Giving the Other his Due
He stood with the Other in the bent light of time halted. Flames leapt from either wing and black smoke filled the air to the West. The nose, suspended mere inches above the ground, reflected the sun's rays in a stagnant beam flattened out against the tarmac. All two hundred and thirty three souls aboard, including his own, were frozen.
Although most were caught open-mouthed in the act of screaming, a few he had seen as he cupped his hands against the glare, were cradling the heads of their children, trying in vain to protect them using only their arms as shields against the inevitable.
In the real moment, he had been in 27 B, on top of the right wing. He had held Jessica's hand in his right and Melanie's in his left. They had descended gradually after the first engine caught fire and then whooshed out seconds later, but when fire shot through the fuselage to the other side, well...that had been the end. A Navy pilot, he knew the sound and what it meant before the rest of the plane. With both engines gone, they were going down and fast.
The pilot had come on then, starting "Ladies and...oh...". He cut off and came back on quickly, shouting "BRACE BRACE BRACE!!" Travis's knew they were about five thousand feet up. Maybe enough time to flatten out and try for a belly landing, but probably not. It was then that he had grabbed his wife's shaking hand and his daughter's small one. Then he had bent his head in prayer, not to the One but to the Other. And he had made the deal that brought him back here today.
The man that stood next to him now had not aged in a half century. Travis had lost most of his thick black hair and what was leftover was cottony. He was soft in the gut and walked hunched over, most days with a cane. Fifty years ago he'd had a flat stomach and broad, strong shoulders.
This man though, he was still just as Travis remembered. Tall and lean, with fair hair that fell away from his high hairline and past his shoulders. His face was handsome, but not remarkable. His eyes were yellow, his only unusual feature. Yellow like old newspaper and tea-stained cloth. Travis had never seen the man smile before, but he did so now and it was charming, winsome.
The Other dropped a wink, "Travis, did you miss me?"
Travis had sudden strong desire, just on the tip of his tongue actually to say "Yes, my Lord", but he won the private battle and instead, said "Why would I have missed you? You were a useful tool and I have enjoyed my life. At this point, you've earned my soul. Let's get on with the hellfire and brimstone. I'm tired."
The Other laughed. A languid and hearty chuckle. "Yes of course..of course. We will have plenty of "hellfire and brimstone" to come. But there is also the matter of payment." He held his hand out in front of him then. Glancing at his palm, Travis noticed there were no lines at all. Just a flat waxy cover, like the hand of a mannequin.
When Travis blinked and frowned, but said nothing, the Other seemed to think for a moment, then reached up quickly to the nose of the plane and with the tip of his finger spun it. The entire jet turned as if on an axis in midair, the flames and the smoke spinning with it, enveloping it. It was amazing to watch and Travis quickly forgot where he was, who he was and more importantly, who he was with.
The sun blinking off and on as the airliner spun faster than a top throwing huge whipping shadows across the hot tarmac. Travis watched for at least a minute he thought, maybe two, but the airliner never slowed its rotation and eventually, Travis lost interest and looked back at the man.
The Other was crouched on the ground just off the tarmac, hands hanging off of each knee in a frog-like position. He was using a stick to draw lazy circles in the dirt and when Travis eventually tore his gaze away, he motioned for Travis to join him.
"You see," the man began "We are both here and not here. You are in that plane," he pointed toward the still-spinning metal and fire top behind them "and you are with me now. You have lived the last fifty years of your life because that is what I allowed you to have." The man was getting louder now. He wasn't shouting, it just seemed as if the volume had been turned up. Travis was hearing him internally somehow and it hurt at his chest and the back of his eyes.
"You prayed to me to save your life and I did that. You did not ask me to save the lives of your wife or your child or of the other people on the plane for that matter, you selfish bastard." On the word "selfish", Travis noticed the man's tongue had darted out of his mouth quickly and it was much much too long. Sickeningly long. And forked. That too.
