Friday, August 1, 2008

Angel Magazine - Interview with the Angel of Death

She certainly cuts a mean figure walking into the coffee shop. And this time I’m not speaking about her notorious nine-foot scythe – Ixion.

I’m waiting to interview the daughter of the original Angel of Death – that famed Grigori Asrael – who at the moment is fashionably late. Of course, when you’re waiting on Death herself, this is usually a good thing.

Penelope, the Dark Angel of Death, The Collector of Souls, Angelis Femina Morte, The Grim Reaper, The Big Chill, is a bit off schedule today and out of sorts. Still, she has arrived with a flourish and all but crashes into my table like an unrestrained force of nature.

Penelope fidgets for a moment with the contents of her black handbag. She’s lost something it appears. I just hope that it’s not a soul.

“My fucking keys. Now I find my fucking keys.”

All at once, Penelope fixes those pale blue/grey eyes on me, drinking me in – savoring the life of me. It’s more than a sip. It’s a taste of my being.

“Don’t you hate days like this? God. I couldn’t find a place to park for the life of me,” she gripes.

I wonder then – for the life of me? And for the life of anybody else? I think it’s just better that she doesn’t park nearby.

The Dark Angel spills the contents of her purse onto the table. She’s careless and almost spills my Café Mocha as well.

“Oops,” she apologizes – none to sincerely – “Accidents happen.”


Nail file. Rat Poison. Ampule of Strictnine. Mascara. Chanel #666. And somewhere in the pile she retrieves what she was apparently searching for. Ruby red lip gloss…the sweet kind.

“Thank Goddess,” she purrs applying the stuff to her full pink lips. “That’s the stuff. Yummy.” She smiles, childlike.

The Angel of Death is certainly ‘yummy’ too I think. She’s a far cry from her haunting, almost malevolent, father Asrael. She’s left the black robes at home. She probably doesn’t even wear them at all. To look at her, the Angel of Death that I’m faced with is worth dying for.

“Are you checking me out?” she asks with a knowing grin. “I’m flattered. That’s sweet. I kind of have my eye on you too.”

Oh crap. Really?

She winks at me. I wince. I hope that she doesn’t take that wrong. Damn. She is good looking though. Long tresses of jet black hair, pale – marble smooth – skin. She even has dimples and a beauty mark. And don’t even get me started on that figure of hers.

Penelope looks back over her shoulder shifting her sunglasses back up over her hairline. “Hey! Can’t I get any fucking service around here?”

Our waiter, a young Cherub barely in his wings, uneasily shuffles up to our table. He manages a forced smile. Honestly, it’s a little weak for a Cherub.

“Mistress?” the Cherub manages to say.

Penelope seems to be lost in thought for a moment, idly chewing on a piece of gum. She blows a bubble, pops it and absently sucks it back in. “Do you have decaf?” she asks. “I don’t get much sleep as it is.”

“Sure,” answers the Cherub. “Could I interest you in something in particular? Maybe you’d like a shot of Espresso or some milk with your coffee today?”

“Milk?” Penelope complains. “Milk gives me gas. I’m lactose intolerant.”

“Maybe a little wouldn’t be so bad,” I suggest, trying to move things along a tad.

She looks at me then with those pale Death’s eyes and a slight sneer curling the corners of her mouth. “Are you kidding me? How dignified a crossing would that make? ‘Sorry, I had coffee this morning and I’m afraid I’m just a little gassy from the milk.”

Penelope waves her hand dismissively. She shoos the Cherub away. “You don’t deserve to live,” she says. “Nothing. I want nothing.”

Leaning forward then, she takes my hand in her own. It’s a surprisingly warm clasp for ‘The Big Chill.’ She’s gentle but panther like. I know then that I’m going to do whatever she asks me to do. “I’m over this place,” she whispers. “Let’s split and go to the park.”


The roses are brilliantly sparkling with light. There’s a bit of cloudy mist about the place, but effervescent rows of flowers paint a spellbinding scene of color, peace and beauty.

“God. They need to do something with this place. It’s sooo fucking depressing. Might as well just put a cemetery here.”

“Well,” I mutter sarcastically, “If anyone could pull that off…you certainly could.”

Walking down a narrow path in the gardens, Penelope freezes. For a moment, she looks a bit grim. Then she silently kneels on the path and plucks a rose. She draws in the smell of it, really seeming to enjoy the aroma.

“If there’s one thing that I know,” she remarks, “it’s that you’ve got to take time and smell the roses.”

Back on her feet, she motions with her hand to a granite bench surrounded by small fruit trees near a fountain. “Let’s get started,” she tells me. “I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

I reach for my recorder. As beautiful as Death is, I’ll be glad to get this over with.

