“Wake up! Wake up!”
“Huh?” Smith came slowly to consciousness. The clock on his nightstand told him it was 2:00 AM. He turned on the light and peered up at the intruder. “What’s the matter…hey, who are you?”
The figure at his bedside was plainly no one he knew. At least, he didn’t remember any of his drinking buddies as having horns.
The intruder scowled. “I’m Satan, of course. Wake up! I’m here to buy your soul.”
Smith stared up at the Devil in consternation. “Well, that’s…interesting, but I thought the seller had to call on you, and I don’t recall having solicited your attention. Why me?”
Satan scowled. “Marketing. Don’t ask. Anyway, are you interested?”
Smith was only just coming to full consciousness of his circumstances. Satan himself, the veritable Prince of Darkness, was in his bedroom. What a time not to have a camera ready! “Well,” he said, “you, uh, haven’t made me an offer yet.”
Satan scowled again and shook his head. “It’s always the same with you humans. ‘What’s it worth to you? How much can I get for it? What are the terms and conditions? Is there any fine print?’ No appreciation for such direct and intimate customer service! By Hell, one of these days I’m just going to shut up shop and let Him have the rest of you.”
Smith sat upright and cocked an eyebrow. “‘To buy’ implies a price. Do you expect me to just give you my soul?”
“Well,” Satan said, “there’s always a chance. But please understand my position. A lot of people are doing just that: giving me their souls for nothing at all! Hell is getting really full. The whole seventh circle is triple-bunked, and the demons have started demanding overtime pay.” He ran an impressively clawed hand over his forehead. Flaming drops of sweat flew off to gutter out on the bedroom floor.
“All the same,” Smith said, “you’re here on Earth looking for more souls.”
Satan shrugged. “What can I say? It’s what I do. So, yes or no?”
“You still haven’t made me an offer.”
Satan threw his hands up in mock surrender. “All right, all right. Here’s what I’ll do. As payment for your soul, the transaction to be in fee simple absolute, no refunds, exchanges, or warranties express or implied…”
Smith folded his arms across his chest. “Yes?”
“…you get to go back to sleep.”
“Feh.” Smith snorted and turned off the light.
Copyright © 2010 by Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.