Title: Tales from the Grave
Category: TV Shows » Dead Like Me
Language: English, Rating: Rated: M
Published: 10-15-04, Updated: 10-15-04
Chapters: 1, Words: 2,142
Chapter 1: Default Chapter
Tales from the Grave
A/N: This fic was inspired by the events in the episode Forget Me Not, which at time of writing, is the last episode aired.
It is rated R for violence and strong langue, but shouldn’t really be any worse than the show. If you watch it, you can feel safe reading this.
Chapter One: Union Dues and Don’ts
“A factory,” George said dully, as she stared up at the looming building.
“Yep,” replied Rube, deliberately failing to add any new information to the statement.
The blonde turned, and looked at him, holding in her hand one of the ever-present yellow post-its. “Didn’t factory deaths kinda go out of style when they got things like ‘child labor laws’, and the ‘FDA’?”
Rube gave her ‘the look’. “What’s your post-it say, peanut?”
With a sigh George glanced down at the sticky note and read it off aloud. “D. Paone, 1437 Atlantic boulevard, ETD 11:46 am.”
“And where are we?”
She answered without even looking, “1437 Atlantic Boulevard?”
“Then what are you waiting for peanut? Come on, you’ve got a job to do.” And with that he walked toward the door.
She rolled her eyes and followed him in.
Georgia Lass, grim reaper, had been in a factory once before, on a field trip in fourth grade, to the Wonderful Bread Production Plant. It had been disappointing. Definitely not the greatest thing since sliced bread.The inside of this factory was badly lit, and fit a vaguely Dickensonian stereotype in George’s opinion. So much for child-labor laws and the FDA, she thought. It was a car factory of some kind, and there was good old Ford’s assembly line, complete with sweaty people in goggles and old jeans working their asses off. But which one of the various companies it was she had no idea.
She looked down at the post-it and up at the number of people in the room. Great, time to make a spectacle of herself again.
She stepped forward. “Um, is there a Mr. or Ms. D. Paone here?”
To George’s surprise someone stepped up right away. She was a middle aged Italian woman with darkish skin and bleached hair, in dirty coveralls. “You the union reps?”
George forced a smile and an, “Uh, yeah. I’m George Lass,” she stuck out her hand.
“Dina Paone,” the woman said, clasping it rather harshly.
As George drew her hand out of the handshake, she pulled unlucky unionist’s soul, and wondered what sort of gruesome accident she was to be the victim of.
“So,” George continued in her role, “what seems to be the problem.”
“Well, like I said in my report, this place just ain’t safe, ya know? The roof leaks when it rains even, and I can’t get nobody here to fix it. Lawd knows what rainwater in the gears a’ these machines’d do. “
“So they haven’t done, anything?” she queried.
“Well, they put up buckets in the rafters, ya know? But I don’t think that’s to safe neither.”
“Your worries seem to be well founded,” Rube said dryly, speaking for the first time as he gazed around looking at the buckets in the rafters.
The reaper gave a long nod and said, “Well, it’s been nice meeting you Ms. Paone, and we will definitely take your complaints back to the union.”
“Yeah, you better, before somebody dies ‘er somethin’.”
George pursed her lips, “You have no idea,” she muttered as they turned to leave. But she stopped, as something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. There was a graveling, sitting on the ledge of one of the windows looked straight at her, before tossing a large screw into the machinery. George couldn’t not look.
The screw wedged itself in the gears of an arm-like machine with a welding device. The arm began to swing out of control, knocking another machine, this one a screwing machiene out of alignment, and the all the workers began to dive out of the way of the torch flame. George herself had to duck to avoid being scorched and the graveling itself dived out of the window in a damned hurry, and George thought she saw it drop something.
George, as she straightened up, looked over to see how D. Paone was fairing, and she saw that as the woman fled the screwing machine lifted up to the ceiling and knocked one of the rain buckets off a rafter. The bucket fell some 50 feet before it finally hit Dina on the head, with an audible thunk, and she dropped to the floor, quite wet, and quite dead.
Paone’s spirit, however, was now standing behind her. “See,” she said. “I told you they were unsafe.”
“Well, look at it this way,” George told her, “Now your family has a great big lawsuit.”
Dina grinned. “Hey, you’re right.”
And then the spirit was gone and George headed out of the building. But, on the floor she saw what she assumed to be whatever the graveling had dropped. It was a scrap of paper. Intrigued, and a bit confused, she bent down and picked it up, frowning. It was a three by five card.
The welding device took this moment to make another pass at her, and Georgia hurried out the door, swatting at the tail of her jacket, which had caught fire.
“God damn it!” she swore, removing her pleather jacket to survey the damage. “Come on, I just bought this.”
“You should be more careful,” Rube told her, sitting in the passenger seat of her car.
“Yeah,” she grumped back. “They are so in violation of safety codes. Maybe we really should report them.”
“Not our problem, peanut. Now let’s go, I’m hungry.”
George sighed and started the car. It was a Saturday, so they were meeting the rest of the gang back at Der Waffle Haus for lunch.
“Oo, Georgia, what happened to your jacket?” Daisy asked as they sat down at their usual booth.
“Car accident,” she replied with a scowl.
Mason raised an eyebrow, “What, did your car blow up, then?” he asked. George thought it sounded like he was hung over. Again. In the past week he’d been drinking more and more often.