When did your father, Asrael, decide that it was time to pass the scythe on to you?
I was always daddy’s little angel you know. But I wasn’t his first choice for the job. He really wanted my brother Loki to have it. And then there is Set, my other brother. Set was always such a prick though. I was, well, a bit girly for the whole doom thing. In the end, so to speak, daddy chose me because he felt I had a heart. Compassion makes a good death. And sure, Loki’s a real asshole too.

Do you think that your father wanted to change Death in some way?
Maybe. Um. Yeah, I think so. Back in his day it was all Heavenly Glory kind of stuff. He did the plagues, first borns, righteous genocide – stuff like that. There’s not a lot of room for real expression in all of that though. It’s work, not art. I think his golden era was back with the Pharaoh of Egypt, but he was fed up after the Black Plague. That kept him really busy for a while. Still, there’s just no future in death.

I think that you’re obviously the future of the trade. Where are you taking it?
God. That’s a heavy question. Just because I have a heart doesn’t mean I was made for this line of work. Actually, I always wanted to be a comedian.

A comedian?
Oh hell yeah. Dark forces don’t keep me down. I’m a flibber de gibbet. Example… What do you get when a philosopher, a priest and a scientist get together?

A waste of time.
Here’s another one. What do you get when I throw a party for your closest friends?

I really cant imagine.
Depressed. And then the funeral bill. Ha ha ha. I kill me.

I read somewhere that you’re writing a book. Is that a rumor or is there some truth to that?
Well, most recently, I’ve been working up this variety show. I want people to discover the real me. I’m much more versatile than just killing people. I can juggle.

It’s true about my book. It’s titled “What’s So Funny About Death?’

What is so funny about death?
Hey. Don’t make me slap you. Comedy is my dream.

Are you flirting with me?
You better hope not.

What’s keeping you in business these days? Disease? War? Murder?
Yeah. Yeah. All the old stand bys still work. The death business isn’t about killing so much as it is about Reaping.

There’s a difference?
Sure. I mean I could come to you and lay some heavy smackdown on you with my scythe – really wack you into the underworld. And that’s killing, which I do pretty damn well thank you. But most of what I do is pick up the souls of the departed. Everything changes. Everything dies. I just kind of move things along. I get souls from Point A to Point B. You want to know the truth? Truth is, I’m a Crossing Guard. The pay sucks cause I’m an angel. No real praise for my work either. People bitch and moan…it’s annoying. It’s civil service. I’d go postal but it’s kind of redundant. Besides, I’m too busy picking those guys up.

Do you ever take any time off?
Don’t I wish! Doesn’t everybody wish!? It’s been ages since I took a good vacation.

When was the last break you took? Where did you go?
I was killing some time in Indonesia a couple of years ago. One too many margaritas though…and what a mess.


So what turns you on?
Turns me on? Wow. Are you sure you really want to flirt with me? That’s okay. I think sunrises turn me on because its something to hope for and then, you know, there it is. I’m not really so grave. I’ve got my romantic side.

Speaking of your romantic side. Is there anyone in particular that turns you on? Do you…have a boyfriend?
Baby, like all of the angels, I’m not that gender specific. I’ve got my eye on someone though. I’m just not telling. It’s always a secret with me…who’s next.

I didn’t see that one coming.
Few ever do dear.

So how long do you plan on sticking with the family business?
Hmmm. That’s like…the question isn’t it? Well, business isn’t what it used to be. These days you have all of the new advances in health and medicine to think of. Diseases just don’t deliver like they did. I’m counting on Pestilence to do something about that but he hasn’t returned my calls in a while. I guess nobody likes Death henpecking them. War is doing some decent numbers for me, especially with the last American president in office. Still, unless WWIII gets going, that’s just like waiting in line at the Dept of Motor Vehicles. It’s pure patience.

I guess there’s too much food nowadays in the world food supply. At this rate, Famine may be out of a job soon. It’s a good thing people are ignoring the whole Global Warming thing. That should sharpen my numbers nicely. At least Africa is still producing. But you can count on only so many warlords.

It sounds like you have some pet peeves.
Everyone wants to be immortal! Where’s the fun in that!? Scientists are little busy bees trying to put me out of business. If Pestilence ever returns my calls I’m gonna put them out of business. It sounds mean but I’ll be doing everyone a real favor.

Oh. And how’s that?
Because life isn’t worth living without Death. I give value to life. When you know the sun is going to set you can really appreciate the day that you’re living. That rose I picked earlier? Every one is special.

Hey Penny. Thanks for the great interview.
It was my pleasure. I’m glad we could do this. Watch for my new book and my upcoming variety show. I’ll be seeing you.

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