Death Knocks Thrice
Inspired by Woody Allen's "Death Knocks"
(Amit Chakraborty is seen crouching over a book, as his laptop lies open and his room is a (usual) mess. There is a knock-knock-knock on the door. )
Amit: It's ok, come in Sushant, I'm not jacking off.
(The door opens, and in walks a figure immaculately clad in black suit and trousers, with a tie to fit. )
Amit: Oh, sorry.
Death (for it is no one else): Don't elaborate.
Amit: Hmm. (Surveys the visitor.) You don't belong here.
Death: How could you know?
Amit: Clad in a suit and all that. Pretty obvious dude. Who're you?
Death (extends his hand): I'm death. You Amit Chakrabarty?
Amit: Haha, nice joke. So, death, you come here to loiter or what?
Death: I'm come to take you, Amit.
Amit: Haha, nice joke. Won't work. And it's "Awmit", dude.
Amit: Sigh. Being Death and all, haven't you taken bongs?
Death: Death with a capital D, man.
Amit: I did say a capital D, Death.
Death: Oh, sorry. It's hard to make out in conversation.
Death: I work mostly in Mumbai. I do have a friend who takes care of a section of Calcutta. (Amit flinches slightly.)
Amit: Somebody else took care of Colaba? And IIT? And..
Death: Okay, okay, I confess, I'm new to the job.
Amit: So, death? You expect to fool me with that crap? Who're you really?
Death: I am death! And I have come to take you, Amit.
Amit: I don't think you grasp the concept of Amit, "Death". I'm a cosmologist. I know the universe, and whatever's inside it. You can't fool me by pretending there's heaven and hell and purgatory and all that, I know that till redshift z there's...
Death: Hey, cut the crap. Cut cut. Stop. I'm going to take you to a parallel world.
Amit: Parallel world. Hah. Eschewing the Many Worlds Interpretation, no doubt.
(Death gets up and starts jumping up and down, and shouts "NERD!" a couple of times.)
Death (to himself): My first assignment, and I get a nerd. A frickin' nerd.
Amit: And a frickin' atheist.
Death: Oh, dear.Amit: You're come to TIFR, what do you expect?
Death: I thought the worst was over when the guards at the gate gave me such a hard time over ID.
(Death gets up, locks the door and turns to Amit.)
Death: Look man, I don't know how to convince you, but I really am Death. I died a couple of years ago myself, but such a horrific death. They gave me the job of handling the books, and it's through sheer hard work that I progressed to this, man. You respect hard work don't you? My first job man, don't make it too hard.
Amit: Dude, I'm in grad school. In perfect health. Endowed with a perfect bong brain. You think I respect hard work?
Death: But how am I supposed to verify that I'm death? We don't exactly have ID's in heaven you know. We don't stop people at the Pearly gates asking for ID.
Amit: I refuse to believe you'd let anyone in just like that. Come on, what if some goon walked into heaven.
Death: We have a self-regulating thing there. Heaven just ain't visible to those heading for hell.
Amit: Yeah, right. How'd you do that, exactly, without drugging the people? Or some elaborate virtual reality scenario, hmm...
Death: You'll see. Haha, you'll see. All this nerd talk is useless there. (Diabolical Laughter.)
Amit: I don't believe you man. I told you right, I'm in perfect health. I can't die.
Death: Perfect schmerfect. You have carpal tunnel because of excessive jerking off. You fell down last week because you were looking at that girl whose-name-you-don't-know when descending the stairs. You drink milkshakes with extra sugar in canteena everyday. Who knows what can happen to you right this moment, man. Perfect, he says! (Laughs to himself.)Amit: How do you know all that? You've been spying on me? Oh, my God, you're not really... come on...
(There's a lull for a minute as Amit collapses onto his chair, then starts pacing the floor, and suddenly grabs Death by the collar.)
Death: Don't kill me! (More laughter.)
Amit (leaves him): You're quite jovial for a guy in charge of death.
Death: Some say it's my way of coping with stress. My analyst says it's my way of coping with my death.
Amit: I don't want to die.
Death: I say it's my way of coping with the lack of a girlfriend. One day some cute girl shall die and I shall ride her to heaven.
Amit (shouting): Did you hear what I said!? I don't want to die!
Death: Everyone says that.
Amit: How do you know, you haven't taken anyone yet.
Death: My seniors told me that.Amit: Don't trust seniors. Learnt it the hard way. And it'd be hard if everyone had extensive debates with death the day they died. Someone would've noticed.
Death: Hey, cut me a little slack here. It's my first day, and I'm not the violent type.
(Amit takes two cigarettes out of his drawer and offers Death one.)
Death: Insert customary joke here.
Amit: Quite funny for Death.
Death: Yeah, yeah. Quite funny. Extensive Debates. Not violent. Stop rubbing it in that I'm not fit for the job.
Amit: You sound like you could use a cigarette.
Death: I never smoked in real life man. Don't want to now.
Amit: Tell me how you died.
Death: Oh, Oh, I know the retort to that one: Tell me how you died! (Laughs)
Amit: Not funny man. Below the belt even.
Death: Sorry. Come on, time to go.
(Ignoring Death's words, Amit sits down on the chair and begins contemplating.)
Amit: I thought I'd get laid before I died, man. I thought...
Death: Oh, Jesus, don't start with that. I know, life's been unfair, you couldn't get into a good place, don't have a job, still a student at 25, whatnot.
Amit: No, in fact, I did get into the institute I wanted. I don't have to work at 25, and still earn! Man, my life rocks.
Amit: Please don't take me, my life rocks. Don't you see? Don't your eyes well up with tears at the thought of taking such a nice guy at the prime of his life?
Death: Ok, firstly, I have to do this, sorry. It's my job.
Death: Secondly, I don't know whether you're a nice guy. I know not much about you. Prevents personal biases and all, you understand.
Death: No buts.
Amit (hysterical laughter): Haha, you just said butt. You said butt, hahahaha...
Death (to himself): Oh dear he's gone hysterical.
(Amit runs around the room laughing for some time, and then suddenly stops and faces death.)
Amit: I was wondering... do I get a phonecall? One last phonecall?
Death: According to the book of Death rules written in 2000 BC, there were no phones in existence.
Amit: A last wish?
Death: Oh come on, don't believe in superstitions like magic, man!
Amit: Very convenient.
Amit: Isn't there any loophole? Like, you can't take bong graduate students who're studying far away from home and can't pronounce the wavefunction correctly?
Death: That'd exclude quite a lot of people.
Amit: There must be something man! Some... thing... Some... thing...
Death: Look on the bright side there, chap. Once I take you to heaven, you'll still live! As in, stay with your body for eternity and all that.
Amit: Ugh, could you disgust me more?
Death: I wasn't trying, and if I try...
Amit: Understand... the concept of... rhetorical... questions? (Starts sobbing.)
Death: What's the use? Anything I say will depress you.
Amit (wipes face): Okay, I'm ready.
Death: Now that's what I call strong in the face of death.
Amit: Rub it in.
(Death gets up.)
Amit: Tell me something, how am I supposed to reconcile... this... supernatural stuff with my preexisting... scientific world view, you know, man.
Death: Oh, not rhetorical? Well, I don't know.
Amit: I should've been a cobbler.
Death: No one wears shoes in heaven.
Amit: Is there study? What does one do all the time?
Death: Oh, mostly sex.
Amit: You know what, you could've saved half an hour of your time.