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The Grim Reaper's Blog

October 31st – First day nerves

My first day in my new job. As with most first days I didn't have to do much actual work. It's quite a good thing really as I have to admit I'm a little nervous. The previous incumbent has left some pretty big shoes to fill. Quite literally actually – he had size16 feet. His boots were still lying around the office and made my size 8 trainers look like kid's shoes. They've had to order a pair of standard issue black leather boots in especially for me. It made me little embarrassed to tell the truth. Embarrassment and fear – two emotions I really shouldn't be feeling given my new status as the Grim Reaper. It doesn't make a good impression on the clients if you turn up blushing and stumbling over your words. I didn't get a chance to meet my predecessor which was a shame. I was hoping for some useful tips. The training here seems to be mostly on the job stuff which hasn't helped my nerves any. I mean, what do I do if the clients don't want to come with me or get upset? Surely I should get some counselling training at the very least? I suppose most of the counselling these days is geared to the ones left behind, the grieving relatives. Maybe the newly dead are better at adjusting. Anyway, I had a tour of the office and met my assistant. The office is a little drab and dusty. The previous occupant liked to keep up appearances so most of the surfaces are covered with cobwebs and dust. I'll have to get Nigel to do some cleaning. Cobwebs and spiders creep me out and the dust will start to play havoc with my allergies. Nigel is my new assistant. He looks like he hasn't seen daylight in several decades but seems pleasant enough. He's got some good ideas about modernising the filing system which to be frank looks archaic. Apparently the Reaper before me was a bit of a technophobe and wouldn't hear of anything more advanced than a quill and parchment adorning the desk. Nigel tried to get him to use a typewriter once but it ended badly. I didn't enquire as to how badly. It seemed a little too personal for a first meeting.

November 2nd – Appearances matter

I got my first uniform today. It's a little big and I'm not sure black is my colour but I'm sure it'll grow on me. Nigel said I looked good which was nice of him. He seems a good sort if a little shy. He brought some computer catalogues in today. Apparently some of the other Reapers are online and have a little chat room and message board set up. It'd be nice to have contact with some of the other Reapers. I'm still worried about seeing my first client. Luckily I've got a few days to acquaint myself with the paperwork side of things before I'm let out of the office. Clearly, paperwork wasn't my predecessor's strong point. The files are in a bit of a mess and his handwriting was appalling. Nigel looked terribly excited at the prospect of setting up databases and spreadsheets, bless him. I picked out a couple of nice laptops and sent him off to buy them. I wanted the bright red one but Nigel looked a little shocked so I capitulated and went for basic black. I suppose one should keep up appearances really. I'd love to suggest painting the office yellow but I think Nigel would actually have a heart attack. It might be fun joke though. Maybe when we know each other a little better.

November 3rd – Equipment training

I got my first go with a scythe today! It's a little unwieldy at first but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I only took one chunk out of the wall and the candlestick I sliced in half was pretty ugly anyway so no great loss. I've given myself a few minor cuts but nothing that required stitches. It's very sharp – it has to be, apparently, to be able to remove the soul from the body. Nigel hid behind his computer whilst I practised pretending to be working on the filing system. I suspect he may have been playing Bejewelled instead – I could hear the bling of exploding gems even though he'd turned the sound down. Anyway, his ears blush pink when he's not doing any work. I knew I shouldn't have let him get the internet just yet. I'll keep an eye or it but I may have to have words. I need Nigel to be on the ball while I'm learning this job and not pissing about playing online games. It's complicated work this reaping malarkey. It's not all just swinging a scythe around and hoping for the best and I'm going to need Nigel's help. I'm already worried I'm going to make a fool of myself. I mean, what if I miss? Or reap the wrong soul? Can I put it back again? I just don't know.

November 4th – Technology gone mad

Nigel has bought a new answering system for the office. I really shouldn't have let him loose with the company credit card. I mean, why do we need an answering system for heaven's sake? It's not like the Grim Reaper gets flooded with calls. We hardly get a lot of customer feedback. I can see it now 'if you were not completely satisfied with your death please call our complaints department who will be happy to help'. What made matters worse is that he chose the polyphonic version of 'The Death March' as the ringing tone. I tried to point out how crass it was but he was too excited to care. I think I may have inadvertently created a monster when I let Nigel scratch his technology itch.

November 5th – First day of reaping proper

Bonfire night is always a busy night for the Reapers. All those kids getting a little too close to their rockets, not to mention the out of control bonfires You even get the people using the festivities to bump off their relatives – who is going to notice an extra fire on a night like Bonfire night? I was pretty nervous about tonight, it being my first night out on the job but it seemed to go well. My first client was a teenage boy who'd clearly not paid attention to the firework talks at school. He'd gone back to his 'Midnight Blast' after it had failed to go off only to have it explode in his face. He was quite excited to see me at first until he realised that I wasn't a bloke in fancy dress. I calmed him down though and sent him on his way without too much fuss. It's quite satisfying really. I mean, I don't actually kill anyone. I just help them shuffle off this mortal coil and on to the next one. If I can offer some comfort or wisdom during the transition then all the better but just being there to guide their souls in the right direction is enough for most people. Like my second client, an old lady called Joan. She'd been ill and in pain for some time so I think she was secretly quite relieved when a short, sharp coronary carried her off. She'd already made her peace with life and tied up her loose ends and just wanted my helping hand to guide her on to her next destination. No fuss, no pleading. Just 'oh it's you, shall we on?'. It's nice when it goes like that.

