Death vs Taxes

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The Grim Reaper has been summoned by angry young girls looking for vengeance. He's been summoned by rich old men looking to make a deal. He's been summoned by apprentice witches foolishly trying to prove their skills to peers.

He'd never previously been summoned by the Internal Revenue Service. The novelty of it was enough to ensure he answered.

Bah-BOOM. The door of the interview room slammed shut. The far seat was suddenly occupied by his large, dark bulk.

"I was summoned?" The Grim Reaper looked, well, not up, because even seated he was as tall as the one standing in front of him. So he looked ... out ... with his glowing red eye sockets at ... a newly minted agent of the IRS. The agent looked a little embarrassed at how loudly the door had shut.

"You were. Thank you for appearing." The agent sat down opposite the Grim Reaper. A stack of files sat on the desk. The Reaper had been aware of them, but hadn't felt curiosity. It wasn't part of his makeup.

The Grim Reaper pushed the reconstructed summons-to-appear toward the agent. "I don't appreciate the method used. A confetti gun loaded with a shredded summons, hooked to the heart monitor of a terminal man? There was a lack of grace, of style. Uncouth, one might say."

"It touched you. You were served. That's the law. Shall we begin?" Agent Healey turned on the voice recorder. "Your name, for the record, is the Grim Reaper?"

"Yes. And what shall I call you?" The Reaper saw the clip-on name tag, "Ah, yes. Investigator Chuck Healey. Tell me about your family, Investigator Chuck Healey..."

"Personal questions will not be tolerated."

"Nor answered, I presume." If the Grim Reaper could change facial expressions, that tone would have had a Machiavellian smile attached it. As it was, the Reaper had to settle for its usual fixed grin. "Do you feel fear?"


In the observation room, connected by cameras, but safely separated by two floors and many doors, observers were getting worried.

"He's losing it." One agent whispered.

"This could be so bad," said another. "This was such a mistake."

"Just wait. Have faith." The focus technician replied. "All of the parameters are within the range of normal."


"Intimidation will not be tolerated," Healey continued, just a slight hint of sternness edging in the voice. "Do you have a fixed address?"

"No. Do you?"

"Irrelevant." Healey, unfazed by the Grim Reaper's stare, flipped open a legal pad. "On the street, they call you 'Death'?"

"They do?" The Grim Reaper sat up straighter, as if that were possible. He had not heard this before.

"Yes," Investigator Healey paused. Every response had been anticipated, practiced, scripted - except that one. How to go forward? Healey read the Grim Reaper's presumed biography, "You are a member of a gang called the Four Horsemen — "

"I am?"

"Yes, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." The Grim Reaper just shook his head. "War? Pestilence? Famine? Are none of these familiar to you?"

The Grim Reaper kept shaking his head. "Words. Nouns? Nothing more."

"Oh come, everybody's heard these stories."

"I haven't."

Healey nodded. This was going to be more challenging than expected. The agent scribbled a note on the legal pad, knowing the observers would be able to read it. The Grim Reaper leaned over, curious to see what Healey had written, but the agent pulled an arm around, shielding the notes from the Grim Reaper's view.

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