The Director of Operations rubbed his temples as he waited. He knew this would be a difficult meeting: the ones with civil servants always were.
The Employee walked in through the door, not bothering to open it. He never opened it. A moment later He was sitting, though The Director could not remember Him moving between positions. He spoke first, in the harsh grating whisper that was His trademark.
You wanted to see me?
The Director fought down an urge to panic (everyone did, after all, when confronted by Him) and began.
“Well, uh, Sir, it has come to our attention that you’ve, er, been behaving rather, ah, atypically, of late.”
Atypical in what way?
“Well, Sir, I suppose the first thing is the manner of your dress. The new cloak is, er, striking, but it is rather a major change.”
Empty eye sockets stared at The Director from under the heavy hood of a hurricane cloak of brilliant orange and yellow in a floral pattern.
I thought black was a little too Grim.
“But people have certain, expectations…”
I chose it for visibility.
“Well it certainly is visible. However, there have been complaints from some, er, traditionalists.”
Dead traditionalists? I cannot see why their opinion matters to the Department.
“It’s not just that, Sir. They’re also upset about your new choice of, er, culling instrument.”
It is called a chain saw. Far more efficient than the old scythe.
“It’s too noisy.”
Many have complained that the Final Moment comes without proper warning. Now they need but listen.
“It knocks people’s heads off. People’s heads don’t come off.”
I beg to differ.
“Not from a heart attack! And what’s with this new catchphrase of yours? What was wrong with ‘Your doom is upon you’ and ‘The bell tolls for thee’?”
The phrasing is archaic. We must keep up with times, must we not?
“Your new one is not an appropriate replacement!”
I am expected to exult in the termination of life.
“Yes, but shouting ‘Yee-hah!’ while lopping people’s heads off with a chain saw isn’t quite what they're expecting!”
They will have to adjust their expectations then. We can’t hold on to the old ways out of sentimental attachment to tradition, can we?
“This is about last week’s memo, isn’t it? The one about updating our traditions for the new millennium?”
Yes, it is. And the date.
“The date? What about the date?”
Happy April Fool’s Day. See you tomorrow.
Suddenly Death was standing and gliding silently toward the door. The Director checked his day planner.
“I don’t have an appointment with you tomorrow.”
Not on YOUR calendar.