It was 11:56pm. There was a knock on the door.
“You’re late!” Liliana flung the door open. “Where the hell you been?”
“Uhhh, excuse me?” The Grim Reaper had never before been greeted in this manner.
“I’ve been ready, waiting here for…I dunno how long!” Liliana spat. “So, what’s your excuse?”
“My excuse?” he repeated. “Let me check my paperwork.” His nervous fingers fumbled through the pages on his clipboard.
“And while you’re at it, I’d like the name of your supervisor. You people haven’t heard the last of this!”
“Ms. Liliana Rushinsky, correct?”
“Yes, that’s me,” she replied impatiently.
“If you look here, ma’am, I’m right on time.” He showed her his schedule.
“I don’t care what that says!” She shoved the clipboard away. “I’ve been ready and you’ve kept me waiting.”
The Reaper stood in the doorway, perplexed. He opened his mouth to speak, but couldn’t think of anything to say.
“Your supervisor’s name please? You people need to learn what customer service is all about.”
“That would be Ms. Lucinda Furr.”
“Thank you.” Liliana jotted the name down. “That wasn’t so hard, was it?”
“So, Ms. Rushinsky,” The Reaper’s voice was uncharacteristically shaky. “Are you ready to go?”
“Well, I was, but now I’m not so sure,” she sighed. “Let me check the house one more time.”
The Reaper glanced around Liliana’s modest home as he waited. It was different from most of the other homes he’d visited. There were no photos of loved ones on the walls. For that matter, the walls were empty, no artwork or anything. They were painted a dreary off-white with a touch of gray. It was a color he’d never seen before. Liliana had no knick-knacks, either. There was nothing in this room that gave a clue as to who Liliana Rushinsky is. The place hardly looked lived-in and it certainly didn’t have that familiar homey feeling.
“Okay, all set.” Liliana announced. Let’s blow this joint!”
“May I ask why you are in such a hurry? Your attitude is most unusual.”
“Look around this dump.” She swung her arm at the room. “Would you want to stay here all alone?”
“Well, I —”
“Life is about quality, not quantity,” she interrupted. “And sir, I have had more than enough quantity.”
“I see,” the Reaper said thoughtfully while twisting and untwisting his long gray beard around his pinky.
“Can we go now?” Liliana took his elbow as if he were her date. “I’m so anxious to see my mother, oh and my old friends Jim and Connie…and….”
She lead him out the door and into the Afterlife.
You can read more of Susan’s writing at The Abject Muse