Coffee Chat Of Doom
Well, you know, how does one start a story like this? I was minding my own business, sleeping (is it possible to mind someone else's business while sleeping? if so, please advise), and as much as I'd like to labor you with a lot of expository build-up to the big event of this story, there's not a whole lot else to say except that I remember waking up to a big loud crash and all of a sudden there are four enormous horses in my living room with four rather nasty looking ghouls mounted atop each beast.
Actually, I'd say they were more wraithlike than ghouly. But I don't really want to give up the word "ghoul" to describe them. They were ghouly wraiths. Wraithy ghouls. You couldn't go wrong with either description, really.
Needless to say, this woke me up in a way that was not exactly soothing. I sat bolt upright in my bed.
"You broke my desk!" I screamed.
The four ghouls rattled some chains on their cloaks and did whatever it is that ghouls do when they break into someone's apartment. It was all very dramatic and presentational.
"WE ARE THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE," they groaned in unison.
"Okay," I said. "Well, I don't care if you're Fleetwood Mac. You're still paying for this property damage."
The largest of the four gloomy wraithy people bristled and said, "DO YOU NOT FEAR THE END TIMES?"
I considered this for a moment, and replied that it was too large a question for me to field on the spot, though I confided that I do tend to feel bad when I'm late for work.
The large figure floated of its horse (which was really cool, by the way) and removed the large black cowl from its head, revealing a glowing green skull with burning red eyeballs which looked as if they were made of fire. Its teeth were filed to monstrous points, and snakes slithered menacingly over its scalp.
"I AM DEATH!!!" it hissed.
"Don't be so hard on yourself. We all have image issues," I said, trying to be supportive.
"I CANNOT CONTROL MY T-ZONE," it bellowed with great existential angst.
"Tell me about it," I said, reaching for the Biore strips on my nightstand. "Winters are a bitch on my skin. I have to moisturize, like, constantly."
"YOU ARE DOOMED," Death hollered.
"Right?" I said, peeling my facial strip. "Sometimes I'll literally slather Carmex all over my face in the morning and I still end up looking like a walking pie crust at the end of the day. It's pretty bad."
At this point, another of the wraiths chimed in.
"DID SOMEONE MENTION PIE?"
This second creature hopped off its horse and fell to the floor with a great ker-flump. Actually, it wasn't so great. The second wraithy thing wasn't very heavy, so it was more of a mediocre ker-flump.
"I AM FAMINE!" It said to me in a wavering moan.
It lowered its hood to expose an emaciated face, its ghoulish appearance obviously ravished by severe malnutrition.
"Oh my god, you have the most sexy cheekbones," I said to it. Because it did. I would kill for this ghoul's facial features. So sharp. So classic. So Euro.
"THANK YOU," Famine groaned to me. "DO YOU HAVE PIE OR NOT?"
I didn't have any pie for the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, unfortunately. I never plan these things out ahead of time. I'm bad with that kind of thing. I apologized to Famine, adding that I did have an unopened bag of granola I could share.
"DOES IT HAVE A GOOD CRUNCH TO IT?" Famine asked.
"Well, I don't know," I said. "I think it's pretty fresh. I mean, it's unopened."
"I LIKE A GRANOLA WITH A GOOD CRUNCH TO IT, OR ELSE WHY BOTHER. IF IT DOESN'T HAVE THE TEXTURE OF A GRAVEL ROAD, I FEEL LIKE I DON'T GET MY FIBER."
"That's fair," I said. "Speaking of granola, what brings you nice Horsemen of the Apocalypse to my neck of the woods this morning?"
A third horseman waved its arms dramatically and made its cape twirl in a way that was really impressive but surely difficult to re-enact, kind of like when you were in school and your shoe made a farty noise and everyone would notice and think you passed gas, and you'd try really hard to re-create the noise with your shoe and you couldn't do it and nobody would believe you didn't let one rip, which just for the record, never happened to me, or if it did, I've let go of the trauma because I'm a well-adjusted person, you petty bitches.
"I AM PLAGUE!" the twirly wraith said in a very girly voice.
The fourth horseman looked at the third horseman. "NO YOU'RE NOT", the fourth horseman said, clearly annoyed. "I AM PLAGUE! YOU ARE PESTILENCE!"
The third horseman sighed. "ARE WE GOING TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN?"
"YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET RIGHT WITH YOURSELF, PESTILENCE," the fourth horseman said. "I CAN'T DO IT FOR YOU."
"Actually," I said, "I don't think you're Plague at all. Aren't you supposed to be War?"
"DON'T FIGHT MY BATTLES FOR ME!!!" the confused wraith whined.
I didn't know what was going on, so I just kind of shrugged at the third horseman and said "he's right, you know." I don't know why I said that, other than I kind of felt like I was on Oprah, only it was apparently the end of the world or something.
"SILENCE, MORTAL!" the four shrieked in unison, sounding like a cross between a murder of crows and Barry Gibb.
I explained to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse that I didn't appreciate being dismissed as a "mortal" and being told to silence in my own home. I told them that I was feeling really alienated and uncomfortable with their admonition and that it would be kind of like if some friends and I came over to their house and just out of nowhere said, "shut your piehole, you silly ghoul". The Horsemen said they understood what I was saying and that we could probably work through this conflict without having to bring in a mediator. I agreed. I told them I appreciated this little time-out. They agreed. Then I asked them if I was doomed.
"ALL HUMANS ARE DOOMED!" Death bellowed.
"There you go again with the 'human' stuff," I said. "Did you listen to anything we were just talking about?"
