Hello, my name is Mort.
I’ve been doing the same job for what seems like centuries. Day in and day out, I wake up, get a list of who to pick up, then leave my home to shuttle around the world to fetch my listed people with my black ’69 Ford Mustang. Sometimes I don’t get any sleep at all, because it seems like every few seconds there’s someone new that I have to pick up and bring away. They’re all kinds of people – young, old, male, female, everything in between. You’ve got the aggressively sick, the terminally ill, the 50/50, the instant goners, the ones who never stood a chance.. I take them all to their destination. It’s taxing work, but it’s what I do best, and it’s what I enjoy.
Make that their final destination.
Hello, my name is Mort. But you probably know me as the Grim Reaper.
On a rare day that I had a bit of a break, I drove Sally (my car, I named her so I wouldn’t be lonely) down the block to this Greek taverna I liked, parked it, then went inside. I sat at this booth by the window, and the friendly waitress Miss Doris came by to take my order. She was in her late 50s, hair close to being completely white, with deeply-engraved smile lines from years of serving customers. I told her I wanted my usual lunch order- pita bread with three different dips – before she nodded, jotted down on her little notepad, then scuttled off to the kitchen to pass it on. I feel kind of sad to see her go, especially since she’s one of the few people I get to see more often than once – unfortunately, my job means meeting people just at the brink of their death, which equates to a lot of awkward conversation in the car. I suppose being the Grim Reaper is lonely work, but it’s the only work I’ve known.
Someone just went in the taverna and sat at the booth behind me. It’s a lady. She smells like.. roses? But something seems kind of off about her.. like I’ve met her before, but never really talked to her. Does that make sense?
The rose-scented lady somehow comes into my booth, sitting across me. And I realize who she is.
I’ve seen her a few times before, like when I went to fetch this octogenarian in Dallas – his visibly younger widow (she must have been 30? Or younger?) suddenly looked like she got shot, and then did goo-goo eyes at their visibly-younger-and-hotter-than-her-dead-husband of a guest.
Rose-scented Lady has a pretty wicked aim and even more wicked arrows, but she’s been known to miss a few times.. and sometimes I have to pick up her dirty work when hell breaks loose.
I think her name is Amare. But to myself, and a lot of other folk both mortal and non-mortal, she’s known as Cupid.
My food arrives, and out of courtesy, I offer her a pita bread and she smiles, ripping a piece out of it and dipping it into the tzatziki sauce. I do the same, but dip my piece into the tahini. We haven’t said anything to each other yet, so there’s a bit of an awkward silence while we’re eating.
I say hello, and ask her what brings her here to the taverna. She laughs, and says she heard I got a bit of a break. Before I can say anything else, she gives me a little proposition. She talks about how stressful her work is, and how she wants to do something a bit different. She wants to switch jobs with another one of our folk for 24 hours.
I’m guessing she wants to switch with me.
Amare says she’s got clearance from the Big Guy, and has the paperwork to prove it. All she needs is someone to trade with her. My brow furrows, trying to comprehend what this crazy rose-scented lady is attempting to get me to do. She says that she’ll get to do my job, and I’ll get to do hers. For 24 hours. Just for 24 hours. And we get to use our own equipment. It’s just the job description that’ll be switched for the time.
I think about it. For once, I’d be able to see people and not have to bring them off to the Styx Express for their one-way journey to the Underworld. I’d be going to them to actually do something.. more constructive. I’d be a better shot anyway – I’ve been flinging knives since I was young at 20. (I’m over 2,000 years old, so 20 counts as young. I’ve used a giant scythe up until the Internet was made, but I still fling knives at stuff just to keep myself busy when I don’t have any pickups for the day. I’m probably shit when it comes to the bow & arrow anyway. But for this time it would be to.. make people fall in.. LOVE! Love. That word sends shivers up and down my body. I know how it works in theory, but in our family (the Grim Reaper is a title that’s been held by members of my family for the past few millenia), we’re unable to feel love. The most we can do that’s close to that, is concern. Like how I feel concern for Miss Doris, she’s a really nice lady. I hope I don’t have to pick her up for the Styx anytime soon.
Amare keeps looking at me. Her eyes look.. twinkly. Like she’s expecting a good answer from me. Lucky for her, I agree, and she lets out this.. squeal, it makes me wince. She give me her pen – this pink abomination with a pouf of feathers at the end – and tells me to sign the consent form on the papers. I give the papers a good read, then sign at the lines with the pink abomination.
Time stops, and all of a sudden a rumble in the skies is heard. Amare and I know what it means, and we nod to each other as she thanks me for the bit of food, gets up from her seat, and leaves the taverna.
And so it begins.
Hello, my name is Mort.
And for the next 24 hours, I’m Cupid.
Hello, friends! This is something inspired by a writing prompt I found on Reddit, which is the scenario that Cupid and the Grim Reaper switch places for a day. I felt that it would be more comfortable to write something in the style of a journal, or in a more conversational, personal style. This is why I’ll be writing in Mort’s point of view!
It’s been so long since I wrote anything fiction, so I hope you enjoy and look forward to what comes next. I plan to make around 2 more posts out of the same prompt, as a continuation of this bit.