Mr. Fletcher arrived on time, dressed in a pale blue suit, clutching a handful of Polaroid pictures. There was just the thinnest little layer of sweat on his upper lip and near his temples. Douglas Fletcher was nervous–and rightfully so.

He reached for the doorbell, an old thing that gave a rusty, wretched buzz. A woman answered the door before Mr. Fletcher had time to draw back from the buzzer. She was dressed in a floral print yukataa summer style kimono, locks of fiery red hair cascading over her shoulders. Mr. Fletcher was quite impressed with the woman–awestruck even. So much, in fact, that his limbs would not permit him to move. He didnt dare blink for fear that she would disappear forever. A cigarette dangled from her lips. She shot poor Douglas Fletcher a dismissive glance, and then blew a thick stream of smoke into his face, her lips pursed into a delicate little “O.”

“Come on. Hes waiting for you,” said the woman. Hers was a low, jazzy tone that made Mr. Fletcher weak at the knees. She flicked her cigarette past him, a perfect red ring at the filter from her lipstick.

“Dont be nervous,” she said, grabbing him by the tiethat unforgivably ugly tieand leading him inside. The door slammed shut behind them, rattling the old oak frame. She led him like a dog through the foyer, down a narrow hallway lit only by candle, and into a jarringly white waiting room. Polaroid by precious Polaroid fell from Fletchers grasp, leaving a trail behind him.

There were half a dozen chairs arranged around a feeble coffee table, the words Baker was here etched into it. The woman spread a few magazines over the crude inscription, including “Golf Weekly and “Fishermans Digest.” There were also a few decidedly less exciting magazines strewn about. On the far side of the room was a simple oak door with a thin brass plate, the words Activities Coordinator emblazoned in a simple, boldface print. The woman opened the door for Douglas, who had been busy wiping his brow with his shirtsleeve. Douglas took in short, pained breaths, resolving not to look until the last possible second. He stepped timidly across the frame, eyes fixed on the floor.

“Mable, honey,” said a gravely baritone, “Could I trouble you for an Evian?” Douglas could have cried. Mable, fingering a lock of her perfect red hair, left the room without another word. The door closed behind her. Did Douglas hear a lock click?

“Please, take a seat.” Douglas took a deep breath, his heart caught somewhere in his neck. He finally looked up, right into the gaze of a hulking red creature. The thing had piercing yellow eyes, a set of razor-like teeth, and a great, gleaming, dont-fuck-with-me pair of horns on top of his head. He–it?– Was a brutish sort, wide shoulders and a barrel chest tucked into a cheap three-piece suit. To Douglas, it seemed akin to a dog owner dressing her poodle up–a giant fucking beast of a poodle.

“You–I–Are you the Dev–”

“No. Thats my father,” interrupted the creature, “My name’s Clark.”

“Clark Satan, eh?”

“You try having four hundred kids. You’d run out of names after a while.”

“Wow, four hundred. Which one are you?”

                                                                ~~

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Published in: on September 27, 2006 at 1:22 am  Comments Off on