Deal With the Devil

Deal With the Devil

A Story by Paula M. Potter

Jack sat quiet his head in his hands listening to the loud music of his next door neighbors’ joyous party. As he downed another shot of Tequila the noises of the celebration only made things seem even worse. There had been a horrible fire in the kitchen at work and until it could be thoroughly inspected it could not reopen. In fact depending on the extent of the damage it may never open again. Of late it seems that if it can go wrong for Jack it will.

The downward spiral had started just a week before when he heard a knock at the door. Standing there was a man all in black. He asked in a very deep voice, “ Are you Jack Penitent? “ and with the reply of yes the grave news of his mothers death was right in his face.

She had been living in California, but had put in her will that upon her death she wanted to be brought home to Charleston. Now seeing as this was her wish Jack was going to make sure she came home. He flew out to California to get everything in order. Upon inspecting her finances he discovered that once the debt of her experimental treatments had been paid off that there would be just enough to get her home, and have her funeral.

He did not mind that he would not get money he was just sad for the lose of his mother. He had to fly ahead of her home to be able to receive the casket once it arrived. Things did not go easily though. She was lost and placed on the wrong flight. She had been flown to Beijing definitely not the destination she was meant for. On top of the mistake customs would not release her without him coming to get her himself. He would have to identify the body in person.

So Jack set out on a complimentary flight to retrieve his mother. In the midst of it all he had put his sous chef in charge and left his beloved restaurant in the hands of his friends. They got back in just enough time for the set date of the funeral and no sooner had the casket been cover by earth he got the call that his restaurant was on fire. His heart sank into darkness and despair. He tried to be optimistic but things were not looking good at all. There was extensive damage to the structure and so it was closed until it could be inspected.

After making a run to the grocery and liquor store his neighbor caught him in the hall. The sound of laughter and champagne bottles popping just made him cringe, and the smiling face of his neighbor did not help thing ether. “I got the new job in Paris, and my girlfriend accepted my proposal just before I got the call about the job!” Jack did not mean to seem like a wet blanket, but his friend was getting everything in life that Jack wanted. Although he was invited to the celebration Jack could not bring himself to attend the festivities. He felt that being alone with his Jose Cuervo would be a better atmosphere for the way he was feeling.

He could hear the beautiful laughter of Bella his neighbor Steven’s girlfriend…..well now his fiancée. He had been captivated by her since they first met at the farmers market one glorious Saturday morning. She was everything he had ever wanted in a woman and now she belonged to the sniveling jackass next door. Just one more thing merely inches out of his grasp.

“What is wrong with me I don’t think I am hideous. I have a great body a nice place and a restaurant of my own. Well had a restaurant of my own. What did she see in him that she could not have had better in me?”

Now he even had the job in Paris he wanted so bad, but had turned down because he did not want to abandon his restaurant. Something he is now regretting even more.

Jack sat and drank late into the night and finally passed out. The next morning he was awaken by the blinding and scornfully cheery sunlight blazing through his balcony doors. He lifted his head from a puddle of tequila and drool. He looked at the clock and realized he had just minutes to get ready and go or he was going to miss the inspector.

After taking a quick hot shower and shaving he downs some hair of the dog that mangled him and took off out the door. He had managed to arrive just in time and the inspector laid it all out for him. There had been too much damage and the whole building would have to be condemned. Jack restrained himself knowing that this was no fault of the inspector. At this point no good would come of Jack harming him into the ground, and having an assault charge on top of everything else. Now Gary his sous chef was a different story. That b*****d had cut and run before the firefighters had even arrived!

As he sat on the curb outside his once glorious restaurant and thought to himself that things could not get any worse he heard a voice come from behind him. “Hello friend. Feeling a little down are we?” Jack’s head whipped around and in a tone of voice that can only be described as pure smartass said, “No what makes you think that? Everything is just peachy!” He looked at the man that stood before him. He was dressed like a true southern gentleman. His suit was so white it was almost blinding. It was so crisp like it had just been pressed and not a stitch was out of place. He was clean shaven and although Jack was not attracted to men he thought he was very handsome. Not a single black hair was out of place even the breeze did not disturbed it.

