Okay. So Dave isn’t a normal Dad.
Actually, that isn’t fair. Dave is a perfectly normal Dad.
Dave buys individual packs of oreos and juice boxes along with his normal groceries, he spends his weeknights in front of simple math problems and helping sound out vocabulary lists. He has seen every episode of that television show with the lions that live in the library. Dave’s bathroom has a stool in front of the sink, so that his daughter can step up when she needs to brush her teeth. There is a room in his house painted entirely pink, with frilly curtains on the windows and stuffed animals exploding out of colorful cloth baskets.
I take back what I said before — Dave isn’t a perfectly normal Dad. Dave is a fucking GREAT Dad.
The only art that hangs in Dave’s house is finger painted or held together with glitter and colored glue. His refrigerator has coloring pages with smiley face stickers on them, and things like “GREAT JOB!” and “VERY CREATIVE” written on them in red ink. Dave spends every other weekend at the park in the spring, with his daughter who loves flying kites and rolling down hills with no regard for the grass-stains that pop up on her clothes as a result. Last week, he taught her how to hit a homerun, even though she refuses to go out for little league. She smacked the ball out of the park so far they couldn’t find it later, and she did so in her favorite purple tutu. If anyone had anything bad to say about her chosen attire, they didn’t dare say anything, and Dave knew that had something to do with him.
Dave might be a perfectly normal (if not fucking GREAT) Dad, but he’s also very much dead. Dave is so dead, in fact, that he’s the newest in a long line of Grim Reapers. This isn’t a sad fact about Dave’s life — it’s a fact he knew would become his reality from the time he was the same age his daughter is now. But still, timing was a little off for him to take up the mantle, all things considered. When Dave got married, he didn’t tell his wife about his family’s legacy. He figured it wouldn’t matter. His great grandfather didn’t become a reaper until he was well into his 90s. His grandfather lived to the perfectly reasonable age of 87 before taking over. His father, however, went a little mad waiting for the Scythe, and killed himself at 53, just after Dave graduated college. Dave was going to do better than all of them, he told himself. Dave was going to soar past 100, and outlive his wife, and the secret would remain a secret forever.
But someone must have known about his plans, and tried their very best to foil them. No sooner was his daughter born but his father arrived in the night, shrouded in the nicest looking grim reaper robes Dave had ever seen. His father had only become a reaper five years prior, anyhow. It turned out he didn’t like being a Reaper any more than he’d liked waiting to become one. He was terrible at the things required of a Reaper, and he got fired soon after getting the gig.
He came to Dave in the middle of the night, handed the Scythe off before Dave was even fully awake, then disappeared never to be seen again. Perhaps there were consequences for giving the job up so soon, perhaps not. Dave wasn’t sure exactly how the whole thing worked, just knew it was an inevitable part of his life that he’d have to take on at some point. Dave was left holding the scythe, watching his flesh disappear into nothingness, screaming into a hell hole of silence that no one could hear, begging his father to take it back — but even as he screamed he knew it was for naught.
Dave had a job to do. No — scratch that — Dave had two jobs to do, and he would be damned if he didn’t do them both better than his own father.