Here’s a hot tip: if you don’t want to piss off Death, be at the right place at the right time.
"So I got the address wrong," I told him as we disembarked the third taxi of the morning. I smiled brightly up at the cafe. The pink lights of the sign reflected in Death’s eyes. "We got here in the end, didn’t we?"
"Love," said Death heavily, "If I have to smell falafel in the backseat of a taxi one more time this century –"
I interrupted him, "Open the door for me."
Death growled but pulled open the door, scowling at the pink paint. I led the way to a table in the back, by the window, and ordered coffee for both of us. "It’s our first time in New York," I lied to the waitress.
She had a unibrow. I tried not to hold it against her, but if I had that much hair on my face, I’d tweeze, or mow, or something, before I came out in the morning and inflicted my face on people who were about to eat. Her voice was nasal. "How wonderful! How do you like it so far?"
"It’s heaven," I said.
"I just want a waffle," Death said, glowering at me. "It would be closer to heaven if there were waffles."
"I can get you a waffle," the waitress said, with a friendly look at him that made me feel less cheerful towards her.
Death stared at her unibrow until she took the cue and left to get the waffle.
"That was almost obscenely rude," I told him.
He sighed heavily. "Did you ever wonder about how we got to this point? Eating waffles while waiting for a line cook to die?"
I contemplated the question briefly. It was getting harder and harder to remember what it was like before I was Love, but I did remember that it had involved hairspray. That was one of the perks of being an abstract entity — hair just seemed to take care of itself. "Not really."
"What am I thinking — of course not, Love. The depth of your emotions could be likened to a bathtub. Of course this life must appeal to your Tinkerbell complex. Floating along imposing love on hapless individuals," Death said. "Believe it or not, I had a life before all this, and I was quite happy with it."
I didn’t have time to respond before the waitress returned, her face apologetic. "We don’t have any syrup. Do you still want a waffle?"
"What’s the point?" Death asked.
"Put fruit on it," I told the waitress. "That would be yummy." I turned to Death as she left. "You’re rather trying today."
Death didn’t answer. He was brooding. Brooding could take centuries.
"I had a dog, before I was Love," I told him, finally. "She was white and fluffy and named Pinkie."
"Do you miss her?" he asked.
Missing was such a strong term. I remembered, suddenly, that she used to pee on the carpet.
I was spared a reply by a newcomer who pulled a chair out and sat at our table.
"Unless you have syrup," Death said to the man, who was tall, dark, and not handsome, "I’d rather you not sit there."
The man smiled, a broad smile with rather a lot of teeth, all of which were dark and stained, and he said, "So you’re the one who’s calling yourself Death? I think that’s a title better suited to me."
just a really quick one as I’m in NYC! For more Death stories, click on the "Death" tab to the left.