Disclaimer: I do not own Dead Like Me or any of the associated characters. This is my first attempt at any kind of fic, so please feel free to R/R. This is hopefully the first chapter of several. It's mainly in Georgia's POV. So far it contains language, a little violence and eventually it will contain sexual scenes—a Mason/George pairing.
Chapter 1: Stolen Souls and Borrowed Clothes
"How in the hell are we supposed to know who's who in this clusterfuck?" I asked. People were swarming around everywhere, like a bunch of brainless bees in a hive. No, scratch that—they were brainless bees in a hive.
"Well, I certainly don't know, Georgia," Daisy said. "Does my shirt have 'Information' written across the front of it?"
"Gee, I don't know, Miss 'I Don't Understand Rhetorical Questions.' Let's have a look and see, why don't we?" Reflexively I glanced at her shirt. Sure enough, it didn't say information, but I suddenly noticed it sure as hell screamed "money." Who the hell had given her that?
I grabbed the back of her collar and took a peek at the label. "Armani? Jesus, Daisy, since when can you afford Armani?" I asked, incredulously.
"None of your business, Georgia! God," she snapped. "Sometimes people like to give me nice things, OK? Is there anything wrong with that?"
"If I said yes, would it make a difference?" I asked.
If the rest of these people were worker bees, she was royalty: Daisy. Daisy Adair. Queen bee.
Changing the subject, she lowered her voice to a whisper. "Now," she began, "we have less than five minutes to find these people, so I suggest you think about yourself and your own business for a minute."
"Riiight … got any tips for that?" I mumbled under my breath, but either she didn't hear me or she just didn't care since she didn't acknowledge me. She started sashaying at somewhat a brisker pace.
"Come on," she said, turning around and looking back at me. "I think I see the guy."
I looked at my Post-It and read aloud: "D. Edwards. Callahan Building. ETD 2:31 p.m."
"How do you know that's him? D. Edwards?" I asked, jogging a little to catch up.
"I don't," she said airily. "I know it's him." She pointed to a man on the sidewalk and flashed me her Post-It. "R. Cochran. Callahan Building. ETD 2:31 p.m.," I looked at the guy. Yup, that was him. "The Amazing Ricky, Psychic Readings $20," I read aloud from the sandwich board propped up behind him. He was sitting near the entrance to the building, behind a cheap-looking fold-out table. Business didn't seem to be going so well for The Amazing Ricky today.
I wondered if he had any foresight that he was getting ready to bite the big one in less than three minutes? Somehow, I doubted it.
"Y'know, ten bucks says he doesn't even have a permit for that," I said testily. Just because Daisy had found her stupid reap didn't mean I was any closer to finding mine. The place was really crowded and I still hadn't made any progress.
Daisy had already left to go talk to the guy when I happened to glance up. "Oh shit," I said.
Some dumbass in a flashy silver bodysuit was rappelling down the side of the building, and to add insult to injury, he was doing it without a safety harness. Directly above where Ricky and Daisy were standing.
Yup, I'd just found my reap.
"I'm sure he doesn't have a permit for that, either," I said. I had read articles in the paper about these brain trusts—they called themselves "urban daredevils," by the way—who get their kicks by scaling city buildings, statuary, anything with height. It was incredibly illegal, but more importantly, it was incredibly lame as far as sports go. And now I had to reap one of these idiots?
I glanced at my watch. Only two minutes to go. Crap! How in the hell was I supposed to get to this one?
At that moment, Silver Suit's cord began to give a little, and he started sliding down the glass front of the building really fast. I still couldn't see him completely clearly, but from what I could see, he looked startled. A little crowd of worker drones had also started to gather around the sidewalk around the building, watching Silver make his slide.
Shit, shit, shit! What was I gonna do?
I started looking around, hoping to find something—anything—that might help. Someone had left a ladder nearby, but I could tell it was way too short to do the trick. Some scaffolding had been set up on the other side, but there was no way I could reap him from that angle. Crap!
Luckily, one of those window washer's platform things was sitting on the sidewalk a few feet away. I'd never been on one and I don't really like heights, but I hopped on and immediately began hoisting myself up toward Silver Suit.
Shit. This is harder than it looks.
The girl on the shaky platform going up the glass toward the man in the metallic bodysuit sliding down it had started to attract even more attention on the ground. "Don't do it, girlie!" some guy yelled. Another shouted, "Hang on, guy, she's almost there!"
I finally got close enough to shout at the dude. "D. Edwards?" I yelled. It was 2:30 p.m. I noticed several of those hateful, putrid gravelings were already jumping up and down on the sidewalk, clawing at the building, clamoring to get up and sliding back down.
"Yes," Silver Suit said, his voice shaky. "David. Er, Dave. Dave Edwards."
"Wait," he began, and I could tell he was freaking out a little, "how the hell do you know my name?"
