Tuesday, March 3, 2020

One Upmanship


The devil’s yell echoes across hell, and a little imp carefully runs forward across a pockmarked floor, trying not to spill a drop from the glass that is five times his size, lest he trip and fall and learn again a lesson he has learned more than once already.

Before the imp reaches his destination, the devil reaches out and grasps the glass, and the little imp remembers to let go before he gets too high and breaks his ankles from the fall.

The devil gulps down the contents and throws the glass behind him. A rush of imps sweep up the jagged shards into an overly large pile and then quickly disappear before the pile can come crashing down onto their heads.

The little imp stays longer than usual to admire his master, who is sitting with his head in his hands and mumbling to himself.

“How long has it been, brother, that you and I have been throwing curses at one another?”

The imp, not recognizing this as a rhetorical question, says, “ages?”

The devil peers between his fingers, and lifts his head from his hands when he spies the one who interrupted his reverie.

“Guess again.”

The imp pauses a moment to think.


The devil’s laugh booms across the hall and he slaps his heavy hand on the back of the imp, who falls flat underneath the weight.

“For all eternity,” the devil says as he stands the imp up and dusts him off. “My other, better self must make chaos and likewise I must make chaos. And on and on it goes.”

The imp, not realizing that the devil is simply talking to himself, asks, “well if he is already making chaos then why do you?”

The devil rests his big hand on the imp’s tiny shoulders, to impart his wisdom yet again.

“Because, little one. He makes chaos to the benefit of his creation, and I make chaos to the benefit of mine.”

And with that, the imp ignites and the devil shakes the ashes from his hand.

“DRINK!” he bellows again, wanting to replenish his strength before he erupts more chaos on the world between him and his better self.

The little imp rushes forward across a pockmarked floor, carefully balancing a glass six times his size.

<word count: 385>

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