2022 minus 23: The Deal

Posted: 9 December 2021 in 2022 minus, 2022 minus new fiction, fiction, new fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

Once upon a time, I partook in a project called Elephant Words, where a single image would inspire multiple stories from and by multiple authors.

When I decided to honour a promise to an old friend, and write new fiction once a week for the ’57…’ runs, the first week’s was based on an image I’d come across serendipitously. And since then I’ve kept an eye out for images that spark something, that provoke the storytelling parts of my brain.

So that, every week, I can write something brand new, a story written for this blog that no-one’s ever seen before, inspired by an image I come across entirely by chance.

And I’m carrying on that practice through ‘2022 minus…’

As always, the story is as long as it needs to be; not a word longer than I want it to be, nor a word shorter.

And, as sometimes happens, the story that results is shorter than I anticipate when i start it. This is one such tale.

This week, a story about contractual… honesty, sparked by the following image.

The Deal

The first thing you need to understand is that it hadn’t looked looked like a typical demon. It was pleased when I mentioned that.

I guess that’s why I hadn’t treated it seriously. It seemed silly though It was honest about being a demon.And honest about other things as well. Which, yes, surprised me. But there were no horns, no tale, no smell of sulphur. Merely a normal looking man, offering me a workaday contract to sign, for something I no longer needed.

I mean, I had no idea what I was giving up, of course. A soul? What was a soul? Could I measure it? See it? Even know it was there? No, of course not, so why would I need it?

Hell, I was getting the better end of the deal: success, money, everything I wanted… for this… thing it wanted, a thing I didn’t even know I possessed.

My soul. And I didn’t even have to hand it over at the time, just at the end of the contract. So I signed.

And it delivered; I can’t argue with the results, can I? A few days after signing, I won the lottery. And then won it again the following week. Even though I never played it before. The women fell at my feet. And the men. Any time, anything I wanted, anyone I wanted.

For almost three decades I lived large; everything I wanted was mine with no effort. And then it was over.

The contract expiration date, a date I knew was coming even if I didn’t know when precisely it would arrive, merely more than ten thousand days after signature.

As it was, I made it to more than twenty-eight years, almost a full year more, Turns out it’s decided randomly. Some get no more than the ten thousand. Some get more. Some get a lot more.

Oh, I didn’t die, no… Lucky? I suppose.

No, I won’t die for a long, long time yet. Something about ‘the local star’ or something,

But now I spend my days doing deals. All day.

Every day.

Because that thing I didn’t need? Turns out having one is what stops you buying other people’s souls.

So, ten thousand days of success… are you interested? You are, aren’t you? Even if you don’t believe the cost.

Why no, I don’t look like a typical demon. That’s very kind of you to say…

© Lee Barnett, 2021


See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Sixty-one days. Sixty-one posts. One 2022 approaching.

Just dropping this in here, as I was asked: the best places to contact me outside the blog are via email at budgie@hypotheticals.co.uk and @budgie on Twitter.

I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of quid every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to the new year. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

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