"A post-it for you," thump, "You," thump, "aaaaand you," thump.
Mason glanced over his post-it, then back at me, "These pancakes taste like shit," he complained with a mouth full of mushed up pancake.
"That's... great, Mason," I said, clearly grossed out.
Roxy on the other hand was giving me the death glare. Maybe it's because our new meetup spot was the International House of Pancakes. Maybe she had a pancake allergy.
Who am I kidding?
"Something...wrong, Roxy?" I ask, trying my best to sound pleasent.
"I'll tell you what the fuck is wrong, Georgia. This whole thing is--"
"Oh!" Daisy interrupted, have I mentioned how much I love this girl? "My reap is in only 20 minutes, gotta go!" She stood and we all watched as she left. I take back what I said about loving her.
But Roxy wasn't done. "How is it that you just walk in here and take Rube's job, and I--"
"Let me stop you there," I started, trying to pull of a pissed off face, but probably failing miserably in front of the lady-cop, "I never asked anyone for this. Somebody had to take Rube's place after his last reap. It just so happened to be--"
"Wait a minute, wait a minute..."
What is it with everyone interrupting today?
"You said, "Rube's last reap","
"Well where are they?"
"HIS LAST REAP YOU--... Look. Don't you remember? You were somebody else's last reap before you became his replacement."
"... Well where are they?" I asked, Roxy just rolled her eyes, got up and left.
A tired looking waiter walked by and looked at me boredly, "You done?" he asked. God I missed Der Waffle Haus. I reached into my pocket to pull out the money for my tab and felt something... papery. Not like money paper, but...
"A post-it?" I said out loud. The waiter just looked at me weird, "I can take care of your bill now," he said, not so much as an offer, but a demand. I didn't like this guy.
222 Apple Tree Lane
It didn't give a name and it didn't say "ETD" like most post-its. I couldn't even recognize the handwriting. Whatever the case, this post-it was clearly for me.
When a person dies, we're there to take their souls and guide them to the afterlife. We don't stick around for funerals. But for some reason, here I was. At a funeral.
With a lot of black people.
Er... not that there's anything wrong with black people. I'm just... painfully white. And it showed when I knocked on 222 Apple Tree Lane's door at 10:30.
A tall black man answered the door with big tears running down his cheeks, puffy cheeks and a pouty lower lip. Something told me he needed a hug... but I held back. "Hi... I'm here for the um.. funeral," I said, thumbing back at the hearse parked by (what else?) an apple tree.
The man managed a smile and nodded, "Please, come in," he said sweetly. I liked this guy. A part of me didn't want him to be sad. A part of me wanted to tell him that I was sure whatever place their loved one went to was a beautiful one. Not that I would know. So, I kept my mouth shut.
I entered the house, and I was reminded of Rube. Everything was in it's place, and it had an air of comfort. Kind of like going back home. For a moment I thought maybe these were friends of Rube's, all of them mourning his departure. But then I remembered--death, departure, whatever, they weren't sad to Reapers. This was just a normal funeral, with normal living people, and one normal dead person. Normal kind of freaked me out. And then I saw her.
She looked sad too, as she looked at a small urn on the fireplace mantle. She looked at me, "Hey baby," she said as I approached her.
"Hey," I replied, trying to sound sad. It's hard to be sad about death when you know the truth. But a part of me still sympathized for Kiffany.
"Are you here to take me home?" she asked.
"... Home?" Wait a minute...
"Heaven, baby. Where else?"
"Wait... Kiffany... Did Rube...?"
"Mmmhm. Just before the place went up in flames, he was giving everyone a farewell handshake or hug. I was the last one before he left."
"You mean... everyone in Der Waffle Haus... died?" I asked in disbelief.
"It was too fast," she said, shaking her head, "There was no escaping. But we didn't feel a thing.... at least, I didn't."
I couldn't believe it. Kiffany was Rube's last reap. Kiffany... was a reaper.
"Look. Kiffany... I've got a lot of explaining to do."
She shook her head, "Honey, you don't have to explain. I know it's my time."
I couldn't help but smile. This felt familiar, and although my reaction was much worse, Rube was equally understanding and patient. I could only hope to be as great as he was.
"I'm not sure you understand, Kiff," I said, shaking my head, "You're not exactly dead anymore."