Devil Desperate

"You know, I think he did it on purpose. To spite me."

The waitress shifted her weight from foot to foot. "Uh, well, Mr.... Satan, I think he generally--"

"Oh, by God's wounds please don't preach to me about what His grand plan is." He massaged his temples slowly, black claws leaving little divots of pressure in his burgundy skin.

"God's... Wounds, sir?" She blinked, pressing her tray to her chest. Her name tag read a name he knew wasn't hers--a mistake, perhaps, or a moment of malice from her superior.

"... Old turn of phrase. Senior moment, I guess. Don't mind me, just... Fuck, I mean, what am I going to do now? I'm out of a job!"

The woman winced. "Yeah, I ah, I took the deal myself."

Most people did, really. When God grants pardons to literally anyone willing to take it... Well, why not? And ever since, the population of Hell had stagnated. Soon, it would decrease. Soon, the bastard from on high would probably start offering pardons to those already in Hell. And why not? Mr. fucking Omniscient. Or Omnipresent. Whatever.

"Um, sir? I think my boss is looking at me. I should probably get back to work."

The devil snapped his fingers, and the soft-jawed man behind the counter shrieked. He collapsed to his knees, clawing at his eyes and face as he disappeared from sight.

"Oh. Never mind, I guess."

"Sorry, I'm sorry, I lost my temper." He covered his own face, then rested his head on the table.

The bench seat creaked in front of him, and when he opened his eyes, the waitress was looking right at him. the diner was quiet and empty, save for the wailing manager. "So I know you're going through a rough patch, but you've got to get your shit together."

The devil blinked slowly at her. "Uh. Excuse me?"

"I mean, you're not seriously just going to mope around in some diner, are you? I mean, you're literally the devil."

"I know that, mortal."

"You don't have to take a tone with me, I'm trying to help. Look, maybe you just need a change of pace. That sounds fair, right?"

The devil stared at her for a long moment, as though deciding whether or not to blast her into pieces on the spot. But that would just send her to Heaven right away, so what's the point?

"So what do you recommend?"

"Well... What do you like to do? What makes you happy?"

He hadn't really thought about it before, and it showed on his face. "I suppose I... Well, I guess I like..." He set about slowly shredding his napkin. "I suppose I've mostly just been... Rebelling. Seeking some sort of power, some meaningful sense that I can stand in the face of God Himself after my banishment and know that I have met His challenge and succeeded with my own hordes."

She pondered that for a long moment. "Well... We're down a manager. And I don't know if we count as a horde, it's just a couple of waitresses and a few cooks, but it's a start, right?"

He thought about that for a moment, then slowly, he grinned.

A few days later, Missy--Lucifer had been a kind enough boss to get her name tag changed and re-laminated--looked like she might cry.

"Does this look fucking over-medium to you?" The customer jabbed his egg, and bright yellow spilled across his plate. "This is fucking ridiculous, I thought--"

"Excuse me, sir, are you having some sort of an issue with my waitress?" came the cold, smooth voice from the back room. Everything froze as he stepped out, a tall, imposing figure with red eyes.

"She, ah. She fucked up my order."

"Looks perfectly edible to me."

"Look, pal, I didn't order this and I'm not going to take lip from you and your little--"

Before he could finish that thought, Satan's hand reached out and grabbed him, his palm covering the man's eyes. As he sat there, frozen in place save the weeping and drooling from his mouth, horrible visions of a world he was not meant to see flashed before his eyes. Flames, gore, flying things that should not, in a kind world, even live...

And just as quickly, it was over, blood and drool mingling on his shirt from his bitten tongue.

"Sir, if you're having some sort of medical emergency, I can wrap up your meal for you." But as the devil spoke, the man scrambled out of his chair and dashed for the exit, slamming against the glass as he scrambled for the handle.

"It's a pull door, not a push!" Missy said, ever helpful. "Hey, boss? Is there a way you could just teach me that one?"

"That's a manager's specialty. But, if you keep up the good work, and you make the promotion to general..."

"General manager."

"Right, right, general manager... Then I'll think about it."

She smiled. "Thanks, Boss." She smiled. Even if she didn't get the promotion, she couldn't imagine a better workplace.

Thanks for reading!

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