A Drink With the Devil

With nothing left of any value in so many ways I walked for days to the crossroads

The crossroads had changed since Satan gave man the blues, from two dusty dirt roads in the scorching desert, to a paved, busy intersection

There was a jazz bar in the basement of a guitar shop on one corner

A funeral home with a half completed casket being fitted together out in the yard by a man with hollow eyes and overalls on another corner

Across the street from these there was a McDonald’s and a Cinnabun

This seemed no place to sell ones worn thin eternal soul to the devil

It was then I heard the guitar licks coming from the alley up the street

They were so filled with sorrow and so smooth the chords curled the feet in my cracked leather shoes

I wandered down the alley following the plucking and strumming of guitar strings until I found a thin, old, wrinkled man with a coal black electric guitar in his large callused hands

He sat atop an old guitar amp and the finest music rose from the speaker system

I could see an unplugged power cord lying limply alongside him as he strummed

I listened for a moment before climbing within a dumpster alongside the old man and began to dig for something to eat

No good, nothing but cardboard

I climbed out again wiping my hands on my faded jeans, and asked the man politely where one were to sell his soul

“The devil doesn’t have as much need for souls as when I was a boy. He’s moved to L.A. and taken up sex trafficking. But he’s got a booth reserved at the local jazz bar. You might catch him if you’re lucky.”

I nodded, gave him my thanks, and ventured down the stairs of the bar on the corner

The air was thick with smoke and blue, and the stage was bare.

And there in the corner in a crushed red velvet booth behind a marble table sat a fat, white, bald man with yellowing skin, thick black sunglasses, and a beautiful young redhead sitting next to him in a glittering blue dress slit to the thigh

At his feet sat a three headed dog with fur the color of flames, every eye on the dog was a different color. One head licked idly at a paw, the head in the center seemed asleep, and the last looked up and growled as I approached the booth

The man flashed rotting teeth at me and motioned me to sit

“So,” he said slyly, “what can I do for you?”

I could not help but glance down at the milky white legs of the girl as I sat.

The dog lifted all three heads as I glanced down, rose slowly, and began to hump dry and hard against her leg

She did not try to stop it

“Look me in the eye boy,” said the devil as he removed his glasses

His eyes were two white milky orbs and I met his gaze as a man with nothing to lose

“Your soul is already mine,” said Satan “I’m surprised you don’t already know this.”

“Then can I trouble you for a beer?” I asked.

The dog groaned loudly as a thick glass mug was set before me

The man looked down approvingly as the three-headed mutt pumped harder at the girl’s leg

I lifted the heavy mug, drained the glass, gripped the handle firmly, and smashed it into the face of the devil himself

The mug shattered against Satan’s bald skull and the blood sprayed as the devil went down, sliding nearly to the floor out of his booth

The three-headed mutt turned and lunged but I jammed the broken mug into one of its three heads and when it yelped and drew back I kicked the dog again and again

I looked up just in time to see the snarling, beautiful, young woman slash at my throat with a straight razor that had been tucked between her thighs

Red ichor sprayed from my neck, and I clasped the gash in my throat dumbly

After a moment I was on the ground and the hound was tearing at me

Two hound’s jaws tore at the flesh of my thigh, the third lay, still wearing the broken end of a mug’s handle in his eye socket

I could feel every pulse of my heart throbbing through me, and as I raised my hand I saw that it was sprayed from the elbow up in blood

And I pressed my failing limbs to the gash in my throat and felt warm essence flash between my clenched fingers

And so came the end

Eyes dimming quickly at their last view of light, with the image of the woman swearing over me as clear as through rippled glass

The afterlife is a strange place indeed

I am a soldier again after death

I drill upon scorched earth that stretches as far as the eye can see among thousands of the identical dead

We are endless phalanxes of mute drilling obedient troops

We are all blank beings with empty faces and no free will to speak of

“In a thousand years you will be the army that destroys all who are not raptured!”

Yells the man on the white and gold chariot drawn by great, grey, winged stallions

And every instance in which he passes he glances directly at me and grins

And whether I dwell in heaven or hell I no longer possess the curiosity to inquire

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