Death and the Cigarettes
Death was smoking a cigarette. Smoke was seeping through his cloak, surrounding him in a dark mist.
No harm in smoking if you're Death, I thought to myself.
"VERY FUNNY." Death said. "I'VE NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE."
"But I didn't say it," I said. "I just thought it."
"SAME THING WHEN YOU'RE DEAD."
"So I am dead then?"
Sort of! I thought. What version of Death have I been lumbered with?
"JUST TO REMIND YOU, I HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS."
"Sorry," I said, "I just expected you to be more precise. Either I'm dead or I'm not."
"YOUR BODY IS DEAD, BUT THE PROCESS IS NOT COMPLETE UNTIL I CUT THROUGH YOUR LIFELINE AND FREE YOUR SOUL FOR THE NEXT WORLD." He nodded to his scythe.
"Oh, well when you're ready." I was being kept from the afterlife by Death taking a fag break.
"I AM TAKING A FAG BREAK BECAUSE WE ARE WAITING, NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND."
"What are we waiting for?" I said.
"YOUR WIFE TO DIE. YOU WANTED TO GO TOGETHER, IF YOU REMEMBER."
"So does she die soon after me?" I said.
"A YEAR OR SO. TIME'S DIFFERENT HERE, IN MY REALM, THE YEAR WILL PASS IN THE TIME IT TAKES ME TO SMOKE HALF A DOZEN CIGARETTES."
We waited. Six and a half cigarettes later I found myself back in our house, in our bedroom, watching over my wife, as she left her newly-deceased body and joined us in the realm of Death.
"Oh it's you," she said. She didn't have any other words, I could see her taking in the situation, me, whatever I was now, a soul, a spirit, a ghost, and Death, clouded in his own cloud of cigarette smoke.
You've got Death on the fags I see, my wife thought. You always were a bad influence.
"We can hear your thoughts when you're dead," I said.
"So I am dead then?" she said.
"Your body's dead but we the process is not complete until Death cuts through our lifelines and frees our souls for the next world."
"So what are we waiting for?" she said.
I turned towards Death. "Yes, what are we waiting for?"
"THE CAT," Death said. "APPARENTLY YOU DON'T WANT TO LEAVE HIM BEHIND. DON'T WORRY, HE DIES IN A FEW WEEKS TIME. FANCY A FAG WHILE YOU WAIT."