When Travis failed to respond, the Other went on, "You have not yet paid me what I am due." Travis, a bit wooly in his advanced age, just wasn't catching on and frankly he was sick of the whole thing. He didn't want to think about what he had done. It was so long ago. "Yes, yes. I'm here to give you my soul. Let's do this." He made a "wrap it up" motion with his finger.
The Other sighed and dropped the stick. Then he stood up and dusted off the knees of his jeans and pointed at Travis. "I'm not here simply to collect your soul Travis. It's a shriveled up old thing and it wasn't particularly good to begin with. Not exactly worth all this time I'm spending." He shrugged expansively at the impending crash. "No, I'm here to collect all of the souls that you left behind. It was fifty years ago, but it's also just happening now. Time is fluid." At that, he held his finger in the air and the plane stopped, slowly coming to rest right side up still inches above the crash site.
"But wait, they are dead and buried fifty years ago!! And they aren't going to Hell, my wife, my chi..."
The Devil cut him off, "Travis, they weren't your family, not really. You abandoned them when you could have saved them. You never asked me to save them and I could have. I would have! You were a selfish prick then and you still are. So, they are mine now, just like you are. And so are all of the other souls on that plane. Like I said, time is fluid. They may have been buried fifty years ago, but their souls are still trapped on that plane right now. And you are going to help me collect them. Oh, it's a dirty, nasty process too...." The Other smiled at that. This grin was oily, hot.
Travis, who had been shaking his head vigorously throughout, said, "But NO! That wasn't our deal!"
The Devil gave that same slow, good-natured laugh. "Oh, but haven't you heard, Travis? I'm a liar."
Once upon a time a second-rate shyster sold his soul to the Devil in return for the gift of eloquence.
The terms of the deal were complex, but Neville, for such was his name, was at least a good enough lawyer to make sure that he had a watertight deal.
He would have unchallenged mastery of argument and persuasion until the day that a guilty client got his just deserts in the 'legitimate courts of the land', or until he died a natural death of old age.
'But with this gift I cannot lose', he told himself. 'All my clients will walk free'. And he laughed silently at how easily he had out-maneuvered the wily one.
So it was some 5 years later, he found himself summing up for the defense in a notorious murder trial.
The 12 good men and women were completely mesmerised as the imposing black-gowned and elegantly wigged barrister demolished point by point the prosecution case.
This claim was circumstantial. That point was tainted by a broken chain of evidence. Yes, his client was a well-known businessman. Yes, he had a disagreement with the victim, a police officer, who was investigating a series of gang murders. But the prosecution case was built on sand.
'You may have heard the term, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the devil is in the detail.
'That means that you must search implacably for the smallest discrepancy in the prosecution case. If there is the smallest doubt, you must find my client innocent'.
And so it was, hours later, the barrister shrugged off the bitter comments of an investigating officer whose testimony he had demolished in cross examination. 'The day will come when you will be the one who has to answer. As God's my witness, I hope you burn in Hell!'
The policeman's superior officer apologised profusely. 'I don't know what's got into Detective Sergeant Smith. He's taking this case far too personally.
'Of course, he was the best man at the victim's wedding. I hope you will overlook this disgraceful outburst. I will have a word with him when he calms down.'
Neville nodded sagely, inwardly laughing. 'Not at all, I quite understand'.
He then accepted the grateful thanks of his client, a notorious criminal boss, who had once again found a loophole in a tarnished legal system.
As he left the court he heard angry words as the disgruntled Detective Sergeant and the newly-freed crime boss met at the top of the marble staircase.
Later, back in his Chambers, he was enjoying a celebration drink when a knock came on the elegantly carved oak door of his study.
At the other side stood his old acquaintance, the Devil. Technically, he remembered with a chill, someone to whom he owed far too much for his peace of mind. But not yet of course.
'Congratulations, my dear boy,' said the Devil urbanely. 'It must be nice to go out on a high'.
'Go out?', stammered Neville, who realised he was experiencing an unexpected loss of eloquence. 'But, but, I won the case. That means you can't collect'.
