The devil was perched gracefully on one shoulder. The angel that had been resting on the other had slipped off a moment before and was jumping up and down in frustration, trying to get its minuscule little wings to carry it back up to an ear. Its high-pitched voice was much too small to be heard from ground level. Why did people have to be so very big?

The angel sighed and gave up. It would have to find someone else. The devil had clearly won this particular person. The horned head peered down from its station and crossed its eyes and stuck its tongue out at the angel. The angel lifted its nose in the air and didn’t deign to take offense. But in truth, it was a little bit hurt. It never said anything bad about the devil, but devil insisted on just being plain mean. There was no call to be like that, as far as the angel was concerned.

Trudging to a mouse hole in the wall, the angel pulled a list from its pocket and began to peruse it, trying to figure out where it could go next. There were so many people who needed guidance, but the problem was that getting onto people’s shoulders was a lot harder than it looked, particular for a finger-angel like this particular one was. There were all sorts, of course – some were as big as people and didn’t have wings or halos or anything. But there were countless finger-angels that were expected to whisper into ears, but their wings were almost useless. They could only fly very short distances, so they had to find a series of steps up to people’s shoulders. The devils of similar stature had sharp claws that helped them climb their way up people’s clothes, which was a much quicker way to get up there.

A squeak sounded, tearing the angel’s attention away from its list. It smiled beatifically and raised its hand in a blessing. The mouse blinked and wiggled its nose, which the angel took to be a sign of thanks. With fresh enthusiasm, it began to walk through the wall to find the next person it needed to help.

He’s in the Kitchen [Flash Fiction]

Who? Satan, that’s who. He’s a chum, a pal, you see, of my pop. Pop has him over round ’bout once a month, for beer and a chat. They yap their jaws like nobody’s business. They talk and talk and I lie abed like Pop told me to and try to listen, but I can never understand no words nohow. It gets so mighty hard to take, knowin’ the king of hell is in the room just across the hallway, but Pop says he made a deal and he’s gotta abide by it. Pop’s a man of his word, I know that. He’s never made me a promise he didn’t keep, and I know he won’t ever.
Lacy says that Satan once came and spoke to her but she’s a big liar and likes to make hersel’ seem big and important, that she does. She says that Satan gave her an offer, jus’ like he gave Pop, but she said no on account of bein’ too young. She said he should come back in five years and ask again. That was two years ago. Lacy is seventeen now, and I’m fifteen. I guess fifteen is the age Satan likes, cause tonight he comes and knocks on the door to my room.
“I haven’t seen you since you was in diapers,” says Satan, nodding his big head and smilin’ all kind-like. He ain’t so scary once you get used to him. Sure, his skin’s a little strange, and his horns take some gettin’ used to, but all-round he looks a mighty lot like Santa Clause, only in a fisherman’s gear and not a big red suit. He’s fat and jolly, is Satan.
“Yessir,” says I. I wait but he jus’ smiles down at me. He looks like he’s gettin’ taller every second. Pop says that can happen with him – he doesn’t look the same two seconds in a row.
“Gertie,” he says all solemn suddenly.
“I have a proposal for ya.”
“The same one I made your pop all those long years ago.”
I guess Lacy wasn’t lying, and that’s a surprise right there. I think my mouth stays open too long, cause Satan puts a finger under my chin and closes it and says “Don’t want the flies getting in there, do ya?” I don’t know what to say, so I shut up for a while and think.
What have I got to lose? I’m short and ugly, Lacy got all our ma’s looks, and I ain’t brainy neither. Pop is good to me and I’m his favorite, that’s true, but nobody else in town takes much store by me. I think now that Pop maybe never made an effort with Lacy and me really cause he knew Satan would help us along by and by. I think of Sunday school and the old preacher-man who talks for hours and doesn’t say anything. And I think of the talks that Satan and Pop have. I hear ’em laughing a lot. It sounds kinda nice, the way they talk, and Pop always looks kind of young and smooth after Satan leaves.
So I stretch out my hand and tell Satan “Alrighty then. Shake on it.”

Creatures of the Mind

Far off in the meadow,

Resides the fairy queen.

She’s always dressed in yellow,

Her face always serene.


High up in the cloudy sky,

Santa Clause snores away.

