Jeff stepped over a beer can, then over a water bottle and onto a mat, whose faded lettering vaguely resembled the phrase “Welcome!” He opened his front door and walked inside.
Looking to his right, Jeff noticed his old hooded friend where he left him; on his living-room rocking chair. The cold metal scythe still in his lap, the skeleton hadn’t moved an inch from where he left him earlier that morning.
“What’s cooking, big guy?” Jeff said as he walked to the kitchen to grab his last can of Budweiser. His boney companioned turned his head.
“Oh, you know”, Death emitted. “still out of work.”
“I do not understand why you still haven’t given up yet.”
“I could say the same about you.”
“I exist for one purpose, Jeffrey. and as long as you are alive, I cannot rest.”
“I don’t know, you seem pretty well rested to me, what with you never leaving my house and all.”
“I used to have what you call a ‘job’. It was very fulfilling, Jeffery. Took up all of my time. Do you want to know what it was?”
Jeffery took a sip of his beer.
“I used to collect the souls of the dead, Jeffery. It was wonderful. I conversed with the rich, the poor, the young and the old, Jeffrey, as they contemplated life and where they were headed. I had, what you would call, a ‘nice thing going.’”
“All good things gotta come to an end.”
“Then you came along,” Death continued, ignoring him, “and ruined everything.”
“It be like that sometimes.”
“It does not ‘be’ like that sometimes, Jeffrey” Death glared, a purple glow forming in his eye sockets. “A single human does not wipe out humanity ‘every now and then’”
“What is even more despicable,” Death proceeded, “is that you don’t even regret pushing the button.”
“I don’t really think about it too much.”
“YOU HAD A CHOICE,” Death boomed, “BETWEEN SAVING HUMANKIND, AND SAVING YOURSELF–”
“AND WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT, DOOMED YOUR ENTIRE SPECIES–”
“–IN EXCHANGE FOR A LIFE OF THEFT AND SLUMBER.”
“Can’t steal from the dead,” Jeff rebutted, taking another sip.
“THAT IS NOT THE POINT, JEFFREY” Death bellowed. He paused, taking a few seconds to decompose himself. “You fail to understand the magnitude of your actions.”
“Oh, I understand perfectly well, you’ve made sure of that. I’d have to be deaf to spend a day with you and not hear your whining.”
“It’s hard to believe you even have a soul worth collecting.”
“Listen, it was self defense, alright? It’s not like I wanted to kill everyone.”
“Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Osama Bin Laden; every single corrupt soul in your history books would not have stooped to your level; self-defense does not justify genocide.”
“So humans can drive thousands of species to extinction for selfish gain, but only when it happens to them it’s unjustified.”
Death moved as if to rebutt, but said nothing.
“Do you know how close we came to nuclear war? There was never a guarantee of tomorrow for anyone. For all we know, the human race might last an extra few decades thanks to me.” Jeff said, smirking. “Why does humanity deserves the benefit of the doubt?”
“Why do you?” Death said.
“I don’t necessarily,” Jeff said, taking a seat on the opposite couch. “It just happened to be my choice. My parents were already dead–I didn’t owe anybody anything. What moral rule says I have to lay down my life for those I don’t know?”
“You are selfish, Jeffrey Johnson.” Death said, rising from his seat. “You put yourself in front of millions of good, innocent people who would lay down their lives in your situation.”
“Is it selfish, or simply not being selfless? A starving man doesn’t owe another starving man his bread.”
Death leaned forward, skull to face with Jeff, searching for any sign of remorse. He came back empty. Death turned around drifted towards the exit.
“He owes the guilt of denying a meal,” he remarked as he left the room. The front door creaked open, then closed. Silence filled the room.
“Should I instead spend humanity’s last years crying?” Jeff yelled to the door.
The door didn’t respond.