Meet the Reaper - 67th Birthday Edition

Peter Costantini ~ Seattle ~ December 14, 2017

(Originally posted on Facebook in response to birthday wishes)

Exuberant thanks to all my thoughtful friends and family. Your birthday greetings warm my heart.

And my heart, along with my other vital organs, can use all the help they can get. Two-thirds of a century is an age when the warranty on most of them has long since expired.

It seemed like a milestone that might attract the Grim Reaper to my door. But happily, another year went by without a visit from him.

I did see someone a couple of blocks away who bore some resemblance. But when I got closer, I noticed that he was wearing an ordinary hoodie – I believe it said “Spring Break Aleppo” - and was carrying not a scythe, but a sickle.

Turns out he was an intern. And the Reaper’s CFO had decided that scythes were expensive, so interns would have to make do with sickles. After all, you’re just reaping souls - why would you need more than a sickle? Didn’t tell the poor young skeleton he looked a little ridiculous.

After he left, I noticed he had dropped a small object. It was a flash drive, and on it was a cell-phone video of a conference between the CFO and some analysts.

The big takeaway is that the Reaper has gone all startup on us. The CFO revealed that their venture capitalists are encouraging them to merge with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – and you can see the synergy there.

But the negotiations are hung up on the converged branding. The Reaper wanted to call the combined entity Reapco, but the Horsemen were holding out for Apocalypso – they paid a naming company a lot for it. And their jingle was meant to be light-hearted, but was actually kind of a downer: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. If the Horsemen don’t get you, the Reaper must.” They said they were focused with laser intensity on “disrupting the end-of-life consensus”. On the other hand, the Reaper’s vision was much more about the “reapee user experience” and “harvesting souls sustainably”. He wanted to take the “Grim” out of his persona. Classic clash of corporate cultures.

The Reaper wasn’t just looking for M&A action, though: he was also on the prowl for public-private partnerships. The CFO told the analysts that they had been holding talks with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, AKA la Migra). However, these negotiations were deadlocked around an existential issue: would the Reaper join the 287(g) program and hold the people on his list so ICE could vet their immigration status and possibly jail and deport them, or on the contrary would ICE hold those it picked up until the Reaper could verify whether they were on his list, and if so, harvest their souls?

When rumors of a potential deal leaked, Steve Bannon weighed in on Breitbart: “I’ll be damned if some old skeleton in a hood with a scythe, both probably made in China, will carry off our Mexicans before we have a chance to humanely ship them back where they belong.”

Speaking candidly, the CFO offered fascinating insights into the Reaper’s take on global business opportunities.

You might think that he would be all in for Syria and, potentially, the Korean Peninsula. But in reality, he said, mass slaughter is not in the corporate wheelhouse. What the Reaper offers is a personalized cross-over experience that can’t be mass produced. Custom soul reaping doesn’t scale well to such large numbers of clients.

Nevertheless, some of the classic immigration routes are still prime territory for gaining market share - particularly the Sonoran Desert along the Arizona – Mexico border and the Mediterranean off of Lampedusa.

Obviously, the hardware side looks promising. They are investing heavily in bump stocks and large-capacity magazines, which have been reliably producing new customers in the dozens and even hundreds. Stinger missiles and RPGs also offer some room for growth.

The CFO was bullish about the fiscal climate. Conventional wisdom used to be that nothing was certain except death and taxes. With the new Republican tax plan, though, the latter have become much less inevitable for the Reaper’s angel investors. Yet the former continues to give him an economic moat as wide as the River Styx. The Grim Reaper, LLC, SA, GmbH, is offering a compassionate if bony hand to growing numbers of souls who are crossing over. Look for the IPO in the second or third quarter.

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