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One Wednesday just before noon, my door bell rang. DING DONG! . . . DING DONG! . .
'Hell, just when I'm in the bathroom,' I thought.DING DONG! . . DING DONG! . .
"Barbara, will you get that?" I yell. Knock! Knock! Knock!. . . I could hear the use of the knocker. "Take it easy. I'm coming," I yell as I'm pulling my pants on. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! . . . This time louder. "I got it Barbara." Still pulling my pants on and struggling I walked to the front door, I looked through the peep hole. I don't recognize the person. He is wearing a dark black hood that covers his head, obscuring his face. I can't tell who it is. I say loudly, "Who is it?" deepening my voice. "Grimm Reaper in training." 'What did he say?' I thought.
"Please open up, sir." I touched the door knob and turned it slightly making sure it was locked. I said, "What do you want?" "It's too long to explain, if you will just open up. I'll tell you. I have a schedule to keep." "Look, if you are selling something, I am not buying anything." I said. "There is a 'NO SOLICITING' sign posted on the door. See it?" "I'm not selling anything. What I have is not for sale." "Who are you looking for?" I thought it was a mistake. "Denver, please open up this won't take long."
I thought, 'I don't feel good about this guy. Maybe I can get rid of him.'
"Denver isn't here." I pressed my ear to the door to make sure I heard the response correctly. I was done with my pants.
"I know this is the right address, Denver High, at 300 Greenwich Street. I have it right here on the form. Please open the door." "Denver isn't here; he is not here right now." I said louder. I looked out the peephole to see if he was leaving. I suppose he was looking into the peephole also. If we were eyeball to eyeball I couldn't see anything, it was just black. "Please, I have other appointments to keep. Just open the door."
I thought for a moment. 'I don't know how I can get out of this. He knows my name.'
Shaking my head I opened the door slightly, with the safety chain on. "Thank you. You're Denver, right? I guess it's your time." "My time? My time for what and who the hell, are you anyway? Why can't I see your face? Take the dam hood off," I said angry. "I can't take the hood off because it would frighten you too much. I'm the Grimm Reaper in training. Just call me Grimm. Mr. Grimm, Death couldn't come himself, he has so many people that have to die. Just in the US 680 people die every day of natural causes. That's without shootings, errors by doctors and nurses in hospitals, or overdoses of drugs. With 200 nations in the world, it is too much even for him. He hired us reps to make the pick-ups for him. Oh, we will be compensated in a fair way, no matter which way we end up going, to heaven or hell." "So? What's all that got to do with me?" "Oh, yeah. You passed your designated time to die. I'm really Death." I stood in awe listening to what he had said. Grimm stood on my porch. He wore a dark black robe, with a hood that had a black glow on the front that covered his face well, just like something you might see on Star Wars. I couldn't see through it. I sure as hell wasn't going to invite him in. I noticed that he was holding his clipboard in white bony skeleton hands without any skin on them. I wondered how they stay connected. On his back there seemed to be a scythe with a sharp shiny blade over his covered head, sticking out to the side.
"Holy mackerel. He looks like he's just bones. He might be the reaper."
"You are a Reaper in training. I'll be go to hell. Oops. I didn't mean anything by that. Are you sure? Isn't there some mistake? Why are you here?" "You were supposed to die six days ago, but the paper work got lost. It was my fault, I lost the papers." Grimm paused to shuffle through some papers on his clipboard. "I was to pick you up." "Say, wait a minute," I turned around and yelled, "Barbara come here to the door will you, check this out. Excuse me, let me unlatch the door." I said shutting the door and unlatching the chain and opened the door wide still holding on to the doorknob.
I said to Grimm, "Are you sure it's me that you want?"
"Yes, Yes, I have checked and double-checked. Actually, now we're almost a week behind. Do you mind?" Barbara was almost at the door, barefoot, wearing a bathrobe, looking sexy, "What's up. Who's at the door?" she asked. I stepped aside, opened the door wide, and said, "Take a look at this guy. He thinks its Halloween time wearing this outfit, pretending he's Death, probably one of your friends." Barbara stopped next to me holding the robe closed with her hands and asked, "Who? What? I don't see anybody. What are you talking about?" looking at me.
