After a two-year boycott of the East Sussex town, Death today buried the hatchet in his dispute with Eastbourne Borough Council and finally agreed to resume harvesting the town’s elderly population. The hiatus in collections followed the Grim Reaper’s arrest for possession of a bladed weapon and an ASBO banning him from entering the town in a hooded top, and has left the seaside resort backed-up with old people well past their die-by-date.
‘Eastbourne’s pace of life has long been popular with the elderly seeking to prepare themselves for the afterlife,’ said Robert Cottrill, the Council’s Chief Executive, ’but once word got out that the Grim Reaper was no longer making his rounds here, we’ve been inundated. Locals have had to cope with gangs of pensioners hanging around on street corners claiming there’s nowhere else for them to go, while supermarkets have been brought to a standstill by customers insisting on paying with the exact change. In many ways we’ve barely noticed.’
The build up of the pre-dead in Eastbourne has left charity shops permanently sold out of beige clothing, frustrated residents claiming that you can’t get hold of shortbread biscuits for love nor money, and grandchildren everywhere weighing the benefit of a few ‘bonus’ birthday and Christmas presents against the inconvenience of a delayed inheritance. However tea rooms and Crown Green Bowls clubs are said to be doing a roaring trade, and retail analysts now cite the lucrative south coast market as the driving force behind the burgeoning boiled sweets sector.
The Grim Reaper’s return has not been without its problems, though. Residents are up in arms after he switched from a weekly to a fortnightly collection, and some were furious today after relatives left out in the wheelie bins marked ‘Cremation’ were nevertheless tossed in with the deceased headed for the St David’s Church landfill site.
Yet despite Death’s service being much slower since his scythe was confiscated by Sussex constabulary, he is still managing to entice elderly residents on his open-top boat rides with the promise of ‘cosy lodgings and low heating bills’ in the hereafter. Most, though, took the precaution of dressing for a cold snap, albeit that they agreed it was surprisingly mild for the time of year.