Death has a cold

Alex Kamczyc

The following column contains satire. Events mentioned in this piece are fictitious.

– Sometime in the near Republican future. –

I found myself, sandwiched between two people much larger than I was, at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center. I had a sore throat and needed a check-up from the doctor.

The room I sat in was a miserable sight: corporate white walls lined the room. I suppose it was meant to give a sense of security, but all it accomplished was making those who sat in it feel trapped.

Trapped in one way or another by our own shortcomings in life, love and finances.

There were people from all creeds and colors just as miserable as I felt, sitting in a collective pool of misery in silence.

The silence was the worst part.

I scanned the room, taking a headcount of the other people in the room. Of those people in the room, sat a man in the corner of the room by himself, reading a magazine.

I looked closer and it turned out to be Death in the flesh – or in the bones (poor joke, I know).

He was a lanky looking figure, dressed in black and grey robes, tapping his bare foot on the ground impatiently.

He was flicking through an old issue of “Elle” magazine, humming “Despacito,” by Justin Bieber. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Was he so sure that one of us would die that he was just waiting with us? Was business slow at the moment?

Whatever the case was, I had to ask him.

I walked up to him, nervous and growing more anxious with every stride until I finally sat next to him. I looked over to see what he was reading: an article about Justin Bieber – made sense why he was humming “Despacito.”

“Hey,” I choked out awkwardly. “You’re Death right?”

He tries his best to ignore me, but I wouldn’t break my gaze at him. It was all-or-nothing time; I had him on the ropes and I knew I could make him talk. He finally gave in.

“Is there something I can help you with,” he asked, annoyed that he had to engage with me. “An autograph?”

“No, no…I just wanna talk.” I replied, unaware that he was trying to shoo me off.

“I’m very busy right now,” he replied, but I ignore it. He puts his magazine down and turned to me. “Okay, what?”

I had to think quickly, I could ask this being anything in the world. He held the key to some of the greatest secrets in the world.

“What are you doing here?” I asked shyly. I know it was a bad question but I figured I’d work my way up.

Death began to reply, with something that was likely sarcastic and mean, but he began to cough violently.

It was the most violent coughing I’ve heard in forever. The halls rang with this cough; patients in the morgue shuddered at its echo.

“What happened, man?” I asked after he regained his breath from what seemed like the world’s loudest and longest cough.

“I have a cold,” he said, still sniffling.

“Wait, what?” I was thrown off.

“I have a cold,” he repeated himself.

“But you’re death?” I asked bewildered.

“Yeah, I know,” he said. “The worst part of it is that I have to pay for this crap out of pocket.”

“Aren’t you covered?” I asked, even more bewildered.

“Nope,” he said looking back into his magazine. “The Age Tax allowed in the AHCA means I have to pay higher rates to insurance companies.”

The “Age Tax” that Death is talking about refers to the rates that insurance companies can charge the elderly based on their age.

“But you’re like,” I began to count on my fingers his age.

“It’s a lot of money,” said as he put his boney hand on mine to stop my frantic counting.

We sat there for a few more minutes. I wish I knew what to say to him.

He was in the same pool of the millions of other poor, old, and chronically ill Americans who have to suffer due to bad politics.

He coughs again, sniffles and went back to his magazine again.

Even Death himself was screwed over by the AHCA.

Alex is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]