He often had scrapes on his limbs after riding his bike. It was a fair conclusion that a lack of knots were to blame. His laces had been caught before in spokes or entangled on the peddles, thus causing himself a collection of minor injuries. But he was not a person to listen and take in advice. His mind dipped in and out of the virtual world. To be honest, Billy would happily live there rather than face the dull, drab grey of life in Reality Street. He was ready to be plugged in as soon as the technology arrived. "Tie your shoe laces! Tie your show laces!" Billy was sick and tired of hearing his girlfriend Shawna telling him off for not tying his shoe laces. So he had clumps of his hair in his hands as he read the letter and exhaled a frustrated growl. Earlier that morning, his sleep was interrupted by three clatters of the letter box. He had went down stairs in his Captain America onesie to check the mail around the back of ten (facing the day two hours earlier than usual). He was still wakening up, but was eager for his pre ordered PC game "Warlocks of Wanton Destruction III - The Fabled Beard" to arrive. He was hoping that his level 52 mage's stats would be carried over from the previous title in the series. He wanted to enjoy the new story without having to put in the necessary 300 hours it takes to reach level 52 (the last two levels are a grinding bitch to trawl through). Now some may say that Billy takes a Marxist approach to life, that he allows society to toil so that he can enjoy life's many pursuits unhindered by slavery and others would call him a waster or a man child. Frustrated he assessed the mail delivered from a 5 ft 8 slouch (Billy is actually 5ft 10 and a half, with proper posture). No parcels, only letters. Disheartened Billy shifted through the letters until he was left with a black envelope. The envelope was so dark it seemed to drain the sunlight from the Transom window above the door. He didn't notice the Aloe Vera plant wilt in the hallway and the top of the hall paper curl ever so slightly. The surface letter read "BILLY. READ BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOUSE! WoWDIII CONTENT INSIDE!" Interesting. Has the game's publisher started a multiplatform media promotion for the games release? Surely I would have heard news of it from the online forums or off my clan in WoWDII? He tapped the envelope against his left hand. Oh well, only one way to find out he thought. He thumbed under the envelope flap and slid it open slowly. There was a single sheet of paper folded inside. He spread the pages flat on the hall's antique table's surface. The table's wood worm problem was instantly solved. The letter read: Hello Billy, Now I need you to really focus and take this letter seriously. IT IS A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH! You must start tying your shoe laces before leaving the house. DO IT! If you do not tie your laces before you leave the house then you will meet with a horrific accident! I cannot tell you any more details other than WATCH OUT FOR THE BEE! I have been lucky enough to be given the chance to WARN YOU! YOU MUST PAY HEED! I know this must seem strange and you may need proof, so here it is: Your WoWDII password is: $Jackal761227 You have been secretly masterbating to Entressnia the Wynd Maiden of Xarzia. You once stole two packets of Refreshers from a shop when you were a teenager. NO ONE APART FROM YOURSELF KNOWS THESE THINGS! Goodl uck! P.S. DON'T BE A DUMBASS! TIE YOUR LACES! Yours desperately Yourself and Death P.S. THIS IS NOT SHAWNA! Billy walked into the living room and slowly sat down. A droplet of sweat slid from Billy's oakster to his hip. He grabbed his hair. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. She knows! She knows about my wanking habit! I thought I was so careful. I must have left myself signed into the game and she must have browsed my history and seen the Estressnia fan art! Fuck! This is fucked up! How is she taking the discovery? Not good if she has created this elaborate letter. She has went nuts! I am fucked! Wait.... How did she know about the Refreshers? Did mum know about them and she didn't let on to me? Shawna has been spending a lot more time with mum recently... It has to be. What else makes sense...? Nothing. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. She is going to freak! Right Billy, calm down. Shawna can't prove that you wanked over Entressnia. She only knows you have seen the art work. You can make something up. Yeah! There was...there was a rumour...on the forums...about secret codes hiding in the art work. Sure. And as a dumb ass I fell for it. My friends and myself all had a laugh at the prank. That's it! I better get myself into town to pick her up something nice to ease the tension! Billy hastily climbed out of his onesie, grabbed a jumper and slid on jeans he found on the floor by the bed. He slipped his feet into his shoes, clipped his helmet on, locked the door and started to pedal his bike. He was mapping out the shops in his head that might contain a gift that was suitable to claw his relationship from code red to a mellow yellow when out of nowhere a large boney arm clothes lined his face, turning everything to black... ...Billy woke up to smelling salts held in a boned hand. The hand was not boney. No siree, it was made of bone. There was no skin on the fingers, the hand, the fore arm, oh god, even the face was skinless. "Hello Billy" the skeleton greeted under a cowl, "I am death". "You ah deafh?" Billy half stated/half questioned. "No! I AM DEATH..." started the reaper "Oh wait. I seem to have burst your lip..." Death clicked his fingers and Billy's lips were healed. "What is happening!?! Am I dead?" Billy whined. Death sighed. "How cliched and droll. Always with the "am I deeeeeead" malarky" Death said with great tireness in his voice. "Technically in one time frame you are dead, but currently you are not dead in this time frame. There seems to be an embarrassing occurance with your fate and ending..." Death was explaining when, within a flash of light, a figure appear and started shouting. "Hold up! Hold up! Death my good man, has the boy caught us in a time loop?" enquired Fate. "It does play havoc with balancing the books when dealing with multiple space time