Fiction Friday - The Problem With Demons, Part 2

I'm back with another Fiction Friday post. This is the second installment of a story I started last week (found here) that was seemingly well-received, and more was requested, so here it is. We'll see if part two goes over as well and if there will be a part three or not next week!

    Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Everyone knows demons are all about screwing people over and getting their souls in return, right? You’ve heard the story a million times: guy wants a promotion, or is maybe desperate to bang that one celebrity chick he’d give his left nut for, a demon shows up, waves a contract at him, and… wham! Poor schmuck gets his heart’s desire, and in a few years time he croaks and his soul spends eternity in hell. Or maybe he signs up with a particularly devilish demon and he gets hit by a car five minutes after the promotion, or the nut he busts with that celebrity triggers a fatal heart attack. Either way, it’s all about the deal and the soul.
    To me, that’s dull. Anyone can sell a life preserver to a drowning man. It’s not an achievement, it’s artless. Real talent is being able to lead someone to absolute ruination without them ever knowing you were even there.
    Take Norbert Cumbersol, for instance. I discovered Bert a few years ago. He was one of those good guys, you know? Married the girl he loved in high school, Monica Lesbicki, but not before she cheated in him under the bleachers with the captain of the football team, Chet Hestings, who of course promised to pull out before most decidedly not pulling out and leaving her with a lifelong parasite to remember him by. Bert forgave her, married her, and even raised her bastard son Timmy as his own, dropping out of college and getting a mcjob to support them, eventually becoming the manager of a franchise. Not that any of that was enough for Monica, who constantly belittled him for having a job that barely made ends meet and insulted his manhood by every so often declaring she’d give anything to have ended up with Chet instead. But Bert took it all in stride, because he loved the kid and for some completely incomprehensible reason he loved Monica too.
    So this goes on for ten years, and their high school reunion comes around. Monica is all excited about seeing everybody, but poor Bert has to work the night shift that night. So he says goodbye to his wife, drops Timmy off at Monica’s mom’s house and goes to his normally boring job, not realizing that I had been watching him and had a trick or two ready. Namely, I had placed an anonymous call to the restaurant chain’s regional manager to complain about sanitary conditions, so he was making a surprise inspection of the place during business hours once our boy Norbert got there. Once the inspection starts, I finish up the crappy dinner I was having there and head towards the door, “accidentally” tripping and kicking a hole in the wall with my foot. Then it’s just a little demon illusion magic, and everyone sees a swarm of roaches come pouring out of the hole, revealing the maggot-infested corpses of a few dead rats. Customers start screaming and running out of the place. The regional manager is furious and fires Bert on the spot. He goes home early, dreading breaking the news to dear Monica, only to find her performing a very heartfelt cowgirl impression on Chet Hestings, who she had met at the reunion, in the bed she had shared with Norbert for the last decade. Shocked and heartbroken, Bert walks out of the bedroom and sits on the couch in the living room, while Monica and Chet don’t even have the decency to stop what they’re doing. Eventually, Chet comes out and walks past our boy as if he isn’t even there. Monica comes out next and without a word of explanation of her own, asks him what the fuck he’s doing home so early.
    Still in shock, Norbert can’t even think to question her in return, so he tells her he got fired. Monica flips and goes off on a tear, calling him all sorts of things, basically insinuating that he isn’t a man and is a total failure, all while walking in and out of the bedroom as she gets dressed and packs a suitcase. Finally dressed and packed, she tells him she’s tired of him and is going to go live with her mother until she can find a real man, and that he doesn’t have to worry about ever seeing her again. He starts to ask about Timmy, and she reminds him in no uncertain terms that Timmy isn’t really his son and is no longer his concern before storming out of the house.
    So Norbert has just lost his job, his wife, and his son in the span of an hour. He goes into the kitchen and has a beer, then goes into the bedroom and opens the closet door, taking a shoebox out. He retrieves the gun they kept for security reasons out of the shoebox, and without another thought, eats a bullet.
    There was no deal for his soul. I didn’t sell him anything. I didn’t even talk to him. I just looked at the complete pile of shit his life was, even if he didn’t realize it, put the straw on the camel’s back, and he wound up just as dead.
    If there was no deal, what about his soul, right? That is, after all, what demons are after.
    Well, suicide is a mortal sin, after all. Do not pass the pearly gates, do not collect your just rewards. Norbert Cumbersol’s soul went directly to Hell.
    Now that’s talent.