Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: At Death's Daughter

This dialogue sprang out of a brainstorming session for a new Fantasy world. They've just suffered a mass demise of various cosmic beings, leaving messengers and executors woefully busy. One such executor, a winged man in a suit, stops by a girl's apartment to drop off her inheritance. It's a large and rather unruly scythe.

Moffet pushed the thing back across the table with two fingers, like the angel might take it to the back and have the chef whip up something better.

"No. I don't want it."

"You have to want it." The man folded his arms, refusing to pick it up. " It's rare. It's a multi-functional device. It could only be more desirable if it had an Apple logo."

"I don't want the scythe."

"You should want the scythe."

"Well, I don't."

"Fine. There's still good news."

"And that is?"

"Your mother wasn't unfaithful."


"Olivia Constantine was an absolute, one-hundred-percent lesbian. Your father was not that gardener you've heard about."

"Don't bother sticking up for him. He ran out on us."

"No, he moved because there was a new green house. He's actually just two counties over, and he doesn't think about you ever because he's not your father. Your mother never slept with him or any other man. She found them quite gross from her first day seeing a wee-wee on the playground to her last night in the hospital."

"Uh-huh. I guess she molded me from magic clay."

"Don't be petulant. You were immaculately conceived."

She rolled her eyes over the scythe, the man's suit, and his stupidly handsome face, giving the whole business a sweeping dismissal.

"That doesn't happen."

"Does too. Happened to you."

"Don't tell me I'm Jesus. I'm agnostic."

"You're getting a special delivery from a ghost. You're gnostic now. And you're not any sort of Sloppy Seconds Coming. He was a better dresser and conversationalist." He pushed the scythe across the table towards her, using the same two fingers she had. The blade made a sphincter-tightening scrape across the tabletop, though it left no mark. "He wasn't the first to be immaculately conceived, though, or the last. There have been at least six hundred immaculate conceptions this year alone, and it's not even cold yet. Snow makes those Winter Gods get kinky."

"That's ridiculous."

"You know what's ridiculous? That a lifelong lesbian can make eye contact with a man just once in public, and the first time somebody calls her a slut, the consensus is 'Guilty.' That, by the way, is how most immaculate conceptions get covered up. Statistically insignificant, and you never catch a ghost boinking a girl on film, so of course she's a dumb whore."

"Okay, now you're ridiculous." She rose, jerking a thumb towards the door, and accidentally pointing it at the only picture of her mother in the entire apartment. "Get out."

He rose along with her. He was unfairly taller.

"You think that's ridiculous? Think how many immaculately conceived prodigies have been aborted. Let me tell you, at least three of them would have changed the world if their moms hadn't flushed them. Their fathers knew it, too. Planted them down here to prove a point to all the other gods."

"And what was the point of predestining a bunch of aborted messiahs?"

"You ever see a horrible plane crash?" He stuck out his pinky and thumb, turning his hand into a mock airplane. It sailed down across his smile and crashed into the adjacent palm. "Thing's on fire before it hits the tarmac, airport crew swear they could hear the screaming over the engines, and whatever mangled survivors crawl out of the smoke spend the rest of their life in nightmares?"

"What could the fucking point be in that?"

"The point? Why should they bother stopping it if you won't? It's your fucking world. You strapped yourselves to a rocket built by the lowest bidder and fired it into weather you weren't paying enough attention to. It's your damned plane, your damned fault, and it's your scythe now."

He stooped just low enough to meet her gaze. Those two fingers came back, nudging the scythe to the very edge of her side of the coffee table.

"Here you go. Do whatever with it. I only did this as a favor to your father anyway. I'm going to go sprout wings and do something you don't believe in."

Something stupid made her touch the scythe. Not take it. She wasn't that stupid; only stupid enough to touch it with two of her own fingers. Enough of a gesture to make him pause.

"You said I didn't have a father."

"I said your mom wasn't knocked up by any man."

"Okay. In the world where you sprout wings and think you're clever, just how did I immaculate my way into the world?"

"Baby, you just inherited a scythe. Notice you spent your whole life wearing hoodies? Where'd you think you got that?"

"Mom loved them."

"Maybe that's what attracted him. Goodnight. Enjoy your immortality."

And then he wasn't there. Ghost, angel, nutter - now he was only absent. Moffet thought she saw a glowing wing pass by her window. Then she thought again. No, that was not what she felt like having seen today.

She still saw the scythe, though. Ugly black, both dulled and too dark to go with anything in her wardrobe. She hunkered down over the thing, breath leaving no fog along the blade. She nudged it with two fingers. It jostled to no particular affect. There was no particular affect about the thing until she actually picked it up.


  1. Oooooooooooh.... This is one of the most intriguing flash pieces I've seen from anyone!

  2. "Notice you spent your whole life wearing hoodies" LOL I can't tell you how much I snorted while reading this. Sounds like a fun world you're building!

  3. I love, love, love this!!! Thanks for sharing :D

  4. Is fabulousest at word? This is so witty, smart, and funny.

    "You're gnostic now. And you're not any sort of Sloppy Seconds Coming. He was a better dresser and conversationalist."

    I literally guffawed out loud and then snorted.

  5. I hope there's more to this. It's fascinating.

  6. Loved it. I laughed out loud more than once. I hope you share more of this world with us. expectantface

  7. Nice- I want to see the death who doesn't beleive she's death accidentally kill someone. Can you write that next? *giddy fan girl clapping*

  8. This was fantastic! Part of a fantasy world, you say? I'm sold!

  9. Oh, wait. You will share more of this world of yours, won't you?

    If you make me wait until the novel comes out, I... I... Damn, don't do this to me.

  10. Nice, I like myths brought into the modern world, or contemporary twists on the metaphysical. =)

    I kind of want to know what persuaded her to let a stranger with a scythe into her house in the first place... =/

    Slightly reminds me of Susan from the Discworld novels (Death's granddaughter). If you like this kind of thing you should read Neil Gaiman's American Gods too: a brilliant modernisation of ancient godhood.

    Would love to read more of her learning to live with the Scythe... =)

  11. Like John said, there are echoes of Death from Discworld, but I loved this whole conversation. I love the notion of mortals grappling with the idea of immortality. Great story.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  12. This is one of the best stories I've read in months (we'll ignore the fact I haven't been around in months. :)). Amber Benson attempted something similar but just this bit of flash is more successful than the two books she published. I hope you'll have more for us soon.

  13. You have to get to The Bathroom Monologues every day or you might just miss something outstanding. Glad I looked back for this one John. Really super!


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