"Right there, this guy in the get-up," I said pointing. Grimm said, "Denver! She can't see, nor hear me; only the designated target can do that. Since you can see me, then you're It." "Quit horsing around. OK? Did you ring it yourself?" she asked looking at me. "Well, Grimm did. He wants to take me. He is standing right there." I pointed again. Barbara looked out through the door at nothing. "Do you think I'm an idiot? I'm going to take a shower and then we'll go eat lunch. You want to horse around shut the door. Come and join me in the shower. I'll show you horsing around." She turned and walked away. "Now, shut the door." "But Barbara, . . . wait a minute . . ." Barbara turned back and said, "So Grimm is there that I can't see huh? Well maybe Grimm that I can't see would like to see this." She flung open the robe and started undulating, shaking and grinding her hips. Then she turned around removed her robe and mooned her behind toward the door, at Grimm.
"There. How does Grimm like that?" as she walked away to take her shower. Grimm didn't react to it. However, I couldn't see his face to see, if he was grinning.
"Look Grimm. This evening I'm supposed to go bowling. We're bowling the first place team. This is such short notice. Are you sure you have the right day? Maybe it's later on?" "I'm far behind, you know. You were supposed to have been picked up last week." Grimm said, shaking the clipboard up and down. "I really could use just a couple of more days, if you don't mind. Got some loose ends to tie up, you know. This is so sudden. It's not like an accident, or if got hit by a bus, something like that it would be a different story." I said trying to be logical. "You were to die in a car crash but you didn't drive that night and you took a cab home. You messed up the schedule. Look. I'm really sorry. There are no exceptions. Rules, you know. We're a bit behind. I only work for the Reaper." I squinted trying to see his face. That hood really hid everything. "Look Grimm. What if I give you all my money, can't you skip this?" "Money? You think I need money? I don't eat. I'm already dead you know. I don't have rent or need money to spend." "Think about it. I'll give you my car, and then you wouldn't have to walk." "Hmmm . . . Okay . . . I'm thinking . . . I thought about it. Have you seen me walk? I glide I don't have to take any steps. The answer is no. Shall we go now?" His voice increasing in tone and then Grimm gestured with his bony hand, inviting me out to the street. "If I'm supposed to go why is it that you keep asking my permission to take me?" "There are Regulations and more Regulations, Appeals and rulings I have to follow. There are so many it makes my job hard when we mess up. One regulation says that when I miss a time slot, I have to ask during the next two opportunities that I have with the target. However, if I get no co-operation from the designated target, I can invoke an emergency clause. This is my first request to you." I rubbed my chin and said, "Look, my wife's in the shower. Can I just pop in, you know, and let her know I'll be going? She doesn't believe you're here. It'll just take a minute," Grimm exhaled noisily. "Okay, okay but let me come in first. Make it quick, we're running late." "Okay. Come on in." Grimm didn't walk in. He glided into the living room area. I shut the door. His robe covered his shoes if he had any. He stopped in front of the living room coffee table and looked down at my chess set for a couple of seconds and then looked toward me and asked, "Denver, are you the one that plays chess? That is a lovely set." "Oh yeah, I play a little. That's a real Stauton set. It was invented . . ." Grimm interrupted, "I was there when Staunton used the first one in France. I was picking up a chess player who died in the middle of the game. The other players thought he was thinking with his hands holding up his head. Then he ran out of time. That's when they found him dead. He officially lost the game." "I paid a pretty penny for the pieces. They aren't cheap. This board is from Brazil made in 1930. Each of the white squares are made out four butterfly wings."
Grimm turned his head toward the chess board I was holding and said, "Hmm . . the white square are fluorescent. Look. I like to play chess also. I haven't had a game in several hundred years. Do you think we could play one quick game?" I said, "If we could have a bet maybe. We could play a speed game say . . . A five-minute speed game. If I beat you then you wouldn't take me?" "Nope, I can't do that. My boss would find out and I would be in a great deal of trouble." "I wouldn't tell him," I said. "He would know that your soul isn't there. Let's play one game just for fun." "No. I'm not going to have any fun playing you for nothing, while you would be having fun." "Okay, if you win I can lose the papers for a while and set a new time for you to go, but I'll make the choice of time and place." "O.K. I'll agree to that. Sit on this ottoman and I'll sit on the couch. I'll set the digital clock. I'll play white and you start the clock," I said. I could hear the shower water running and Barbara was singing. Grimm didn't sit down, he stood next to the ottoman. I sat on the edge of the couch. Turning toward me, "You know the correct way colors are chosen. You gave me black with probable intent. Why don't we do it the correct way?" "Okay." Grabbing a white and black pawn I put my hands behind my back, then brought forward with closed fist toward Grimm, "Choose your poison." "I'll take the right hand." I opened my right hand, "Ah, you have the black pieces the official way." I was smiling. I put the pawns back and I set the time on the clock. I looked at Grimm, "Waiting for you to start the clock."
