Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear Lucy,

I belong to a writer's web site that has daily prompts to write about. Yesterday's was to write a short story (100 to 1000 words) using the first sentence, Hell Found Me.

Here is what I wrote:

Hell found me. I blame it on all the GPS systems available these days. Damned things. Just everyone is using them.
I was sitting in my usual comfy chair at Starbuck’s working a crossword puzzle and sipping my latte. It was a busy Sunday morning; the usual crowd sat in their usual places drinking their usual java concoctions--expertly brewed by the usual baristas.

Then what comes careening into the parking lot but this white van with a huge Hello Kitty emblem on the side and Barry Manilow’s Mandy blaring out of the stereo speakers.
I smirked at the man who always sits in the comfy chair next to me, but rather than smirk back at this strange display, he has a look of horror on his face and abruptly leaves.

Then who should take his place but a man wearing a hideous pair of lime green Bermuda shorts and an “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt.

“I’m Satan,” he says to me.

“Good to meet you” I reply curtly hoping to dissuade him from further conversation. I didn’t even look up from my crossword. What kind of nut introduces himself as Satan?

“You don’t believe me,” he says, obviously not getting my rebuff.

“It’s a strange way to introduce yourself,” I reply.

“You were expecting horns and a tail? They all do. I just refuse to be pigeon-holed like that.”

“Let’s just say that I wouldn’t expect Satan to be wearing Bermuda shorts.”

“But, you hate Bermuda shorts. And you hate those, “I’m with Stupid” t-shirts. You also hate Hello Kitty and Barry Manilow’s song Mandy.”

“How do you know?”

“I’m Satan, I know what every human hates. What do you think Hell is, just fire and brimstone? No way. Hell is different for every human based on what they hate the most. That man sitting next to you when I pulled up didn’t see Hello Kitty or hear Mandy playing; he saw George Dubbya and heard The Hustle.”

Now I shivered and I am not the kind of man who shivers easily. “Why the hell--heck are you bothering me?”

“There’s been a lull in Hell lately, what with all the end of the world talk and bad economy, everybody’s turning religious. So I have had some of my boys out doing demographics and we have found that the majority of people in America are getting hooked on coffee and computer games, especially Farmville, which surprises the hell out of me. So, I had a meeting with God to discuss it.”

“With God?” I was sure this guy was a nut case, “like you did about Job way back when?”

“Yes, and you know in all these years God hasn’t changed a bit. When I mentioned this He said He couldn’t change, that He was immutable. What kind of word is that?”

“It means He can’t change.”

“Oh. Damn, I thought he was bragging. That’s a sin you know and I’d have had him dead to rights.”

“So, you had a conversation with God.”

“Yes. And He agreed to let me make coffee drinking and computer gaming sins until things pick up in the usual abominations department.”

“How accommodating of Him.”

“He’s a good guy really. A bit touchy still about our little falling out a million years ago, but I can’t blame him for that. When you’ve existed forever, things are bound to stick in your craw.”

I had heard enough and proceeded to get up to leave. Looking around I noticed that the place was empty and cars were pulling out of the parking lot as soon as they passed the van. I was getting creeped out.

“You can’t leave,” Satan said calmly, “I have a proposition for you. I will ensure that you can keep drinking your lattes if you will agree to continue coming here and pushing the beverage. And if you would start playing and pushing computer games there might even be a bonus in it for you.”

“A bonus?”

“Absolutely. You’re a writer aren’t you? Unpublished, unknown? I can make you the next Stephen King or J. K. Rawlins.”

I had to admit, he had me tempted.


It is one year to the day that I had my talk with Satan of the Bermuda shorts. I now own my first drive-thru coffee stand where the perks are perfect and the price is cheap.

With every cup purchased I offer the chance for a free month of the most popular computer games available. My business is booming.

Oh, and my new book, Plenty of Perks, is number one on the New York's best seller list!

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