Simon Ezra-Jackson

School: George Watson’s College
 

Life and Death


(inspired by Terry Pratchett)

Henry Parker was a nice man. He donated as much as he could afford to charity, was a community volunteer and generally a pleasant person to be around. So it came as a shock to the good people of Lesser Manning when they found him without his head in a disused bus stop.

It upset his wife, not because she loved him, but because it meant a huge amount of tedious paperwork and inquiries with the police.

It upset his dog because it meant he was going to get put down by the pound, or left in the hands of Henry’s wife, and he didn’t know which option would be more painful.

But most of all, it upset Henry Parker and as he sat in the Afterlife Processing Centre awaiting Death, he felt Life had given him the metaphorical short end of the stick. (Death recently had his funding cut in half by the council and was feeling overworked.)

Henry was raised in a dirt-poor part of Glasgow and had to grab every meagre chance Life tossed him. The only problem being, Life couldn’t be bothered tossing chances as she was busy applying for a minor administrative post in Death’s organisation (which was rumoured to be a lot less stressful and apparently had paid holidays.) As a result, Henry had ended up as an insurance salesman.

Death finally finished with the backlog and motioned for Henry to come in. As Henry shuffled into the room, Death glanced up from some papers. ‘Hello. You’re dead.’

Silence.

Henry was feeling particularly aggravated at that moment, and made in impulse decision to ignore Death. He was entertaining the hope that this was all a by-product of too much beer, and he would wake up in the morning with a splitting headache and a frosty atmosphere at breakfast.

‘Excuse me? Are you even listening to me?’ Death would have scowled, but he didn’t have a face. ‘You know, I’m an extremely busy entity who doesn’t have to do this, and if you don’t answer me I’ll just send you to the back of the queue.’

Henry didn’t reply.

‘Alright, that’s it! Get your sorry soul to the back of the line or… or… or you’ll be sorry!’ Death yelled.

Finally Henry opened his mouth to speak. Just then, a portly woman with a clipboard popped up behind Death and cut Henry off. ‘Mr Reaper, we’ve told you about treating the spirits disrespectfully. I’m afraid you’ll have to be disciplined.’

‘No!’ Death screamed. ‘I’m sick and tired of being treated like a kid. I quit!’ And with that he grabbed his Adidas backpack and stormed out of the office.

Henry, not one to miss opportunities, quietly exited the room as well, returned to his body, screwed his head back on, quit his job, divorced his wife, became a monk and moved to Dundee with his dog.

He lives there to this day.

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