Grimm put his hand out toward the clock and it started. I picked up my "e" pawn and made my first move. 1. e4. I banged the clock to stop my time and start his time. Grimm wasted no time and extended his skeleton hand toward the "c" pawn and before he touched it, it moved two spaced forward. 1. ... c5. He extended his left hand toward the clock and before his bonny fingers touched it, his clock stopped and my clock started. "Wow . . . I wish I could do that." I said. "You might be able to very soon." I was startled. I'd never seen anything like that before. I grabbed my Knight and moved it for my second move. 2. Nf3. I reached over and banged the electronic digital clock. Again, he extended his right skeleton hand and the knight jumped up, moved and landed on C6, the correct space. He waved his left hand toward the clock stopping his and starting mine. "That's really cool!" I said. After some moves I had used up was 20 seconds. Grimm had used up only eight seconds of the five minutes.
'That was amazing! I have to speed up,' I thought.
I played faster. He continued playing just as fast. I made 15 moves and my clock said I used up 1 min and 20 seconds. He had used up 20 second. No way I'm going to beat him with the clock. I already lost two pawns and one knight he was ahead. Time wise at this rate he could easily make 60 moves in five minutes. We continued to play. I Banged . . . He waved . . . I Banged . . . He . . . etc . . . etc . . . After one of my moves, I banged the center of the clock and stopped both clocks. "Hey? What's with that?" asked Grimm. "I got to go to the bathroom. My wife is in the bathroom, I'll be right back." "Oh. Okay. Make it quick." "Be right back and It'll be your move." I got up and walked toward the bathroom. I left Grimm standing by the table and I went down the hall.
Grimm started shuffling through his papers. He hoped the next few pick-ups would be quick. He had some time to make up now. Grimm's gaze rested on the biography. He stopped: Denver High, it read: single. His head jerked up away from the keyboard, "It says, he doesn't have a wife," he said. Grimm move fast knocking over the chessboard and pieces scattered on the rug. He glided quickly down the hall with the scythe dangling from his back looking for the bathroom. The door was locked, and he could hear the water running. With a sharp back kick Grimm splintered it open. He glided inside and the shower was running. He pulled the curtain open. Barbara stopped singing and screamed, "Hey. What' going on?" She didn't see anything. I wasn't there. So Grimm turned, glided out to another room. The door of the next room was locked so he broke it open, saw no Denver. He moved to another room the door wasn't locked, he glided in. Grimm saw the window open and the curtain flapping in the wind. He went to the window, poked his head out, and saw I was running across the field about a hundred yards away.
'Damn,' Grimm thought, 'this is not going to look good for me. I missed the right time. Now I was fooled once. I got another pick up that I have to do right now. Denver will have to wait a while. I know where to get him. Too bad,I was winning'
"Beers are here! I got it," I said to my three bowling friends as I paid the barmaid. It was a perfect night for bowling. Lane conditions are great and the team is bowling well. I said to Gary, our anchor, "I almost missed bowling, you know." "Really? What happened?" He asked draining the last of his old beer. "I don't think you'll believe me when I tell you." I took a drink of my beer. "Sure I will. Try me," said Gary with a smile across his face. "Well there was this guy that came to my apartment and said he was the Grimm Reaper in training . . ." "Denver! You ran out on me. I see you made it to bowling." The voice came from up on the concourse. I turned and looked up. Grimm was standing there still wearing his dark black hood, robe, and scythe. He had his arms crossed and his hood was moving up and down impatiently. I still couldn't see his face even in these bright lights. I turned toward Gary and pointing I said, "See? That's the guy with the hood on that I was telling you about." "I don't see anyone, Denver. What are you talking about?" "You can't see him in the black outfit? Right there," I said pointing. "Denver, you're the designated target, he can't see me, remember?" said Grimm. I slumped down in my seat. "Aw, c'mon. Can't it wait until the games are over Grimm?" "Denver, I'm going to get written up for this. We really must be going, or do you want me to drop you dead right there among your friends. I can drop you as you bowl." "Denver, are you going to bowl? Who are you talking to? You're up," said Gary. I turned back to Gary and said, "I got to go. Mark me absent." "What? Are you serious? We have two more game to go. Why are you leaving? I think you are losing it. Are you on some type of drugs?" I pointed in the direction of