A famous line from the film of 'Blade Runner', 'Time to die' (or, in its fullest form, 'Wake up... time to die!') was apparently improvised on the spot by the late, great Brion James; it has subsequently incorporated into the script, and put into the mouth of 'Roy Batty' at the end.

If I was a student of cinema I would write a long paragraph about the death / rebirth symbolism inherent in 'Blade Runner'; I am not, and by God I will not.

It is also the name of a song, based on 'Blade Runner', by Gary Numan. It is on the album 'Strange Charm' and was released as a single.

In real life, apparently 02:00 is a common time to die, as the body's metabolism and body temperature is at its slowest.

'Time to Die'
Gary Numan

And I have seen wonders
And I have seen miracles
Oh, I have seen such things
It's all lost to me now
Like tears in the rain

And I have seen sadness
And I have seen time run out
I've even seen men cry
It's all lost to me now
Like tears in the rain

And my memories
I can't give them away
So it's easy
Like a long long sleep
I'm so tired
Now it's my time to die
Welcome home
Welcome home

No exhibition
No screaming war songs
No conversation
No more opinions here

And I have seen new wars
And I have seen things
That you wouldn't believe
And I have seen my days
It's all lost to me now
Like tears in the rain

Did you ever wonder what the best part of being a ghost is? Now that I'm dead it’s hard to say. Sometimes I think it’s the freedom. Other times it’s the peace. Still other times it’s the fun. But maybe the best part is the power.

I’m in Bill’s office. Bill is the man who murdered me. The official report says death was accidental but I know better and I’m going to tell you so you’re not fooled either. Fooled by a smooth talking, smooth walking, slimy son-of-a-bitch like Bill. And his mom is a real bitch, even Bill can’t stand her but she had some money so he pretended to be nice to her. I never had any money so he didn’t have to pretend with me. He didn’t even have to acknowledge me but he did. He acknowledged me because I was going to marry money. A lot of it. The money isn’t important. You realize that when you’re a ghost. And get whatever you need to say said in real life because you can’t talk when you’re dead. That’s the down side of it.

I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Darcy. And I worked for Bill. At first I thought he was a nice guy. A nice guy with a client who was a big jerk. But I’ll let you decide…

You’re now in Bill’s office, it’s in the corner natch.

“Who was that?” Mark was in Bill’s office, he was another guy I used to work with. I turned around and there was Bill. He was leaning back in his chair, his paunchy belly protruding as usual. Cocky son of a bitch. I could plunge a knife into his cold black heart right this very minute. I'm sorry you have to listen to an oily cocksucker like Bill but that's the only way you're going to see what kind of a person he really is.

“That, oh," Bill smoothed his shirt down so his tie didn't bunch over the bulge. "That was one of my clients, he’s a pain in the ass and if he wasn’t so big I’d fire him.”

“Send him my way.” Mark was not only a weasel, he was a rookie. That’s what we call the guys who sit in the bullpen. These were the guys and gals who haven’t landed enough fish to get a door of their own. Bill shook his head at Mark. The wattle on his chin wobbled as he leaned back. “You don’t want this guy. I’m not even sure that I want him now that Darcy is gone.”

I pushed a piece of paper off Bill’s desk. It fluttered to the floor and I liked the way his face paled. Mark didn’t even notice the paper. He was hanging on Bill’s every word. Hanging on his words and talking about me. He had never liked me so I wasn't surprised at his next words. “I heard Ken say that she was a real bitch.”

Bill shook his head again. “Smart Mark, Darcy was smart. She didn’t land Victor but she kept him happy and she kept him here. The son and the grandkids always wanted him to pull his account but he said as long as Darcy was here so was he. Big money, I always wondered what he did to make it. Darcy was going out with one of the grandkids, but then, well, you know what happened then.”

Victor’s lover had settled a pile on him. He was a cool guy, very youthful looking even for a grandpa. He was tall too, six-four. I like tall men. Mark kept talking, he was always trying to schmooze Bill. “I heard she and some guy died in a plane crash. I never even knew she had a boyfriend before that.”

Yes you did you horrific crotch grabbing menace. You were always trying to corner me in the halls and I told you how it stood. I was fuming now. Brad was my fiancée not my boyfriend. I wanted to hear how Bill would handle this one.

“She always said she was engaged. There was some fuss about the ring. I’m not even sure I really remembered what happened it was so long ago.”

I took a deep breath and stepped back. I had to breathe and now you see..., this is how Bill gets to you. He stole the ring. His wife has my diamond and I have her piece of shit cubic zirconia. Wasn’t it nice of Bill to check on my ring as long as he was going across the street and over to the mall? Stupid me had mentioned I had to have the ring resized. Brad is the one who noticed the switch. Now the two of us are both ghosts. It’s one of the few benefits to being dead. We never worry about which of us will kick off first.

“Darcy was engaged?” Mark acted astonished. What a dipshit.

“Supposedly. Her, ah boyfriend, I guess you would call him was a dentist. He was good with his hands.”

