Dancing with Immortality


There you are: living it large, high strutting your way through the ‘also-ran’s’, knocking it out of the park, devouring the future, ruling the universe; grinning with abandon, ready to shape  the day, bend it to your will and make it happen when you hear a soft knock at the door. You pay no attention.  Who needs a cheap good’s salesmen at this time of the morning, but the knocking will not cease.

Finally you open the door to see a tallish man dressed in clothes which are embellished with the odd stain and seem out of fashion and whose pallor is slightly greyer than normal. The man speaks, “I’m sorry to bother you this early in your life, but that silly pain in the small of your back is actually cancer and you will be dead in three months.”. “Well three months and two days to be pedantic”  “I’m Dr Death by the way. I regret to say I have no business cards”

Ok, Who is this clown. Someone’s having a laugh but the gentleman does not seem to be unduly humorous. “What’s it to do with you”  Nothing really” agrees Dr Death “But I just thought I might, in your parlance, tip you the wink, give you the inside track, shorten the odds, say it how you will. Suggest without, I hope, being unnecessarily forward that foisting full-blown arrogance on those around you with a whiff of cruelty  doesn’t really cut it upstairs and if you don’t curb it, even at this late stage, eternity is a long time to master the art of peeling potatoes.”  “Peeling potatoes”, what the hell are you on about now.”  “Hell actually”, says Dr Death, “The place where boredom is unrelenting. You might not enjoy it: never mind the heat. Apparently that’s insufferable.”

Irritated beyond measure you slam the door on him and his dribbling insights and walk back towards your chair. That strange stabbing pain starts up just above the small of your back and seems more unsettling than normal. “I’d better get that checked ” you say

Dr  Death moves onto his next appointment at a hospital where a man in his late eighties is finishing his breakfast and waiting for his family to visit. Now things are slightly different. Dr Death smiles warmly at the gentleman who doesn’t seem alarmed to see him. Standing by the bed he says to him, “You’ve got some treats in store”, I’ve just been chatting with the people upstairs and it seems you’ve accumulated a good degree of  capital. Heaven is your Palais de Delite”. It’s going to be quite enjoyable.”  I  don’t want to raise your expectations unnecessarily but climate control is standard and non fattening chocolate is available in every room. The old man turns and smiles at Dr Death, unfazed by his presence and the odd turn of phrase. A weakness Dr Death has developed through delivering the same message repeatedly  since the dawn of awareness. Luckily, Heaven is more accepting of foibles : perfectionism is an obsession confined to the living.  “That’s good to know, and will Maggie be there” asks the old man. “Oh yes” says Dr Death. “She’s there waiting for you and looking somewhat younger. It’s the fashion in paradise”,  “Mind you she’ll still scold you quite a lot. It’s what she enjoys”. They both smile. The old man has loved her all his life.

So it seems to be. We can act pretty much as we like, and Mr Consequence might be a patient fellow but will he make himself visible to you ? It’s what we’ve always feared and wish we could forget.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, faith, Fiction, humour, Life, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Dancing with Immortality

  1. renxkyoko says:

    Now , this is a bit… uhm… depressing, countingducks.

    Like

  2. gotham girl says:

    Outstanding! So many lessons and thoughts here.

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  3. Abby says:

    I believe it’s all perspective and a good reminder that it’s not the years in a life, but the life in those years.

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  4. cyberian says:

    Great blog, as ever. Death is the ultimate finishing school.

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  5. You picked an interesting subject here. It’s the one inevitability of our life that we will die, yet most of us don’t want to consider it. Your first character resists the idea of mortality. Why? Because he is going to hell or because he’s having a good time? The second character seems fine with the end of his life. Again why? Because he has accepted the natural cycle of life the quality of his life may not be so grand or because he is going to heaven? Or maybe resistance is hell and acceptance with grace is heaven? You do make us think, my friend. Thank you for that! 🙂

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  6. risinghawk says:

    Love this piece. Thought-provoking and a pleasure to read. Thanks!

    Like

  7. Fate says:

    A mixture of an eye-opening, sweet and poignant words. I am out of words with this. Thanks 🙂

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  8. Thought provoking is right. Good job with the opposite sides of the spectrum from Dr Death’s point of view.

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  9. Wow! Now what can I say?! I havent a clue! Except to say I read this too quickly, it was so fascinating and as ever of course, an excellent piece of writing. Food for thought indeed,
    Because of my condition I buy most things online and therefore I am always receiving deliveries. Now Im not looking forward to that next knock on the door!! 🙂

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  10. nelle says:

    Nice story, CD… such a line of work!

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  11. Thought provoking Peter and once again full of some great one liners! Your, “I’m Dr Death by the way. I regret to say I have no business cards,” one of my favourite!