His wife bakes him apple pie,

For warmth on chilly days.


Deep down in the earth,

The devil plays at cards.

He welcomes to his turf,

All sinners, cheats and bards.


In every theater around,

Dionysus spends some time.

He helps sew up the gowns,

And always shares his wine.


The graveyards hold Death,

In all his austere glory.

He’ll take away your breath,

When it’s time – don’t be sorry.


In recesses of our minds,

Inside the hearts of all,

Live things we can’t define,

Unreal creatures, great and small.



Devil’s Yellow Shirt [A Short Story]

Despite some misgivings over it, and especially over its ending, I will post this story here and let the grand populace decide. Or the grand ten or so who actually care. I hope you enjoy!

Devil woke up one morning and lay in bed for a few minutes, savoring the feeling of his good mood. Eventually he got out of bed and decided to wear his yellow button-down shirt to work today. He was, after all, in a good mood, so why not celebrate it with some color?

Devil walked through the small corridor of his apartment and entered his equally small and narrow kitchen. He put some toast in the toaster and turned it on. Then he waited patiently for the toast to pop up, put the toast on a plate, buttered it at the table, and went on to munch it. When he was done, he carefully put his plate in the sink. He then went to wash his hands, face and neck, and to put on a pair of pants- something he had forgotten to do before.

Devil started every morning with this blissfully human routine. Then, every morning, he walked to the bus stop, and took the bus to work. Not many people in his office did the work as well or as joyfully as Devil did. Devil prided himself on his good work, as well as his line of work, one that he felt was particularly devilish. What Devil did was this: he looked at a lot of files of sick people, and figured out how to not get them the current financing they needed for their current malady, whatever that happened to be. Devil figured he was probably contributing to Hell a lot more now than he did when he was actually IN Hell. By not giving many people the financial help they needed, a good percentage of them would die due to the lack of help, and after all, there were many more people in Hell than in Heaven, so a good percentage of the dead people would end up in Hell.

Another thing Devil prided himself on, apart from being exceedingly good at his job, was his physical appearance. He did not have horns. Nor did he have a pointy tail or cloven hooves. He wasn’t even very red most of the time, except when he ate Indian food of course. Devil actually chose time and again to be squat, balding, round and clean cut. This gave him the overall appearance of being utterly harmless, something that amused Devil greatly all through the centuries.

Devil had ruled Hell ever since it had been created by the human mind. He hadn’t done very much in Hell after a while, because eventually there were so many people there, that he got to delegate most of his responsibilities to some of the ones who had been there long enough to know how everything worked. Today though, Devil had no idea what Hell looked like, because he hadn’t set foot in the place for some 300 years or so. He assumed that, were he to go back today, it would look very much like a shopping mall. A very large and particularly infuriating shopping mall.

The reason Devil left Hell all those years ago was the very simple fact of his name. A boy, no older than 10 or 11, had ended up in Hell, and Devil, while doing his routine check that everything was getting done, happened to have a chat with the boy. First he learned that the boy had killed his dog when he was 4, and that he had been sure that he would end up in Hell, which in face, was what made him end up in Hell. Then the boy had pointed out to Devil that if he spelled his name backwards it would be Lived. Of course Devil just patted the boy on the head and sent him off to play, but then he thought about it for a while. Then he thought about it a bit more and realized just how ironic that was. Because of course Devil had never lived. He had existed for what felt like forever, but he had never LIVED. Not like all the people who came to Hell had.

So Devil, who considered himself somewhat the adventurous type, decided to live. He went into the world for the first time, and created himself as Robert Livingston. Then he became James Livingston and then, for a while, Charlotte Livingston. Then he decided he’d much rather stay male, and kept changing his name and whereabouts for centuries. That way, he never had to deal with the same people for too long, and he didn’t have the problem of needing to die at some point. About two hundred years ago he started a tradition, something to make his leaving and moving about a bit more interesting. On his last day in a place, he would tell the person he most got along with in that place that he was Devil really. He enjoyed the different responses people gave him and how they changed over time. He got a lot of Perhaps-You-Should-Talk-To-The-Preacher-About-This responses, and a lot of Oh-Lord-What-Do-You-Mean-By-That responses. Mostly though, he got Ha-Ha-Then-Where-Are-Your-Horns responses.