The Devil smiled. 'Yes, yes of course you won.
'Unfortunately your, um, colourful client, exchanged some angry words with the equally colourful Detective Sergeant Smith.
'Apparently your client's Doctor has been warning him of the dangers of stress and over-exertion, but he wouldn't listen, the naughty boy.'
Neville felt a sudden choking sensation. 'What do you mean?'
The Devil smiled again. 'It seems he had a mild stroke at the top of the courtroom steps. He fell and banged his head and suffered severe brain damage.'
Neville swallowed painfully. 'But, he's still alive?'
'Yes, very much so, and likely to remain so for many years.
'Unfortunately, he has been badly injured and has lost the use of his legs. As a result of his stroke, he has lost the ability to both understand and use language'.
The Devil paused for effect. 'As such, he has been effectively imprisoned for life in a useless body, unable to move or speak. In my book that means that he got his just deserts while within the precincts of the legitimate courts of the land. He was very, very guilty, you know'.
Neville remained frozen for a second before blustering, 'That wasn't the spirit of our agreement!'
'My dear boy', said the lawyer's unwanted visitor, 'don't you know, the Devil is in the detail...'
The devil came to escort me to hell,
Payment in exchange for a traded soul.
I imagined a fort, a citadel,
Not wanting to leave, I tried to cajole.
I inquired about purgatory,
And if it would be a sort of rest stop.
Annoyed, he said, “Dante’s allegory,”
Ignoring my pout and squeezed out teardrop.
I asked if the heat was humid or dry,
Worried that my flat-ironed hair would frizz.
An odd question he would not dignify,
But, instead, replied, “It is what it is.”
Ultimately, though, a deal is a deal,
Embarking upon my final ordeal.
The End of the Tunnel
The room was full of people and heavy with noise. The austere plaster walls vibrated as they talked, argued, and laughed. They huddled around the long tables, poring over small printed cards in binders, trying to ignore the people trying to gain an advantage by reading over their shoulder. The heat was building rapidly, and the air would soon be thick with the tang of salt and sweat and nerves.
I ignored everyone. You can do that when you’re the best.
Undoubtedly, a lot of them were nervous because they recognized me. After all, I was one of the best Space: the Convergence players in the world. It’s not arrogance if it’s true, and I hadn’t lost a tournament in over five years. A lot of people didn’t realize the sort of dedication it takes to be the best, even at a “silly card game” like Space. I’d had so many people over the years tell me they could have won too, if only they’d had the best cards like I did, or if they could grind as much as I did. That’s the kind of thing scrubs tell themselves so they feel better about being scrubs. They just didn’t have my dedication – or my willingness to sacrifice. Oh yes, there had been sacrifice, but if you’re not willing to give something up for fame and money, you don’t really deserve it.
I wandered in the general direction of the organizer’s desk, brushing past more hopefuls, more cannon fodder. Some of them were talking about strategy as they passed, and I stifled a laugh. If they were a good indicator of what this crowd was like, I would be making serious bank today.
That’s when I saw him.
He didn’t exactly stand out, but once I noticed him I found I couldn’t tear my eyes away. And not just because I hadn’t seen him in almost six years. He was standing next to a man in a dirty sweatshirt at the end of one of the long tables, and leaning over to gesture enthusiastically at something in an open binder. He was dressed casually, but much more neatly than anyone else in the room, and despite the great press of people, there wasn’t a wrinkle or rumple anywhere on him.
The milling crowd seemed to slow, and people parted as I moved straight over to the table. The man in the sweatshirt flipped to the next page in the binder. The other man, the one I still hadn’t taken my eyes off, glanced at me as though he’d known I was there the whole time.
“Who designed these new cards?” he said. The din rose, with people calling to each other across the room, yet I heard every word clearly. “Destroys all your opponent’s ships, and leaves all of yours, and it only costs five resources? And they call me evil.”