There wasn't any time to answer. Instead, I reached up and stroked his arm. As I took his soul, he undid his rip cord and lunged toward me in one fluid motion. He obviously thought I was trying to help him jump onto the platform.
Needless to say, I wasn't ready to grab him, and he didn't jump quite far enough. Before you could say "splat," he and Ricky became a big old jumbled pile of broken appendages and a spreading red stain on the ground.
Turns out it was kind of amazing.
It was also exactly 2:31 p.m.
Jesus, that was too close. I didn't want to think about the possibility that I might not have gotten to Silver Suit on time. I finally got the platform back down on the ground and walked over to where Ricky and Dave were standing, mouths agape.
"You know, something told me I shouldn't have come out here today," Ricky bitched. I saw Daisy smirking a little. I guess he had had a premonition after all.
"Everything will be all right, Ricky," Daisy said in the childlike yet professional tone she affected when she wanted to sound calm and reassuring.
"My name is Daisy. Daisy Adair," she continued. "I took your soul and now your ride will be here any minute so you can move on."
"'Move on'?" Dave interrupted. "So he's … I'm … we're d-dead?"
"Oh," I said. "Yeah. Sorry 'bout that. I'm George, by the way." I reached out to shake his hand. "I took your soul."
"You did what? Are you two murderers or something?" Dave asked.
"Oh, God, no!" I said. How could I put this delicately? "We're … we're, um, grim reapers. We, uh, take people's souls out of their bodies before they die so they don't feel it and so their spirits can move on."
Good job being delicate, Georgia
"Grim reapers?" Ricky said. "You've gotta be shitting me!"
"Nope, not 'shitting' you," I said, and I made those obnoxious little air quotes to indicate my disdain. Then suddenly, lights were everywhere.
"Oh, look there's your ride, right on time." Thankfully, when the familiar white light appeared, people were too busy gathering around the bloody spectacle that had been Dave and Ricky—or at least what was left of them—to pay any attention as Daisy and I herded the two men into the light. Dave was still asking questions when Daisy cut him off.
"Bye bye, now," Daisy chirped and waved goodbye. "Good luck with the afterlife!"
She obviously wanted to wrap things up quickly. She'd already turned to go before the portal even closed. "Ugh!" she groaned. "I hate it when they're messy like that. Why don't I ever get a nice old lady in bed in her condo?"
Suddenly I realized I was shaking a little.
"Um, yeah," I said absentmindedly, looking back in the direction of Ricky and Dave's lifeless bodies, lying jumbled on the pavement. I couldn't help but think about my own flaming death-by-toilet-seat. The memory of looking at my own dead body laying sprawled against the concrete came rushing back and I shivered again. What if I hadn't gotten to Dave on time?
What if Rube hadn't gotten to me in time?
"Y'know, Daisy," I said, "What do you say we grab a drink? Isn't there a bar around here somewhere? I'd kill for something alcoholic."
Just then, Mason popped up. What? Where the hell had he come from? "Hello, girls! Did someone just mention me?" he asked.
"A drink? God, Georgia, it's not even three o'clock," Daisy said.
"C'mon, Daisy, it's hardly Prohibition anymore, now is it?" asked Mason. "Anyway, you're Catholic, and it's Saturday." He pulled a flask from the pocket of his jacket, which had "Earl" sewn on it.
"If our Georgie girl can't have a drink when she wants one, then what's the point of it all?" he asked, unscrewing the top of the flask and handing it to me.
"Thanks," I said, gulping down a long swig. It was whiskey, warm and gross. Normally, I would've asked where the hell Mason had come from so fast, but right now I didn't really care. I took another long swig.
"Jesus, Georgie, rough day?" he asked, laughing.
"No," I lied. Normally I'd come back at him with a witty retort. The only thing that came out of my mouth, though, was "whatever." I slugged down another long drink before handing him back his flask.
"Ugh! That tastes like piss, by the way," I said, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand.
I never said it had been a rough day—that I'd almost missed a reap, and I'd only gotten there in the nick of time by some force of luck, and what if no one had gotten to me in time?
"Beggars can't be choosers, Georgie," Mason snarked. "Besides, it does what it's meant to do." He took a long drink himself before stuffing the flask back into Earl's coat pocket.
"So, whatd'ya say? You two girls up for some death and coffee?"
"Sure, Earl," I said, as Mason offered us each an arm, which we both took, and I laughed a bit in spite of myself.
"You know I'm not a Catholic anymore," Daisy said offhandedly.
"Shit, when did that happen?" Mason asked.
"I don't know, probably when you were passed out in a gutter somewhere," Daisy answered.
Mason gave her a derisive look but didn't push her arm away. So, walking arm-in-arm, we three reaper bees left the drones, still swarming around the hive. The beggar bee, the chooser bee and the queen set out, arm-in-arm, on the longish trek back to Der Waffle Haus.
It was time for another round of Death and a Post-It., and as I knew all too well, a Post-It waits for no one.