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vol v, issue 4 < ToC
Four Horsemen of the Happy Hour
by
Donna J. W. Munro
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Oval MummiesOne Dark
Night
Four Horsemen of the Happy Hour
by
Donna J. W. Munro
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Oval Mummies




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One Dark
Night
Four Horsemen of the Happy Hour
by
Donna J. W. Munro
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Oval Mummies


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One Dark
Night
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Oval Mummies One Dark
Night
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Oval Mummies




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One Dark
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One Dark
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Four Horsemen of the Happy Hour  by Donna J. W. Munro
Four Horsemen of the Happy Hour
 by Donna J. W. Munro
No one dies during Happy Hour.

That's what they say anyway.

Between four and six every night, we crowd into the bar, "Four Horsemen of Apocalypse," until there's only room to shift between each other, raising up a hand for the drink we came for. The barkeeps fly around our heads, bringing a drop of happiness for every glass.

They say you shouldn't drink while you work, but we death gods tend to work all the time, so what are you going to do?

We used to group together, by tradition and culture, drawn to each other by the knowing of language or the stories that force us together. So many gods now, we can just press in for our daily libation before we rush back into the fray, catching the souls as they slip through the torn fibers of their lives.

We deliver them on to the gods of life or resurrection or the afterlife.

Glorified damned delivery people we are and so, so many of us.

I nod to Mot and Ninsusinak, squeezed in a corner, pressing their lips together in a pantomime of life they'd seen somewhere. Gangnim Doryeong and his reapers do shots at the bar, laughing as Tusok Sacha falls to the ground with a thud, like the rock he is, only we all know it's for show.

There is no drunk here. No oblivion for us.

Relief though. That's what we seek.

The Banshee sisters flit from place to place, silent as the void between stars because that is the thing they can't be normally and for them it is the reward.

Kali and Yami in quiet conversation, just smiling and enjoying the din around them.

And me? I slip out of the crowd into the filthy bathroom. My favorite place.

I close the lid and sit on the toilet, not minding the filth. Piles of ripped toilet paper, oaths scrawled or burned into the walls, sigils of death and protections hanging in the air like tinsel. When you have but two hours a day of freedom, the bathroom takes the hit.

I breathe in the calm.

A knock at the door.

"Death, we know it's you. Can we come in?"

I nod and swipe my hand at the bolt holding the door closed and it shifts with a clang.

Pestilence flies in on her black, scabby horse. "Don't mind me."

She and her horse eat the toilet paper on the floor, lick all the walls clean, and when I move, they make the toilet bowl sparkle.

"Favorite part of the job," she says, wiping her bloody lips on the back of her leprous hand.

I nod.

"You seem ... sad," she says, taking a moment to lean on the wall and light a cig. The smoke doesn't bother me. Pestilence's open wounds suck up whatever she breaths out.

"Just tired," I say back.

She nods. "I'll lock the door behind me."

I take a few more rare seconds, then I stand. I glance at the mirror, enjoying my fleshy face. My beautiful black hair. My red-lipped smile. After happy hour, they are gone, but just to see them for a moment makes me remember that I was once another thing.

I pull my hood up and grab the scythe. Just a few more minutes before my second shift starts.

With a snap of my fingers the lock slides and the door opens. When I step out, Kalma pushes in with a huff. She's so beautiful here, skin whole and smell sweet. Like me, she will enjoy a few minutes of respite from her work face. From her smell of corpses and decay.

Perfume, I think. Deodorant. But it's so easy to judge, isn't it?

I step into the massive crowd singing some song about the bright side of life. Cute ditty. Appropriate. Pestilence drops a drink for me from overhead. A pinot grigio, sweet as life itself. I tip it back and smile, winking at Pestilence.

It glitters in my throat and warms my belly. My skin pricks up and catches all the cool breath of the bringers of death singing about life around me. The joy we had even in the sadness that we brought. No one left behind. No one without some next place to be, good or bad. No oblivion for anyone.

And I smiled with my lips and my cheeks and my eyes.

The clock ticked and Happy Hour ended.

We gathered our tools and took off our skin for the horsemen to press and hand out tomorrow.

I glanced back at Pestilence, just beginning to lick the floor clean of all the spills from the revelry.

"Tomorrow, my friend."

And with a wave, I flowed away toward my first delivery.

There is rest for the dead, but for Death? We live for Happy Hour.

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