Death and the IRS

Monty Python always did a great Death, especially in “The Meaning of Life” (in fact, Terry Gilliam does terrific creatures and the Grimm Reaper from The Meaning of Life was only outdone by the Grimm Reaper in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, but I digress … ) and it was partially this thought that lead to this sketch.

The other line of thought was a play I saw in 10th grade. The name escapes me, but the basic plotline was a jogger has a heart attack while jogging, and both God and Satan battle over the soul.

The punchline of the play though, was that Uncle Sam comes alone and claims the soul, due to unpaid taxes.

Okay, so it's not very original. Neither was Shakespeare.

And again, this reads like Classic Monty Python. In fact, when I read it, I can't help but use a mock British tone.

[A typical bachelor's apartment where the bachelor is in the late 60s and sitting in a Lazy Boy chair (footrest extended) watching television (apparently, there is a comedy program about a car dealer killing people off so they can get cheaper cars, but that's not important right now). Off to one side is the front door, and to the other side something lurks in the shadows. We really can't see what it is though.]

OLD MAN

[Staring intently at the television when suddenly …] Uhhhhhhg … [and dies. He just slumps in the chair.]

DEATH

[coming out from the shadows] [This is your classical Grimm Reaper. Tall, wearing a black tattered robe, head covered in a hood and carrying a rather oversized and rusted scyth.] God, thought the bugger would never kick off. [Walks over to the television, and is about to turn it off when a knock comes at the front door.]

AGENT

[from behind the door] Mr. Reaps! [Keeps knocking] Mr. Grant Reaps!

DEATH

[Answers door] What do you want?

AGENT

[Comes into apartment] [The IRS Agent is wearing the standard government three-piece business suit, and carrying an expensive brief case] Does a Mr. Grant Reaps live here? I'm Johnathan Fisk, from the United States Internal Revenue Service. [Extends a hand to shake]

DEATH

I'm afraid Mr. Grant Reaps in dead.

AGENT

[Pause, waiting for hand to be shaked. Pause again. Then he withdraws his hand.] Oh, well I'm afraid that rather poor excuse doesn't wash with the United States Internal Revenue Service. He still owes the United States Goverment [supports his brief case, opens it and withdraws a form] $742.12. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have business with Mr. Reap.

DEATH

He's dead.

AGENT

So?

DEATH

Is my enunciation bad?

AGENT

No, not particularly. Why?

DEATH

Because I said that one Grant Reaps is dead. Deceased. Void of vital signs.

AGENT

Is that so? [Starts to rumage about in his case]

DEATH

[trying to look in case. AGENT is trying to hide what he is doing] He's quite dead you know. He won't be signing any checks for awhile.

AGENT

No I don't know he's quite dead. He could be faking.

DEATH

Faking? Faking? He's stone dead. Pushing up the daisies. Watch. [Walks over to Reaps' body] Are you watching?

AGENT

[looks up] Yes.

DEATH

[pokes Reaps in the eye. Reaps reacts like anyone dead would: by not moving] There? Did you see that?

AGENT

You poking him in the eye?

DEATH

Yes.

AGENT

So?

DEATH

He didn't move.

AGENT

Could have been a fake eye.

DEATH

A fake eye? What about this? [Pokes the other eye]

AGENT

Another fake eye.

DEATH

What? Someone with two fake eyes watching television?

AGENT

People will go to great lengths not to pay taxes, I'll have you know.

DEATH

His chest is not moving.

AGENT

He's holding his breath.

DEATH

He's holding his breath?

AGENT

What? Is my enunciation bad?

DEATH

No, your enunciation is fine, but his breathing is not.

AGENT

I'll be the judge of that. [Finally pulls out a form from his case. He then walks over to Reaps' body, picks up his arm and drops it. Like any arm attached to a dead body, it falls.] Right. [scribbles something on the form] He's dead. [Goes back to scribbling on the form]

DEATH

I could have told you that.

AGENT

Really now? I'm supposed to believe the word of a rather strange man wearing rags and carrying a particularly large knife. [leans over to Reaps' body, picks up his hand, puts a pen in it and starts to “help” Reaps sign the form]

DEATH

Scyth.

AGENT

What? [Takes the freshly signed form]

DEATH

It's not a particularly large knife, it's a particularly large scyth.

AGENT

Okay, so it's a particularly large scyth. So that gives you all the credentials to declare people dead? [Hands form to DEATH] Oh, and please sign here … [indicates where on form]

DEATH

Yes, and what am I signing?

AGENT

Just who are you to think that a particularly large scyth gives you the right to declare a person legally dead? And it's to witness that you saw one Grant Reaps sign this form turning all assets over to the United States Government for non-payment of taxes, then dying.

DEATH

I am … the Grimm Reaper, and I saw no such thing. You signed it.

AGENT

Yes you did, and no I didn't.

DEATH

yes you did. You picked up his hand and used it to forge his signature.

AGENT

Are you implying that I, as an employee of the United States Government, am breaking the law?

DEATH

No, I'm flat out saying it. You, as an employee of the United States Government, are breaking the law.

AGENT

Ah, calling me a lier now, are we … Mr. Reaper, is it?

DEATH

Yes.

AGENT

[pulls out some computer paper and looks down the list] Let's see … Reaper … Reaper … ah, Reaper, Grimm. Interesting, it looks like you didn't pay taxes last year. Or the year before that, or ever. I'm afraid I'm going to have to arrest you Mr. Reaper.

DEATH

What? Arrest me, the Grimm Reaper?

AGENT

[puts down the case, pulls out handcuffs] Listen, if God didn't pay His takes, I'd arrest Him. [Moves towards DEATH, and starts to handcuff him]

DEATH

Hey! What are you doing?

AGENT

Arresting you, you twit. Obstructing an agent of the United States Government in the execution of his job—

DEATH

Ow, now so tight—

AGENT

Resisting arrest—

DEATH

Hey!

AGENT

And do you have a license for that knife?

DEATH

Scyth!

AGENT

Okay, scyth. [Packs up case]

DEATH

No.

AGENT

Unlawful possession of a leathal weapon. And what line of work are you in?

DEATH

Death.

AGENT

Hmmmm. [Starts leading DEATH towards the door] Don't know how that fits in, but I'm sure there's a connection somewhere.

DEATH

Hey, what about my rights?

AGENT

Oh hell! [On the way out the door, pulls card from pocket of jacket. In a very strained voice, as this is obviously a painful thing to say] You have the right to remain silent …