continuums in the one fractured dimension. You know my motto! One dimension one continuum!" grumbled Fate. "Yes, I agree. Unfortunately, the boy is going to tempt you." Death inhaled and rolled his sockets. "Me!?! Nonsense!" scowled Fate. "He is repeatedly swanning around, under the influence of weed, with his laces loose, on his bike without breaks and speeding through traffic with poor traffic awareness due in part, to his musical contraption stuck in his ears. He doesn't even sign at turns or stop at traffic lights. The bastard crosses with the Green Man! This does not TEMPT you?" Death spoke with one socket arched. Fate looked down at his feet and ground one sandal into the pavement "Maybe a little." "Pah!" roared Death "In three seconds a van with a Bumble Bee on it is fated to kill Billy." "Aaaaaaaaaghhh!" screamed Billy with his hands covering his face. "What the Dickens is wrong with you?" quizzed Fate "THE VAN!?!" cried Billy. "Oh, your horrific, fatal accident? We have paused time to sort out this mess. You won't be facing the vans grill quite yet." smiled Fate reassuringly. "BUT WHY!?!" whimpered Billy. "To keep the place tidy." smiled Fate. Fate looks up to death "So what causes the time loop?" "Stupidity, Temptation, Luck..." Death trails off. "NOT THAT INTERFERING CU..!" bellowed Fate. "Hah! You are one to talk!" grimaced Lady Luck with a smile as she appeared from behind Death. "How is it hanging big guy!?!" beamed Lady Luck. "Pickled. In a jar. A LARGE jar. Under my bed." replied Death with a depressed tone. "Eh,...unlucky." replied a shocked Ms. Luck. "Tell me about it." moaned Death. "What is she doing here?" snarled Fate. "Boredom..." replied Death. "What?" a perplexed Fate asks. "I want to weigh in on the action. I'm bored. This fractured spacey continuum thingy looks fun. I want a flutter." smiles Luck and waves a hand. Billy's eyes light up. "What are you planning to do?" Fate breathes through gritted teeth. "It is already done. He remembers the option of a game for his soul from the web crawlies Foxy Fire and Goggle. I have discarded his first choice of "Soggy Biscuit" as I am at a unnatural disadvantage. So instead a coin will be flipped to determine whether he will have the chance to warn his past self of this impended doom. Obviously, Lady Luck wins the toss. Billy writes himself a letter, knocks three times on the door and his old self does not pay heed, as Fate is stubborn and wants one back at Lady Luck. He assigns Billy back to his meeting with a large bee..." Death tapers off. Fate square up nose to nose and start screaming at each other. Billy has taken in the situation and dares not move from his cowered position. Death pinches the bridge of his nose and bellows "TIME!?!" Now Billy, Fate and Luck are still as statues. A small ball of light slowly descends from the sky and turns into an old man in lycra, with a head band, covered in sweat. "Total balls up?" enquired Father Time. "Yup." nods Death. "What do you think?" said Father Time. "A draw?" suggests Death. "Fair enough. The boy is twenty eight, these humans last till about eighty. So we will half that and say he has another twenty six years?" Time mused with a raised brow. Death exhaled. "Fine by me." "Are you covering the negative balance?" asked Time "Well I am in the right frame of BODY for the job." Death shrugged. Father time started to rise to the sky. "What are you up to?" asked Death. "Pilates with Jesus, Thor and Zeus" Father Time called down. "Is it as good as Yoga?" Death enquired. "Nah! I keep telling Thor that it is a load of bollocks in comparison." Time shouted before disappearing. Fate and Luck suddenly snapped out of their frozen state. They eye balled each other and then turned to Death. "What is going on!?!" they both angrily shouted in unison. "Well, due to there being a stale mate, Father Time and myself came to an agreement to resolve the issue." Death explained. "Half and half?" queried Lady luck. "Yes." Death answered with a nod. "Oh, well. If it gets us on with the day so be it." considered Fate with two raised eye brows. "Glad you see it that way." Death said surprised. A tinge of hope in his voice. "Of course, there is a matter of balancing the books." Fate spoke as his grin slid up his face. Death sighed. "I thought that would be the case. Yes. I will do it." Death said dejected. "Good show old boy! Tying up all the loose ends and making sure all the excess energy is not running about willy nilly and what not." beamed Fate with enthusiasm. "Oh, crikey. This will be interesting to see." said Luck merrily. "Haven't you got places to be?" snapped Death "Where there is bad luck, I am always nearby. And I believe you have just come across some." She said with wink. "The corner?" Death asked. "The corner." both Fate and Luck said at the same time. Death clicked his fingers and time regained it's rhythm. The white van with a large bumble bee on the side, turned off of Roseberry Avenue and onto Bronson Street. The driver was running late for his next delivery and not had a lunch break. He was scoffing down a foot long sandwich while driving. As he had turned the corner he had spilled some South West sauce down his front. "Aw, man!" Jim Franklin moaned, spitting out crumbs and flicking at his shirt, eyes not on the road. "3, 2, 1." Death counted before stepping of the pavement. Jim felt the van dunt an object and his tyres roll over a large hump of sorts. "Ouch!" shouted Luck delightedly. "Ah, well. Back to work I suppose." Tutted Fate. Both Fate and Luck disappeared. Jim leaned back as his leg straightened up on the breaks. He swiftly opened his door and was running to the back of the van as soon as his feet hit the floor. When he got there, he saw nothing. He bent and took a look underneath the carriage and inspected the road in front of him. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. He puffed out his cheeks and blew out air as he held his right hand over the back of his neck. Billy woke up screaming on the couch. He looked down and seen that he was still holding the envelope. He didn't leave the house for a fortnight. Ever since, he would wear velcro strapped shoes and trainers. He had a deep fear of knots. Billy died at the age of 54 from a bee sting. Death found that fact to be rather cliched.