Monday, December 4, 2017

Short story – “Buyer’s Market”

I first wrote this story back in 2014 and posted it on a site that is no longer around.  Some months back, I went through all the stories I had posted on that site and picked out a few I felt I needed to revise and repost.  They’ve sat on my desktop since then, but – for some reason – I figured today would be a good day to post this one.

“Buyer’s Market”

Closing the door, Mike walked into his bedroom lit dimly by a streetlight.  He sat on his bed, took a deep breath, and slowly spoke, “I will sell my soul to win this election.”

A silent puff of red smoke erupted before him.  When it cleared, a four foot tall, green lobster looking thing standing on its tail appeared before him.  “Hello,” it said, sounding as if it had a mouthful of marbles.  “What soul transfer transaction can I help you with today?”

It took a moment before Mike could bring himself to ask, “What?  Who are you?”

“Forgive, please,” the lobster said.  “You may call me ... Ralph.  I am qualified to handle all your soul transaction needs.”

Mike looked at it for several seconds before saying, “I was trying to sell my soul … to the Devil.”

“I can help you with that.” A small puff of white smoke appeared in Ralph’s right claw and when it cleared there was a clipboard.  Ralph began scratching on it with his other claw.

“Who are you?” Mike asked.  “Where’s the Devil?”

“Ah, I see the confusion,” Ralph replied.  “So many people began selling their souls, the Devil had to outsource their acquisition to beings from another dimension.” Here Ralph touched his thorax.  “I am fully capable of handling your soul transaction.  If you prefer to wait to speak with the Devil himself, that can be arranged, but I must warn you the current wait time is seven months.”

With the election two months away, Mike didn’t have a choice.  “Okay.  You’ll … do.”

“Very well.” Ralph finished scratching something on the clipboard.  There was another puff of smoke and Ralph now held a large, black crystal.  “I need to examine the soul in question.” There was a flash of blood red light, and then the crystal disappeared in a puff of smoke.  Ralph spent most of a minute scratching the clipboard.

“I’m sorry,” he eventually said, “you’re soul is too damaged.  There is not enough value in it to let you win an election.  The best I can do with it is,” Ralph looked at his clipboard, “have your opponent’s website experience technical issues for twelve hours, have you win a five figure dollar amount in a lottery, or arrange for a threesome.”

When Mike had finally decided to sell his soul to win the election, it felt as if a great weight had lifted from his shoulders.  Now that weight returned, and it felt as if it had brought friends.  Mike took a deep breath, then asked, “Can I have time to think about this?”

“Of course.” Ralph took something from his clipboard and handed it to Mike.  It was a grey plastic card with a strange, golden symbol on it.  “When you have decided,” Ralph explained, “kiss the symbol and I will return.  Good day.” He then disappeared in a large puff of blue smoke.

Mike laid back on the bed.  “Damn it,” he said.  “If I want to win this election I’ll have to work for it.”

For a moment, he felt like crying, but he pushed that away and sat up.  He needed to figure out a new strategy.

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