Author: Tuomas Nevanlinna

A brush with death

Issue 3/2000 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the collection of short prose Hyv√§kuntoisena taivaaseen (‘Getting to heaven in good shape’, Tammi, 1999)

I had agreed to meet Death at the Assembly Rooms in the centre of Helsinki. Seldom has an interview made me feel so nervous beforehand. Luckily, this gave me a good reason to cancel an appointment with my dentist. (Although of course I know that in the end I shall have to go there myself.)

It is customary to regard Death as a man who is not affected by the whims of fashion. Thus it is surprising to hear that Death is particularly concerned about his public image. ‘In public, I am considered stern and unbending. Unchanging and therefore uncontrollable,’ Death thunders. ‘This is not at all accurate. Fortunately, people understand me better when I am at work. More…