Hellish Turnover

“I wouldn’t recommend that,” the well-dressed demon said. A look of concern replaced his salesman’s smile and the red glow in his eyes dimmed. Ruben smiled at the horned man in the wine-red suit.

“A HA! You said anything.” Ruben crossed his arms and indulged in a self-satisfying grin. In his mind, he saw himself sitting on Hell’s throne. The demon nodded.

“I did say anything, but that trade comes with some bureaucratic caveats,” the demon said. He snapped his fingers and produced a flash of fire in his hand. After the fire disappeared he held an obsidian clipboard with several forms on it.

“What? That’s bull! You said ANYTHING.” Ruben raised his voice.  The demon nodded again then presented the black clipboard to Ruben.

“I did. I’m not telling you no, but I’m supposed to give you extra information if you make that wish,” he said. The demon studied Ruben as he simmered in frustration for a second. “You’re not the first, which you should be thankful that we have procedures in place for it now.” Ruben refused to accept the clipboard. He chose to glare at the demon instead.

“Quit stalling and give me your soul,” Ruben said. The demon sighed.

“Fine.” He flipped through the papers on the clipboard and pulled one out, then put it on top. He offered it to Ruben. “Initial here if you want to skip the orientation info I’m supposed to give you,” he pointed at one line. Then he pointed at another line at the bottom. “Sign there and you’ll trade your soul for mine. But I have to tell you that it’s a bad idea on your part.” Ruben scoffed as he hurriedly initialed and signed.

“Of course you’d say that. Done!” Ruben looked up the moment he said done and saw his body holding the clipboard in front of him. His bearded face smiled at him. He looked at his hands up and recognized the dark maroon cuffs at his wrists. His hands flew up to his head and he felt rigid horns atop his head.

“What’s going on?!” He panicked. The demon in his old body shrugged.

“You’ll have another chance to learn about the job when you go back,” he offered the clipboard to Ruben.

“Go back?” Ruben felt stunned. He grabbed the clipboard without thinking. “To where? I want my body!” His old room and his old body disappeared the moment he touched the clipboard. He heard his name before he realized he was in a different place.

“Ruben Alaniz?” Ruben turned around to find a woman with long, fiery-orange hair sitting at a black stone desk. She smiled at him and pointed to a door on her left. “The boss’ll see you now.” Ruben nodded, still dazed, and walked towards the door. He crossed the threshold and nearly fainted. He saw a giant red man, easily twice his size sitting at an obsidian desk. A silver nameplate on his desk read “Satan”. He paused to lean against the door, then walked, weak-kneed, to a black stone chair in front of Satan’s desk.

“Mr. Alaniz, I’m sure you have a million questions,” Satan chuckled with a deep voice. “Most of them because you didn’t sit through the orientation. Ask away.” Ruben did not seem to be in immediate danger. He took a moment to close his eyes and breath. He considered his situation. He hoped that man with large, curling, black horns would not be there when he opened his eyes. Ruben opened his eyes. Satan smiled.

“Can I change my mind?” Ruben asked. He’d accepted the fact that he was stuck in a demon’s body, and hoped to find a way out of it. Satan shook his head.

“That’s why we have the orientation. You’re informed of your duties and the consequences before you agree. You skipped it, so here you are.” Ruben nodded. If nothing else he’d always been quick to accept his own mistakes.

“What’s my job, and for how long?” Satan nodded with a grin.

“Good man, straight to business. Brokering deals, like the one that got you here. For eternity.”

“So if someone wants my soul… I can get out?”

“If you do everything right, yes. You can’t offer it out of the blue, they have to ask. You have to advise against it and offer the orientation. But if all that works out and they agree then their soul is put in…,” Satan pointed at Ruben. “…that body. Then your soul gets their body.”

“What? That’s stupid. No one’s going to want this job after I tell them how horrible it is.” Satan laughed.

“You’re here.”

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