The Devil’s Pleasure
The devil, you think, has lost tracked of how many negotiations he’s made. That he doesn’t need more souls of thieves, dictators, or tycoons anyway. One’s soul for a nation? You know how many times he’s heard that offer? Plenty. So you sign your name to the charming devil in a green suit. You later win a war, come home a hero and marry a beauty, ruling an empire for fifty years. Then he reappears in your room one late night as the jester. He demands your soul. Only to have you politely refuse. When he threatens to share your secret with your kingdom you beg him to reconsider. While handing you a box of matches he smiles, “If you burn your contract it’s voided. Simple.” Without moving his lips he questions if you have any clue how many underworld continents there are? When you burn your gaze past him you see old kings wading through garbage. Each careful not to drop their one box of matches.