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“I'm not always the Grim Reaper. I mean, sometimes I'm the Happy Reaper or the Joyful Reaper, maybe even the Excited Reaper...But, on the job, it's always Grim Reaper time.”
“I will eat your soul!”
“Unless I'm on a diet, then I'll only nibble the corners.”
The Grim Reaper is widely recognized as the Angel of Death, whose occupation it is to usher the souls of the living into the realm of the dead. He is also a semi-famous screen personality, failed comedian, reformed alcoholic, and goes golfing every Monday morning.
The Grim Reaper was born in 1935 to Harvey and Ludmilla Reaper, a poor farming family living in eastern Nebraska. Harv and Millie, both possessed of a nasty sense of humor, named their child Sheldon. Needless to say, Sheldon Reaper's childhood was troubled. On his eighth birthday at around 3:00 p.m., little Sheldon got off the school bus at his house. He had gotten a gold star in Mrs. Saggybottom's third grade class and couldn't wait to show his parents. But something was wrong. His mother was not in the bathroom obsessively scrubbing the toilet seat, as she usually was. His father was not sprawling in the barcalounger drinking Corn Husker Malt Liquor and watching WWE. "Mommy?" called Sheldon. "Dad?" The words fell dead. No one answered. Suddenly the awful realization hit Sheldon like Moe Glockenwitz's fist when Sheldon was on the swing. Lightning flashed, thunder roared. Rain poured in a neat 16-acre square centered on Sheldon's house. And his precious gold star abruptly burst into flame. Sheldon went up to his room to look out the window and think thoughts of death. Abandoned!
After this traumatic event, little Sheldon had no friends to speak of; this was mostly because of his downcast attitude, but also because no one lives in eastern Nebraska anyway. Sheldon's demeanor soon prompted the village people (both of them) to nickname him 'Grim'. The nickname endured throughout his unhappy and extremely boring childhood. Perhaps the only happy moment of Grim's early life came when Gomer Wilkins, the mayor of Bumpkinville, gave Grim a certified pre-owned harvest scythe for his twentieth birthday. When he unwrapped it, Grim immediately proceeded to slice Mayor Wilkins in half, giving him the dubious distinction of being the first soul ever "reaped." Grim, as the town sheriff, was forced to arrest himself on trumped-up charges of assault, murder, looting, arson, and being far more interesting than is the legal limit in Bumpkinville. The judge threw the book at him and Grim ended up in Aunt Marjorie's Big House for Ne'er-Do-Wells for 20 to life. During his sentence, Grim had gobs of time to figure out why he had severed the good mayor's intestines from each other. After 5 minutes of intense soul-searching, Grim found where his cellmate was hiding. But Grim also had found something resembling a reason for his murderous actions. Grim either had sliced the good mayor as a manifestation of his "shadow-side" caused by the bottled-up emotional trauma of his orphaning, or (Grim thought this to be more likely) some greater power had decided to add a random plot device to his life's story, just to screw with him. Grim decided that wasting away in prison was not what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to escape. So, the next day, when it was gruel time, Grim attempted to make conversation with the prison guard. Grim's highly intelligent mind quickly subdued the simpleton with false promises of pie, "right under my cot, and if you come inside, I'll let you have some." Once out of incarceration, Grim reclaimed his scythe and several of the black, tattered, hooded robes that he had a penchant for from the lobby, and left for college. Naturally.
Grim went to the University of Nebraska and majored in philosophy. He tried to do well, he really did. But the endless 40-page assignments on topics such as "Breast Implants and Examples of Bad Design, What Bad Boob Jobs Tell us about how Evolution Works" and "Concerning the Consciousness and Rights of Garden Snails" slowly but surely crushed Grim's spirit. It also didn't help that no matter how hard he worked at self-improvement, he couldn't seem to find a woman who would accept him as he was. And somehow, Grim always seemed to alienate others when he was looking for a friend. Grim fell into a deep depression, convinced that nothing he did would make any difference in his life. He began to take to alcohol to drown his many sorrows, along with listening to music by Sting and cutting his wrists now and then. Grim lost his scholarship and fell into tremedous debt. For a year of his life, Grim seriously considered suicide. However, in his quest for an escape from his life, Grim became more and more interested in the subject of death. This new interest gave a spark of hope to his sad existence. He stopped cutting his wrists and he changed his musical tastes. The alcoholism was the hardest thing to break, but after a lengthy 12-step program Grim was better than ever.
