Happy Deathday Mr Benjamin!

His alarm clock was blaring devil woman by Cliff Richard. He had heard it a thousand times before, yet he never got tired of it. It gave him a sense of routine in his life. It seemed very odd to him that he liked songs from the 1970s and 1980s. But then, he was past the age of caring about trivial stuff.

He got up and prepared for his day. After a quick jog around the park, he got back, took a shower and made some breakfast. He was 56 yet still single. Love had come and passed him by. He had come very close to marrying once. He had no children (which he knew of) and no family. His parents had died when he was in college and he had never been close to them.

He sat down on his dining table to read the newspaper while having his breakfast. As he scanned the headlines, he froze. He couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t be true. His eyes were staring at the date. 21st september 2145. He was going to die today .

After convincing himself that the date was correct, He tried to convince himself that he could not die. Maybe the process was faulty

In 2031, while trying to create a machine that would prolong human life, doctors had instead created a machine that told a person when he would die. Initially, nobody believed it. But it was accurate. The first time. The next 2 times. The following 10 times. And 24,189,363,415 times since. It had never been wrong.

It had changed the world. Initially people were shocked and scared. But as always, they adapted. Everybody wanted to die in a unique way. Most people tried to die in their sleep. Some held farewells for themselves with their nearest and dearest. Some killed their nearest and dearest before killing themselves. Nobody knew how they would die. They just knew when. The machine had never been wrong.

He sat in his house, numb. His mind was blank. He couldn’t do anything, he couldn’t feel anything. He wished he was already dead. Dying was the easy part. It was the waiting that killed you.

After what seemed like hours to him, but was actually only 47 minutes, he moved. He tried to clear his mind, tried to think of a plan of action. Killing himself sprang to his mind. It was an appealing idea. He had a gun. He didn’t know why. Then he remembered why. He had bought it to protect himself. He couldn’t suppress a smile at the irony of the situation.

He realized he was drenched in sweat. He decided to take another shower. The shower calmed him down a bit. He decided he would go to office and if he was alive by the time he got back, he would think about what to do later .

He parked his car in his reserved parking spot. He got out and locked his Porsche 989167. He would miss his helium powered car and 5249 bhp engine.

As he got out of the elevator on the 289th floor, he was startled by cries of “Surprise !” Everybody from his office was wearing party hats and singing “Happy Deathday” . The song went like this

Happy Deathday to you!

Happy Deathday to you!

May the grim reaper bless you,

Happy Deathday to you!

Whoever had come up with the song had not been imaginative. He tried to mask his awkwardness, failed miserably and stood there just being awkward. What were you supposed to do when everybody was wishing you on your upcoming death? Thank them?

Once the festivities had died down and everybody had wished him “Happy Deathday” cheerily, he went to his office hoping to find some peace.

He was wrong .

His office was stuffed with gifts packed in gaudy, cheerful, colourful paper that his colleagues somehow thought was appropriate. His secretary came in and told him that she had arranged them all and still kept the labels on them so that he would know who had sent which gift. She seemed to think that this was very important. He would have personally thanked them for the gifts the next day if he hadn’t been about to die today. Once he had managed to shoo her away, he sat down on his chair wearily. All this felt surreal. He was sitting in an office surrounded by gifts that were packed in such a way that they wouldn’t look out of place at a 5 year old’s birthday party, on the day he was going to die.

He just sat there thinking, recapping his life. His first kiss , his first date, his first cigarette. He missed smoking. He’d quit smoking after college, because his health had started deteriorating. No such concerns right now. He’d never felt the urge to smoke again. Until now .

He decided to go for a smoke. Leaving the building inconspicuously would be a problem. He slipped out of his office after he had sent his secretary away on an unimportant errand. As he exited the building for the last time, he realized it was the last time he would be seeing it. As he turned around to bid it goodbye, he saw a car coming hurtling down the road. And then his world slowed .

He was still on the pavement. But his eyed locked with the driver of the car. It was a pretty lady, with brilliant blue eyes. They stared at each other for a long time. Somewhere in there, he realized it . This was it. He did not know whether this was destined or not. But he felt it coming. They were staring right into each others eyes.

And then she nodded .

Slightly, almost imperceptibly. But she nodded.

And then he jumped in front of the car.

It all happened in slow motion. She hit him and instantly crushed him as she ran over him. She lost control of her car, swerved, and hit a lamp post.

He just lay there, his world a kaleidoscope of pain, blood and bliss. He could feel it. It didn’t feel like his energy was slowly ebbing away. It felt like it was building up. Builiding up to a crescendo. And then he saw her again.

She was lying on the street about 20 feet from him, as people ran towards them in slow motion to help them. Time was not important, because Death was the only thing it feared. Their eyes met. They stared at each other for a long time .

And this time, he was the one who nodded. He thought he saw a hint of a smile on her blood covered face .

He lay there, feeling the crescendo coming to an end. And then he started singing.

She’s just a devil woman

With evil on her mind

She’s just a devil woman

She’s gonna get you


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