The Death of the 99% (Story #28)

“For years now, we’ve been doing the same, tired thing.  People get old or sick, or they’re born in a terrible place or have an accident, then they die and I go get them.  And what do they have to show for their trouble? That’s right. Nothing. Not a dime. Listen, I know you’re all getting sick of it. You’re looking for a new approach. I can’t tell you how many times people just like yourselves come up to me and say, GR (that’s what they call me for short, and you can, too), they say, ‘GR why’s it always the same thing? Why can’t we do things a different way?’ They want to know why I only show up when people are sad and down?  ‘How come,’ they ask me, ‘we never see you when things are good?  The graduations?  The baptisms and Bar Mitzvahs?  Christmas? Ramahdan?  Earth Day?  Why’s it always got to be sad with you?’

Look, I’m no sadness-monger. I wouldn’t mind being around for the good news, too. But the reality is that that’s not going to happen. Let’s be real here, death is not great. I’m the first to admit it. I mean I could go into the advantages of mortality: how it saves the world from overpopulation and disease, how it helps put value on life.  I know you all know the deal, so I’ll spare you. That said, I have taken your questions to heart. And, contrary to popular opinion, I am not heartless.  That’s why I’m shaking things up, taking it right to all of you, my future customers.  I’m here to tell you all that I will be more than just the servant of death.  I want to serve other things, like a bottom line—your bottom line.

I’m still going to be that constant force you’re trying to ignore and run from.  I’m not going to deny my responsibilities in that arena because, really, that would be impossible.  But I want to do more for you.  I’m thinking outside of the box and yes, I do mean the coffin. Seriously, folks, it’s time to get away from a coffin-centric way of thinking about death.  It could be so much more than that.  There’s opportunity in death.  There’s money in it. That’s my message to all of you.  That’s what I want you all to leave here with, so I hope you will listen to what I am offering with an open mind.

Effective immediately, I am going to make it possible for you to make money on the day of your death. Here’s how it works: let’s say you have this feeling that you’re going to die at the age of 80, then you make that bet.  If you are right, your kids, or whoever you have in your will, will get a pay-out based on how much you bet. If you live past 80, then you lose you money, but you get to live longer, which I think you can agree is also a win, unless you’re a jerk, I guess. If you die early, there is no penalty.  You don’t win the bet, but your family will receive the original amount of the wager as a consolation.

I’m sure I don’t have to say this, but as you can imagine, suicides invalidate all bets, so keep that in mind.

Look, I understand the doubts and the nay-sayers. I am breaking the mold here. But I’m done with the long gowns and the damn sickles and the old musty thinking that comes along with that get-up. Have you ever tried to drink a latte trying to hold a sickle? They’re dangerous. So yes, I’m all about the new. Look at my car. More than a few of you have already commented on it. Death always drives American—right? Isn’t that what you all think? But why should I be relegated to Lincoln Towncars or Ford Tauruses? And why should you? Come on!  Don’t be intimidated by the black Beamer shining in the lot; take it as a sign of the wealth that could come to us all if we just play our cards right.

The times they are a changin’, my friends. People bet on all kinds of ridiculous things: Who will win the Nobell? Whether or not some poor person in North Carolina will default on his home loan and lose his house. Some people even bet on which way a groundhog will turn.  Nuts? Maybe, but those nuts are getting rich.  Isn’t it your turn? Why not make money on something meaningful, like the day you stop breathing? Death is coming for you. You can’t do anything to change that, but at least you can make some money. You might be a member of the 99%, but if you bet right, after you die, your family won’t be.

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Categories: fiction

Author:the circular runner

g. martinez cabrera currently lives in San Francisco with his lovely and talented wife. He holds degrees from Columbia and from the Harvard Divinity School where he spent three years thinking about lofty things. Since then, he tries to write some lofty and some not-so-lofty things down so others can see how lofty he sometimes is. When he’s not writing or spending time with said wife, he tortures young people with learning. He blogs at www.circularrunning.wordpress.com and Tumbls at www.circularrunning.tumblr.com

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