An illustration of an undertaker from Mark Twain's Roughing It

“There is only the task, one single directive, sepelio.  And so I do that which I was born to do, I create order. Nameless and unloved, I am the storm crow. The necessity you refuse to acknowledge. Thankless I continue on, taking only that which is mine and only at the appointed time. Not that that ever stops any of you from raging when you find yourself in my presence. Which let me assure you leaves me unaffected, no human furry could ever dissuade me.”

“Now, Mr…,” the good Dr. Lavine says as he stops his rapt staring and consults his notes, “Diggery. When did you first come to believe that you are ‘the’ Grim Reaper?” His sarcastic air quotes are an audible thing.

“I never said I was a Reaper.”

The mater of fact tone in the man’s voice causes the doctor to pause slightly before explaining himself. “Mr. Diggery, sir, have you not just used the phrase to take only what is yours and described your life goal as sepelio or to bury if my Latin is still up to snuff? What else am I to think?”

“Not that, never that! I am something else all together. I’m a Diggery.”

“Yes, Mr. A. Diggery, I have that here in my notes, but let’s focus shall we,” Lavine says as he rubs his eyes beneath his spectacles. “If we have not been discussing your, how shall I put this…your mistaken identity what on earth have we been talking about?”

Opposing looks of anger and disappointment flit through the man’s eyes before he lets his shoulder’s sag and gently rests his head in his large calloused hands. “I knew this was a long shot, but when I saw your name on the list I had to try.”

Dr. Lavine cocks his head to the side as if trying to determine if he heard the man correctly, “List?”

“I mean if I’m ever going to be able to enjoy my work again I have to get past this right? I have to let go of this anger.”

“Excuse me, but what list?”

“So no one knows who I am. Or what I do. Or that without me it would all fall apart. So what,” the man exclaims as his head snaps forward, “I know!” “That’s it isn’t it Doc? I know and that has to be enough.”

“Now, Mr. Diggery I really must insist that you explain yourself immediately,” Lavine says nearly jumping from his chair he put so much force into his words.

The man glances at the door for a second then nods his head. “Yeah, I guess I better since we’re almost out of time. I’ll keep it real simple Doc. Reapers and Diggerys work in this unbalanced partnership. We do all the leg work, logistics really, prepare, sort, and deliver, but they collect. So they get the glory. That’s where I was getting tripped up. All the work, time, and energy I put into this, every time, and you don’t even know my name or why I’m here. Well, I’m good at what I do, I know it, and he couldn’t do his job without me,” he said proudly motioning over the good doctor’s left shoulder.

The shadowy figure was cloaked, its face hidden in the dark recesses of an oversized hood, and stood with hunched shoulders as if the room were to small. Slowly it raised an arm and inclined its head suggesting that Dr. Lavine should join him, but all he did was pale.

“What list Mr. Diggery, what list am I on,” Lavine asked panic rising in his voice.

“The only one that matters Doc, I’ll be in touch. Thanks for listening.”