Thirty Minutes of Fabulosity

by Esle Ynopemos

15: Commission [Dark] [Comedy]

((Prompt: The guide between life and death.))

“Black? Darling, are you certain?” Rarity asked, a pin held loosely in her mouth. “It is summer, after all. You'll be absolutely sweltering in all black, regardless of how well it might match your coat.”

Her latest client shook his head. He had a very striking appearance, to be certain. There seemed to be no color to him. His coat was as white as bleached bone. His mane and tail were almost the same color, maybe a couple shades closer to gray. His eyes were the color of a dim overcast sky. “I imagine something lighter may be more comfortable,” he said, his voice low and quiet, yet quite clear, “but there are some traditions that are more important than comfort. Besides, the heat does not bother me.”

Rarity nodded. “Very well.” A black suit and tie were not exactly avant garde, but it was ultimately the client's call. She cut some pieces out of a bolt of black wool. “So, I take it this is for a formal event, then?” she said, levitating the pieces into the air.

The stallion rubbed his chin. “I suppose there are ponies that make a big deal of it, but the truth is, it happens all the time.”

Something buzzed in Rarity's head, and she grew the slightest bit more anxious. Keeping a professional smile on her face, she began fitting the pieces of cloth together, pinning them in place with dozens of needles. She pulled a drawer out of her sewing desk and selected a spool of black thread.

The client stood patiently in the showroom floor. “You can sit down, if you would like, Mister... um,” Rarity floundered.

“Grim,” he said. “And thank you, but I prefer to stand. These old bones might not let me up again if I sit down.” Rarity noted, with a growing, irrational alarm, that his expression never deviated from the passive, tight-lipped stare he wore.

She grabbed a measuring tape. “Very well. While you're up, then, would you mind if I took some measurements?” He shook his head, and she went to work. He was awfully thin for a stallion. As she measured his haunches, she couldn't help but glance at his cutie mark. A single grave marker standing on top of a silhouetted hill.

Rarity cleared her throat. “That's, ahem, a very interesting cutie mark, Mr. Grim.”

“It's okay,” he said, “I realize it's a little morbid.” Grim shrugged. “But a pony can't choose their special talent. They can only make the best out of the life they're given.”

A bead of sweat formed on Rarity's brow. “So you...”

“I see ponies on to the next life,” he said, nodding.

“Aha. Black suit, indeed.” Rarity snapped up her measuring tape and returned to her sewing desk. Her hooves began trembling as she ran the fabric through her sewing machine. “Is there—” Her voice cracked and she swallowed, starting again. “Is there... anypony on your list today?”

“Just one,” Mr. Grim said. “A very sweet mare. She will be missed, I am sure.”

The sewing machine stopped. Rarity was still and silent.

Grim raised an eyebrow. “Miss Rarity?”

“You're here for me, aren't you?”

He rubbed the back of his head with a hoof. “Well, yes, I—”

He was cut of by a loud sob from the fashion designer. “How? How did I go? Was it carbon monoxide? Food poisoning?” She gasped aloud. “I... I fell asleep in the tub and drowned, didn't I? Mother always said to be careful about that, but did I listen? No!”

Grim raised a hoof. “Please calm down, Miss Rarity.”

“Ohh, I'm too young to die!” she wailed. “I had so much to live for! Who is going to take care of Opal? Who's going to make sure Rainbow cuts her mane?”

“Miss Rarity, I think there's some sort of mistake.”

“There surely is some sort of mistake!” Rarity said, rounding the corner from inconsolable depression into unfettered fury. “Where do you get off, waltzing into my shop and just saying I'm dead? Just because you're the Grim Reaper doesn't mean you can just—”

For the first time that day, emotion graced Grim's face. An expression of pure befuddlement twisted his eyebrows. “Miss, I am not the Grim Reaper.”

Rarity sniffed. “You're not?”

“No, of course not! My name is Grim Task, and I am in charge of the funeral home at the end of Trotter Street!” He pointed his hoof out the window. Outside, a pony waited beside a wagon loaded with a single coffin.

“S-so, I'm not...”

Grim pinched the bridge of his muzzle. “Miss Rarity, as somepony who deals with the dead on a regular basis, I can assure you, you are not dead.”

An embarrassed tint colored Rarity's cheeks. “Oh. Well, now I feel a bit silly.”

Grim shook his head. “It's my fault, really. I should be more careful about how I introduce myself; I get this kind of thing all the time.”