He shook his head and turned away, examining the cards on the new page. Someone at the far side of the table made a bad joke, and laughter echoed down to our end. Moments passed and he was silent. “Why are you here?” I asked at last.
He still didn’t look at me as he replied, “It’s been six years since we last spoke.” He picked up a loose card from the table and examined it closely. “I thought I would come and see how you were doing.”
“You must know how I’m doing,” I snapped. “You of all people must know.”
“Oh, yes. You’re all over the internet. That last tournament report you wrote for STCTopDeck.org got 5,000 hits.” Another group of people passed behind me on their way out from the organizer’s table. I heard one of them mention my name as they went away. None of them looked at the man I was talking to. “But that’s not exactly what I meant.”
I turned in place, fidgeting with my sleeves. The room was even more packed than before. By now it was standing room only at some of the tables, and I was starting to sweat. I noticed the smell, which I thought was odd. I’d long since learned to tune it out, focus only on the cards, on my game. But now the odor of the crush of humanity seemed almost a physical thing, wrapped around me like a constrictor snake. I came back to face him, and my jaw dropped when I realized he still hadn’t looked up from the binder.
“What are you talking about?”
The man in the dirty sweatshirt closed the binder and stood up, and in a moment was lost in the bustle. He remained, fixing me with a gaze that made me hold my breath. There was a weight in that gaze, a distant echo of thoughts that had no earthly name but that shook me to the core. “What’s Tina up to these days?”
“Why do you want to know?” I answered, much too fast. The fact was, I hadn’t seen Tina in more than two years. Two weeks before a Pro Tour Qualifier, she'd wanted to go to a concert, I'd needed to practice, she’d said things, I’d ignored them and gone to practice . . .
“That Ron Stratford is an incredible artist.” He suddenly had a card in his hand, and was rolling it over and around his fingers like an old-time street magician. “Did you know he makes all his pieces by hand, with real brushes and paint? Look at the swirl of color right across the middle of this one.” He extended his hand, holding the card between his index and middle fingers, the side with the art and game text towards me. “You know, Degas said that art isn’t what you see – it’s what you make others see.”
I stared at the card. It was one I’d used probably a hundred times in my last tournament. It had won me more matches at the time than anything else – it had earned me $10,000. The painting depicted a black hole devouring a red dwarf star in a burst of swirling gas and light. I almost felt that if I leaned too far forward it might draw me in and I would be lost for ever in that endless expanse. And until right then, I had had no idea what the card looked like.
The noise of the assembled people around us seemed to fade, and I glanced left and right, then left and right again. The milling crowd seemed to be moving in slow motion as I turned back to him. His expression had not changed as he brandished the supernova painting at me, and when I looked back into the starscape I saw things I hadn’t thought of in such a long time. I saw the face of a fourteen-year-old boy I’d once played in the opening round of a tournament, where I’d crushed him and then left without shaking his hand. I saw the time I convinced someone to trade me a new, rare card for a much more common one, taking advantage of the fact that he liked the art I’d long stopped paying attention to. I saw the time I’d plied an opponent with loaded questions, convincing him to end his turn without making a play that could have won him the game. And I saw every night I’d lain next to Tina while she slept, poring over new cards on my netbook.
With a flick of his wrist, the supernova card vanished, and his eyes were dark as deep space and hot as brimstone. And in that moment, I understood that for every day of the past six years, I had been paying his price. And I understood that I would never stop paying.
Hell is a Woolworth’s Counter
We all know you can make a deal with the Devil; people have been talking about this since time began. Maybe in the beginning, they wanted a bigger stone to use against their enemies. Now, people want wealth, fame, good looks, or just fun. I wanted all of these and knew I would not be able to have them, not without help anyway. I never met the Devil, though. I did try to run into him in the kinds of places people said he be found. I tried cross roads, cemeteries at midnight, barn dances, the docks, the places frequented by the homeless, but all I saw was what I thought must be proof of his work, in the form of misery, despair, crime, and violence. The Devil wasn’t there, and eventually I gave up.
