– Whew, that was strong. I didn’t think you could choke on regular coffee that much. – grunted BaDe, still coughing. Instinctively he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Or at least he thought he did. The mouth didn’t need to be wiped down at all. And even if it did, his hand was not suitable for the job at the moment.
Without much thought, he reached for the mug with the „black ambrosia”, as he used to call his favorite, strong coffee. He was somewhat surprised to find that he failed in grabbing the cup. Had he not been wearing glasses, he might have explained this fact in part by a depth perception disorder caused by severe astigmatism. Meanwhile, his deeply disturbed perception as a whole turned out to be stigmatic. His hand seemed to be passing through the cup. What made the matter worse, it also passed through the coffee.
– How the…? – He didn’t finish the question. His saw hand lay beside the mug. The hand he would have called his „real hand” a few minutes earlier. But now it seemed to be only a viciously ontological recollection of who he was. – Oh no. – The words came out by themselves, as if they were the spokesperson for an entire thought process, the conclusion of which could be summed up in a two-word mixture of horror and acceptance.
„I COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND THE COMBINATION OF COFFEE AND LEMON.” In the room a voice was heard as deep as a second echo, but empty as the newly formed space of an expanding universe. It seemed to go directly to the mind, bypassing the unnecessary path that usually leads through the ears. The words of Death were irritatingly clear and lapped the listener like the crack of a whip. Unfortunately, it was impossible not to listen to them.
It was only now that BaDe realized that he was not alone in the office. Not counting the previous self, of course. He noticed a tall, hooded figure dressed in a brown robe standing by the office door. BaDe looked blankly at his visitor. The assessment of the situation came quickly and naturally. Whatever happened happened. Does it still make sense to ask existential questions? Might as well have a chat right now.
– How can you judge something like that? You don’t have taste buds, do you? – He asked without much thought.
„IN THESE MATTERS, I RELY ON MY FEELING OF A GOOD TASTE.” Death seemed intrigued. „WAS THAT AN ATTEMPT OF SOME SORT OF A MODERN TORTURE? IF, OF COURSE, I CAN ASK. I PERSONALLY THINK THAT SELF-FLAGELLATION A FEW CENTURIES BACK HAS MORE ADVANTAGES. AT LEAST YOU COULD VISIT A FEW TOWNS.”
– What? No no. No way. A desperation. Dorothy from the library suggested that I try the lemon coffee the next time I have a migraine. It is supposed to help. I didn’t believe it, but I had nothing to lose either. Or so I thought. I thought it would be so bad that I just forget about the headache.
„DID IT HELP?”
– Well. I can’t say that I still have a headache.
„I AM GLAD.”
„NOT COMPLETELY. I AM NOT ABLE TO FEEL HAPPINESS.”
– Ah yes. This has its advantages. For example, you don’t feel sad that you are the Death.
„IT IS JUST A JOB.”
– Ah. But wait a minute. So you are not Death all the time?
„NO. I AM DEATH ALL THE TIME. I AM NOT DEATH ONLY WHEN THERE IS NO TIME. BUT IT WILL NOT HAPPEN SOON. AT THE END, THE METAPHORICAL SHOE WILL BE ON THE OTHER FOOT. BUT I DO NOT EXPECT ANY SHOES WHEN THE END WILL COME. NOR ANY FEET.”
„So… Why did you say you were happy?”
“I THOUGHT THIS WILL BE ADEQUATE. AND THAT IT WILL EASE YOUR CROSSING.
– That means that this whole look and this scythe are for my convenience too?
– And that voice too?
– Can I become one of the small gods?
„DO NOT PUSH IT”
– OK, OK, sorry. I think I actually understand. Please tell me one more thing. Why do I still taste coffee with lemon?
“IT HAPPENS THAT SOULS LIFT THE MEMORY OF THE LAST VERY STRONG EXPERIENCE. THIS IS VERY RARE BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE. I SYMPATHIZE. ”
– … Really?
– This aftertaste is starting to be irritating and boring. Like a neverending bitter aspirin on the tongue. Do you know what I… Err… doesn’t matter. I think know the answer. Just tell me whether this taste will ever pass? I can’t imagine it being there forever.
„WHAT THE SOUL HAS LIFTED WITH IT IS NOW PART OF THE SOUL.”
– Waaait! Are you telling me that I will feel this overwhelmingly sour-bitter taste forever?! Can’t I forget the taste somehow? Or forget the sense of taste whatsoever? Or somehow hide this part of 'me’ in some quantum time bubble or whatever is it there? Damn, why didn’t I choke on a caramel.
„HMM.” Death mused. „THERE MAY BE A SOLUTION. BUT IT WILL REQUIRE FEW OTHERS RENUNCIATIONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND. „
– I’m ready for anything, just help me get rid of this terrible taste, and fast.
„AFTERWADS YOU WILL NOT FEEL THIS TASTE. BUT YOU WILL NOT FEEL ANYTHING ELSE EITHER. NOT TASTE NOR TOUCH. NEITHER SADDNESS NOR PLEASURE. BUT THE JOB WILL ALLOW YOU TO MEET INTERESTING PEOPLE. ”
– Oh shit.
– Do I need my own scythe?
“YOU WILL BE IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE FOR THE DRESS REHERSAL. YOUR METAPHYSICAL METHODS WILL DEPEND ONLY ON YOU.”
– I understand. I take it. Will we see each other again?
„FROM TIME TO TIME.”
[note – the date of publication is manipulated so that the post will not be visible in the main page; the real creation date is 12 March 2021]