by Albert F. Switzheimer
death came knocking on my door last night. his long, bony hand rapped seven times as a black-eyed crow perched on his shoulder and cawed me to my doom. as I peered through the security lens in the middle of my front door I saw a disturbing grotesque—the creature’s bony face was stretched until it resembled more beast than man. the shadows cast by his sackcloth cloak fell on the orange hallway carpet and took the form of lost souls weeping for salvation. I decided not to answer the door and went back to bed. when I awoke the next morning to prepare for work I first checked the hall to see if my unwanted visitor was still there. to my relief he had disappeared in the night. he had, however, been kind enough to leave a card tucked beneath my door. it read “sorry I miss you, I stopped by around one o’lock. hopefully I can catch you on my next trip through town. sincerely” and then death, scrawled out in old-english lettering. however, my next-door neighbour passed away from a heart attack that very night, and I kept my disturbing knowledge, and my card, a secret for years. now, every two months or so, I hear that same eerie knock on my door late at night. of course, I never answer. the first few times I got out of bed to peer at the creature, but now I just roll over and go back to sleep. unfortunately, the mortality rate in my building is disturbingly high.
i know this man, a dear friend of mine, who tries way too hard. i believe, back when everyone was figuring out who exactly they were, he was passed out in a corner. now he has no option but to be someone else. once, a couple of years ago, he tried to be me for two or three weeks. he stole my cloths, went into my office and told everybody that he was me. my boss told him to screw off. my girlfriend was less political and had him forcibly removed from her apartment by the police. i called up everyone and apologized, saying no, he wasn’t really me, and that I’d be around to straighten things up as soon as i got my clothes back. i am generally a forgiving fellow, even to a fault, but he did stretch a couple of my favourite sweatshirts.