Grimm and said, "Grimm, that's why. Just use my average. I'll see you later. Oh, I mean . . . Oh, never mind." "Gary looked toward where Grimm was supposed to be and then back to me. "I don't understand you. But, I . . . we need you . . ." "I know, I know you do, I guess . . . Grimm and all." I took the beer and I made a toast, "Cheers, one last time!" "Okay, Denver. Finish the beer and then we'll go!" Grimm said. We chugged the beers while Grimm watched, obviously irritated. "Denver, please, we really must go. We have a chess game to finish also." "The chess game? All right, all right. I'm coming." "Gary, I guess I'll see you around. Let me know who wins, huh?" I changed my shoes and said, "Gary, put my ball and shoes in locker eighty four, thanks. Bye guys." "I don't know where you are going, but see you later." Gary said and waved his middle finger at me as I turned and walked up the stairs toward Grimm. Grimm was gliding next to me as we made our way toward to the side entrance. Grimm said, "Denver, wait a minute please." We both stopped and Grimm turned slightly and faced down the concourse. He didn't say a word. Silence . . . . Grimm just stood there. Then he said, "Hi Isaac. I'm just picking up my missed target. Oh you got to hear this. I'm playing a game of chess with my pick up. He doesn't have a prayer. I'm playing the 'Sicilian Sozin defense.' You got someone here also?" Silence . . . . Grimm was listening. Grimm turned a little facing toward the lanes and said, "Oh yeah, I see him on lane 31. But he looks so young . . . It's such a pain when you miss some one, you better go if you are going to drop him right on the lane. I have to go myself." Silence . . Grimm was listening. "Later, Isaac." Grimm had been talking to another Grimm named Isaac, one that I couldn't see. He turned and said, "Let's go Denver. We're going to finish the chess game first." "We don't have a chess set or anything here." "I will create everything we need, even the position. It's my move." As we passed the men's room, I let out a long loud belch and burp. "Say, listen, Grimm. All that beer is just running through me. Can I take a leak real quick?" I said squirming. Grimm sighed, "O.K. Hurry up." I hurried into the men's room while Grimm waited outside the door. A barmaid passed, sloshing beer onto Grimm. Grimm looked at her and made a mental note of her. Several minutes passed and Grimm checked his mental clock and said, "This is certainly taking a long time. Wait just a minute . . ." Grimm said, and he glided into the men's room. I wasn't there. "Oh Hell, I got fooled twice now? Now I am in trouble." I was long gone out the back door of the men's room of the bowling center, driving my Scion onto the 101 freeway.
'This time he doesn't know where I'm going. Twice he asked me and the next time he doesn't have to. He might just take me. But we have a chess game to finish yet.'
I was very scared. I didn't want to die. I don't want to go. I'm too young. I drove straight to my mom's home. I parked in the back of the house, so my car wouldn't be noticed. I know my mom's can fix anything. I walked in without knocking. I don't understand my mom; she never locks her door no matter what time it is. "Hi, mom, can I stay here tonight? I promise I'll leave tomorrow. I'll explain in the morning" I turned locked the door and turned the deadbolt. "Hi, son, it's ok with me. You know where the guest room is with clean blankets." "Night, Mom. See you in the morning. Love you," I said. It didn't take long before I was sleeping like a baby. I laid on top of the bed, with my clothes on. I woke up when I heard the doorbell ring at four a.m. DING DONG! . . DING DONG! . . "Oh . . . no! Heck . . ." With the shoes in my hand I went into the living room. I didn't turn on the lights. I put my shoes on quickly. DING DONG! . .DING DONG! . . The hall light turned on and mom was coming putting on her bathrobe. "Who can it be this early in the morning?" Mom said. I held my index finger to my lips hissing, "Shhh . . . Shhh . . ." Softly as I could, "Mom, shhh . . . Don't open the door. Please don't open it." Mom asked softly, "Why are you whispering? What did you do now?" "Please Mom, not now. I'll call you later." I went to the kitchen, without turning the light on, I waited for the next Ding Dong.
'Please mom, don't rush to open the door, give me time!'
DING DONG! . .DING DONG! . . When I heard that doorbell again, I went out the back door and closed it quietly. Climbed over the back fence and ran toward darkness hoping it would hide me for a while longer . . . I would come back later for my car.
'I can just imagine my Mom opening the door and nobody would be there. I knew the Grimm Reaper wouldn't give up. I'm still running. This is not the end of it.'
I kept running cause, I don't want to die. Good think I'm a soccer player with great stamina and I know how to pace myself. I slowed to a fast jog.
