Wilhelm was rather indecisive today.
He sat in his padded office chair with an electric blanket over his lap. He drank his favorite red wine, getting dribbles of it in his peppered beard. It was winter. It was cold.
Wilhelm’s overhead projector flickered here and there on a slide he’s been stuck on for about fifteen minutes now. The faces of Linda Buchanan and Jonathan Hernandez were the ones flickering.
Wilhelm didn’t know to whom he’d give a heart attack.
So he grabbed both Linda’s and Jonathan’s files from his cabinets.
One the one hand was Linda Buchanan. She’s 44 and divorced. Technically, she was a widow, but “divorced” sounds better on her dating app.
Wilhelm continued reading through her file. The file contained facts and trivia on Linda’s life thus far.
Linda Buchanan has had 22 sexual partners. She owed $12,000 to the Mexican Mafia, held the door open for someone 14 times, fallen in love once, and had an 8:1 ratio of how many times she had been blessed after sneezing versus how many ties she said “bless you.”
All of her 44 years of life was condensed in a 15 page, single-spaced document.
On the other hand was Jonathan Hernandez, a single father of two.
Jonathan was barley 30. His youngest child was four months old that keeps him up for most of the night, hindering his statistic of total time he had spent sleeping. The file stated that Jonathan had broken twelve bones, cried 1389 times, hated her ex-wife for a total of 263 consecutive days, and contemplated suicide an average of 1.3 times a day.
“Decisions, decisions,” Wilhelm muttered to himself.
There was a knock on Wilhelm’s door. In came Clementine.
Clementine looked like Times New Roman. She wore business formal on casual Friday. The best way to reach her is through e-mail. She had strawberry hair made up in a bun. Her freckles outlined her laugh lines. Clementine had swans feet around her eyes. She was too beautiful do deal with crows.
She was in charge of miracles.
Wilhelm was in charge of diseases and afflictions. Each day, Wilhelm sat in his padded chair, probably drinking his wine, dishing out anything from Cancer to the common cold.
“You’re using up too many plug-ins, Wilhelm. My lights are flickering over in my office,” Clementine said, “Is that an electric blanket!” Clementine pointed to Wilhelm’s lap. “Unplug that thing, I don’t want the power to go out mid-miracle.”
“My oops, dear,” Wilhelm started, “It’s cold outside, so I thought I’d get comfy. I’ll unplug here now.” Wilhelm smiled his peppered smile at Clementine.
“Thank you! See ya at lunch?” asked Clementine.
“But of course!” replied Wilhelm.
Clementine left the office and went back into hers next door.
Wilhelm went back to work. It’s a shame someone had to have a heart attack. It was the holidays after all. No one wants to plan a funeral around Christmas dinner. And it was going to be a funeral. The heart attack would be fierce enough to kill the person in a couple seconds. Poor soul. Wilhelm gripped the files firm.
“Fuck!” Clementine could be heard through the wall. Wilhelm could also hear her heels clop through the hallway before barging through his door once more. “Wilhelm did I not just tell you to unplug that blanket. I lost the miracle I was working on. My computer just blacked out!”
“My oops again, dear.” Wilhelm got up from his chair and handed his files to Clementine before unplugging his blanket from the electrical socket. “But let’s face it, Clementine, you were probably going to decline the miracle as per usual, no?”
“Oh stop it. You know how slim the pickings are for me. How’s it going in here?” said Clementine.
Wilhelm motioned to the files in her hand. He unplugged his blanket from the outlet. “Why don’t you have a look? I’ve been having a tough time deciding who gets the heart attack. Maybe a fresh set of eyes can open mine.”
Clementine looked through the files. She was appalled. Clementine knew that Wilhelm gave out diseases, but reading the files made her sick to her stomach. “Gross,” is all she could muster.
“Gross what? What’s gross? The heart attack? No, I’ve given out much worse. Have you heard of Leprosy?” said Wilhelm.
Clementine shook her head. “No not that. Just…how do you do your job?”
“Well, very much like you do yours. I just choose. You choose which miracles get granted all the time, this shouldn’t be a new concept here. Are you feeling ill? Did I give you something?” Wilhelm laughed.
Clementine chuckled. Her face turned serious. “Yeah, but how do you choose who lives and who dies? This stuff kills people all the time. How do you do it? How do you have a clear conscience? Killing these people?”
“I choose illnesses, not life,” Wilhelm started, “If they live or die is not up to me entirely, I just sometimes give them problems in which they might die from. Death, even in these offices, is not something we have control over. We cannot choose who lives and who dies, darling. Naturally, people have to die because we cannot choose to have everyone live. That would cause bedlam. People as a collective have to live because we cannot have everyone die. If everyone is dead, who will be alive to die? We control a world where a man is forced to die and has the option to live, not the other way around. This is why we cannot choose who lives and dies, for it was choice already made for them. As far as my job, I choose whoever I feel like choosing at the time.”
“I mean if you put it that way..” said Clementine.
“Oh! Which gives me the idea!” Wilhelm closed his eyes and proceeded to play eenie meenie miney mo between Jonathan and Linda’s photos on the projector. “Oh fuck it, Jonathan gets the heart attack.
It was then Jonathan died of a heart attack whilst driving on the freeway. His car came onto oncoming traffic where he would have died again if it wasn’t for his previous heart-related passing.
Clementine shook her head. Wilhelm poured himself some wine. Two more pictures popped up on the projector. This time the two people depicted were fighting over genital warts.
Clementine left Wilhelm’s office and walked over to hers.
There she granted miracles.