‘Hi, I’d like to make a deal with the Devil, please,’ said Jen.
‘Of course. Take a number and a seat,’ said the receptionist.
Instead of celebrity gossip magazines they had porn and anti vaccination articles. Typically, the porn was all at least a year old and Jen had already seen it.
Around her sat investment bankers, advertising executives, televangelists. One by one their number came up, they walked through the big wrought iron door and came back out with their heart’s desire; unbeatable luck, the ability to convince anyone of anything, a racing car. A bargain, when you considered that they barely had a soul to begin with.
Finally, Jen’s number came up. It was 666. Every number was 666.
‘Hi,’ said the Devil, with the big helpful smile of a shark or a car salesman. ‘How can I help you?’
‘I just had a few questions about store policy first,’ said Jen.
‘No refunds if your purchase ends up destroying your life in an ironic way.’
‘Of course not.’ Jen retrieved a flyer from her pocket. ‘What I was wondering about is this bit in the ad that says ‘Whatever you want, we have it, no exceptions. Customer satisfaction guaranteed.’
‘That’s right.’ The Devil managed to smile even wider. ‘In exchange for your soul.’
‘So long as I give you my soul, you can’t refuse any request?’ said Jen.
‘We take a lot of pride in what we do here.’
‘No matter what it is?’
‘Have you seen what Carrot Top looks like now? That was us.’
‘So just to be one hundred percent, totally sure. No matter what I ask for, you have to give it to me?’
Jen made a face that indicated that this was to her satisfaction. ‘I’d like your soul, please.’
The Devil didn’t say anything for a very long moment. ‘Excuse me?’
‘I’d like your soul. In exchange for my soul.’
The was another long moment of silence, and then Satan’s salesman smile came back. ‘What about it all? You women are always talking about how you want it all. I can give you it all.’
‘Your soul will be fine.’
‘What about a penis? You can finally go to the patriarchy meetings.’
‘Tempting, but I’ll stick with your soul.’
‘I can make it so any rumour you spread comes true.’
‘Have you ever actually met a real woman before?’
‘What about some yoghurt? Women love yoghurt! I’ll even throw in some cranberries.’
Jen didn’t bother to reply.
The Devil looked like he was nearing the end of a very long staring contest. ‘Okay, look, I’ll do you a deal. You can have whatever you want, for free.’
‘Actually free, I keep my soul, no unintended consequences?’ said Jen.
‘Actually free, you keep your soul, no unintended consequences,’ said the Devil.
‘I’d like your soul, please.’