1688 Olympia way
A house with an identity crisis, torn between cutesy pinkness and the black of a cathedral, stands alone at the end of the street. On one side of the yard wild roses bushes grow; underneath them the grass is reaped down to a meticulous measure.
The furniture inside ranges from elaborate Victorian drapes to a Spartan stuffed recliner. Half the lights are on, half off, as if constantly in flux between the residents, both of whom now stand on either side of a locked bedroom door.
Thad raps impatiently against the door. If refuses to budge and he resorts to yelling.
“Erin, this is stupid. Open up.”
Erin’s voice can be heard echoing back through the door,
“No! We’re in a fight. Deal with it.”
“Would you just please act like an adult and open the damn door!”
“Leave me alone. I don’t want to talk to you. I’m calling my girlfriends and I’m getting away from this place, away from you, you murderer!”
“Don’t act like a child Erin… Would you at least tell me why you’re angry at me?”
“How can you not already know?”
“Because I don’t read minds Erin. Not all of us can immediately know how someone feels without asking them.”
“You never ask me how I feel, that’s the problem, you don’t care!”
“I’m asking now aren’t I?”
Erin swings the door open. Her eyes are filled with tears, they mix with the look of rage on her face with a terrible effect.
“You want to know why I’m pissed at you? You really don’t know? Maybe its because you killed somebody today!”
“Baby you’re going to have to be way more specific.”
“HE WAS IN LOVE!”
“Erin, babe," Thad says laughing, "I’m the grim reaper, ‘death incarnate’. Do you have any idea how little that narrows it down?”
“The Surfer. The one in San Diego. He was teaching his fiancé how to surf and you killed him.”
“NO—falling headfirst into the rocks on the shore killed him. I was just there to make sure it all went smoothly.”
Erin begins to pace about the room; Thad stays anchored in place, his arms crossed. She begins hurriedly packing a suitcase with her clothes.
“Go smoothly?” she yells, “How was that going smoothly? How was killing him in the most gruesome way possible the day after he proposed going smoothly? Do you know how much work I put into that relationship? That woman may never love again, and all because you had to kill her fiancé in front of her eyes.”
“Erin, my job isn’t like yours. Love is blind, Death isn’t. If they’re on the list—”
“Oh don’t give me that list bullshit again. Its still wrong and you know it; you could have spared him, given him a concussion, an ugly but endearing scar, maybe brain damage or something.”
“It’s not up to me. If it’s their time to go, they have to go. I don’t pick and choose who dies; I just lead them onwards once it happens. No one gets taken down unless they’re on the list.”
She stares back at him with angry disbelief.
“Persephone.” she says.
Thad begins to frantically shake his finger in debate.
“No, no, no, no, no—That’s not true and you know it. Persephone was a once in an eternity situation. The only exception to date, and to be fair, that one was your fault.”
“My fault?” Erin yells back, “Is your all-consuming ego really that big, that you can somehow blame that one on me?”
“Hey you’re the one who made him fall in love, sweetheart! Everything was hunky-dory before then, but no, you had to prove that love could conquer even the God of the Dead, and that’s what happened.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t think he was going to rape her and drag her to Hell! The point is you took her when she wasn’t on the list, so you could just as easily not take people who are.”
“Why should I throw off my schedule for them?" Thad argues "Why should I let them win?”
“ITS NOT A COMPETITION!” she yells back, “You could do it just to be NICE!”
Erin slams the suitcase shut and begins making for the door. Thad unhinges from his locked position by the back wall and begins to follow her.
“Where are you going?”
“To my mother’s.”
Thad bolts up and pushes the front door shut with his bare hand. She stares at him.
“Come on baby don’t do this. We can work it out, we always have in the past.”
“We work it out in the past because you always say ‘Please Erin, I’m tired from reaping souls all day. Can we talk about it tomorrow?’ And I’m gullible, and I love you, so I say yes. But I can’t do it any more. I am tired of always having the same argument with you. We can’t work both our jobs and be together, its just not going to work.”
“Well, then maybe you could find somebody else to—”
“I’m not quitting my job Thad. Making people fall in love isn’t a bad thing. You’re the one who always causes conflict. It aught to be you.”
“I can’t quit,” Thad says, “it would throw off the schedule. Do you know how long it would be before people started dying again?”
“That’s it.” she says, prying his fingers off the door, “I can’t go on like this. I knew you would react this way; my mother knew you would react this way. I should have followed her advice and married a mortal like she said. I’m sorry Thad, it was nice while it lasted.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” He drops to one knee and holds her back by her hand. “What if we worked it out? Like seriously, you know, talked about our “feelings”, and all that other stuff that you’re always telling me about?”
A pink Miada with heart shaped motifs is already waiting for her in the driveway. Erin looks at Thad in the doorway with a sense of pity. There is a pause before she decides which direction to go.
“You promise you’ll really try?” she asks “No putting it off for another hundred years, no nodding your head and saying “yes baby”, you actually want to work on this?”
“I want to try.” He says.
Erin stalls for a moment. She looks down at his smiling face; despite the sulky demeanor and bony exterior, he could at times, be cute. She sighs and comes back inside. She and Thad re-enter the front door together and move into the living room. She plops the suitcase down on a sofa. It opens and Erin pulls out a small card tucked inside one of the folds. She hands it to Thad.
“I want us to go to couples counseling. I thought it over and I want us to talk to Hera.”
“Hera? As in the Goddess Hera?” He looks at the card and flicks it with his finger. “I don’t think our problems are THAT bad. Wouldn’t she have more important things to do?”
“So what,” Erin replies, “this isn’t important to you now?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”
“Really? Because that’s what it sounds like.”
“Ugghhh," he sighs "ok, you win. We’ll go to see Hera, if she has time for us; but if not...”
“Our session is scheduled for noon tomorrow,” Erin says “Make the time and don’t be late.”
“Sweetheart when am I ever off schedule? ... Wait, how did you already make an appointment? We just had this fight three seconds ago?”
“Tomorrow, noon, be there,” Erin says, “I’m gonna take a shower.”
She calmly shuts the bathroom door without further explanation, as Thad stares down at the business card.