Death, of the Endless
Mr. Ibis, a mortician aka Thoth, Recorder of the Dead
Mr. Jacquel, another mortician aka Anubis, Protector of the Dead
Loki, God of Fire and trickster
A quill pen for Mr. Ibis
Mr. Ibis’ Journal
Death’s Ankh (two identical ones, if possible)
A sarcophagus (I wish)
Scene: Ibis and Jacquel’s funeral home
Loki lies, disguised as a dead mortal, upon the slab
Mr. Jacquel attends to the body
Mr. Ibis writes in his daybook, quill pen in hand
DEATH enters. JACQUEL looks up from his work, but says nothing.
IBIS: Greetings, Death.
DEATH seats herself besides the corpse. JACQUEL sighs and puts away his tools.
DEATH: Hi! Am I interrupting something? I thought you wanted to see me.
IBIS: We’re just putting a few finishing touches on our latest client. [to corpse] but you don’t object to a little delay, do you, Mr. Feierstein? I thought not. In fact, Mr. Feierstein has some bearing on the matter, so perhaps he should attend.
DEATH: Really? What’s this all about, Mr. Ibis?
IBIS: Well, my dear, you do an admirable job, of course, but when your work is finished ours has just begun. And a great bother it is, too.
DEATH: I thought that’s what you wanted. I thought I’d let you keep your jobs.
JACQUEL: LET?! Let us keep our jobs?!
IBIS: Now, now, Mr. Jacquel. Don’t read too much into a single word. Besides, it’s quite true that we, and the other gods of death that walk the Earth, owe a great deal to Death. She is not only our Muse, but has lent us each some fraction of her authority in order to carry out her work.
JACQUEL: Yes, we share her burdens, but the Sunless Lands and the souls therein remain hers and hers alone.
DEATH: You’re always welcome to visit…
IBIS: Unfortunately, that would only feed our jealousy. No, I’m afraid the time has come for a change of management.
DEATH: You can’t. I am one of the Endless.
JACQUEL: All things have an End.
IBIS: All stories, if continued far enough, end in death.
DEATH: I AM Death!
JACQUEL: With strange aeons even Death may die.
IBIS: You see, I’ve totted up the fractions of power that you’ve lent to my colleague and me, as well as to Mictlantecutli and Hel and Hades and so on and so forth. It appears that collectively, we are now vested with more of the power of the underworld than you.
DEATH: But how can you possibly kill me?
IBIS: I hired a consultant who has some experience with this sort of work.
Dead body rises, reveals itself to be Loki.
DEATH: I should have known. This time, Loki, you’ve gone too far. When the Endless get through with you…. (speechless with rage)
LOKI: DEATH, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for thou art not so.
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
DEATH: Fine words, if not your own.
LOKI: Do you recall how it ends?
JACQUEL: And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
DEATH: And how do you propose to kill me? So far you’ve only convinced me that you’re all insane and need to be destroyed like rabid animals.
IBIS: Loki reminded me that I once wrote something important, long ago, with this very pen, which has traveled with me over the millennia.
LOKI: The Scroll of Thoth. The Spell by which the ancient Egyptians defeated Death.
IBIS: And so now I will steal a page, so to speak, from Loki’s book. Taste the bitter tang of mortality.
IBIS tosses the pen, like a dart, at DEATH. It strikes her, and she collapses silently.
IBIS: Mr. Jacquel, let’s make etymology come to life.
JACQUEL & IBIS place DEATH’s body in a sarcophagus.
LOKI: Etymology? I see. You mean that the sarcophagus is an eater of the dead.
JACQUEL: Wrong language.
IBIS: In our ancient homeland, the sarcophagus is the neb-ankh – the bearer of the ankh.
JACQUEL & IBIS begin to place the lid on the sarcophagus.
LOKI: A moment, if you please, so I can pay my last respects.
LOKI goes to the sarcophagus and stands by it for only a few seconds, before signaling to the others to place the lid. As LOKI walks away (toward the audience) he smiles and reveals DEATH’s Ankh cupped in his hands.