“Knock knock,” the imp said.
“Who’s there?” I responded.
“LET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” he screamed at me. His leathery wings spread wide as if to emphasize his words, or to make him seem larger in order to intimidate me. But he was only three inches tall, so it was going to take a great deal more to make him seem large enough to be a physical threat.
I poured another couple fingers of gin into my glass, tossed it all down my throat in a burning wash. I was already feeling wobbly and a bit too hot, but booze seemed appropriate.
“You know I’m not going to do that,” I told him.
He glared at me with eyes like shadows moving on glass. He looked ridiculous, tiny and naked and roughly scaled like a bearded lizard. Batwings of course, with curved talons at all the tips. He was what would be called anatomically correct if he were a doll, his outsized penis erect and bouncing with each step as he paced from point to point within the pentagram I’d painted on the table with my own blood.
“And how in all the sweet hells do you expect me to do your bidding and help your sorry ass out if I’m stuck in this thing?”
The old book had seemed pretty clear on all this, but once I’d done the ritual, and little boner imp appeared, I realized the specifics of getting my way hadn’t been covered sufficiently.
“Can’t you just grant me a wish? Then I’ll banish you and we’ll be done with each other.”
“I can’t grant wishes, bozo. That’s way stronger mojo than I’ve got. I can only help through direct action.” He stopped pacing and glared at me again. “And how do you intend to banish me? I know that mad Arab didn’t put detail like that in that book, ’cause I’ve read it.”
He was right. The ritual was all about getting him here. What to do with him hadn’t been covered at all, other than to say something about dominating the small fiend and using its power.
“Never mind that,” I said. “I’ll banish you, all right? That book isn’t the only source of info I have access to. And if it comes to it, I’ll get a priest in here to deal with you.”
“Pssh. A priest. You don’t want to tell one of those guys you’ve been summoning demons; they’ll burn you at the stake.”
“They don’t do that any more.”
“Yeah, right. Buddy, they always do that. Maybe they’re just more subtle about it these days.”
“I don’t think so. They have enough scandals to deal with without getting caught burning people.”
“Never mind the fucking priests,” he snarled. “You need to let out of here so I can help you. If you don’t, you’re just gonna have this bloody star on your table and I’m going to be stuck in it from now on. You really want me living here with you, chatting up your friends? Not to mention I got no place to shit in here, and I feel a big one coming on.”
“What will you do if I let you out?”
“I’ll do all I can to get that bitch to take you back–“
“Don’t call her a bitch.”
He cocked his head at me. “Jesus twitchin’ on the cross, I get all the twits,” he muttered. “Look, moron, you didn’t expect a demon to act all proper didja? I can, mind you…but if I do, that’ll count as your ‘one desire’ I’m supposed to fulfill.”
“Okay, okay,” I said. “So I let you out, you help me get Cindy back, then you return to Hell or wherever it is you came from, right?”
“And you won’t pull any tricks on me or hurt me or anything like that, right? Because I am your master.”
“Good grief. Right, right, right. Now let’s do this; the sooner I can get off this dismal plane, the happier I’m gonna be.”
“Okay…” I said. This still seemed a bad idea, but I was at a loss. And what he said seemed to be in accord with the rules implied in the book.
I reached toward the pentagram, paused with my fingers just above one of its bloody lines. “You promise, no tricks?”
He shook his head. “You really gonna trust a promise from me? I’m a demonic imp from the dark beyonds, I don’t make promises. But I do my goddamned job.”
“Okay.” I rubbed my fingers in the blood, breaking the line.
I’ll return next Wednesday with the letter J. I hope you’ll stop by. I’m a writer and I post about a wide variety of non-alphabet-specific topics. Feel free to comment under my posts. If you want to subscribe to the blog, there’s a button in the sidebar.
Also, feel free try to check out my adventure novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom. It’s been very well reviewed (KIRKUS REVIEWS: “Written in fast-paced, intelligent prose laced with humor and literary allusions ranging from Dante to Dr. Seuss, the story has all of the fun of old-fashioned pulp adventures.”) and is great for action-adventure lovers of all ages.
For another fun ABC Wednesday post, visit the Carioca Witch here: Bringing Up Salamanders.
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