Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trifecta Challenge: Death Takes a Nap

            This may have been one of the most fun I’ve ever had writing a story.  This week’s Trifecta challenge was to write in 33-333 words about the personification of Death. The idea came to me while lying on the chiropractor's table staring at a model of a human spine. It is the first story I’ve ever written that casts my real self in a fictional situation at my real life job selling mattresses. Everyone needs a comfy place to sleep. Everyone.

Death Takes a Nap

            Gooseflesh rippled across my skin at the sight of the tall black figure
            “Oh God. Not yet,” I whispered.
            “Don’t worry Victoria. It isn’t your time,” he said. “I’m here for a new mattress.”
            I expected his voice to be a raspy baritone like Clint Eastwood. Instead, Death sounded a little like Elton John.
            “A what?” I asked stupidly.
            “A mattress. I’m not sleeping well lately.”
            “Work stress?”
            “No my dear. I am content with my occupation. I would sleep, ‘the sleep of the just’ as they say if only I had a decent mattress. I’ve been sleeping on a pallet of straw. It’s probably a hundred years old.”
            “You’re probably the first customer to tell me that and mean it literally.”
            “I always speak literally. Occupational hazard.”
There was an awkward silence and I forced myself to think of him as just another customer.
            “Do you sleep on your back or your side?’
            “Do you get hot or cold at night?”
            “I’m always cold,” he said sounding weary.
            “Give this a try. It’s a plush memory foam pillowtop.”
            “Wouldn’t firm be better for my back?”
            “Not necessarily. A heavier person who sleeps on his back would need something firm. But since you sleep on your side and you’re...” I paused to think of the right word. “Slim. A softer mattress will offer you better support.”
            “Fascinating. Would you mind?” he asked, handing me his scythe and climbing onto the bed.
I looked around and realized the mattress department was deserted
            “There is an energy keeping everyone out of this area while I’m here.”
            “Will I remember this happening?”
            “I’m sure you’ll never forget it. You know, I’ve never laid on something so comfortable. You have done me a great service Victoria.”
            “Maybe you’ll return the favor some day,” I said handing him back his scythe.
            “I do believe it will be quite some time before I see you again,” he said with what might have been a smile.