Story Time: Closing Time

Today’s Story Time is from the collection The Devil Has His Due, published in 2012. It’s a book I put together myself, and many of the stories were originals. There’s a reason for both. See, I’ve always enjoyed “deal with the devil” stories. They’re fun to write, but old-fashioned (read “cliche”) and not likely to find sympathetic editors in most conventional places these days whether the story is good or bad. But sometimes I wrote them anyway, just because. So I put them there. “Closing Time” is a bit of an exception. It is not a “DWTD” story. It’s a consequences story. The fact that it takes place in hell is incidental.

Standard Note: “Closing Time” will remain online until next Wednesday, March 21st, when it will be replaced by something else.

Now It’s Your Turn

Punchline to an old joke, but probably appropriate here. See, I had an interesting night not too long ago. And by “interesting” I mean it was to me, so I’m going to talk about it here.

 I had one of those cliché dreams where you’re going back to school. No, I didn’t forget I had a class until time for the final or have to give a speech naked. It wasn’t quite that clichéd.  Apparently I was going to a private college with communal dorms, and your dorm group (housemates?) bought food as a group and took turns cooking. A little odd and outside my experience, but ok. Then, in the middle of the school term while I’m sure I had other things to do, I went to Hell. Literally. Not sure why. I don’t remember the death experience in the dream. I’m not even sure there was one, but there I was in Hell, not having a good time. The Devil was being about what you’d expect him to be, punishing people, and once fighting off a challenge from a rival god (not the God. A god). Then I was back in school, but I wasn’t out of Hell (“Why,this is Hell. Nor am I out of it.” – Faust) More like a furlough. See, being in Hell was no excuse for missing your turn cooking, so there I was, fresh out of Hell and back in the dorm trying to make pancakes. Problem was, being in Hell had screwed up my sense of temperature, so I kept burning them.

Then back in Hell. Where I found out it was someone ELSE’s turn to be the Devil. Apparently, we were all taking turns there, too. As above, so below. Wonder how they were managing in Heaven?

The Devil Has His Due

Sorry to bore you guys with this, but sometimes I get yelled at if I don’t mention these things, so this is just to point out that I have a new mini-collection out on the Kindle today, The Devil Has His Due. It contains a group of four stories about our least favorite place, a sort I sometimes do for fun because there’s no real market for them outside rolling your own, attested to by the fact that, of the four, three are original to the volume. There will be a Nook version too, it just takes longer.

When we try to be good, that’s plan A, but that route is harder than it looks. And when virtue just isn’t working for you, there’s always plan B—like it or not. The Devil Has His Due contains four stories about dealing with the consequences when plan A doesn’t quite come together.

“Closing Time” – Maybe the worst part of Hell isn’t being there. It’s remembering why.

“One Blissful Night at the Inferno Lounge” – The night life in Hell. Care to dance?

“Boiling the Frog” – Appearances can deceive, the Devil does deceive, but neither as well as we can do ourselves.

“Subversion Clause” – Down through the ages there have been mortals who thought they could beat the Devil at his own game. So. Doesn’t the Law of Averages suggest that at least one of them might be right?

Four stories for $.99, it just doesn’t get any better than that. At least, not when I’m doing it.

Edited to add: The Nook version is now live.

What Dreams Are Made On

Had an interesting dream not too long ago. I mean, not like last night, where I dreamed I was delivering a load of tank barrels to a WWII armored division who’d gone off without theirs.  And by “interesting” I mean it was to me, so I’m going to talk about it here.

 I had one of those cliché dreams where you’re going back to school. Though apparently I was going to a private college with communal dorms, and your dorm group bought food as a group and took turns cooking. A little odd and outside my experience, but ok.Then in the middle of the school term I went to Hell. Literally. Not sure why. Don’t remember the death experience in the dream, but I was in Hell, not having a good time. The Devil was being about what you’d expect him to be, punishing people, and once fighting off a challenge from a rival god (not that God. A god).

Then I was back in school, but I wasn’t out of Hell. More like a furlough. See, being in Hell was no excuse for missing your turn cooking, so there I was, fresh out of Hell and trying to make pancakes. Problem was, being in Hell had screwed up my sense of temperature, so I kept burning them. Then back to Hell. Where I found out it was someone ELSE’s turn to be the Devil.

Apparently, we were all taking turns there, too.