The man held out a hand for Jack to take. He helped Jack up and suggested they stroll to the local bar he knew of. Jack was not accustomed to opening himself up to strangers, but this man had a draw to him and Jack felt he could not refuse a drink right now given all the s**t he had been going through. So he accepted the invitation, and before he knew it they were in the cool dark of the bar being brought the strongest drinks they had to offer.

Before Jack could think about what he was doing he began spilling his guts to the stranger about everything that had happened. The man sat quietly taking in his every word and only offering an understanding nod once in a while. After way too many drinks and a long rant about his problems the man finally suggested he get Jack home. The room seemed to vibrate, Jack got dizzy and before he could say another word everything went black.

Jack awoke in his apartment with the man in white standing above him wearing a sparkling white grin. Jack sat up startled and said, “What happened? How did you know where I live?” The man replied, “You passed out I could not just leave you there so I checked your wallet and brought you home.” Although Jack was grateful he was still a bit taken back by the mans interest in him. Jack tried to stand but found this a harder task then he had imagined. He grabbed his head as he flopped back down on the couch.

“I wish that mother f****r Gary would just die! Things may not be perfect, but if it was not for him I would still have something!” Jack exclaimed. The man in white sat on the coffee table in front of Jack. “You know my friend I think I may be able to help you.” The man said in a very calm and helpful tone. “Yeah and how is that?” Jack asked. “Well I will grant you three request if you just….” The man paused. “If I just what?” Jack was curious. “If you just sign your soul over to me. No big deal right?” Jack burst into laughter and with a sarcastic tone said, “Yeah no problem what else do I have to loose!” still continuing to laugh.

The man held out his hand and a blazing parchment materialized with a quill made from the feather of a crow. Jack’s laughter quickly stopped as his jaw dropped in disbelief. The man handed Jack the quill and laid the contract on the table. Jack still taken back said, “Are you Satin or something?” The man turned and with a Cheshire cat grin and a hearty laugh asked, “Why do you know any one else who walks around with contracts for a persons soul?” Jack not knowing what to do or say asked, “How do I know this is on the level?” Satin still baring his grin said, “Read the contract, take your time I don’t have anywhere I have to be.”

As Jack skimmed the contract it stated that Satin would grant three requests for exactly what he asked ….yadda yadda….and if he did as he promised he would get Jacks soul in return. Jack looked up at him and reluctantly pressed the quill to the parchment and signed his name. In a quick puff of smoke the contract and the quill vanished as though it had never been there. Only the smell of sulfur hung in the air. Satin spoke up and told Jack his first wish had been granted, and before Jack could ask what wish Satin was gone.

Jack went to the table and poured himself some more tequila from the night before. He sat thinking about what had happened. He kept telling himself it was his imagination a product of too much drinking and a clouded mind. In the off chance he had not been hallucinating he was trying feverishly to figure out what wish he had made that Satin would have already granted. He drank some more and as the sky grew dim he went in his room to collapsed on his bed.

Jack startled awake as he heard a loud ring next to his head. It was one of the girls who had been a waitress at his restaurant. Her voice was panicked and at first she spoke so fast that Jack’s liquor soaked mind could not understand what she was saying. After telling her to calm down she composed herself and finally spoke at a pace that Jack could understand. She told him that last night Gary was on his way home from the store and that the elevator had gotten stuck on the way up to his place. Jack still being upset and not letting her finish huffed in a frustrated manner. She said, “No Jack you don’t understand. He had opened the elevator doors and had just started to climb out when it all of the sudden it started to move again. His head had been taken clean off!” Jack could not believe his ears and in a moment he flashed back to wishing he was dead just before the crazy events of the evening had unfolded. Jack found this was not the worst of it. In a cloud of shock and grief his wife plunged to her death from their fifteenth story balcony. Jack new that this also meant the new born child they had was now left an orphan.