One day not long after, I was sitting on one of those chaise lounges they have around swimming pools at one of those old fashioned, white hotels in Miami Beach. No one paid any attention to me, so I passed the time watching the other vacationers. A few of them were the kind of stunning specimens you see in magazine ads, the people clothes are made for and whose lives are full of the unending excitement we all crave. They don’t worry, not about money, what they eat, getting cancer, paying their income taxes, or getting along with the boss. They are the bosses and let others worry for them. Even the ones who were not stunning and were physically not very different from me were all having a much better time than I was. I could see that they were free of cares and happy in each other’s company. I was miserable and had a can of Coke as a companion.
“If I could only be like them,” I said to myself. “Even just a few years would be enough to know what it’s like to have a life like that.”
This is what I would have asked the Devil for if I had ever managed to meet him. A life of fun and excitement like what the TV ads promise us.
I now understand that I had just made an implied contract, as the lawyers call it, although I did not know this at the time. Nonetheless, at that very moment, the world seemed to shift around me, and I realized that I was no longer sitting by the slightly greyish swimming pool at the Fontainebleu Hotel on Collins Avenue but was relaxing beside a luxurious infinity pool at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in Dubai, said to be the most elegant hotel in the world. For several years, I lived like that. I always had enough money to do whatever occurred to me and enough fun and excitement for several people over several lifetimes. My previous life faded to a dim memory that I eventually came to feel must have been something I saw in a movie or perhaps read in a novel in the course of my extensive travels.
That passing of that period of time one day found me at a lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store ordering a tuna fish sandwich. Sometimes, even the beautiful people need a quick meal and enjoy seeing how those less blessed with excitement and leisure spend their days. It was lunch time, and the place was crowded. I became aware of a man seating himself on the stool next to mine. He was the most ordinary of people and wore a raincoat of a type you rarely see anymore but that identified him as one of the millions of office workers in this city. I paid the man no more attention and didn’t look up again until I realized he was looking at me smiling slightly.
“How are you?” he asked in a voice that could have belonged to anyone.
“Fine,” I answered curtly. I was no longer used to engaging in small talk with strangers.
“I see,” he said cryptically. He looked me over as if appraising, not just my outfit, but my manner and style. I tried to take a bite of the sandwich which had been placed in front of me, but it seemed dry and unswallowable. The man watched my attempt to eat and smiled encouragingly.
“Are you having something?” I asked. It was awkward to have someone watch me trying to eat as clumsily as if it was the first time I had to feed myself.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said politely. “It’s time, you know.”
“Time for what?” I asked. I was genuinely confused.
“I think you know. It’s been 10 years, almost exactly. I feel I have been most generous.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. Deep inside, I began to feel a pang of alarm, as if a memory I had long repressed was being awakened.
“Our contract, of course,” the man replied conversationally. “I provided everything you wanted. It’s time to pay up.”
“I never signed any contract,” I protested, as fear gripped me tight.
“Signatures!” The man dismissed my suggestion. “You entered into this of your own free will.” He made a sweeping gesture that took in the racks of outdated merchandise just beyond the store luncheonette. The goods seemed faded even though they were new. There was no way to tell just by looking what year or even decade it might have been; even the shoppers were oddly timeless as they went about their business with their eyes on the floor, glancing up only occasionally to locate the item they needed.
He was right. I had come into the store on an impulse. I had not been into a Woolworth's for more than a decade and, in fact, had a vague idea the store had gone out of business, until I saw this one on a side street somewhat removed from the main shopping strip.
“You owe me your soul as well as your spirit. That was the deal,” the man went on calmly, as if he transacted this type of business every day. Thinking about it, I realized that of course he did.
“Are you the Devil?” I cried.
“Of course I am,” said the man. He seemed affronted. “You made an agreement with me 10 years ago.” He tapped his wristwatch to emphasize the point.
