Death Becomes Her Travel Agent

Prompt Day #200: You’ve heard the humorous title “Death Becomes Her” before. Make it funnier: add a direct object and write a story to match the title (e.g. Death Becomes Her Dog).


Death Becomes Her Travel Agent


Gayle was going to die. She did not know that she only had a few grains of sand left in her hour glass, but Death, whose job it was to know these things, was ready. Gayle was married to her job and cared only about the bottom line. She didn’t have time for anyone else in her life and she liked it that way. Money was the only thing you could count on, the only thing that wouldn’t leave you, wouldn’t cheat on you, wouldn’t hurt you. It was strange then when these pervading thoughts wormed into her head. Thoughts about getting away; taking a vacation.

She’d never taken a vacation before but the more she thought about it, the more excited she became. She made an appointment at the travel agency and jotted some notes about where she might want to go. She moved up the dates on several foreclosures so that she wouldn’t miss any while away. She wanted everything at work to be completed so that she wouldn’t miss her bonus goal. Besides, she loved the frantic calls from the irresponsible home owners begging for more time. They learned quickly when dealing with Gayle Johannsson that time was not a right, it was a privilege.

The man at the counter smiled when Gayle checked in for her appointment. He was not what she had expected. The man looked old and withered. He did not have the appearance of a well-traveled man. He stood to shake her hand. His was cold but firm.

“Gayle Johannsson, what a pleasure to meet you. I’m Morty Peckols.” He said. His voice raspy with age. “So, you’re ready to take the trip of a lifetime?” He asked.

Gayle pulled out her notebook.

“Yes. I know I want to go somewhere warm.”

“Wonderful. I took one look at you and thought, we’ll be sending her someplace hot” he said, sitting back down and shuffling through his papers.

“Yes, but not too hot.” She said worriedly

“Gayle, there is no such thing as too hot.” He smiled up at her. “I’m thinking somewhere south”

“South is good, New Orleans maybe”

“No, that’s a good place for sinners, but not for you, Gayle Johannsson. For you, I’m thinking deeper south” He shuffled his papers more. “It says here you are a loan officer at a very prestigious bank, must be exhausting helping people achieve their dreams every day and never doing anything for yourself” his note of sarcasm was lost on the woman who never engaged in social interactions.

“Actually, I enjoy my job very much. I enjoy rewarding those who work as hard as I do, but there are those who squander what they are given. I monitor and handle that as well. It is all about balance.” She said proudly.

“It really is, isn’t it Gayle?” he said “But those who squander what they have been given, they have no one to blame but themselves.”

Gayle nodded solemnly.

“Well, back to you then. Somewhere hot and south. Somewhere you’ll find people like yourself. Not those hard working but down on their luck types who can’t even pay their bills”

Gayle stiffened. “I…no…look, when a bank gives you a loan, you have an obligation to pay it. That’s business. I hope you aren’t implying that I enjoy taking away someone’s home”

“I am implying precisely that, Ms. Johannsson” he stood, and for the first time she saw with astonishment that his eyes were black. No white, no iris, all black. “In fact, I am telling you that you, Gayle Johannsson, have squandered the gifts given to you.”

“I think this appointment is over. You, sir, are no proper travel agent. You haven’t listened to a thing I have said, instead you insist on telling me that I want to go somewhere hot and south, when I have this list of places I’d like to go and sights I want to see that you haven’t even looked at.”

Morty’s black eyes seemed to grow darker and he, himself, improbably grew larger. He was a manifestation of his own anger, which to Gayle seemed a bit over the top, but even more, it was terribly frightening. She stood, mask-faced to leave.

“Your appointment is not over, I’m afraid.” Morty said. “I’ve hope you brought your deposit, you’ll be needing it to pay the ferry.”

“You can go to Hell, I’m leaving” Gayle said and turned to the door. She made it to the door knob and as she grasped it with her hand, she felt one on her shoulder. It was large, boney and cold.

“I am indeed going to Hell; a journey I seem to be making more and more frequently. So, yes, I will go to Hell as you’ve suggested, but I am taking you with me.”

The icepick pain started in her shoulder where his hand lay and radiated down into her chest. She gasped and dropped to her knees.

“Time is not a right, Ms. Johannsson” Mort said in a deep, rumbling voice. “I’m afraid I must foreclose on your time on this earth.”