It had been a long day for Bobby Christopher. He wasn’t exactly living the dream as a telemarketer. But times were tough and a job was a job. For the last four months, he had found himself day in and day out sitting in a small cubicle, attempting to sell HBO to cable customers all over the country. It wasn’t physically demanding, but some of the things he heard from people could be psychologically draining.
The polite ones simply said no and hung up on him. But those weren’t the interesting ones. He found the rude customers much more entertaining. These are the ones that would cuss at him over the phone and tell him to get a real job. If only they knew, this wasn’t his real life.
Bobby’s real life involved the real estate market, which pretty much tanked a few years back. These days, there wasn’t a lot of money to be made for a real estate agent. At least, not in the area where he lived. So to make ends meet, he picked up some part-time work for the cable company, making calls and selling HBO.
The computer automatically made another call. In his earpiece, he heard the ringing, then he heard the familiar, “Hello?”
A name was displayed on Bobby’s screen. “Hi, may I speak with Mr. Thanatos?”
“You’ve got him.”
“Hi, Mr. Thanatos, I’m with Cableville and I’m calling with a special offer of–”
“–Offer of HBO at a discounted rate,” Thanatos interrupted. “Yeah, I know why you’ve called, Bobby.”
Bobby blinked several times and stared at his computer screen. Had he mentioned his name already? He didn’t remember mentioning it. But he must have, right?
“That’s absolutely right, Mr. Thanatos. I’m sorry, have you already received a call from another agent?” Bobby asked.
“No, Bobby. I haven’t spoken with anyone at Cableville before now. No, I’ve been waiting for your call all day,” Thanatos said with a tone that frightened Bobby.
He was still staring at his computer screen and had broken into a cold sweat. He couldn’t explain why he felt so afraid. Something about this Thanatos guy struck Bobby as off.
“Are you still there, Bobby?” asked the man on the phone.
“Yes, sir, I’m still here.”
“Good. Now, I want you to listen to me very carefully. Are you listening, Bobby?”
“I’m listening,” Bobby said, as if he could choose to ignore what Thanatos was saying.
“Do you know what Thanatos means? It’s Greek. Means death.”
“I think I remember reading that somewhere, yes.”
“Then you understand that I am Death,” said Thanatos, his voice sounding more ominous with every passing moment. “You were fated to contact me today, Bobby Christopher. It is your destiny to meet with Death on this day. The question is, will you choose to meet Death face to face or will you try to flee from Death?”
Bobby stood up quickly. The wire from his headset pulled him unexpectedly back down.
“Don’t panic, Bobby! Calm down! We’re just talking right now. Besides, you can’t go until you sign me up for HBO. I definitely want to subscribe.”
Bobby was confused. The confusion did nothing to abate his fear. Why would Death incarnate want to subscribe to HBO? Was it for the movies? Game of Thrones? He pointed the mouse and clicked a few times. And just like that, Thanatos was connected to HBO.
“You’ve got HBO, Mr. Thanatos. Does this mean you’ll spare my life a bit longer?” Bobby asked, trying to sound light.
“I’m not so sure about that, Bobby. Can’t you just pretend you didn’t talk to me today and go about your life as if you don’t know when I’m coming for you?” asked Thanatos.
With that, Bobby ended the call. The customer got what he wanted. He suddenly felt sick. He logged out of his computer and made his way for the door. His shift wasn’t really over, but he was certainly done for the day. He ran through the parking lot and got to his car in record time. Leaving work, he drove recklessly down the road, narrowly missing a parked car. He nearly collided with an SUV when he ran a stop sign. In his panic, he drove more dangerously than he ever had. Barreling through the next intersection, he never saw the cement truck coming.