What am I going to do? I have to find a safe place at least for several nights. I have to go to an ATM first thing, then get a new bank. First, I need some sleep, so I jogged for the homeless shelter since I know Robert, the person that runs it. It was a little late to be arriving at the shelter. I have known Rob since the fifth grade, that's when he moved into town from San Francisco. We didn't become friends until we were sophomores. We have been friends since. He was a psychologist with his own private practice, but he decided that was not for him and he started working one on one at the homeless shelter. The light was dim and I could see Robert sitting in the semi-dark room. As soon as I walked in, he recognized me and smiled saying, "Denver, what in the world are you doing here so late? It's almost morning." "Rob, it's such a long story and you wouldn't believe me if I told you. Nobody believes me. I need some sleep. Can I lay down here for a while until daylight?" "Sure. Just go in my office over there and climb into the lower bunk. Dim the lights and I will wake you for breakfast." "Thanks Rob. I owe you. Good night and good morning." I turned, walked into his office and I shut the door. It wasn't the best place, but it probably was the safest from the Grimm the Reaper dude. I laid in the dark thinking of my problem running various scenarios and before long, I was sleeping like a baby. It seemed like it was a short time when Robert said to me, "OK Denver. It's time to get up. Let's have something to eat. I really want to hear what you're going to tell me." Groggily rubbing my eyes I said, "You won't believe it but it's the, gosh darn truth." Having said that I got out of the bunk bed and followed him to the kitchen. There wasn't anybody there. I recognized it since I have helped here many times. We sat down at a small table that had a chessboard set up on one side. I was a bit chilly, maybe because I just woke up. The hot coffee was great. He set up our breakfast making several trips. It was sugar corn flakes, milk, toast, and grape jelly. I never ever had eaten cereal and milk, but this morning it was different. It tasted sweet and good. "OK Denver. Hit me with the story and I'll listen with an open mind. I have several hours before we serve breakfast and the crew comes in to do that." Rob said. Looking at me, he started to eat his breakfast. I began my tale trying not to leave anything out so he would believe me. Many times there appeared a smile or a smirk on his face, but overall I felt he was listening to me. He finished his breakfast; he pushed the dishes to one side and slid the chessboard in front of us.
He moved the white knight. 1. Nf3. Reaching over I moved the pawn. 1. . . . d5. I said, "Okay. That's about all. Now here I sit trying to figure out what I'm going to do to solve my problem or just go ahead and let Grimm just take me. What do think about all of this? Next question is do you believe me?" "Denver, I sort of believe you. Let me ask you several questions. You said that he carried a clip board with information that he looks at, is that correct?" Rob moved a pawn. 2. g3. "Oh yeah, he had it when he came the first time." I moved the bishop, 2. . . . Bg5 pinning the knight. "You also mentioned that there were regulations and appeals?" Rob moved his pawn 3. h3, putting the question to the bishop. "Yeah, Grimm mentioned that to me. He said he had too many regulations, rules, and appeals when there was a screw up on pick ups." I took his knight with my bishop. 3. . . . Bxf3. "Hmm . . . . Listen. This is just a thought. An ex-lawyer comes to eat here every morning. He used to be a hot shot expensive prosecuting/defense attorney. Then he got a divorce and became homeless. Maybe he just might be able to help us out with this. There's nothing to lose, we can run it by him in about an hour. Rob moved his queen and took my bishop. 4. Qxf3. "Well I have nothing better to do right now. I can help set up breakfast just to kill the time until we meet with him, if he shows up." I said. I moved a pawn 4. ... e6. "I'm sure, he'll show up today. It's Friday and he loves fish." Rob moved his knight. 5. Nc3.
Did you read the second part of the story?
Tomorrow I'm going to go see the movie "the Raven" by Poe.
look out steven king. e-book it !
LUCKY!!! i want to but my parents said "no we r goin to watch Madagascar cuz ur little sister wants to" and i'm thinking "Poe came before Madagascar. HE HAS RIGHT TO GO FIRST!!" sigh, u so lucky. no i haven't read part 2
I have to go to see Madagascar with my grandchildren wether I want to or not.
I have it on my family webpage. Soon it will be on e-book for free.
Thanks for the comments.
Funny. You did start this writing it was short.
Hi TMIMITW: All of it didn't fit on one post so I have so split it up. Read the second and final part. Klick on it.
Thanks for the comment.
I missread the title and thought you played against daeth.
You haven't read the SECOND part yet.
The Grimm Reaper is Death.
6/18/2013 - Tal-Starodub, Petrozavodsk 1984
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