A twenty-something Grim was getting increasingly restless in his third year at college. He was still attending the University of Nebraska, and subsequently very bored. He often dreamed of one day moving to that almost mythical land of excitement, Hollywood. An entry in Grim's journal confirms this.
|Dear journal, Nebraska is boring. I dream of one day moving to Hollywood. It's legendary for its excitement. However, I have no way to get there, as I have no money.|
Once there, Grim tried to get work as an actor. After several slammed doors, Grim finally found an agent, name of Tony Leone, who saw the light. "Yeah, kid, lissen. Lissen. A nice move you got, OK, and you got the height. At least you're not short like that loser Schwarzenegger. But you're skinny. Like a fish! I can see your bones, kid. Leading men, they gotta show muscle, not bones. You buff up, get some meat on you, you come back and we see what we can do. Oh, and get a face-lift, too. Same problem. Yeesh!" However, Grim's workout plan just didn't pan out. He resigned himself to allowing an animation company to use his likeness in a cartoon. The show ran for four seasons and received a collective critical "Nobody cares" from film critics. However, like all television shows, Grim soon gained an unwanted cult following of die-hard "Grim-lovers." Grim didn't mind so much as long as they respected the restraining order. In Hollywood, Grim did what everyone else does, which included partying from 9 to 5, getting high, forgetting his clothes, getting pregnant, and going to rehab. All things considered, it seemed that Grim's life was going in a pretty much straightforward direction. Or so it seemed.
The "Angel o' Death" Gig
Eventually, the Bureau of All Creatures Mythical, Legendary, and Undead (BACMLU) caught wind of Grim. They thought that he would do good as the next Angel of Death, the previous one having quit over irreconcilable differences with the Bureau's Chairman, the Easter Bunny. Grim was offered the job, and Grim, having nothing better to do, took it. When he accepted the position, Grim was imbued with super-mystical powers like flight, time travel, and a bone-chilling voice that most people would kill for. Grim also received full health coverage, diplomatic immunity, a 401(k) pension plan, and a month's vacation time. Grim loved his job. The pay was good, the benefits were great, and he never got tired of seeing the look on people's faces when they realized their eternal fate was fire and brimstone. Grim got to meet St. Peter and Satan in the line of his work, along with countless interesting dead people. The only bad parts of the job to Grim were the long, often round-the-clock hours, and having to escort whiny suicidals to hell.
Grim was a natural. It seemed he was born for the job. He quickly rose up the ranks of the BACMLU, and even served as Vice Chairman from 1987-1991. While Grim enjoyed his job, it wasn't his dream job. When he was on his vacation month, Grim tried his hand at being a comedian. He made his debut performance at the Amateur Comedy Club in Hollywood. Sadly, his performance was a dismal failure, despite having a very good routine prepared. The unfortunate fact remained that people simply didn't have the nerve to laugh at Death. His lack of talent in comedy was a blow to Grim's ego, but he eventually recovered. He moved on with his life, earning a sizeable reputation as the Angel of Death that helped to heal his pride.
Later Years and... Death?
Shortly after the millenium, Grim began to feel the ravages of time on his body. His bones began to creak from age. He sometimes would throw out his back when swinging his scythe too energetically. As time went on (as it often does), Grim's health grew steadily worse. He was diagnosed with bone cancer in his 80s, which eventually led to his death. Once Grim died his health problems stopped, but he couldn't do anything. The BACMLU reviewed Grim's problem and granted him immortality for all his years of dedicated service with a smile. Grim was able to resume his work, better than ever. He took up golfing in the years after (he cheats), and remains a permanent bachelor.