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  12. araneus1 says:

    Didn’t find it depressing at all.
    The pace was excellent, loved the humour.
    Kinda felt a little sorry for Dr death; it’s a bit of a repetitive job but I guess in the same way that people are different, delivering the news should be different enough to get him/her out of bed, so to speak.
    Where did that idea come from (you don’t have to say if you don’t want to, a creative person is allowed to have some secrets after all).
    Terry

    Like

  13. barbara says:

    This struck a bit close to home for me, Peter. Having just lost a young man I considered one of my own children. After hearing many of his friends and family speak, at his memorial this past weekend, I’m quite certain he’s in heaven. I pray he’s up there jamming with Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of his idols.
    I have to say…the advice of having aches and pains examined, might have saved our boy. Why do we poo poo the little things, even when they become chronic? a mystery.
    b

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    • I’m really sorry about your loss. That’s very sad. Of course the post was more about our approaches to life rather than it’s consequences but it just goes to show how you can cause those you value distress without any wish to do so.

      Like

  14. Al says:

    I remember both my and mother her mother saying they were “ready to go’ just before they passed. Ironically they were both 87 when they died. My father-in-law, who fought it tooth and nail for weeks, finally, on the day he died, said he was “ready.” He was 85. Certainly, I think age and a life long-lived has much to do with it. It would take a graceful person indeed to acquiesce to the mortality fact during their younger years, but the inevitability of it assuredly haunts our subconscious each and every day.

    Like

  15. Ina says:

    One day it will be time but before that day, I want to read more stuff like this 🙂

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  16. “Perfectionism is an obsession confined to the living”. Feels like that gem of wisdom was written just for me. Thank you x

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  17. Loving your “deep” – it always resonates with me. Life, love, loss… always entwined. But no one can spin it out in your awesome voice. Saw you on the DP Challenge link! Believe it or not, I never had a clue who DP Challenge was until tonight!!! So that’s what I wrote about, lol. Wishing you all the best, Peter, you so deserve to be Freshly Pressed 😀

    Like

  18. Peter,
    I shall read this after work. Wanted you to know I didn’t forget about you, dear.
    The walk was superb. Wish you could have been there. Xxxx

    Like

  19. 1WriteWay says:

    I liked this very much. A nice reminder to get some perspective on life and those we love.

    Like

  20. “You’ve got some treats in store.”
    I LIKE that, Peter.
    I agree. I look forward to seeing my sweet Kay as my treat.
    Love to you, Sweets. Xxxxxx

    Like

  21. Caroline says:

    Love this. Reminded me of my Dad who was ready to go at 100 and went just the way he wanted to!

    xx

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  22. beeseeker says:

    This is a treasure trove piece, waking so many emotions and feelings – need some time to think on it.
    Oh, er, is that somebody at the door?

    Like

  23. My 10-Month Get-Clean Sabbatical says:

    I’d like to get about a 3-month head’s up, but a year’s notice would be more preferable. You’ve got me thinking, CD. I’m on one of my simplicity rants as it is. Given notice, I wonder how many of us would begin to live the lives that truly work for our souls.

    Like

  24. Shonnie says:

    Ducky my dear … I wish I was able to sit and sip a glass of wine and nibble some tastey treats and chat the night away. I love the way you right. 😀

    Like

  25. Alison says:

    Loved this 🙂

    Like

  26. Jaime Shine says:

    I really enjoyed this post, countingducks. Well said and true. Thanks for stopping by the Clearly Conveyed Communications blog, and I’m looking forward to enjoying more of your content. Cheers!

    Like

  27. ampbreia says:

    Nice write. Don’t fear the reaper. Seems rather a pleasant gentleman.

    Like

  28. Kavita Joshi says:

    very good article…well written dear…

    Like

  29. Jeanna says:

    I really loved this piece Ducks, truly loved it. Lots to ponder here, and why oh why do we wait so long to live? That cancer just may live umong us all, waiting…

    Like

  30. Judy Guion says:

    I’m so glad you found my blog because that means I’m here exploring yours, and I like what I’ve read so far….especially this piece. The message is one we all need to be aware of, yet so many ignore. Thank you for stating it so eloquently.

    Like

  31. torimcrae says:

    Thanks so much for liking my post “History: Alive or Boring”. It’s been a pleasure visiting your blog and finding out more about you.

    Like

  32. auntyuta says:

    Your thoughts about mortality I find very interesting. . I do not mind talking about it that I am coming to the end of my life. (I’m 78, soon to be 79). While I am still alive I enjoy it as much as possible. I am grateful for my whole life, even for the moments that were not so enjoyable. We cannot expect to be happy at every moment of our lives. We have to take the good with the bad.

    I enjoy very dark chocolate (85% cocoa). I very much enjoy it while I’m still alive. Once I am dead maybe I should be buried with some chocolate lying next to me! 🙂

    Some people call you CD and others call you Peter. May I call you Peter?

    I think you just had a look at one of my blogs. I thank you for this. 🙂

    Aunty Uta.

    Like

  33. Borednicole says:

    I’m already an ace potato peeler and I love Florida. I’ll fit right in. 🙂

    I think my fave part of your writing is the dialog. It’s intelligent, unique and…sassy!

    Like

  34. I rather like that. And I don’t like peeling potatoes – I’ll be good, I promise!

    Like

  35. poppy23 says:

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

    Like

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