He did not entertain the formalities of saying goodbye he just hung up the phone. Jack started frantically pacing the floor and began to scream for Satin to show himself. No sooner had he turned to pace the other direction that he came face to face with the smiling devil.

“What the hell did you do? I did not ask for this!” Jack screamed. “Well yes you did my friend right before I presented you with my offer.” Satin spoke in such a calm voice about what had conspired. This only got Jack more worked up then before slinging his drink around as he flailed his arms, and screamed his protests to Satin. As if any of this would make a difference what’s done was done.

As Jack reached his boiling point and swallowed as much alcohol as his mouth would allow he was paused by a knock at the door. He stomped over to answer it. To his dismay there stood his neighbor Steven grinning from ear to ear. His pleasant disposition just enraged Jack even more. “What do you need Steve?” Jack asked sharply. “Well I just wanted to say goodbye. Bella and I are leaving now for my new job.” Jack reluctantly shook Steven’s hand; Bella stepped up and embraced Jack. She whispered to him, “I hope things get better for you! If you ever need to talk you know where we are.” Although he was moved by her kind words Jealousy rose up as he watched the two leave hand in hand.

As they disappeared Jack slammed the door, and under his breath he said, “That sniveling prick! I want that job! If he had not been there to scoop it up it would be mine, and maybe even Bella would be mine too!” Quickly he pivoted around to see Satin lounging in his chair. “What are you doing? “ Jack asked. “Oh nothing I just took care of your second request.” Satin replied. Jack was dismayed by this. He was not sure how to react. “What did you do now?” Satin just smiled, and vanished from the room. Jack rushed quickly to get dressed. He was determined to make it to the air port and see if Steven and Bella were okay.

As the taxi screeched to a halt in front of the airport Jack threw the driver some money and took off to find their flight. He arrived at the gate just in time to see them walk down the terminal, and the stewardess shut the door behind them. Jack was relived to see they had not been mangled by an elevator or some other horrible thing. He turned and headed back to the front of the airport to find a taxi and a liquor store on the way home.

As he got to his apartment he started his now nightly ritual of getting so drunk he could barely make it to bed. He had high hopes that tomorrow would be a better day. He woke up that morning a bit fuzzy, but determined to do something other then drink. He got cleaned up and dressed and decided it would be a good idea to go get some new threads for upcoming interviews he hoped to have. He could not reopen his own place because now the insurance money would have to be used to get caught up on impending bills while he is out of work. As he arrived at the mall he shopped and grabbed a quick snake from the food court. He walked around window shopping some of the new gleaming televisions caught his eye. He went over to admire the picture quality, and look at some of the ridicules prices.

As he stood watching the news they had on he slurped on his drink and just about choked as they presented the tope story of flight 366 to Pairs’ crashed into the ocean. At this time they were slowly finding that there had been no survivors. The once enjoyable snack was now like a stone in the pit of his stomach. He knew that he was the cause of this, and yet again the impact was so much greater then just what had happened to him. So many loved ones and innocent people had been affected by his greed and jealousy. He threw the rest of his drink away and headed home down hearted, and beaten by his own thoughts.

As he arrived home he spoke seemingly to know one at all, “Okay I know you hear me so just come out of what ever dark corner you are in now.” As requested Satin stepped forward and said in a snide tone, “You rang!” Jack turned slowly and looked Satin Square in the eye, “Well I guess you have beaten me. You gave me all the things I said I wanted, and yet I am more miserable then I was before you came along!” Satin with a knowing smile said, “Just doing my job. So much of what you had in your heart called for me that I could not resist approaching such an easy soul to snatch up for my collection.” Jack hung his head disgusted with himself. “So I guess we should just get this over with.”