This particular day, the yellow shirt day, was Devil’s last day in his current town. He felt sad about it, because he would have to move far away and change profession and name, because people were so easily traceable these days what with Google and all. Still, his good mood would not be ruined, and he would give himself a good last day.

He got to work, sat at his desk, and ruined people’s lives for a while. At 12:35 he decided to take his lunch break, and he asked his best friend in the office, Mort, to join him.

Devil and Mort got along splendidly ever since they realized that they both didn’t feel any guilt over what they were being paid to do. Devil had decided more than five years ago that Mort would be the one he would tell the truth to on the day of his departure. He knew that perhaps he should stop his silly game, most especially because of the rash promise he made to himself about a hundred years back. But Devil was addicted by now, he just HAD to see people’s reactions and then never see them again.

So Devil took Mort down to the cafeteria, and they both got strong coffees and big salads and even bigger bags of potato-chips. They sat down at a table and talked for a while about the weather, about politicians and about the crime rates. Once they’d both polished off their meals and burped and groaned for a while, Devil decided it was time.

‘Mort, buddy,’ Devil began. ‘Today’s my last day on the job.’

‘What? Why, what happened, Ned?’ Mort replied, taken off guard. He very much liked Devil, or Ned, and didn’t want to be the only guilt-free one in the office again.

‘My mother, she lives in Paris and she’s sick as a dog. I’ve got to go take care of her. Haven’t got a choice. My poor mother did everything for me,’ Devil spun his little stories completely at random each time he left. He enjoyed seeing what his human imagination would crop up with each time.

‘Ah, buddy, I’m sorry to hear that. Any idea when you’ll be back?’

‘Not a clue, old pal, not a clue. I can tell you one thing though,’ Devil paused and waited for Mort to say ‘What?’ which he obligingly did. ‘I can tell you something real weird. I’m Devil, Mort. No joke, old buddy, I’m really THE Devil. The one who supposedly tortures the damned and all that.’

Mort stared, and then he chortled, and then he said ‘Ha! If you’re the Devil, where are your horns, huh?’ and then he chortled some more.

Devil thought to himself, Damn, and then he regretted his promise. Devil was a man of his word, and even if the promise had been to himself, he had to follow it through.

‘Aw, Mort, why’d you have to go and say that? See, I made a little promise to myself. You know those ads online, the ones that blink all these colors so you notice them. The ones that say something like “You’re the millionth person to see this ad! That means YOU win a prize! Click the banner for more details!”?’

‘Yeah,’ Mort wasn’t quite following what was going on.

‘You know how whenever you see that you know for sure that it’s a lie and that you’re not the millionth on that site and you’ll only get a virus if you click on the banner?’ Devil pressed on.

‘Uh, yeah, but buddy, what has this got to do with-‘

‘Well, see,’ Devil interrupted the wary Mort. ‘You really are the millionth person who’s asked me that stupid question about the horns. And you know I’m a man of my word, Mort. And I made myself a little promise that on the day I’d hear the millionth person ask me that question, I’d give him a little prize. And the prize would be, I’d go back to Hell and I’d stop making that person a consort and friend of the Devil. So there you go, Mort. It’s too bad, I enjoyed being here. Goodbye.’

Devil then seemed to drift out of his yellow shirt, as if he turned into mist, and then the yellow shirt and his pants were just draped over the chair, and his shoes and socks lay on the floor.

Mort stared at the chair with the clothes on it. Then he looked around. Nobody else in the cafeteria seemed to have noticed what went on. That is, no one noticed that a person – the Devil? – seemed to have disappeared out of his clothing. Mort stood up and looked around again. Nobody took any notice of him still. He walked calmly up to his cubical in the office, sat down and thought for a moment.

He wondered what was better, the Devil being IN Hell or OUT of it. He decided that for him at least, it was good for the Devil to be IN Hell. When he got to Hell, he would at least have someone to play golf and have a nice chat with.

Mort thought for another minute, and then walked back to the cafeteria and took the yellow shirt from the chair Devil had been sitting in, which no one had touched yet. He thought to himself ‘At least I got a fine yellow shirt on this odd day’. That made him cheerful, and Mort whistled to himself about his free shirt all afternoon.