This short play takes place on the doorstep of a modest 1920's terraced house on the outskirts of Newtown, Wales.
Soft theme Englebert Humperdink as the curtain rises on the meagre interior of the house. Suddenly we hear the doorbell SOUND and now walking purposefully along the dark and narrow hallway to the front door the owner Gareth Jenkins, forty three and five foot six; renowned for his regular donations to a local children’s charity but as dull as the grey clouds clinging to the valleys.
As he walks along the hallway, we see about him the only items of any value in the house: trophies of his long association with Greg Jenkins Butchers in town; his father’s business and his alma mater, a place where he developed his famed skill with a five inch boner; a fertile and supportive environment which was later to pave the way for a glut of international butchery triumphs: The Golden Globes, Prize Un Certain Sphincter and, his proudest, the Welsh Head Cheese Championship.
Jenkins reaches the front door and opens it inwards; on the doorstep before him, a young man in his 20s dressed in some sort of urban “costume” consisting of a jacket with hood worn over a baseball cap and under the jacket a t-shirt sporting the words: “I don’t like mourning people”; a gold chain about his neck and trousers sagging over his rear in hip-hop stylee. He is quite unlike anything Jenkins has seen around these parts and yet here he stands — the Personification of Death.
DEATH: You coming, yeh?
DEATH stands side on as if ready to run; he beckons the choice cut Quadragenarian.
JENKINS: Beg your pardon.
DEATH: Deaf, innit. (Bustin’ rhyme) You fragged, liquefied, right, got the long kiss goodnight, so today’s the day we squalay!
JENKINS: Hang on a moment; what did you say your name was?
DEATH: Is you bait, blud? Me’s Deaf.
DEATH makes the Slim Shady Chop (Look it up).
JENKINS I’m sorry I didn’t realise.
JENKINS: You just seem quite young...to be deaf, that’s all.
DEATH: (Emits a short laugh) Bennin! Youth doesn’t always equate to ignorance, Mister Chief. So, let’s hit the road, yeh?
JENKINS: You heard that alright, didn’t you?
JENKINS: Quite. A point deducted Mister who-ever-you-are and I’ll tell you for why: I think your hearing is nothing short of perfect.
DEATH: OMG, extra DRED, I said Deaff-th, militant driver. Deaff-TH. (studying him) Grim Reapa, Reaper Man, you get me?
JENKINS: Oh Death! (Laughing) Oh, now I understand. You mean Death, of course. You’re Death.
DEATH: At last, raps.
JENKINS: Death with a capital D, my lad, and you’ve come to my hizzy to take me.
DEATH: Epic playa, so let’s split.
JENKINS: And believe me, (deliberately) “Mister Death”, I would get my coat this instant if there wasn’t one other small thing bothering me: why, oh why, oh why, are you talking like that?
JENKINS: How I’d imagine young men all over the south east of England communicate with one and other about drugs and girls.
DEATH: Oh, come on tourist why is you being such a knob?
JENKINS: All I’m saying is this: if you really are who you say you are I think your voice would have a far more resonant quality about it, perhaps similar to that of voiceover legend Don LaFontaine.
DEATH takes a backward step, looks mildly offended.
DEATH: Blud what’s your beef with me, huh? I’m like deaf, but in criss glams, and with an even crisser fro’; I’m being authentic, you get me, not a product or a brand, I am what I am.
JENKINS: Ok, calm down.
DEATH: You think I should be like a skelington in a full-length?
JENKINS. Well, yes I do and, naturally, carrying a scythe, and because of that here’s my central question: how do I really know you’re Death?
DEATH: Cause that’s me telling you. Like what Jesus did when he rolled with his manz back in the day. He didn't need to prove nuffink.
JENKINS: Ah-ha! But, you see, that's the difference. Jesus was instantly recognizable not only because of his beautifully articulated English accent but also on account of his long, flowing golden hair and perfectly groomed beard.
DEATH: But this is modern day, innit, and not everyone kiffed his lecture.