“Am I going to Hell?” I asked. In a way, the thought was a relief from the unease I had felt, but refused to acknowledge, at my sudden change of circumstances all those years ago.
“But, my dear, you are already here.”
At this, I looked around me and found I was no longer sitting but was standing on the other side of the counter wearing one of those old fashioned aprons with the large pockets. I reached inside and found I had a handful of coins and a pad and pencil.
’Hell is a Woolworth's store?” I thought back to the many jobs I had held before my miraculous good fortune and how they had pushed me towards the agreement that I now had to accept I made.
“Well,” the man seemed to be thinking about it, “not for everyone. But you now know another kind of life, so perhaps it is.”
“How long do I have to stay here?” I demanded. “When can I leave.”
“When your shift is over of course.”
“When is that?”
The man shrugged.
“Now, take this away,” he said pointing to the sandwich I had been trying to eat before. I still don’t know what possessed me to come to this place, but the man was right I had done so of my own free will. “And bring me some lunch,” he went on. “I haven’t the rest of time."
the price of success
Creeeek! Creeeek! Woof woofwoof! The hair on the back of my neck stands on end had it really been 10 years? I sit on the couch as the hounds outside my door try to claw there way in. I reflect on my life the empire I made in business all for nothing. Ten years ago I was a failing businessman who's wife was expecting and couldn't provide for my family...lets face it I was a loser. So when a man came to me and said hed help me get my business back on track and I'd bbe able to provide for my family I figured what did I have to lose. I asked him the catch of course he said it wasn't anything to worry about it's be 10 years before he would come to collect and by then I would be so rich money wouldn't be an issue or the deal would be nullified. I figured it was a good deal till now. Wife died in a car crash a week later and so did the baby..my baby boy. Afterwords I poured my heart in soul into the business and I made bank. Now with he'll hounds before me with those red eyes that make men cry in fear he finally appears. The devil himself the same man I saw all those years ago. He wants his percentage it's not much only 100% of my soul he laughs. I find his humor disgusting myself. The chains of Hell bind my wrists and I'm dragged away. I wonder what my company will think but it's not uncommon for people to go missing when they're rich I suppose. The things I see as I'm given the "brand" tour is too horrifying for words. I see every toucher device ever made and some that haven't been invented yet. Some people burn, some are stretched or have their nails and teeth ripped out. From what I've seen so far they have it easy. Some are brought to the brink of insanity but never allowed to cross into the void....and the last thing I think of before the gate shuts is of my wife and son. Taken from me by the man in front of me and then the gate shuts and my eternal screams begin.
A Deal’s a Deal
I raise my fist to knock at the door. There's no answer. I check the address written on the contract. This is definitely the place.
"Laurel Avenell," I say in my deepest, most menacing voice. To be honest, I'm not a very menacing looking guy, short in stature, almost childlike in feature. I make do with what I have. The voice and the horns are usually enough to send people scrambling.
There is still no answer. Enough's enough. I push against the door, and after a few tries, burst into the tiny, messy apartment. My eyes fall immediately on the open window. Great. Another runner.
I leap out the window, wasting no time. I'm on a very tight schedule. She's easy to spot, racing frantically down the street. I slowly and deliberately rip the contract apart, and she crumples to the ground, legs buckling beneath her. She knows it's her time. She cries out to the people around her, but I am invisible to them. To the casual onlooker, she looks like another raving madwoman. I walk towards her swiftly.
"Your three weeks are up. I've come to collect," I say, studying my nails.
"No! Please, just a bit longer!"
I've heard it all before. When these people sign contracts, they don't think about what happens when their time is up. This woman would be an upsetting case for me if I had emotions. Paraplegic who desperately wanted to walk again. The circumstances don't matter to me, however. A deal's a deal. It's her turn to pay up. I reach down and place a hand on her heart. I do it quickly, not out of any sort of mercy but because my next soul is waiting. I feel the brief high that accompanies inhaling another being's life force. Laurel Avenell collapses on the pavement. The medical examiner will rule it a heart attack. My mark is on the back of her neck, but they won't check there.