November 7th – The trouble with black

Argh. The damn cat fell asleep on my uniform last night so now my robes are covered with tabby and white fur. I knew I should have got a black one. Then it could shed all it wants. It didn't help that the ratbag was looking at me all smugly the whole time I was trying to repair the damage. I managed to lint roller the worst of it but I'm still paranoid I'm covered in fur. I hate feeling all self conscious at work. I kind of feel like I should be the one in who's strong and in control – for the clients if nothing else. It's really embarrassing when the clients feel the need to reassure you. I sometimes think I'm not cut out for this job. I worry too much. I worry that I'm not doing it right, that I look stupid in black robes carrying a bloody great scythe around, that I'm not compassionate enough with difficult clients. I get really uncomfortable when people cry. It's not like I can take it back even if I want to. By the time I'm involved they're already dead. All I can do is separate soul from body and guide it on its way with as much dignity as I can. I can't turn back time. I can't pass on messages from the beyond. I certainly can't negotiate with the powers that be. I know sometimes it's unfair but everyone has their time, even if they don't agree with it.

November 10th – Bitten by the technology bug

I think Nigel's technology kick is starting to rub off on me. Seriously, I know there are 'expectations' but really, black robe and scythe? It's so last century. I've been looking into updating the tools of my trade. Not only is the scythe a little too 'medieval farm boy' for my liking but it's also unwieldy, difficult to carry and a lot of effort to keep sharp. With that in mind I've been road-testing some alternatives. I started out with a samurai sword. It's classy, sharp and easier to carry than that scythe. It does have a tendency to get caught up in my robes though and I felt a little too much like a Japanese ninja. It's just as tiresome to sharpen as the scythe but at least its lost some of that rustic feel. Next I tried some secateurs. Amazingly portable, I don't feel quite such an idiot walking round with them. The cutting action is less satisfying that a good swing of a blade though and I got a fair few comments about the size of my weapon which frankly seemed a little too personal. Bearing that in mind I tried a strimmer next. Less portable and swingable but altogether more meaty than the secateurs. Small problem with power supply though. I'm not always near a plug socket, the chargeable battery life is abysmal and having to enquire as to the nearest power point is fairly embarrassing. The chainsaw was my next idea. More swingable than the strimmer and more meaty than the secateurs but again power supply was a problem. It was rather embarrassing when the battery ran out mid-job. Luckily I had some scissors on me as a back up but it was pretty awkward. Not terribly professional. I've gone back to the scythe for the time being as it stops the sarcastic comments. The newly dead can be really mean at times. I'm thinking of working on the outfit next.

November 17th – Does my bum look big in this?

I had a row with Nigel today. I asked him his opinion of my new outfit and he was less than kind. I know not everyone can pull off the leather look but it was a little harsh of him to say I looked like a bank manager at an S&M party. I'm still not sure I can pull off the cloak look so I was trying some more fitted outfits. The lycra, I will admit, was a mistake. I looked like Superman's evil cousin and that was even without the cape. Not my finest moment. Denim and velvet just seemed to be a magnet for the cat hair and I'm already going through lint rollers like there's no tomorrow. PVC proved a little too unbearable – I could practically harvest souls by giving them a whiff of my armpits. I thought I'd cracked it with the leather. Less sweaty that the PVC and not as silly as the lycra. It's even easier to clean the cat hair from than most things. I'm all self conscious now after what Nigel said though. It's not like he's a bastion of fashion know-how but he does fall into the category of Joe Public and if Nigel laughs at me I guess that means everyone else will too. Back to the drawing board. Maybe a nice mixed-fibre fabric would do the trick...

November 21st – Developing my persona

Well, my improvements to the outfit and equipment haven't exactly been a roaring success so far. I have as least got the office into some semblance of order. Gone are the 'atmospheric' cobwebs and dusty bookshelves and instead the desks and floors are polished to within an inch of their lives. Nigel has worked wonders on the filing system so the paperwork side of things practically runs itself and I'm getting to grips with the computers finally. I managed to convince Nigel that a normal ringtone sounded more professional but he still pouts every time the phone rings. I'm trying to work on my overall attitude and persona. I think I've got the voice right now. Authoritative but kindly and with less of an accent than before. No one really wants to hear a Grim Reaper with a Yorkshire accent. It just sounds all wrong.

November 26th – Bad day at the office

I had my first motorway pile up today. It was hard work. Not only were there 7 fatalities but it was also a fairly gruesome crash. I've never been particularly good with gore and even though it's something I know I have to get used to it can still be hard to deal with, especially up close. It becomes a case of gritting your teeth and trying to stay in control, for the client's sake as much as anything. The clients involved were traumatised, as they often are in violent situations, but coped well and I managed to deal with them all as quickly as I could. It's not good for trauma victims to linger too long at the scene. It makes the transition all the more difficult for them. Whilst I know I did my job well today, I'm left feeling quite sad and emotional. An evening in with the cat should do the trick.

November 30th – One month down

Well, I've been a Grim Reaper for a month now and I think it's going to work out okay. The office is running smoothly thanks to Nigel and, even though his incessant humming while he figures out a problem is annoying, he's a good guy and we get on well. My attempts to modernise things haven't always worked but I've managed to upgrade the heavy wooden handled scythe for a lighter aluminium one which gives a better swing and doesn't hurt my shoulders as much. I'm still wearing black but I've traded in the full robe in favour of black trousers and a black hooded shirt. It gives a similar effect and it's infinitely nicer to wear. The old loose-fit robes were really drafty in the cold weather which made things generally uncomfortable. I'm definitely improving my people skills though its been a steep learning curve at times and not all of my clients have been particularly easy to deal with. Still, at least it keeps things interesting. I get to meet lots of people, albeit briefly and there's plenty of variation. I have to say that, unsociable hours apart, it's not a bad old job.


Apr. 28th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC)
Creative dry wit.
::ho-hum just another day at work to write in the journal::
This is splendid!


night elk: j_a_9
concerned elk is concerned

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