Reaper Man (Discworld)
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They say there are only two things you can count on. But that was before Death started pondering the existential. Of course,the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes anda well-earned gold watch. Now Deathis having the time of his life, findinggreener pastures where he can put hisscythe to a whole new use.
But like every cutback in an importantpublic service, Death's demise soon leads to chaos and unrest—literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up, like Windle Poons. The oldest geezer in the entire faculty of Unseen University—home of magic, wizardry, and big dinners—Windle was looking forward to a wonderful afterlife,not this boring been-there-done-that routine. To get the fresh start he deserves,Windle and the rest of Ankh-Morpork's undead and underemployed set off to find Death and save the world for the living(and everybody else, of course).
underwater magic, y’honour?’ he ventured. ‘Not exactly, officer.’ ‘I’ve always wondered about what it’s like under water,’ said Sergeant Colon, encouragingly. ‘The myst’ries of the deep, strange and wonderful creatures … my mum told me a tale once, about this little boy what turned into a mermaid, well, not a mermaid, and he had all these adventures under the s—’ His voice drained away under Windle Poons’ dreadful stare. ‘It’s boring,’ said Windle. He turned and started to lurch away into the
‘Are you sure about tonight?’ YES. ‘And that blade will work, will it?’ I DON’T KNOW. IT’S A MILLION TO ONE CHANCE. ‘Oh.’ She seemed to be considering something. ‘So you’ve got the rest of the day free, then?’ YES? ‘Then you can start getting the harvest in.’ WHAT? ‘It’ll keep you busy. Keep your mind off things. Besides, I’m paying you sixpence a week. And sixpence is sixpence.’ Mrs Cake’s house was also in Elm Street. Windle knocked on the door. After a while a muffled voice called
old summer, then,’ said Spigot. ‘And good harvest weather for a change.’ ‘Ah … many a slip ’twixt dress and drawers,’ said Duke. ‘Last night I saw a spider spinnin’ its web backwards. That’s a sure sign there’s going to be a dretful storm.’ ‘Don’t see how spiders know things like that.’ Gabby Wheels passed a big earthenware jug to Bill Door. Something sloshed. WHAT IS THIS? ‘Apple juice,’ said Spigot. The others laughed. AH, said Bill Door. STRONG DISTILLED SPIRITS, GIVEN HUMOROUSLY TO THE
the kind of precision that isn’t noticed until it breaks down. He surveyed himself from the control room of his skull. He looked at the silent chemical factory of his liver with the same sinking feeling as a canoe builder might survey the controls of a computerised supertanker. The mysteries of his kidneys awaited Windle’s mastery of renal control. What, when you got right down to it, was a spleen? And how did you make it go? His heart sank. Or, rather, it didn’t. ‘Oh, gods,’ muttered Windle,
and leaned against the wall. How did it work, now? He prodded a few likely-looking nerves. Was it systolic … diastolic … systolic … diastolic … ? And then there were the lungs, too … Like a conjuror keeping eighteen plates spinning at the same time – like a man trying to programme a video recorder from an instruction manual translated from Japanese into Dutch by a Korean rice-husker – like, in fact, a man finding out what total self-control really means, Windle Poons lurched onwards. The