Business as Usual

By: redneck@txdirect.net (Redneck Gaijin)

He'd wanted to be the Angel of Sparrows, once.

Sparrows are sweet little creatures, tiny little birds whose habits include eating seeds and insects, singing loudly at intruders before flying up to a higher branch, and being used in parables by religious figures. He'd loved sparrows, once.

Now he sat in parks and fed them Alka-Seltzer.

John, you see, was the Demon of Small Birds Exploding. It had been a 'gift' from Lucifer in one of his more playful moods, a 'welcome to Hell, here's your accordion' gift. At one shot, he'd been given a thorough introduction to how things worked in Hell, and how his new life would be different from the old.

He hated it. John hated Alka-Seltzer, he hated rice, he hated ginger ale and all carbonated beverages, he hated everything which had to do with his job, even the poor helpless pathetic little featherballs themselves. Most of all, he hated his boss, Saminga, Demon Prince of Death, who had won the bid for his soul when he'd Tripped all those years ago.

Deep in his heart, John had been hoping that Saminga would get his during Armageddeon. He'd Fallen only reluctantly, and perhaps unwisely- he'd been a young Cherub and hadn't understood the hazards of attuning oneself to anything and everything with feathers- and he wanted so badly to be Redeemed and let back into Heaven.

Now, of course, there wasn't any Heaven to be a part of. John snapped a tablet of the abominable Seltzer in half and sighed. Just figures, instead of getting waxed, Saminga had become the most powerful being in all Existence. His old boss, Jordi, was running full bore looney across the savannahs of east Africa, and he was one of the -lucky- Archangels.

John hadn't done anything wrong, really, and now he was condemned to keep on killing and killing poor, defenseless little birdies.

"Hello, John," a sultry voice cooed from over his shoulder. He didn't bother looking around; he knew the voice's owner well enough. "Indulging in your favorite pastime?"

"What do you want, Zedderah?" The Lilim of Malphas always got on his nerves. It seemed to be a sport with her. All things considered, he'd much rather participate with -another- sport with her, but her prices always ended up being too high.

Zedderah dropped down onto the park bench, smiling playfully at him. "Just seeing who's left after all the defections," she said. "Amelia went Renegade last week."

"I heard," John shrugged. "Wonder where she thinks she can run to."

"Well, I've heard," Zedderah smiled, "I've -heard- that she made it to Texas. There's angels in Texas, you know."

"That's just tabloid press," John growled. "If there were any big groups of angels, Saminga would be stomping them into little greasy spots in the Symphony."

Zedderah ran her fingers through her blonde hair. "Saminga wouldn't know a group of angels if he were at a Malakite convention in Notre Dame."

John didn't argue the point. "Any orders from Higher Up on your end?"

"Not a one," Zedderah shrugged. "I'm still seducing cops, and you're still blowing up birds." She leaned back and sighed. "I figured things would be different after the Apocalypse, didn't you?"

John tossed the fragments of the Alka-Seltzer tablet onto the sidewalk. "They did," he sighed. "Just not for demons like us." He tossed the torn packets into the trash, took a long, sad look at the perpetually overcast red sky, and then trudged off down the park walk.

He'd be back tomorrow...


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