It was in the storm sewer, while he was trudging through heaven only knows, that he had an epiphany.
Sure, that particular sentiment was shared by billions of people but at the moment, Charlie Asher felt he had the right to say it.
"Life sucks," he said.
A few of the squirrel people glanced up at him, one even flashed him the thumbs up sign to support his revolutionary musings, but it did nothing to change the fact that Charlie was:
a) Knee deep in San Franciscan sewage.
b) Never going to see Sophie, Audrey, Lily, Jane, or (God forbid) Alvin and Mohammed again.
c) Travelling to the Underworld, to face gods of Darkness, with an army of decomposed animals, in sopping wet second-hand nylon, in what would almost surely lead to his early demise and the Apocalypse.
And, to top it all off, he had a headache.
It wasn't until they were following Bummer, and Bob was grumbling about his lost spork, that Charlie Asher experienced another epiphany.
And he wasn't sure if he was talking about the actual act of dying or the job. But he knew that Death had taken his wife, his normality, and now, in a very Death-like fashion, his life. So Charlie felt very entitled when he said, "Death sucks, too."
It was like one big suck-fest, this act of living and dying and everything in between. The suckiest suck-fest of all. And while Charlie racked his brain for a synonym for "sucky", he thought of Sophie: Sophie gnawing on a soother, Sophie crying in the middle of the night, Sophie laughing at the playground, Sophie tormenting Alvin, Sophie growing up, Sophie smiling her mother's smile. And thoughts of Rachel's smile brought more: Rachel dancing (in her rhythm deficient way) to Sarah McLachlan in the living room, Rachel kissing his neck, Rachel chewing her fingernails the way she did when nervous.
So while Death claimed his wife, and Life possessed his daughter, Charlie said one thing more.
"Bob, if I get out of here, I promise I'll buy you the biggest goddamn spork I can find."
And Bob smiled his lipless smile.
And Charlie smiled too.