Sunday, February 26, 2012


This week we are going to make a deal with ‘ol Scratch himself. Tales of bargaining with the dark one are as old as written history and he is a slippery cuss to deal with. So this week write a tale under 900 words where you make a deal with the devil.

I had so much fun with this one. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What is time, after all? Well, live and learn…


He was admiring all the expensive appliances in his newly remodeled kitchen. That’s what it was all about, he thought, the flash. If stuff didn’t shine, sparkle, or glow in the dark, how could one be expected to impress the hell out of all the ordinary chumps in the world. Not that just anybody would be permitted entry to his apartment anyway. He decided he would make a list of those he deemed worthy of a chance to possibly earn that privilege, and how it might be accomplished. The wisps of smoke wafting in from the living room made his knees buckle.

“What the hell‘s burning? These detectors are supposed to go off before I even get a whiff.”

He ran into the living room and saw a figure sitting on the couch, with flames surrounding its face and hands, if you could call them that. There were two horns on either side of the head and the hands looked like claws.

“Who are you and how did you get in here? Wait until I get my hands on those jokers that call themselves security. But, right now, I’m calling the police and my attorney because you are going to get locked up and sued for destroying my property. I’ve got a fire extinguisher here somewhere.”

“No need, Mr. Danninger. I’ll just change over.”

The figure closed its eyes and transformed into a middle-aged man with a full head of gray hair, bright blue eyes and dressed in a stylish three-piece suit. The couch transformed too, back to its original state.

“Armani,” he said quietly. “I have to admit, I’m quite the clothes horse. But then, I get so few opportunities to really dress up.”

Blaine knew all the years of cell phones, microwaves and computer terminals had finally taken their toll. He had thought there would be more warning as the brain tumor’s growth progressed, but perhaps this way was best. One, two, three, and it would be over. No lingering for weeks or months in a bed in one of those vegetable farms.

“You’re thinking brain tumor, right? Let me explain. I wouldn’t have come here looking like that, but that’s how people recognize me. I like this look better though. The horns, long fingernails and flames--so tacky and uncomfortable too. It’s the heat, you see. I get enough of it 24/7. I’m sorry, I’m rambling. I am the Devil, but you can call me Gavin, if that will work for you. I like ‘Gavin‘. It’s trendy. I’m here because I have a proposal for you.”

Blaine thought, this is really happening. But why?

“Gavin, huh? Okay. Oh, and thanks. I just bought that couch. What could you want from me though? I shut businesses down, put people out of work, cheat families out of their savings with my scams, I’m already bad, and very rich. I don’t need to sell my soul to you to get anything. Besides, if I accidentally called you up, I apologize.”

“You don’t understand, Blaine. I don‘t want your soul. I’ve got too many as it is. You know, way back when this all started, I only got so much space. And it’s not like my house has a revolving door. They come and they stay. Forever. That’s a long time, bro, and it’s getting tight in there. We’re three deep already. It‘s like this. Hell’s crowded and full of whiners. There’s no fire and brimstone like in the movies, just a lot of nothing. Drives ‘em batty, and they whine because they know that’s all there will ever be. Fine and dandy, right? For them maybe, but not for me. They deserve what they’ve got, but where’s the perks for me? I separate friends and relatives, trying to make them as miserable as possible, screening the newbies, and it takes up all my time. I can’t get out to recruit, and I haven’t tempted anybody in years. I’m burned out. No pun intended. What I propose is you and I swap places for a month. Thirty days from now, I’ll bring you here and we‘ll swap back. You get a vacation from all your wheeling and dealing and I can stretch my legs, so to speak. I’ll even sweeten it some. When you get back, I’ll grant any request, no questions. What do you say?”

Blaine thought he had heard everything, but this beat all. What have I got to lose, he thought? I could use a vacation. Gavin pricked Blaine’s finger so he could sign the contract in blood. A bit dramatic to be sure, but the old guy seemed to enjoy it. Before he knew it, he was sitting on a tarnished throne, looking down on stacks of people, and they were all indeed whining. I can make people miserable anywhere, he thought, and enjoy the hell out of it. He had to laugh. Pun intended.

Two years later, Gavin returned home after a particularly exhausting day. He had convinced two stockbrokers to commit suicide, one bank executive to murder his entire family, and three teenagers to begin selling cocaine to third graders. He loved this apartment, with all it’s expensive furnishings and especially, the silence. That fellow, Blaine, certainly did have good taste. Wonder how he’s doing. Probably still waiting for those thirty days to be up. Should have read the fine print. Thirty of MY days…


  1. Ha...! The fine print, devilish indeed. Very interesting tale, Joyce! I wonder how Blaine is holding up...

  2. Ingrid, Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed this bit of craziness. I wondered what would it be like if old Satan really couldn't come and go as he pleases, without some sort of deal. Poor Blaine. Wonder if he's bored yet...

  3. "Blaine knew all the years of cell phones, microwaves and computer terminals had finally taken their toll."

    Great line, Joyce! Some would much rather believe technology is poisoning us than accepting that there are supernatural beings... good and evil... guiding, influencing us.

    The ending... wow... did not see that... that was awesome! Your writing always fascinates and enthralls me!


  4. Joyce, I really enjoyed this one. You really humanized the Devil, and I loved listening to him ramble about how hard it was being the harvester of souls!

  5. Veronica, So glad you enjoyed this. I tried to approach it from kind of a routine, matter-of-fact point of view. Sure, the Devil's around, but he's like everyone else. He gets bored, he gets bogged down, and he has needs. Then again, he also still has a few tricks up his 'sleeve'. He is the Devil, after all. Had a lot of fun with this one!

  6. Thomas, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you liked my version of the Dark Prince. He's probably the biggest whiner of them all. Although, he does have quite the demanding job and as he mentioned, space is limited. What a headache that must be!