“Nope. Still in the factory.”
“Don’t they have safety inspectors in this day and age?” he queried.
“Not against Gravelings I guess. And they ruined my new coat.” She hugged held the burnt clothing in a rather offended manner.
“You shouldn’t be so obsessed with the material, George,” Rube told her, looking over the menu for who-knew-what reason. Didn’t he have it memorized by now?
“Hey. I am not obsessed with the material. I like to stay warm, thank you very much.” She crossed her arms.
“Well then there’s no problem peanut, the coat’ll keep you just as warm as it did half an hour ago.”
“Yeah,” she said, in a ‘duh’ sort of tone, “But if I wear it, I’ll look like a homeless person.”
“‘Ave you got something against the homeless George?” Mason, asked looking up from his coffee.
Daisy spoke up before her. “I do. They’re all dirty, and can-you-spare-some-change-y.”
George rolled her eyes. “No, I do not have anything against homeless people, I just don’t want to look like one.”
“Why not? Bloody good way to get money, you know. If you don’t mind it in nickels and dimes that is.”
“Spare me you scams today, okay Mason?”
“Well, you’re touchy this morning,” he pouted.
“I am not,” she snarked. Well, maybe she was. “And if I am, that’s just because-“
Someone two booths over was having a patty melt.
Someone two booths over wanted ketchup on their patty melt.
Someone two booths over was struggling with the ketchup bottle.
Someone two booths over grabbed the bottle and angrily squeezed it as hard as they could.
George suddenly had ketchup all over her nice, white shirt.
She screamed; a whiny, frustrated yowl of general complaint.
Everyone stared at her for a moment, and then went back to eating.
Rube gave her ‘the look’ for the second time that morning. “You should learn to control your temper better.”
George glared at him, and held her shirt out. “Fuck. I can’t believe this is happening.” She stared around the table, brandishing her burnt coat and pointing at her ruined shirt. “That’s two pieces of clothing ruined in one morning.”
Daisy smiled airily at her and said brightly, “Oh Georgia, don’t think of them as ruined clothes, think of them as, hmm, wardrobe malfunctions.”
George gave the starlet a blank, hateful glare, and stood up. “I’m gonna go see if I can wash this out before it stained.”
“Good for you peanut, now you’re being proactive.”
She didn’t even bother to glare at Rube as she headed for the bathroom.
Inside the ladies room (which was remarkably clean for a restaurant) George unbuttoned her shirt and thanked whatever god cared about her underwear that she had a tank top beneath it. She started running water in the tap and trying to get the ketchup out.
“Wardrobe malfunction my ass,” she grumbled to herself, and wondered how the day had gone down the toilet so fast.
It had started out normal for a Saturday, with Rube handing out assignments. Why he had decided to come along for this one she had no idea. He hadn’t done that for a solo job in ages, and it seemed pretty much like any other reap.
Suddenly she remembered the piece of paper that the Graveling had dropped, and pulled it out of her pocket. It was a three by five card, and at first, there seemed to be nothing written on it, until George realized that she was looking at the back. She turned it over, and stared at the card, it’s red and blue lines with a small, rather messily printed note on it.
1437 Atlantic Blvd
ETD 11:46 am
George did not pass go. She did not collect to hundred dollars. She stalked immediately out of the bathroom, leaving her shirt in the sink and the water running (thank god for that tank-top) and slammed the post-it down in front of Rube, who was now enjoying some French toast.
“What the hell is this?” she demanded.
Rube looked at her like she was stupid. “It’s a three by five card.”
“I can see that, Rube,” she replied waspishly. “I mean why the hell does it have the specs of my reap on it?”
Mason seemed to too be examining the card himself. Or maybe he was just ogling George in that tank top.
“Where’d you get that, peanut?” Rube asked her, with amazing patience.
“At the factory,” she told him with a harsh edge in her voice, “the graveling that was there dropped it.”
Rube looked her in the eyes, and quirked an eyebrow that said, put two and two togther kid.
A silent moment passed.
“You’re joking,” she said. “Gravelings get assignments?”
“That’s right kiddo. How did you think they knew what they were supposed to do?”
She stared at him, confused. “I donno. You made it sound like they just… caused random destruction or something.”
“Did I say that? I don’t remember saying that. What I remember saying was that they set things in motion and they make the accidents happen. I don’t remember saying anything about random.”
“So they have a union or something?” Mason asked, speaking up.
“They operate the same way we do,” Rube told him.
“Except they get little three by fives?” he said, puzzling it out.
“That’s right, we get a name…”
“They get the murder weapon,” George finished.
“Yin and yang peanut. It’s all in harmony.”
George slumped down in the booth. “Killing people doesn’t seem very harmonious to me.”
Rube shook his head. “It’s the facts of life and death George, everybody gets a post-it, and everybody who dies in an accident gets a three by five.”
Mason paled noticeably and ate his lunch studiedly.”Don’t the Gravelings kinda rule out accidents?” she asked.
“Bingo. There are no accidents. Death is preordained.”
Mason, if anything, paled further.
“Tch, that really sucks,” George grumped, and noticed the waitress had finally made her way over. “Hey Kiffany.”
“Hi sweety, what’ll you have?”
“I think I’m in a fried egg mood today…”
To be continued…
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