Dear Devil…

short story, flash fiction, The Devil, relationships, dating, mind reading, humor, Modern Philosopher“I have a special power that I’ve never told you about because I didn’t want you to freak out,” was the way the Devil decided to break the silence on what had been a peaceful Sunday afternoon.

I put down my Snapple and looked over at him with great trepidation.

“With a set up like that, I’m prepared for the worst,” I said as I braced myself for whatever he was about to reveal.

“I can read minds,” Lucifer confessed.  “The only reason I’m bringing it up now is because your mind is focused on doing something very stupid, and as your friend, I cannot just sit here and allow it to happen.”

I studied The Prince of Darkness for signs that he was messing with me.  I might not be able to read minds, but I am pretty good at reading people…and Otherworldly Beings.

My guest was dressed, as always, in an impeccably tailored suit, a look that did not make one think of your typical psychic.

“Thinking that I don’t look like a mind reader because of the way I dress is horribly prejudicial, Austin,” Satan admonished me with a devilish smile just to prove that he could, in fact, read my mind.

Damn him!

short story, flash fiction, The Devil, relationships, dating, mind reading, humor, Modern Philosopher“Since I can’t read your mind, you’re going to have to tell me why what I’m thinking is so stupid,” I quipped like a snotty seven year old.  “I’m totally open to your advice, Dear Abby with the horns and pitchfork.”

I snatched my Snapple off the table and took a long sip.  I had an idea of what he was going to say, but since I was intent on doing what I was planning, I figured I should at least give him the chance to talk me out of it.

“For the past four months, I’ve proudly watched you take control of your life by embarking on a rigorous workout routine that has improved your health, your mind, and your self-confidence,” The Devil explained rather eloquently.  “I’ve seen you take baby steps in the dating department, and I secretly cheered for you because even though you were making minimal progress in terms of finding a date, I thought you were taking great strides in putting the past behind you and exploring the future.”

I put down my Snapple and frowned.  Not at what he was saying, but at how I had snapped at him mere moments before he said something so incredibly nice.

“Thank you,” I whispered.  “I’m sorry I was a jerk…”

“No need to apologize,” Lucifer advised with a smile.  “I think you might be on to something.  Dear Devil: An advice column for the wickedly perplexed.  I love it.”

I had to smile at his silly title for his imaginary advice column.

“So you don’t think I should write that email?” I finally asked.

“No!” The Prince of Darkness replied emphatically and without hesitation.  “Leave the past in the past.  You have much brighter prospects in your future.  Even though you’re too afraid to ask out any of them, you still have a much better chance of getting a date with any of them than you do with the young lady you planned to email.”

short story, flash fiction, The Devil, relationships, dating, mind reading, humor, Modern PhilosopherI knew he was right, but I was also confident that my idea had merit.

“But don’t you think I’m having trouble moving forward because of that unresolved issue?” I asked like someone who kinda sorta thought he was right, but at the same time, knew he didn’t have much of a leg to stand on.

Satan shook his head.  “You’re having trouble moving forward because of your fear of rejection.  Plain and simple.  For some reason, you’re absolutely convinced that if one of these young ladies turns you down for a date, the world will end and you will die hopeless and alone.”

“You might want to lighten your advice a little before your column becomes syndicated across the country,” I suggested in an attempt to use humor to hide how much the truth of his words had hurt me.

“I suggest you ask out the one you wrote about in that beautiful poem,” The Devil encouraged me with his most reassuring smile.  “I know she seems mysterious, distant, and withdrawn right now, but look at what’s going on in her life.  You definitely have the best chemistry with her, and she certainly knows how to put you in your place.  Wait for her to be ready.  Be there for her if she needs you.  You’ve waited this long to find the next special someone, so don’t get impatient now.  She’s quite the catch.”

I looked at Lucifer for a long time as I pondered his words.  I’ve known him long enough that there should be no surprises, and yet, he’s constantly revealing new sides of himself.

“How do you know all that?” I finally asked.

“It’s my business to know such things,” was all he would say as he flashed a devilish grin and grabbed a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler.

short story, flash fiction, The Devil, relationships, dating, mind reading, humor, Modern Philosopher“That really was a good poem, wasn’t it?”  That was my way of saying that maybe his advice had been on the mark and I was going to take it.

“Yes, it was,” The Prince of Darkness conceded.  “I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve come to realize that men only write such words about women who truly have a hold over them.  When I read that poem, I knew you were smitten.”

“I wrote poems and stories for the one I was going to email,” I tossed out there because for some reason, I just couldn’t let it (or her) go.

“But not like the poem you wrote for the enigma,” Satan told me with a shake of the head.  “Ignore my advice if you want, but there’s no way that sending that email ends well.  I think it’s best to just let sleeping dogs lie.”

“And, no, I will not read the enigma’s mind to see if she wants to go out with you,” he added just before taking a long sip of his Snapple.

I had to laugh even though I felt violated by his prowling around in my thoughts.

“How about we make that the end of the mind reading portion of the program?”

It wasn’t really a suggestion and The Devil picked up on that…either because he had read my mind, or simply because he was perceptive.

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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