“This shit’s dope, man! Believe me”
That was what the guy had said when he handed me the merchandise. But as I sat there, on my couch, in my shorts in front of the TV, I barely felt a thing. I turned the volume up. Me chewing popcorn was not helping me listen to the protagonist’s dialogue.
I waited. Yet, nothing. The shady fucker had ripped me off.
“If I find him again, I swear…,” I thought. “Oh, who are you kidding? You won’t do anything even if he was laughing at your face. You’re a wimp! That’s why he had you easy…he probably had one look at you and made you for the fool you are…”
Uggghhh…I hate myself.
And there go my $200.
But I guess there’s no use bitching about it now. I’ve bitched my entire life away. That’s the only thing I’m good at. My deadbeat 9-5 isn’t helping me any, but a man’s gotta pay his bills. And this shitty house is shitty because…well, I don’t do a fucking thing about it.
I stood up went to the window. The front yard had overgrown to the point it looked like a thorn county. I remembered I had hired a gardener, but I don’t know when. But he’d have his work cut out for him, that’s for sure…
Back to the TV, it is…
I was beginning to feel drowsy. But was the TV getting too loud? The doorbell rang.
Who could it be at 5 pm on a Saturday? I, sure as hell had no plans.
I opened the door to see a hooded figure in black, almost a foot taller than me standing in front of me. With the sun against my face, this figure looked even more menacing. Was I seeing things or did he have red eyes?
“I can’t do this anymore…it’s up to you now,” he said, handing me a scythe. Bewildered, I was about to ask him what this was about, but he left quickly. I looked at the weapon and when I looked back, he was gone.
I had to admit. The scythe did look cool, although rusty. I tried swinging it around, it glided in my hands. I was a master reaper…
Wait, a reaper? What did he want me to do? Why did the mystery man hand me a scythe?
As I was taking it all in while also recalculating my life’s purposes at the same time, I saw something heavy going on in the street. An old woman was frantically trying to keep her purse while a large dude was trying to snatch it. And was that a knife in his hand?
Suddenly knowing what to do, I went on to the streets with the scythe in my hands. With long strides, I charged at the robber. By the time he saw me, it was too late. I lifted the scythe in the air and swiftly brought it down on him as he widened his eyes. In a second, he fell motionless. I wiped the blood off my brow. The lady screamed.
“Y…you…you k-kill-killed h-him…he’s dead. Oh my god!” she was saying.
I looked at her with an air of valor. I towered over her, she was so puny, so weak, and helpless. If I wanted, I could finish her then and there.
“Be grateful, his time had come,” I answered.
Finally finding the earth beneath her, she shakily stood up and scurried away. I stood there, with blood all over me and the scythe. I finally knew why I was given the scythe, the scythe had chosen me, I was to be the bloody Grim Reaper.
Ohhh…how I reveled at the idea. Me…the Grim Reaper…the death himself. I’d not only reap the damned souls but would be the one to send them to damnation! No more the ordinary, Jim the wimp, my life had a purpose. I just had to look more authentic now.
I went back to my house. I’d need lots of upgrades. Time to get to work – etched the scythe in acid and stonewashed it, installed rubber grips on the handle, and turned it into a weapon worthy of a mass culling. And as the news showed the dead body of a man and a woman too scared to say anything, I set down to make myself a robe – a black robe with an unused black curtain, grandma’s sewing machine, and some YouTube tutorials. Done. I donned on my uniform, yielded the scythe, and set to work.
I hadn’t bothered to show up to work the next day. Why should I? I had to cleanse the world of scumbags. The neighborhood wasn’t exactly known for its amity. All the drug dealers, the muggers, thieves, gangbangers…every kind of lowlife scum could be found here. I got 4 of them before I saw the light of day.
I couldn’t sleep. How many days had I gone without it? The thrill of the chase…the rush, the smell of blood…I lived for it. I knew I shouldn’t have, but I went out during the day too. I was the fucking Grim Reaper, would stop me? Also, the messenger of death doesn’t stick to time schedules…
But of course, it was only a matter of time before I met resistance. I’d only managed to confront an idiot who had parked in the Handicapped spot at a mall, but the cops were all over me.
I knew they were not the scum, I wouldn’t hurt them. I tried to reason with them but they wouldn’t hear of it. These souls seemed persistent. “Put your weapon down and hands in the air”
Could you believe them? Asking the Grim Reaper to stand down?
Almost funny. If I didn’t have a “Grim” in my name, I’d have laughed. I charged at them, but as if a God had struck me with a bolt of lightning, my body spasmed, and I fell. Then, I went under.
When I came to, the air was different. My head was throbbing as if it’d explode any second. I felt weak, my legs were like noodles, my stomach was a beaker of different chemical reactions and my head felt like it’d been hit with a ton of bricks. But wait…where was I? I bobbed my head to take a look. It was a closed room with bulbs all over. I was strapped to what appeared to be a bed
Someone came into the room. With an angry face, he screamed at me,”You killed 5 people, you deranged bastard!”
Wait, what? I did what now? I don’t remember a thing.
He left me to my misery. Sometime later, a few cops came, untied me, and took me to another room, and handcuffed me to the table. The same man from before came back. This time, his demeanor was different, an eerie calmness to him.
“Mr. Jim Pearsons”, he was saying. “Have been under quite the influence now, haven’t we? Are you still high? We found traces of hallucinogens in your blood. How much do you remember?”
“Well…I…uh” I was trying hard.
“Well, we have your dealer. He was trying to slip some LSD to our undercover cops, and he recognized you as one of his ‘clients’. How much of it did you take, huh?”
It was coming back to me in pieces. I do remember buying some “dope stuff.” Fuck.
“Well, asshole, I’ll paint the picture for you. This dealer slipped you some. That was 2 days ago. Then, your gardener was the last person to see you as yourself that day. He remembers giving up on weeding your lawn, and handing you the tool – a scythe, to be precise. Then, the old woman – this witness to a murder the very same day said something about a guy with a scythe, too. You see where this is going?”
Oh my god. Fuck, fuck, fuck!
“Apparently, the LSD did a number on you, jerk. But I refuse to believe that…you probably always were a sicko, a scum of this earth, a vermin. I can’t believe you had a clean record before all this. Well, I’ll make sure you go away for a long, long time. If you don’t get the electric chair, that is. Have got anything to say?”
Well. I’d done messed up. Bad. There was no way of getting out for Jim. But at least, I would rest in peace knowing I didn’t waste that $200 of mine. That shit was the dope.