“If you wanted to set your life on fire, there wasn’t a better combination. That‘s what I should have told him. The fool. The day had been long; I was in no mood for violent or rude people. And he was both,” I confess.
“Don’t you think you took it too far, Death?” Father Time asks. His palms rub his glorious beard; long strands fall to the floor with every stroke.
An array of clocks cover the expansive room from the floor to the walls and the ceiling. While a thick sheet of plexiglass protects them, the sound is far from muffled. Grandfather clocks chime, seconds, on the analog clocks, tick, and digital clocks hum. What might happen if I smash one? I make a mental note to carry my scythe next time they bring me here. Mother Earth knows, no punishment can rehabilitate me.
I snicker at his question, “I don’t! He totally had it coming.”
I thought about the fool. His jerk face made me so mad I wanted to punch it.
Earlier that evening, I sat on a bench outside the Fish ‘n Chips shop waiting for my order, when I heard him slap his wife. He stumbled out of his house and demanded, “Keep the door unlocked, ya slag, I won’t be long!”
I watched him kick a leashed dog on the footpath and push the owner out of his way.
Father Time, the old bugger, shoots me a disgusted look.
“I honestly don’t know why you’ve got your panties in a bunch. I didn’t reap him,” I say with a sigh.
The fool crossed the road and walked into the shop the same moment my order was ready. He snatched the wax paper package from the shopkeeper and threw a $10 note at him. I grabbed his arm and demanded he hands over my meal, but he spat at me as he pushed me away.
“Fuck off, cu-”
Before he could finish the detestable word, I blew dust into his face and sent him stumbling across the street. He was oblivious to the minor changes around him. He walked to his house and turned the knob only to find it locked.
A giant grandfather clock appears in front of me. Father Time opens the lower door. He pushes the bob, and the pendulum clangs so loud it echoes through my whole body.
“Do your worst,” I shrug, as I recall the rest.
The fool banged on the door, screaming obscenities, until it opened, revealing a large, tattooed man. “Who the fuck are you? Where is my wife?” he yelled.
“This is my girlfriend’s house. Kindly remove yourself from her property,” the tattooed man demanded.
A woman walked to the door. Her eyes grew wide as she recognized him; then she burst into hysterics, “You‘re a bit late. Only took you five years to bring home dinner.”
I hold my stomach and let out an boisterous laugh. “See? It was funny because she had already moved on and forgotten the trauma of him disappearing.”
Father Time’s nostrils flare. “I gave you access to time so you could do your job and be in multiple places at once, not pull pranks on unsuspecting innocents.”
He ushers me inside the clock. I lower myself down the hole in the bottom and take a final look at Father Time’s angry face.
“Twenty Earth years, Death. Let’s see how you like that.”
I indulge in one final laugh as he slams the door, “Totally worth it!”