A man walks out a door which gives a jingle. The last customer of the day. “Finally, about time,” thinks the man behind the counter. George Pates comes into his bakery every day at exactly 6:00am and doesn’t leave until the last customer leaves after 10:00pm. George pulls out a briefcase from under the counter. His wife always teases him about bringing a briefcase to a bakery. since he’s not an office worker. But she doesn’t seem to mind that he’s not an office worker, or the little treats that he brings home in the briefcase. Neither does little Nancy, his pride and joy. He carefully places little delicate pastries in it. He gets his coat and hat and locks up for the night. It’s a long subway ride before he’s finally back in the comfort of his home. He listens for his wife’s snoring, which always makes him chuckle. She always accuses him of snoring, but she snores louder than he ever has!
He finds a man sitting in his favorite chair. A stranger dressed in all black, expensive leather and fine silk. He’s wearing a trench coat, even indoors, looking very casual about it. George’s heart skips a beat.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m here for your wife and daughter.” He replies.
“Well I’ve just got home, give me a chance to say hello first.”
“Please. Be reasonable. I’m a working man, I don’t see them much as it is. Give me a chance to say hello.”
“No, you had your chance.”
“What? Bu-, Ah-, Come on, I didn’t know you would be coming tonight! Let me at least wake them and let them know I made it home safe. Please, that’s nothing to you and it would mean the world to me. It’s just the smallest of requests. Please. That’s all I ask.”
“Oh come on, I begging you! Please! Please! At least- At least tell me what was the last thing I told my daughter.” George pleaded. His eyes started to water.
“You scolded her for not cleaning her room.”
“Well, I meant to tell her that having a clean room is a good habit to have. I want her to know that I only wanted the best for her, so that she can have a successful future. I have a good life, but I want hers to be so much better. I just couldn’t find the words. Please let me tell her now.”
“Agh! You’re hopeless! What was the last thing I told my wife?”
“You told her it would be a long day today, not to wait up, and to have dinner without you again.”
“Well I knew it would be a big day. I just meant that I loved her and I wanted to provide everything I can for her. This is my job, it’s not great, but I do what I can because I love her so much. She means the world to me. I just- I just, don’t always know how to tell her. But I can do it. I can do it now. Let me tell her I love her. Give me just a little more time with them. I’ll tell them I love them every day from now on.” George’s face was wet with tears.
“No. I already gave you more time.”
“That was 5 years ago! 5 years? That’s nothing! My little girl, she’s only 10. I thought I would get more time. I thought I would have more time than this! She’s so young, she has her whole life ahead of her! I just wanted what was best for her. Please give me more time!”
“PLEASE! Please! Please!” George collapsed to a sniveling heap on the ground. He sobbed uncontrollably. The man in black got up and crossed the room to the girls room. He emerged minutes later and went into the master bedroom. The wife’s snoring stopped.
“Everybody dies.” said the stranger, and he walked out the front door, still open.