That was it, I shoved Bill’s chair back and dumped coffee on his lap. Now it looked like he had wet his pants. Bill looked down at the brown stains and I smiled when I saw his rubbery chin quiver. I had been at this for months now. “Shit, now I’m going to have to go home and change.”

“It’s not that bad.” Mark was smirking at Bill and the stain. “Maybe it’ll dry by lunch time." I watched Mark back away from Bill's desk. It seemed clear to me that he was uneasy. Mark was almost at Bill's door before he paused. "It’s hard to think that someone I worked with died in a plane crash.”

It’s even harder to think that someone snuck into an airplane hangar and clogged our fuel line with God only knows what. We never suspected a thing or at least I didn’t. Brad didn’t want to go up that day but I did. I love to fly. Back to Bill again. I felt like vomiting on the floor in front of him.

“The guy she was dating was a flying fanatic. He and his uncle built the plane. Darcy never liked to fly but she humored him. He was sharp too, he set up the company's 401(k) accounts so he got a copy of everyone’s statements. That’s how he and Darcy met. He called up and wanted to know why something was off. He knew I was working on it and he liked to check in. He was a real control freak.”

That was a lie, Bill never worked on a thing in his whole life. And I was the one who told Brad the thirty-five dollars was missing because the receipts didn’t add up. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill stole that too. I pictured him with a tapeworm and smiled at the image. Two parasites feeding off each other. I almost felt sorry for the tapeworm.

“The hell of it was I was just about to get a bunch of other accounts too. That family has money all over the place. His dad is a doctor…”

A pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon to be precise. He never would have handed a penny over to Bill.

“The uncle who built the plane is a dentist too. I've got his business account but not his personal one. Another uncle owns a car dealership, one of them is a pharmacist and one of them is an aeronautical engineer and I forget what the other one does. They've all got money but the real big fish, there's two of them. Brad's great grandfather is down in Florida. He's a big catch. His place has a name and its own waterfall and he's got mega bucks. He's a retired anesthesiologist but he married lumber money, his second wife is half his age, I've met her. Their last name is Kristoffersen, they've got two kids and the kids aren't getting money until they're thirty-five or old man Kristoffersen kicks off. A buddy of mine has Nancy's account but he can't get Dr Kristoffersen to switch. Nancy drives a Ferrari to the grocery store but she's cool."

"Sounds like some nice fish are swimming in your sea" Mark was acting like he had a clue. Obnoxious sod.

"The real big fish is Brad's brother Brent. He's a shortstop and he plays for the Brewers now but he played for the White Sox when they won the World Series. He makes about eighteen million a year."

You could see Mark go slack-jawed. Bill started stroking himself at the thought of all that money. "Not only that, guess what his wife does for a living?"

Mark shrugged, he was getting bored.

"She's a model. She and her brother were out on the beach in California. She is one fine piece of ass, her name is Fern and she's nuts about sports. Some guys offered her and her brother free surfing lessons if they could take some pictures of them playing volleyball - they were setting up a new company, it took off and Fern got a contract, a nice one. Brent set up a foundation account for Fern, that's what he gave her for Christmas. She wants to help female athletes out so she's got her own fucking foundation account. The Fern V. Summerville Foundation Account. You can call the Seattle office and have them look it up. Some guy out there claims he got a taste of her but there's no fucking way. He's full of shit."

Just like Bill was. What a coincidence. Mark gave Bill another weaselly look. He was such a rodent with his sharp little teeth and twitching little nose. His cologne smelled like eau de muskrat. "You think you'll have any luck getting the rest of the family over here?"

Bill shrugged and I liked the way his confidence had been shaken. He was going down. Don't worry, you're almost done listening to anything he has to say.

"Their attorney is still settling the estate. I've got Brad's 401(k) account, people are still trying to decide where the money should go. Darcy was the beneficiary, she forged Brad's name and if she wouldn't have been killed in the crash with him she would have been in deep shit. I tried to help her out as much as I could. I didn't think she'd be so underha..." his words were cut off as Brad smashed a paper airplane nose first into Bill's desk. Just for effect I picked up a picture and let that drop. Shards of broken glass flew around the office. Bill's pudgy wife and four fat kids were splattered with red droplets as Brad blew a watery mixture of red ink on them. A red pen had been sacrificed to help our cause and I smiled as Brad drew an incriminating vermilion arrow towards Bill. This time he really did wet his pants.

In the kitchen several of my former co-workers were reading a message that Brad had written on the dry erase board.

“What about Bill’s wife’s ring?”

“It’s a beautiful ring.”

“Bill must be doing something right.”

Dead right. I took a thick black magic marker out and wrote on the cream-colored wall.


That got their attention.

I dropped the magic marker on the floor. On second thought I picked it up again.


Brad’s message was much too subtle for my taste. It’s one of the things I love best about him. He can be so subtle. Several of the women were crying. Just so you know you can’t cry when you’re a ghost. But that doesn’t mean you’re not sad. Like Brad is. For an eternity. I held his hand and kissed it. We left Bill’s office. There’s a park in back of the building and we sat on our favorite bench. Brad brushed my hair back and I put my head against his shoulder. Wave to us as you walk by. Being a ghost is a very lonely pastime.

Just ask Bill.

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