There I was, waiting at the railway station / swiping my phone for information / when suddenly Death showed up / scattering people and coffee cups / tables collapsing, chairs upended / as the dreadful figure of Death descended / riding on a stormy cloud / that blew away the commuter crowd / and left me standing alone and shaking / (quite an entrance he was undertaking) / And Death slowly turned to me, and pointed, and said / Vincente Lorenzo Fettuccine – You…are…DEAD!
A long and slightly embarrassed pause
What was he waiting for? Applause?
So I tiptoed over to the apparition / hovering in front of the EAT concession / and as bravely and discreetly as I could / whispered nervously into his hood / My name’s not Vincente, it’s Jim / I think you might have confused me with him
Oh God! said Death, rubbing his temple / How could I screw up something so simple? / And the Dark Lord blushed deep in his sockets / handed me his sickle, turned out his pockets / looking for a delivery docket / parchment blowing up & down the concourse / ECGs, doctors’ reports / You sure you’re not supposed to be dead? / Sure I’m sure, I said / Don’t go putting that shit in my head / Sorry he shrugged I’m having a moment / Maybe there’s been some weird postponement / He sighed, took back the sickle / I’m certain I had you down for the hospickle / Hospickle? I said, what are you – three? / Death wagged a phalange at me / Listen! I speak six thousand languages! / Do you know what the Hindi for strangle is? / No? What about the Xhosa for lion? / or the Ayapaneco for Watch out Brian? / I bet all you did was French at school, eh? / Well translate this: Va te faire enculer! / I’m sorry, I said. I take your point! / I’m sorry I got you bent out of joint / You could try, he said, swirling his cape / I think you’ll find I’m in awesome shape
What would you say in that situation? / Mistaken by Death at the railway station?
I didn’t know what else to do / so I thought I’d put my point of view
You gotta admit it’s not everyday / Death comes calling in this hideous way / Don’t say hideous, he said. It’s upsetting / I’m sorry, I said, but I think you’re forgetting / just how bad you look, you’re Top of the Shocks / with your fleshless ribs and your wormy locks / standing there in your cape and crocs / They’re comfortable, he said, so I do a lot of walking / Just shut up for a minute and I’ll do the talking / Honestly, he said, You’d infuriate a saint / I may be immortal but a saint I ‘aint / Just try to clean up your act a little / because otherwise I’ll definitely see you in hos-pit-al
(he made such a fuss of not getting it wrong / I felt quite bad for earlier on)
yet another awkward silence
then gradually, away in the distance, sirens
Look, he said, checking the watch / that was looped around his jugular notch / Try to control your disappointment / but I’ve got a rather urgent appointment / Let’s just chalk this up to experience / Death’ll catch you later…Vince!
and with that he vapourised in a chuckle of thunder / that sounded like a tube going under / and it was only when the concourse was clear / and I was absolutely damn sure he couldn’t hear / that I shouted It’s Jim, you boney-arsed nonce / Try getting it right for once