Satin told him he could not take his soul until the last request had been taken care of. Jack did not want to make any more requests. The ones he had made although not intentionally had caused too much pain, and affected so many lives in a negative way. He was trying to be very careful with his words not wanting to give Satin a chance to assume he was requesting something that would cause even more pain, and suffering for others. So as he sat quietly and thought of a way to get this over with in a way that would only affect him, Jack realized his mouth was dry, and his brain was way to clear for a journey to hell. “I need something to numb me, and quench my thirst. So being that the Holy Grail for drinkers is more liquor…… I would like a bottle of bourbon all to myself, and a nice cigar.” Jack assumed the request would be tame enough to not affect others, and yet sedate him enough to go through the painful journey ahead. In a flash Satin had his bottle of bourbon and his cigar laid out for him. He even provided a glass, cigar snips, and a lighter. Jack sat down to the task of getting as drunk as he could as fast as he could.

As he sat finishing a glass he looked at the nearly empty bottle, and his half finished cigar. “You know there is just enough left for two more glasses and then you can take my soul. Why don’t you have a glass and we can toast over your contract of brimstone, and victory.” Satin produced another glass, and Jack poured them both a drink. “You are being an awfully good sport about all this.” Satin said in a semi shocked tone. “I just want all of this to be over with!” Jack said as he reflected on all of the horrible things he was responsible for. As they both finished their glass of bourbon Jack looked at Satin and said he was ready. Satin leapt at Jack to begin their journey, but something stopped him. Jack stood puzzled as he glared at Satin. Satin’s eyes turned red with rage, and the whole room grew dark and filled with smoke. “What have you done you worthless sack of s**t?!” Jack did not know what to say. He did not even understand what was going on. “You said you wanted the bottle of bourbon all to yourself!” Satin said with an angry sneer across his lips. “Yeah so?” Jack replied. “But you did not have it to yourself! I had one glass…..the last glass! How could suck a pathetic human as you have tricked me?!” Jack was still even more puzzled by what he was saying. Satin produced the contract in his hand once again.

“You read this correct?”

“Well… I …. Skimmed it.” Jack said in a low quiet voice

“I have to fulfill your request exactly as you asked for them or the contract would be void, and things would return to normal. I would not even be able to claim your soul!” Satin’s words growing even more raged filled as he spoke his realization out loud. “You have tricked me! I can not lay claim to your soul! Not this time but one day I will return! I will stalk you! I will wait again for when you are in the gutter and YOU WILL BE MINE!” In flash of red smoke the smell of sulfur filled the room and Satin was gone.

Jack passed out where he stood ether from too much drink or the shock of it all. As he opened his eyes he realized he was not in his apartment. Jack surveyed his surroundings, and found he was on the curb outside his abandoned restaurant. He was right back where all this had begun. He saw in the distance Satin skulking around the corner out of sight. Just then he felt a hand on his shoulder “Are you going to be alright Jack?” Jack turned, and looked it was the building inspector. “Everything is going to be just fine!” Jack said with an optimistic tone, and a smile on his face. All of the horrible things had been washed away, and Jack had beaten Satin at his own game!

© 2008 Paula M. Potter


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Agree with KC Klein. You've got to break things or put commas in, otherwise impossible to read or entice other readers.

Posted 12 Years Ago


I liked your story. The twist at the end was great! I felt so bad for Jack!

Posted 12 Years Ago


I really liked the story- kind cool twist at the end I liked that a lot!

Posted 12 Years Ago


Hi Paula.

I'm here, thought I'd comment.

I didn't get past:
Jack sat quiet his head in his hands listening to the loud music of his next door neighbors' joyous party.

I have no idea what this sentence means.

Sorry

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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syn
I thought this was very good wicked smoth twist at the end.

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I love the way that you added in the twist here. I thought the entire piece was well written and this was definitely a unique take on an old story. I think I only know one person with luck as bad as this. Well done and good luck with the contest.

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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B O
I enjoyed reading this. Its funny how Tequila usually leads to bad things. Thanks!

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

It keep my attention and I really enjoyed reading this.

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

very captivating and creative story good luck in the contest!

Posted 12 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 6, 2008

Author

Paula M. Potter
Paula M. Potter

Clarksville, TN



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I have had a block and a lot of things going on (not all good). I am trying to get back into the swing of things. Inspired Insomniacs74 Members Story Tellers more..

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