I straighten my suit. It's time for me to be off. Being the devil isn't all it's cracked up to be, but hey, lots of people hate their jobs. I pull the next contract from my briefcase. James Garrido, here I come.
He knew it when there was a knock on the door.
Ten years ago at this day he made a choice. If you look in his green eyes there isn't any regret.How can you regret selling your soul to the devil when he saved your son's life?
The knock gets louder and maybe the wooden door will burst because of hell's impact.
Smiling he opens the door.
"Old friend, you're coming to take what's yours?"
The man in front of him chuckles.
"It has been mine since your mother kissed the lips of your father, hasn't it?"
He opens the door a little bit wider so the man can come inside.
"Want a beer?"
"I'm not here to grab a cold beer. But the Jack Daniels there seems like something I'd enjoy."
He puts two glasses on the black table. He pours each of them a two fingers width.
Both of them get as comfy as you can get on stools made in Hitler's time.
"How's Richard doing?"
Richard, his son.
"Now happily married. Three kids, loving wife. Still he cheats on her. But the cancer didn't come back."
"Sounds like his soul's mine already too. But first I go for yours."
Suddenly the whiskey is gone. The man traces a cold finger down his cheek.
"It will sting at first, but the pain will be gone soon. Just like ripping of a band-aid."
And he's right. First it hurts like hell literally. Then he sees his son. Happy. So happy that he doesn't feel the pain as darkness comes over him.
I am Sam. I am Reaper.
My parents sold my soul
Now the Devil's my keeper.
I work for him without vacation
Catching escapees all
I'm just your average American kid.
I can't forgive what my parents did.
21st birthday began the fun
He was messing with me
Like a prize that he'd won.
I went to mom and dad that night
What they said me gave me a fright.
Now I work for Him
I'm just your average American kid.
I can't forget what my parents did.
The job is so hard
I want to have a nice bright future
Instead I have to watch him torture
Hell fugitives who give me shit.
They need to go back
I just don't think
I can take the stink
Of another soul burning in Hell
Usually not something one
For the rest of my life
Pain and strife.
I am Sam. I am Reaper.
Wait till my parents ask a favor
Please don't send us back to Lucifer
What would you do
If it were you
Inspired by the TV series, Reaper. Only lasted two seasons but I loved it.
Today the devil came for me
Interrupting my morning coffee.
He had my name on a little clipboard
That he'd stolen from the Lord.
I'd been expecting him for a while
I was surprised, lateness wasn't his style.
He asked me if I knew my crime
I said yes, and it was about time
I'd sold my soul so many years past
Back when I thought that day would be my last
When I was sitting in that electric chair
Static blazing through my hair.
I made him a deal, I said Satan, man,
If you let me live, I'll do what I can
To make hell on Earth for you,
To make a sweet and bloody stew
Out of every person I can entice
Into my basement, done up oh so nice
With chains and knives and saws and things
I'll string them up on shiny rings.
Just look at what I've done, my King,
I have given everything
To make you proud, to make you smile,
I have been positively vile.
I told him all that I had done,
Every murder, bleached bones in lying the sun,
And as he listened to my confession,
He wore the most interesting expression.
After I was done he slowly said,
As though he was speaking from the dead,
"I've been giving it a lot of thought,
And I've been thinking that I ought
To retire soon, I'm getting bored,
Of stealing souls that have murdered or whored,
I'm looking for a little rest,
To put someone else up to the test.
I think you'd be the perfect match,
To follow in my footsteps and snatch
Every unfortunate little sinner
Who eats temptation for his dinner.
So what do you say, will you give it a chance?
Will you do the devil's dance?"
He looked at me and I thought for a bit,
I kind of liked the sound of it.
I stood up and put forth my hand,
To show him I did understand.
Said I, "I'll make a deal and cross my heart.
Just let me loose and tell me where to start."