"Hello, I don't think you expected me."
-"No, who are you?"
-"Do you remember some 20 years ago, when you were a drunken teenager wanting to conquer the world ?"
-"Look, if you want to sell me something, I don't have time for this..."
-"No, no, you already got it. You promised me your soul."
-"Yeah, who do you think made you have that great degree in medicine, your position at that hospital, your loving wife and the power of ruling one of America's biggest medical corporations ?"
-"Is this a joke ?"
-"Not at all, you see, I'm the Devil."
At this point my eyebrow started to rise slightly.
-"Yeah well and I'm Santa Claus, nice to meet you. Goodbye."
I closed the door at him, but when I turned around the same guy was in my living-room, sitting down on the sofa. He got out a suitcase and got out a bunch of papers. Trifling through them, he seemed to be reviewing figures.
-"So... let's see... 20 years of fully satisfactory life, with an extra bonus of 5 women easily conquered through that time, while winning enough money to buy a small country in Central America... Your soul must be of a very good quality to have obtained all that."
At this point I couldn't make anything else than accept the facts. This guy was the Devil and somehow a stupid wish I made 20 years ago had been made true... and now was the pay day. However a detail puzzled me.
-"Wait a minute. Aren't I supposed to be dead before I give my soul ?"
The devil looked at me as if I was a stupid alien who tought that earth's biggest intelligence were squirrels and suddenly got faced to a nuclear war tank.
-"Yeah, well, man, what use could you be to us if you're dead ? We need someone who can alter some... things to our advantage."
-"Yeah so what do you want ? What if I refuse ?"
-"Well you can't. You see, we can't take back what we gave to you, so either you help us now, or we will wait until you die and send you to the Pugu Pits."
-"The what ?"
The Devil frowned.
-"Well you don't want to know about that... let's say it involves cleaning a LOT of manure..."
-"Yeah as if I care. I will be dead..."
-"You should think of it better. Especially as your lifespan will be a lot shorter if you refuse to help me out."
-"Are you threatening me ?"
-"Why, of course. Who the hell you think I am ?"
-"Yeah well. But I know that I can refuse and resist you. I just have to follow what's written on the Bible and..."
The devil looked at me with a stare so filled with pity that it rivalled a look an old woman would give to her granddaughter if she brings her a wounded little bird. He sighed.
-"I don't think it would be of much help. You already got what you asked for, so, by the contract, you are already on our side. But go ahead, be my guest, see if it works !"
I was going to get the bible I kept in the shelf when suddenly I felt very stupid. The guy had a point. I never read the bible more than once and yet it was to the request of my daughter who wanted to make a special presentation in school.
-"And I don't believe the Bearded Guy of Above would like the anecdote about that secretary of yours during your trip to Puerto Rico..."
-"How do you know about that ?!"
The Devil raised a glass of scotch he got from somewhere, and leaned back on the sofa.
-"Well... I have my connections. Priests, you know."
I sat down at the sofa. A glass of scotch appeared in my hand, too. He must have a trick.
-"What ? You mean that a priest actually saw us ?"
-"Not exactly. But I like to be present inside the confessionaries. You'll not believe all the stuff people tell in there. It's like they really think they will be forgiven... what a joke."
-"So the secretary did tell about me ?"
-"Well, ok, not directly... she didn't mention the name..."
-"So how do you know ?"
-"Ok, look, I was there. You see, one of the things the Devil has to do is to know everything. Everybody has evil inside of him or her and therefore I am everywhere."
-"Well yeah sometimes..."
I made a decision. I was curious and wanted to find out.
-"Look... I think I'll accept help you. But I do have a final request in exchange for my living soul. If not, I'll just let me die and go to those porno pits or whatever of yours..."
The devil looked happy, and rose out of the sofa, triumphant.
-"Aha ! So... what is it that you want ?"
I thought a little on how to say it. It had to look dramatic.
-"I wish to know everything you know."
The devil looked puzzled.
-"Yeah, well, what does that will give to you ?"
-"I want to have all the knowledge your power can give me."
-"What for ?"
-"If I have to serve you, then that's my prize. I want to know everything about the world and beyond."
-"Very curious man, aren't you."
-"Exactly. If that can't be done, forget about the deal."
The devil sat down on the sofa, looking a little toughtful. He considered the issue.
-"Well, maybe it could be done. But you will then be put to work on a bigger purpose."
-"That's fine as long as I get what I want."
-"I know what you are thinking. That knowledge is power, so, if you get my knowledge, you would get my power. Ain't I right ?"
Darn. That guy cannot be fooled. It was exactly what I had in mind.
-"Yeah, don't deny it. I've been observing you. It's all right... but you will have to do what you will be needed to do."
-"I'm willing to."
-"That's a deal then. Get into the circle."
He snapped at the ground and a circle of flame surrounded him. The flames were impressive but they didn't seem to have any heat, as if they were holographic.
Something in my mind gave me a warning.
-"And what is the trick ? What is this going really to cost me ?"
-"Why, nothing more than your soul. Look, you'll have as much power as I do, so why are you worring ? You will be able to do whatever you want as long as you stick to the plan that you're given."
Well, I didn't seem to have much of a choice. I stepped in the circle.
Flash of light.
Then I got it.
I got the devil's power all right. I was even more powerful than the representative that was sent to contact me. According to Dante's description, I am now the very centre of hell, in the seventh circle, buried under many miles of matter frozen in the Kelvian Absolute Zero.
Now the only thing I had to do was to get out of here. I knew it since I realized where I was. Now I really know everything about the world, the universe, and the rest. Even about the Bearded Guy who must be laughing at me like mad.
The problem is that the only way to escape is to make someone accept to take my place.
Now, I AM the devil.