacy they have left. I don’t care for work or employment of any of that. You’re job makes mine a lot more difficult. Do you think I want people running to me scared when they die wanting to know will they be okay? I’m only a crossroads and nothing else, not a counselling service. Do you understand?
Now, I’m not going to ask you again. Cover up this wretched excuse of a hole, run home to your little flat and think about it. You can anger the tax man all you like, you’re parents may still wretch when your name is brought up over dinner, but when you anger Death with your life style; things don’t end as quite as pleasant.
“But Mr. Death, I do need a job like! I have to eat!”
I don’t care. I honestly don’t. Go away, find a job, do whatever it takes.
“Is this really happening?”
Death clicked his fingers,
“Oi, get off my grave you little brat!!” escaped the coffin.
“I’m cold” said Mrs. Feeny from across the way.
“No, this is a mistake! No please! Let me out!”
Would you like to join them Jimmy?
“No sir!! Sorry sir!! I’ll be off… eh… eh sorry Mr. Death!! Sorry! Sorry! It will never happen again! I swear!”
Death nodded, and Jimmy found himself alone in the graveyard.
Jimmy walked home, poor distraught and hungry, when inside the local funeral parlor a sign caught his eye.
Jimmy wandered in, a smile on his face.