The Image in the TV
The scene is the living room of Lazy Lucinda’s apartment. It is the evening after supper. She is watching a big screen TV with a remote in her hand. It’s a little hot in the room but Lazy Lucinda is too comfortable to get up and turn on the air conditioner. Lazy Lucinda is w-a-y too comfortable.
Suddenly the image on the TV steps out of the screen into the living room with Lazy Lucinda.
LL: What! Lazy Lucinda sits up. What? Who are you? What’s happening?
Death: Is that popcorn I smell or rather butter on popcorn that I smell?
LL: What’s going on? Who are you?
Death: Death. Listen—can I sit down? The smell of that buttered popcorn is sickening. You have way too much butter on it.
LL: Who are you?
Death: Death. May I have a glass of water?
LL: Death? What do you mean, Death?
Death: What is wrong with you? Do you see my black costume and white face and hands?
Death: Is it Halloween?
Death: Then I’m who I said—Death. Now may I have a glass of water—what are you drinking?
LL: Is this a joke?
Death: What kind of joke? You’re fifty-seven? Lazy Lucinda? 13 Main Street? Unless I messed up—where’s my list? (fumbles through pockets, finally producing a paper with names and addresses) Yeah, it all checks out.
LL: What checks out? What do you want with me?
Death: What do I want? Isn’t it obvious? What do you think I want?
LL: You must be kidding. I’m in my prime.
Death: (unimpressed): Uh-huh. (Looking around) This is a nice place. Is it a condo? Do you own it?
LL: It’s a condo and I rent. Some of the stuff came with the place.
Death: (picking up a picture with a couple of cute kids): I love kids with big eyes. Yours?
LL: My grandchildren. Look, I’m not ready to go.
Death: That’s what they all say.
LL: But I’m relatively healthy.
Death: Oh ple-e-a-s-s-e. You’re obese, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetic and you’re going to have a stroke in a few minutes.
LL: I can’t go. I have responsibilities.
Death: You’re retired.
LL: My grandchildren depend on me.
Death: What—to drive them to school? They need to walk and get some exercise.
LL: I’m the weight recorder in TOPS. I need to be there to weigh people in.
Death: You’re the weight recorder? Don’t make me laugh. You’re so overweight your recliner is sagging. You’re hot but too lazy to get up and turn on the AC. And I’m still thirsty and you’re too lazy to get me a glass of water.
LL: Why would Death need to drink water?
Death: Don’t change the subject. You’re killing yourself with your unhealthy lifestyle.
LL: You don’t have to be cruel.
Death: Sorry, but how else can I say it?
LL: I could change.
Death: Too late.
LL: Listen, sit down. Let me get you a glass of water. Do you want anything else? Want some liquor in your water? Some cake? Cookies? There are some chocolates on the coffee table.
Death: See what I mean? Don’t you have anything healthy in your kitchen?
LL: Does water count?
Death: No. I mean yes. Anything else?
LL: Well, there’s strawberries on top of the strawberry shortcake. And strawberries inside the chocolates.
Death: Ugh. Just the water, please.
LL: Here. (gives Death a tall glass of water) If you give me an hour more I could go buy some fruit.
LL: Then I could live a little longer.
Death: Yeah, maybe a day.
LL: If I walked to the store, could I have a week?
Death: You can’t just walk once.
LL: No-no. Of course not. I’ll walk all the time. I’ll change my lifestyle.
Death: Oh! In that case, if you changed your lifestyle there’s no telling how much longer you could live. You could live to be old!
LL: Just by changing my lifestyle?
Death: Didn’t you say you belonged to TOPS? I thought you people were intelligent!
LL: So you’re giving me more time?
Death: It’s not me. I’m not. You are. You are changing your lifestyle by adding exercise and eating sensibly.
LL: Great! Thank you.
Death: Don’t thank me. Thank yourself. I’ll be seeing you.
LL: Not too soon I hope. Bye. Bye.
Death: Steps back into the TV screen
LL: ( Wakes up from the recliner with a start and looks around) Wha? Whew. What a dream! It seemed so real. (pushes the popcorn away) Ugh there’s too much butter on that. I think I’ll go for a walk. I really should exercise more. I’ll walk my grandchildren to school, but right now, I’ll walk to the store and buy some fruit and vegetables. Then when I come home, I think I’ll start a food journal and plan some healthy meals for myself. I want to be around to see my grandchildren grow up.
And wait till I tell my friends in TOPS what happened to me. Wouldn’t it be something if Death appeared to all the TOPS in the group?