JENKINS: No, I don’t buy it, sorry, and if I were you I’d watch your tone when referring to the son of God around these parts.
DEATH: Whatevah, regulatah!
JENKINS: Anyway Death – if that is your real name – I heard most people die at eleven in the morning and we’re now well into the afternoon so I’d say that’s another mark deducted with the case for you being nothing but a door-to-door salesman looking solid.
DEATH: Oh come on blud, just help me out a little.
JENKINS: No, sorry, I’m not interested in whatever it is you’re after, thank you and goodbye.
JENKINS begins to close the door.
DEATH: OK, ok, look, I can’t go back empty handed, you get me? I aint doing too good right now and I’m not finding them numbers. Just tell me what I need to do to convince you who I am, please!
JENKINS ponders for a moment.
JENKINS: Very well. I’ll ask you three questions to which I think only Death would know the answers. If you get full marks I’ll be your date for the evening, OK?
DEATH: No way, this is long rinsed, blud! Don’t make me suffer.
JENKINS: Here we go with question one: On what day of the year did Elvis die?
DEATH: Trick question. He ain’t dead, he lives in Swansea, standard.
JENKINS: Correct, or more precisely the Mumbles. Question two: What was the actual cause of Percy Owen’s fatal heart attack last year?
DEATH: Pops, I aint happy here! That’s trecking a whole year back.
DEATH: Alright, alright. I think it was d’manz missus, no mercy for Percy, she planting cyanide in his beer and making him disappear.
JENKINS: Near enough and keep that to yourself if you will. And the final question: Who was my father impersonating when he choked to death on his egg salad.
JENKINS: (Studying him) Stalling again.
DEATH: Ah! Voiceover legend Don LaFontaine!
JENKINS: Well…honestly, I’m impressed.
JENKINS: And there I was – Death — listening to you prattle on in that ridiculous hip-hop stylee thinking you were nothing more than a lout trying to rob me.
JENKINS: (Laughing) In short, you as far removed from Death as I could ever imagine and top it all off you’re dressed like an idiot. But there we go, stranger things have happened at sea.
DEATH sits down dejected on the doorstep. After a while JENKINS stops laughing and stands beside the hunched figure studying him.
JENKINS: Look, I’m sorry. Do what you have to do, alright? You got all your answers correct and I’m a man of my word meaning it’s only fair you take me away. I won’t be missed and to be honest I’ve done about as much as I can with the back garden.
DEATH: Nah, forget it.
JENKINS: What? Come on, Death, I’m offering to help! You asked me to, begged me near enough!
DEATH stands up and gets ready to leave.
DEATH: All I wanted was for you to come with me, yeh? This scheme’s hard enough, like a playa gotta prove himself even to the teens.
JENKINS Really? But I thought death was all the rage; lots of people seem to be doing it.
DEATH: Not lately bruv. Flat roofing. Can’t seem to focus, hopeless.
JENKINS: Well, I am sorry, really. Wait there and I’ll get my coat.
DEATH: (Suddenly making the Ninja Star and spitting da RAP) But you aint sorry are you? Dont know what it’s like to be down on your vibe, cause you on the block from the mortal side; no-one hates tards like they hating me for broken hearts; so why do I do it? Nothing to it ‘cept bible ethics and mathematics; see its fate and law rolled into one and someone gotta get it done, someone gotta be there and with me there to fleece the deceased who else gonna shake the perished? Even if someone says, coward nigga you is a fake, I aint shameful, I’m just on the make. These are my believments to bereavement.
DEATH swaggers away with one arm limp and the other doing all the work.
JENKINS: Oh, don’t be like that.
DEATH: Rest in peace, oppressor.
JENKINS watches for a moment then walks back into his house and makes a phone call.
JENKINS Eric? Well, you’ll never guess what? I don’t know if it was a prank but I’ve just had the Personification of Death on my doorstep for the last half an hour trying to convince me to come with him. Yes, just now. No, Death, he said, but he was very pushy; then again I suppose he has to be. Yes, I played him at his own game and he went away empty-handed. Bought myself some more time; if you fancy a beer later…