"I CAN'T DECIDE IF I'M CRAVING SAVORY OR SWEET," Famine interrupted. "MAYBE BOTH. I COULD DO WITH A SALAD BAR RIGHT NOW, TO BE REALLY HONEST."
One of the horses pooped on my television set.
"Horse just pooped on my TV," I announced to anyone who cared. Nobody did.
"I FEEL THAT WE MAY BE HITTING A CONVERSATIONAL LULL," Declared Death. "THE TIME HAS COME TO CUT TO THE CHASE, MORTAL."
"INDEED," Famine said. "WE MUST SPREAD CALAMITY ACROSS THE LAND; THERE IS NO FURTHER TIME FOR DAWDLING WITH THIS FOOLISH HUMAN."
"ENOUGH OF THIS FOOLISHNESS!" Pestilence chimed in. "I WILL NOT BEAR ONE FURTHER MOMENT OF THIS INSOLENCE!"
"I'M NOT SURE YOUR COMMENT WAS ALTOGETHER APPROPRIATE, PESTILENCE," Plague chided.
"ARE YOU CRITICIZING MY HUBRIS AGAIN?" Pestilence replied with more than a trace of annoyance in its cold, eerie voice.
"IT'S LIKE I KEEP TELLING YOU," Plague replied. "YOU KEEP RUINING THE MOMENT FOR THE REST OF US. IT'S LIKE WE'RE TRYING REALLY HARD TO BE 'HELLRAISER' AND YOU DRAG US DOWN TO 'SPACEBALLS'. IT'S NOT FAIR. YOU RUIN EVERYTHING."
"WELL, FINE," Pestilence said. "IF THAT'S HOW YOU FEEL, MAYBE I SHOULD JUST QUIT. IF YOU THINK YOU LOOK STUPID NOW, JUST WAIT UNTIL I'M GONE. THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE WILL LOOK PRETTY STUPID WITH ONLY THREE OF YOU."
"HA!" Plague replied. "DON'T FLATTER YOURSELF. YOU'RE UTTERLY REPLACEABLE. AND I HEAR MELANIE GRIFFITH IS LOOKING FOR WORK."
Pestilence pouted. "FINE, WHATEVER. I'LL STAY. I NEED THE HEALTH BENEFITS."
I dared to chime in. "So, um, can we get to why you're here?"
"YOU DARE TO CHIME IN?" Death squealed, in a voice that sounded a little girly.
"It's just that I have to be at work in about 45 minutes and you guys are cutting into my primp time," I replied.
"WE COME BEARING AN IMPORTANT OBJECT FOR YOU," Famine said.
Hearing this, I felt sure that my life was about to take a sharp, dramatic change. I'd always secretly longed for my Joseph Campbell Power of Myth Decoder Ring moment, and buddy, this was it. What did these legendary bringers of end times have for me that was so special? The holy grail? A loch ness monster egg? A spare set of keys to Stonehenge? The Talking Heads box set I've been wanting? My mind literally boggled. And a boggled mind is a special thing, let me tell you. It goes great with coffee.
"WE BRING YOU COFFEE!" Death said, whipping a Starbucks venti from the folds of his mothbitten, bloodstained cape.
"Gross!" I screamed, shielding my face with my arms.
"OH, MAN UP ALREADY," Death moaned. "IT'S NOT LIKE I DRANK FROM IT."
"But it's cold!" I exclaimed. "I can't drink cold coffee! That's nasty!"
"SO MICROWAVE IT," Famine said.
"You know microwaved coffee doesn't taste right," I said with a glare. "It has to be fresh and hot or else it tastes skanky."
"THAT'S NOT ENTIRELY TRUE," Famine said.
"Then you take that lukewarm coffee and you dance your happy ass into my kitchen and nuke that coffee and drink it yourself," I said.
"Ha!" I laughed. "See?"
"WELL, THIS VISIT WAS A REAL BUST," Pestilence mumbled.
Plague shot Pestilence a dirty look. Famine glared at Pestilence. And if looks could kill, the look Death was giving Famine would...well, you get the idea.
"So, let me get this straight," I said. "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse crashed into my home this morning to bring me coffee?"
"PRETTY MUCH," Death said.
"I'm guessing I'm not going to have a very good day at work today," I sighed.
"YOU COULD READ INTO IT THAT WAY," Famine said.
Plague shuffled its metallic feet sheepishly. "WE WERE TRYING TO BE SUBTLE ABOUT IT."
"Well, you guys tried," I said, trying to reassure them. "You should probably go, though. I need to tack some blankets over this big hole in the wall where you guys crashed into my home, and then I have to get ready for work."
"OKAY," Death said. "WE'RE REALLY SORRY ABOUT THE WALL, BY THE WAY."
"It's okay," I mumbled.
"REALLY. WE'LL PAY FOR IT. IF YOUR LANDLORD GETS UPSET, JUST TELL HIM WE'LL BE IN TOUCH. SERIOUSLY."
"No worries," I said.
"I'M REALLY SORRY THE HORSE POOPED ON YOUR TELEVISION," Famine added in.
"I think you guys really need to leave now," I said calmly.
And so, in a blaze of brimstone and hellfire (which, by the way, scorched my sofa - THANKS GUYS), they were gone.
And, as fate would have it, work really sucked that day. And, quelle surprise, I never heard from any of those jerks again, with the possible exception of a package I got with no return address, which merely bore a wadded up coupon for 15% off my next purchase at Home Depot.
The coupon? Expired. Thanks a lot, Death.