When Thomas gave Death the slip, he figured life would go on pretty much the same as it always had. Apart from a little extra work making sure Death didn’t catch up with him, life should have just continued. He’d go to work, date, eat... live a normal life.
Life, however, had gotten weird.
Things were more or less normal for the first couple of days. He’d gotten an odd look here and there. It seemed like he had to repeat himself more than usual. Then he started getting a lot of odd looks. People didn’t notice him speaking until he’d gotten right in front of them.
His co-workers didn’t seem to notice if he was there or not after a couple of weeks. After a month, they really didn’t notice. He failed to show up at all for several and didn’t even get a phone call asking where he was. Oddly enough, he did continue to receive a paycheck.
Thomas’s job wasn’t exactly his passion, so he decided to see how long he could get away with not showing up before the paychecks stopped. So far, he was up to a month and a half.
Thomas was on his way out for a date. He’d seen her around here and there, and had a bit of a crush on her, but had never had the guts to ask her out on a date before. Now that he was cheating death every minute he was alive, the thought of a little thing like getting rejected for a date was barely even a concern.
He picked her up at her apartment, and the two of them went out for dinner at a restaurant he’d always wanted to try. His date was oddly quiet for most of the evening, but she’d laughed at his jokes and he thought things had gone well.
When he dropped her off, he walked with her up to the entrance to her building.
“I had a great time tonight,” Thomas said.
“Yeah, it was fun,” his date said.
“Do you want to go out again some time?”
His date looked uncomfortable, and said, “I don’t think so, sorry.”
“Oh,” Thomas said. He felt a little more rejected than he’d thought he would if things didn’t go well. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No, it’s just... You know what deja vu is? Well, I feel something sort of like the opposite of that. This whole time I’ve had the strangest feeling that whatever we were doing should never have happened.”
“Wow. OK, that’s a little harsh, I think. Have a good night,” Thomas said and turned to walk away.
“I don’t mean it like that. You seem like a great guy. Something is just weird, and it’s probably me.”
“OK. See you around then.”
Well that turned out to be a disaster. And a waste of sixty bucks, Thomas thought as he walked back to his car. He was sad that it hadn’t worked out at all, and a bit angry at what she’d said. He supposed he shouldn’t have asked if he’d done something wrong. Next time a girl told him she didn’t want to go out for another date, he’d just smile and say “OK, good night.”
Back at his place, he changed into the shorts and t-shirt he usually slept in, and grabbed a thick, three ring binder from his bookshelf. He brought the binder to his kitchen table and opened it. Suddenly, everything seemed all right again.
The binder was chock full of copies of Death’s notes, including names, times and addresses. It also contained the information on how to avoid her.
He wasn’t sure where the binder had come from. Someone had just left it in front of his front door, with a note that said, Thomas, you might find this useful.
And he certainly had.