An Unrequested Departure


“I’m not very good at dying. You get very little training in it and, as far as I know, you only get the one chance so if you muck it up, you don’t make the proud exit of your dreams but  shuffle off in an awkward clumsy way which does little for your reputation, once you are no longer there to safeguard it.

None of that would have mattered if I hadn’t been “tipped the wink” by some severe pains across my chest, and a weird conspiratorial glance from some guy across the room who clearly thought he knew me in some way. As I leant or almost fell against the wall, he walked over to me, and said, in a semi-discreet aside, “Not long now old chap” in the manner of one who wished he had a more exalted station in life or death. I say “Death” because that was his name. He handed me a visiting card which was miraculous in the non-inspiring way because it glowed briefly in my hand, and for long enough for me to see his name and address and then vanished.

His name, according to the card, was “Dr Death” and underneath his name was the boast, “Qualified Grief Counsellor” and an address which was given as “Everywhere”. “What’s going on. What are you doing?” I asked him and he told me.

“People die all the time, you know, and I would be rushed off my feet if I couldn’t make use of the ‘Split-Personality App” to be in more than one place at the same time.”  The pain was spreading now and I was almost crouching over as nausea and faintness overcame me. People round me were starting to turn and look at me, and a voice associated with one of my more irritating nieces, nearly as difficult in character as her mother, my sister, was asking me if I was alright.

In better circumstances I would have been tempted to say, “Never felt better” because who would ask such a question of man bent double with pain and about to fall over, but there you go. “Dr Death,” who I could see quite clearly was grinning and wiping tears of laughter from his eyes was finding the whole thing highly amusing.

In that alternative “Time-Facility,” people often experience in those last moments, when many wished they’d taken out funeral insurance, I asked the proud Doctor why he was wasting his attentions on me when people of fame, fortune and noble character where keeling over in droves in every corner of the planet.

He smiled and said, “Oh what a good question” and almost licked his lips at the thought of replying. “In my game” he said, “We see all manner of people doing the “Oblivion Shuffle” as I call it, but not many of them are as spineless, ungifted, vain and self-serving as you, and I thought it would be a real refresher, a shot in the arm or however you would describe it to see a man of registered delusion and mediocrity lurch over to “The Other Side” and get his debriefing from whatever grade of Angel has been allocated to his passing.

What do you mean “Grade of Angel” and he explained that when one of the “Heavy-Hitters,” a statesman of note, a poet who would be world-famous in two generations, or a mass murderer with a decent number of killings under his belt died, an angel with peerless experience and wisdom would conduct the de-briefing before assigning them to an Infinity of suitable colour.

“With accredited mediocrities like you,” he continued, “Who had no idea what was going on, and were like an irritating fly in every room they entered, any matter of substance in their life is understood in a microsecond and they are just sent to a holding bay for bores before being assigned to their ultimate destination.”

My last thought before I felt myself lift out of my now redundant body was , “Things can not get worse” but I was wrong, because my designated Angel told me, You are going to the “Knitting Room” where you will pearl stitch for an eternity. “But I hate knitting or even the thought of knitting” I said, and our revered Doctor smirked and said, as he turned to leave. “That is the idea. In death you learn to love what you hated in life. Welcome to my world.”

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

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

23 Responses to An Unrequested Departure

  1. catterel says:

    There may be more truth in this than we like to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Al says:

    “like an irritating fly in every room he entered”? Now I’m the one doubled over….but thankfully with laughter!

    Like

  3. Simply magnificent writing, Peter! I found this both witty and poignant in equal measure, and whilst amusing it does raise the question of how we perceive ourselves (both in life and in death).
    Good to know that there is something for the ‘little people’ though!!

    Like

  4. Totally brilliant! “The knitting Room”! Just wonderful 😊 Excellent as always Peter.

    Like

  5. Yes, I agree. Breezy and brilliant.

    Like

  6. Sounds like you were sentenced to hell my friend! Hey, it could be worse. You could die in some kind of embarrassing accident.

    Like

  7. elainecanham says:

    Now, I wouldn’t mind being sentenced to an eternity of knitting, or possibly crocheting, especially if I got an angelic lesson in it – that would be something wouldn’t it? Er, Lucifer, I’ve dropped a stitch.. er, oh, my egg cosy is too small…er, Mr L, sorry to bother you again when you’re so busy stoking fires, but is it knit two and purl one, or the other way around?

    Like

  8. olganm says:

    Love the idea of the App…Great!

    Like

  9. There definitely might be something to this statement “That is the idea. In death you learn to love what you hated in life. Welcome to my world.” Brilliant.

    Like

  10. Oh dear. I do hope there is a different sort of being to marshal me on to the next world and that, in the next world, I will probably be eating lots of chocolate (something I dislike terribly in this life). 😉

    Like

  11. ASH says:

    George Bernard Shaw couldn’t say it more wryly.

    Consider the point in your life when you started keeling over

    Like

  12. renxkyoko says:

    One’s mortality is a scary thought, for me, anyway.

    Cheers, Peter Wells. It’s still a long way off.

    Like

  13. 5cheekymonkeys says:

    A grade of angel assigning infinities of suitable color- love that concept…So well written, really left me thinking, thank you!

    Like

  14. gotham girl says:

    Excellent, just excellent!!

    Like

  15. Wonderful writing, Peter. What a creative, skillful way to create a literary expression of death.

    Like

  16. —-but I was wrong, because my designated Angel told me, You are going to the “Knitting Room” where you will pearl stitch for an eternity.—-

    Superb.

    xxxx

    Like

  17. nelle says:

    Clever and witty. Pearl one, knit two.

    Like

  18. elizabeth stokkebye says:

    awesome story – thank you!

    Like

  19. Scarlet says:

    Ha, Ha, Ha!!!!! Excellent!!
    Sx

    Like

  20. This could really be what doctors gave in earth. Every dead patient makes life hell for them. A thought provoking piece indeed!

    Like

  21. terryspear says:

    You ought to put your stories in an anthology of shorts. They’re great!

    Like

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