The Satan Clause
He’s making a list. And checking it twice; Gonna find out who’s naughty and ………………well not nice to be honest.
It’s not important really, except that I’m on the list, whatever it is. It’s the reason for the terrible pun of a title – The Satan Clause – and the reason why it’s so terrible. I thought about Sympathy for the Devil, Neighbour from Hell and Better the Devil. I considered Highway to Hell and Little Devil, but seeing as its December the festive irritant won out.
And that’s what this is all about really, irritation and annoyance in the name of Satan. Heartbreak in the service of Hell. Not a plague and pestilence deal – more a Simon Cowell ubiquitous hatefulness. It’s hard to explain, but at least slightly easier if I start at the beginning.
Wine, women and song are the staples of a great Christmas season – wine, men and song if you are of the other sex or otherwise inclined, but I’m speaking for me today. So wine and song were present and correct, but women somewhat thin on the ground and the substitution of more wine had not helped the situation. The Christmas tree stood in the corner blinking and winking at me; a knowing, conspiratorial wink that acknowledged my solitude and understood my pain. The fact that I was sharing my thoughts with a brightly decorated tree should have been enough of a warning sign, but I can be wilfully slow when I need to go into denial.
I drained the last drops of my wine bottle into the glass, with the care and precision of a man with far too much spare time on his hands, and opened a second. Life was beginning to look much brighter in my mind now, though distinctly gloomy in the reality of the room. I think it was half-way down the second bottle and two minutes into Suzanne by Leonard Cohen that I acknowledged my despair. If not then it should have been, as my playlist was carefully chosen that night and there was not a happy song in sight. I am sure that it was despair though; despair mixed with desperation and washed down with too much Merlot.
‘Why can’t I have sex? A girl? A girlfriend? Be happy?’ My understanding of the necessary order of events and a tenuous grip of correlations I attribute to the wine; but I think you get my message.
‘What do I have to do? What do I have to change? I mean Dave Willis has a girlfriend, a really pretty girlfriend, and he is an absolute pig. Actually, his girlfriend is great. Bright, funny, sexy. Jesus, I fucking hate Dave Willis.’
Black and Blue by Counting Crows was tugging at my heartstrings in an ‘I’ve no idea what to do in my life so I might as well cry’ sort of way, but I had kept that at bay with my anger at Dave Willis, so I was stuck at self-pity.
‘If there is a god, a devil, a being of any kind listening in to my personal business, then tell me what to do. I’m not asking for much. Not really. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.’
Another sip and a shake of the head at, my now firm friend, the Christmas tree and my entreaty was finished. I sat back firmly now and raised my head in hope of catching a passing tear cloud to accompany Blue by the Jayhawks. Still not enough to get me going, but more than enough to warn depression of my imminent arrival. Then the doorbell rang, a shrill reminder of life outside of my four walls of self-imposed exile. Putting on my sober face I approached the door slowly and opened it sufficiently to peer through a two inch gap.
‘Hello.’ I think it was hello, but the words passed me by as my thoughts tried to reassemble. ‘I’m sorry to bother you but I wondered if you could help me?’
An angel stood before me smiling and stealing what was left of my senses. Tall and slim, her dark hair caressed her shoulders looking both tousled and perfect. Her green eyes seemed to be alight as she beamed at me and only a glance at her body was enough to know that it was all and more than I could want regardless of what I had asked for.
‘Hello?’ She spoke again, a slight puzzlement in her voice.
‘Oh, hello. Hello, hello..er….what did you say…I’m sorry.’
‘I wondered if you could help me?’
‘Hell…………Yes, yes of course, come in please.’
‘Thank you.’ In she walked, her smile constant as she gazed around the room – now that was a first. ‘I’m Nikki.’
‘Of course you are.’ I was not aware that I had spoken aloud, but then I was far from aware of much at this point. ‘How can I help….oh please take a seat……just throw that jumper aside……sorry for the mess………….some wine?’ Words spilled from my mouth as though it were an overstuffed cupboard, filling the room with inanities and too many questions. Seemingly oblivious she brushed aside my jumper gently, and smoothing her short skirt, sat down holding her knees.
‘Thank you, er…I didn’t catch your name?’
‘Oh, David. It’s David. David’s my name.’
‘Well thank you David, the problem I have is that I seem to be a little lost and I wondered if you might allow be able to point me in the direction of a taxi or perhaps phone me one?’
‘Right then, I see, I see your problem. I can ring you a cab, no problem.’
‘That’s great David and if you don’t mind some of that wine would be lovely thank you.’
‘Really? You want some wine?’
‘If you don’t mind.’
‘No not at all. Do you want me to phone the cab now?’
‘There really is no rush David, I’m just glad to be safe.’
‘Ok then, wine for two it is.’
