Handsome Joe Takes A Ride On A Train

…to visit Grandma Lupe

The Doclopedia #763

Readers Secret Identities: Mary, The Professional Liar   (Mary Garrett)

First off, Mary was not a politician. For one thing, her lies were far better crafted and told mostly to inspire people. For another, she could keep track of them. Lastly, she was not a crook or a power hungry git.

No, Mary told her lies so people would feel good. You could have called them pep talks, because most of those are inspiring bullshit, but Mary’s lies were far more specific to the individual. That’s why her business card read “Lies By Mary: Inspiring falsehoods for people who need them.”

She told ugly people that they were not nearly as bad looking as they thought and that with a bit…just a bit, mind you…of cosmetic surgery, they could be a real looker. She told people who couldn’t find jobs that they were just needing some time to think about their future and so they ought to take that fast food job so they could pay the rent until they got that perfect entrepreneurial idea. She told fat people that they sure did seem to be losing weight on that new diet and by golly, they probably were ready to sign up for that 5k walkathon.

All of those lies weren’t even close to true, but they got folks to get off their asses and do something, which is not bad. In many cases, they even got the ball really rolling so things did turn out the way she said.

Mary charged very reasonable rates to the friends and family members of the folks she lied to. Turns out, being lied to is something people really want, which is why Mary eventually was able to retire to a private island in the Bahamas.

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The Doclopedia #764

Readers Secret Identities: Diane, The Soul Collector   (Diane Russom Harrison)

When Diane graduated from college, she had youthful enthusiasm and unlimited optimism. A year of no job offers (who knew there was such a tight job market for somebody with a Masters in 14th Century Russian Poetry?) and a crushing student loan soon had her enthusiasm and optimism at an all time low.

Then, her neighbor, Mr. Hernwinkle, told her that he was retiring and she just might like his job. He was, so far as Diane knew, in “collections”, but at that point, he could have been a ditch digger and she would have jumped at the job.

So it was that Mr. Hernwinkle set up an interview for Diane with his boss, Mrs. DeAth. Everything went fine…it was very good starting pay, full benefits and a three week vacation…until Mrs. DeAth told Diane that she would be collecting souls. Human souls. At, or shortly thereafter, the moment of death.

As any of us might, Diane thought she was being jerked around. Mrs. DeAth said she understood, then asked her secretary to bring in somebody called Vasily Demetrov. Diane recognized his face from police artist sketches. He was the I-55 Killer, a person who had killed at least 9 motorists and truckers in the past two years. Right now, he was trussed up like Hannibal Lecter, which was good because he was a huge guy.

Mrs. DeAth confirmed that he was indeed who Diane thought he was and he was scheduled to die today from a cerebral aneurysm. His body, she said, would be found in a parking lot with plenty of incriminating evidence in his pockets and even more in his apartment.

Then, without further comment, she reached out, touched his arm and said, “Time to go, you evil bastard”, and then he fell over, dead.

Mrs. DeAth explained to Diane that she would be a Soul Collector in the Evil Bastard/Bitch division. Her job would be to go out and collect their souls at their moment of death, then turn the soul over to an emissary of Hell named Melissa, whom Mrs. DeAth described as “a charming young lady”.

Diane thought about all this for several minutes, then decided to take the job. After all, a starter paying 50K a year job doing a good thing and with full benefits and 3 weeks vacation didn’t come along very damned often.

Today, Diane has been on the job 22 years and loves it. She especially likes collecting the souls of douchebags who have not been caught or convicted of their crimes. The politicians are the most fun, because of that look on their face when she announces she’s there to collect their soul. That’s why she turned down an offer to collect the souls of good people, not nearly as much fun.

Diane has moved up in the corporation, but avoided moving into management. She will be eligible for retirement in 8 years, but doubts that she’ll take it.

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One comment on “Handsome Joe Takes A Ride On A Train

  1. Thanks, this is such fun! A good riff on what teachers and storytellers really do . . . lie for good (or see through rose-colored bifocals). Of course, some days, especially in election years and at times of school budget cuts, I’d gladly volunteer to do Diane’s job while she’s on vacation . . .

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