I watched the fly lazily slough around the room. Big wide slow circles. Arching up occasionally, then coming in for a dive bomb like a kamikaze pilot behind me. Making a B-line for the back of my head. B-line? Fly line? I reached over absently and flipped the power switch, the blue bars on the bug zapper hummed to life. The throbbing droning pulse of death luring the little fucker towards it like a siren lures a ship to rocks. The crackle is short and satisfying, but not as much as the smell that lingers after. I reached out as its carcase wafts slowly towards the floor. I wonder what fried fly tastes like? God my head hurts.
I still remember when the headaches started. About 120 deep fried mars bars ago give or take. Who honestly can keep track of time accurately when you measure it in mars bars though? That stickiness. All thick, warm, gooey. Smeared all over my face. But underneath the warm gooeyness there’s solid. Cold. I wished it was warm and gooey all over my body but it’s just on the face. I’d give anything for that solid cold underneath to go away and leave me and the warmth but it’s not like you can just get up off the tiles when your brains are leaking out the back of your head.
Sorry, concentration isn’t my forte these days. It was a quiet night, just like all the other nights, not much happens in this backwater hell hole. They came in late, clearly not from around here with their tracksuits and masks with that shouting Hispanic cartoon girl on them, it was 11pm and 34 degrees for fucks sake. Must be passing through, probably robbing every joint they could between Darwin and Alice. Two of them held their hands in their pockets like guns, asked me to empty the till. I reached under the counter, gripped a sawn off broom handle, told them me and my shotgun could play that game too. The two with the finger bangers raised their hands and stepped back, Dora no.3 stepped forward, pulls out a fucking water pistol. I’m not a small guy, I can handle myself, I can handle 3 dick heads with my broom stick. So I calmly walked out to the main eating area of the shop, stick in hand, and politely asked them to get the fuck out. Then Dora no.3 unloads a hollow point between my eyes.
Quick and painless. What a crock of shit. If you ever get put in front of a firing line, you ask for some morphine first. There was a strange numbness to be sure, but I’ll chalk that up to most of my pain receptors being on the counter behind me. I could still feel a lot, smell gun powder, see little stars, and hear a god awful ringing in my ears. Nothing angelic, more like that ‘Most annoying sound in the world’ from Dumb and Dumber. Over it I heard those pricks break open my till, empty out the days taking, good thing it was bank day yesterday. Then they had the balls to help themselves to the drinks fridge. I’m pretty certain one took some chips from the bain-marie. They made their way out. That’s when I knew it was my time. The door opened for them. A glowing white light shone there. A soft melodic tone. The light waited for the men to leave then slowly glided towards me. Then my eyes focused, the light slowly got less intense and all that was left was a grinning bastard in a brilliant white suit.
White snakeskin boots, I haven’t seen a white snake before. Except the band. They made a click on my floor, then a squelch as he stepped through my congealed blood. He dragged a chair with him the whole way and spun it around, sitting on it back to front like some 80’s school movie badass. Then just rests his chin on his crossed forearms and looks down at me grinning. Black between his teeth like he’s been on a red wine and liquorice diet. His voice comes out like a mix between Vin Diesel and a tornado made of fire. But somehow quietly calm.
“You know the deal Joey boy, extra years for your soul, yadda yadda. You need to see the fine print or you a risk taker?”
I remember trying to talk, all that came out was gurgling grunting sounds. Guess most of my speech capacity was playing hide go seek with the pain centre of my brain back on the counter. My eyes could follow him. I tried the old one blink for yes two for no thing but it came out like two winks. He clucked his tongue and chuckled.
“Come on now Joey, use your words”
I said ‘fuck you’. Came out more like ‘hugfloo’. Those teeth. Such a deadly looking smile. He reaches over to a table, grabs a pair of chopsticks, I always keep some on the tables in with the cutlery. Get a few Asians in. Ever seen someone eat fish and chips with chopsticks? Shit is weird. He snaps them in two, rubs them together, reaches down slowly, and slams one into the exit wound in the back of my head.
Found my pain centre. Apparently it’s near the speech centre of the brain if you’re stabbing blindly with a chopstick. I choked my way through some blood and asked what he wanted. I could have asked who he was but it was as obvious as a bullet to the head at that point. Tells me he wants my soul. Says in exchange he’ll give me 5 good years. I told him I got 30 good ones off my own bat without having to give anything up. He’s got a sense of humour. I kept that in mind so I didn’t make him laugh again. Those teeth. He looks around the room, tells me he likes my style. Nothing makes him happier than the slow death of people, and feeding them deep fried food is like a 10 year lethal injection. He looks up at the menu. He stops smiling. He looks back down to me slowly.
“You do deep fried mars bars?”
Turns out deep fried mars bars are just as evil as everyone ever said they were. I just kept it up on the board for yuks. Nobody’s ever willing to risk their health enough to get one.
Twice tonight I got the devil telling me he likes my style. Says in light of recent revelations, maybe we can strike up a deal beneficial to us both. Who knew Satan had a sweet tooth. Tells me that on the last Wednesday of each month I’ll get a delivery of cooking lard and last Thursday of the month he’ll be around to collect the bar. Tells me I get to live if I deliver. I grill this fucker for all the info. I won’t be a vegetable, I will have perfect health, I will be back to normal mentally, I won’t have any sort of emotional scaring, nobody will ever know of this, and I get to keep my soul. He agrees totally, grinning the whole time. He reaches out and strokes my hair.
“Joe, friend, you won’t even have a scar on that pretty forehead”
10 years. I think. It’s hard to tell. I haven’t aged a day. He kept true to his word. Perfect health. No a scar on my forehead either. Every last Wednesday of the month the lard is at the doorstep. It’s wrapped in what looks like those towel things the priests wear around their neck and it reeks of pig fat. Bit too thick for that though. I’d rather not ask where it comes from. Flies all over the stuff. Every last Thursday of the month he rocks up after closing. Same white suit on each time. I asked him about it before, why does the devil wear white? He shrugged, grinned,
“Because it’s Thursday.”
I get the bar, slide it onto a plate and walk over, I sit across from him with a coffee strong enough to stain porcelain. Each and every time he smiles devilishly as I sit and asks.
“So, how’s the head feeling?”
Each and every time I reach behind and feel the gaping exit wound. And I tell him to go fuck himself.