The next few hours are something of a haze. It’s not that I don’t know what happened; it’s more that I don’t know how exactly. Her face, her body and her touch are vivid; it’s the conversation and how it seemed to go from a glass of wine to a bed full of happiness that I don’t recall. It did though and she was great, it was great, I was………….well I was there, that much is certain. Morning arrived with not too much sleep and no complaints, but I opened my eyes to an empty bed. Then the bedroom door swung open and in she walked, cup of coffee in hand and a smile on her face; she was fully dressed and looked immaculate.
‘Here you go; I thought you could use this David.’
‘Thanks……………..er…………..when did you…..’
‘Not long ago. I tend to like an early start and we have to have a chat.’
‘A chat? Are you breaking up with me before we get together?’
‘No, no far from it.’ She was laughing now and I really felt as though I never wanted her to leave. ‘I’m not breaking up with you David. I’m giving you a chance to break-up with me.’
‘I’m still confused.’
‘Drink your coffee and try to remember.’
‘Oh, I remember.’
‘Maybe, maybe not. We exchanged something last night.’
‘We exchanged a lot.’ Once again I missed the point completely as I grinned inanely, my mind racing with thoughts of an encore.
‘We made a deal.’
‘We did.’ Her smile was now completely mischievous and the tone of her voice had changed. ‘Do you think you got all this for nothing?’
‘Oh, fuck you’re a pro?’ My sense of bewilderment and disappointment knew no bounds. ‘Are you going door to door now? Are you an avon lady with benefits? Shouldn’t you say this as one of your opening statements? ‘Hello, could you call me a cab and oh, by the way I’ll fuck you for money.’’
‘Please David, I’ve a healthy respect for working girls but that is so not what I am. We just came to an agreement.’
‘Look Nikki, it’s far too early in the morning to be cryptic.’
‘It’s half-eleven, almost the afternoon.’ Again her tone was playful and almost mocking.
‘Ok it’s not early, but no more cryptic stuff; just tell me.’
‘Ah you’re no fun.’ She was giggling now. ‘But for the sake of clarity, I’ll explain.’
Standing, she smoothed her skirt once more and walked to the window with an exaggerated swing of the hips. Having looked out of the window she glanced back at the bed, a half-smile as she bit her lip coquetteishly.
‘You said that you would do anything for sex. Anything to be happy. You said anything, no?’
‘Well yes, but I was alone at the time.’
‘Yes I really was.’
‘And as I undressed last night didn’t I ask you something?’
My mind was racing now, not helped by the memory of her undressing, but memory of the conversation did not come readily. ‘I really don’t remember.’
‘ ‘I bet you’d give your soul for this?’ Does that ring a bell?’
‘Mmm…..sort of.’ It did ring a bell and on reviewing the situation he was still of the opinion only one answer would do.
‘You said yes?’
‘I did. Are you fishing for some sort of compliment here?’
‘Not unless you want to give me one. I was just recapping the deal.’
‘Your soul David, is mine.’
How are you meant to respond to a statement like that? What would you do? Say?
‘Oh great, you’re a fucking psycho. I knew it was too good to be true.’
‘I’m sane and I’m here and I own your sorry soul. So to business and my offer.’
She was nothing if not persistent.
‘I will let you have your soul back on one condition. You have to do one terrible deed every day from now until Christmas Day. 12 acts of cruelty, deceit or plain nastiness. All three at once is good.’ She was almost laughing now.
‘Maybe I could get you that cab now?’ I like a joke as much as the next man, but now was a time for being the last man.
‘Oh David, you don’t believe me do you?’
‘It was hard enough to believe you slept with me, but the ‘owning my soul’ stuff is a little much to take. Call me old fashioned but it’s all a bit Dennis Wheatley.’
‘I call you MINE boy. And this Devil rides you.’ I am not at my best in the early mornings, but the change of tone was unmistakeable. As was the switch from giggling girls voice to a bestial growl. The flaming halo around the cloven footed apparition she had become was more than a clincher, but I tried to remain calm.
‘Aggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, you’re a fucking devil, aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.’
Back to demure seductress and smiling she continued.
‘The Devil actually, you should feel honoured. So to our deal?’
‘Did I just have sex with a goat?’
‘Are you trying to hurt me?’ She was now a picture of innocence. ‘You really got the better end of the sex deal believe me. But the deal? Can we say 12 days, 12 deeds and you get your soul as a present? I’ll give you a few minutes.’
There were many thoughts running around my brain as she strolled around the room stretching sexily, a confusing mess of all that had happened and been said. Suddenly as she bent down as though to touch her toes she looked at me from between her legs, an inverted smile beaming. ‘And before you ask, there is no repeat performance to be negotiated.’ She stood again and reached up extending her neck. ‘So?’
‘It’s a deal.’
I’d like to say that she disappeared in a puff of smoke and demonic laughter, but no, she sashayed to the door and walked out. For my part, I tried to get some sleep without success.