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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · War · #2150427
The Devil wants to buy your soul, what would you take for it? I know what I got for mine.

Let me tell you how and why I sold my soul. When I was young, I met The Devil, he made an offer and then we walked to Cactus Land where stone images are carved, and there the deed was done up. It all seemed innocent at first. All I did was go to Wiesbaden to visit a cousin. We were both in the Army, I found out about it about a year after she joined, along with two other cousins. I had no idea. Mom told me just her, and then I watched Animal Mother on an AFN program entitled 'The Girls of USAEURE,' doing a gymnastics floor routine. For the record I was waxing a no wax floor for a Command Inspection when they aired the program.

Well, I went to Wiesbaden a couple of weeks later and met The Devil. Animal Mother is my third cousin we look nothing alike. She, and I'm quoting a fellow artilleryman, '...Looks like Michael Jackson if he were a man...' She's a big girl as far as muscle goes, took a place for body sculpting too and smart also. Her primary MOS is cryptographer, she likes breaking Soviet codes and taking things apart. She's also dangerous with a screw driver.

The front desk for her billets, which resembled the Waldorf Astoria, I get a closet with three other guys, is run by Army wives, otherwise known as The Devil's minions. I couldn't get passed them. They said I looked German, probably came from the Bundeswehr unit down the road and wouldn't let me in. They looked over my I.D. card, declared it a forgery and called the MP's. It took me twenty-minutes just to have Animal Mother paged. That there got The Devil's attention. Not only do I look German to most Americans, I look German to Poles, Czechs, Lithuanians, East Germans naturally and better yet...Russians. As a side note the KGB said my mother had to be '...an ugly East German bitch with a face like that...So it won't matter how we mess it up...Who could tell?'. They then beat the hell out of me and why not? It's what the KGB does. They were right, it didn't matter. The Ninja Art of Invisibility.

Well when he heard that he sent another minion of his in for a job interview. See, the Cold War was kicking and he was buying souls wholesale directly from the manufacturer and needed a few more staff members. As he did his thing I was hanging out with Animal Mother having a great time, laughing and joking and all that. Well I needed to get back to Bamberg and on the way out I meet his personal assistant. She claimed at first to be a sports psychologist, a civilian sub-contractor for somebody else other than the Army but wouldn't say who, read CIA, and gave me the interview. All kind of questions that were predicated on the grounds she always checked '...her girl's boyfriends out since the athletic team had a syphilis problem...'

She spoke and carried herself just like a whorehouse madam. Well, my antenna shot through the ceiling and I botched the interview. I didn't lie, I just didn't volunteer information and that was jacked. She asked questions like 'Do you like guns?' 'Ever kill a large animal? Have problems gutting it?' 'Do you have problems with strong women?' 'Like to fight?' 'Have a girlfriend...No? Ah! Problems with commitment eh? Oh, just haven't met the right one I see...' Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out what her problem was, what she was looking for so on and so forth. She then offers me work as camaraderie coach, says I get to have an easy cushy job and take showers with the entire girl's athletic team. Good luck with that sales pitch...I have a membership to the whorehouse and after almost three years of Army anti-sexual harassment bullshit, I avoid vagina in BDU's like the plague.

As soon as I walked out of the office, she telephones her boss. The Devil is a white man with blue eyes. He wears a black suit and Ray-Ban sunglasses. He's a big guy, half a head taller than I and has fifty pounds of muscle on me. He wanted to see how I react to intimidation. He grabs me and drags me into this storage room and began yelling things like 'What questions did she ask you! Why did you say that?' Was I scared of him?

Sure was...My mother didn't raise a fool.

I figured running away would just mean I die tired, so I gave it back to him. This impressed The Devil. He then told me I was working for him and I was to take the job. He explained that Military Intelligence had a counter-espionage operation going on and they wanted somebody nobody knew, on the inside. My job, the half he told me about, was about seeing what was going on around the athletic team.

I told him I thought he was crazy and if he was all that he'd have to cut orders and send them to my unit. After all he's M.I. right? Forty-eight hours later, they sent orders to my unit. I went. Just being around his personal assistant made my life miserable. I didn't like the rest of the staff. What a bunch of sissy-boys. I live in a combat line unit, being pleasant is a problem for me. I don't play nice with the girls and I really don't like civilians. I needed to be a shithouse lawyer and talk my way out of several bogus Article 15's on the unit level. I think that happened because The Devil wanted me to transfer to Wiesbaden full time.

What good came out of it was getting to know my other cousins The Mortician and The Sorceress as women. As a matter of fate, I met Satan's Whore, my half-sister at Wiesbaden at this time. I had fun with my cousins and joking and smoking with them.

I knew my days were numbered. They issued me a sidearm to protect the athletic team from infiltrators and according to The Devil, shoot them and myself to avoid capture in the event of war. It came with a suppressor.

Normal soldiers don't get that.

Assassins do.

If they didn't expect me to use it, I wouldn't have it. As soon as I looked at it, I heard something go bump in the night. After about six months that something bumped up against me. I was alone in my billets room when The Devil came. He asked me if I had any problems killing. My answer if I did, I shouldn't be in the Army, after all that's why I drove the M.L.R.S. rocket launcher. Twenty-eight tons of murder on tracks. He then asks me if I had a problem killing The Bride.

The Bride, wife to The Mortician. She was on the KGB's payroll and that was a problem. In 1987, if you were a spy you were made to disappear unless there was a greater propaganda value in putting you in jail. To protect the team from infiltrators, color her gone. The Devil also asked if I had a problem with taking The Mortician.

No way.

He brought up hiring another man for that and I plainly stated if that happened...Somewhere down the line somebody, most likely him, is being paid back. I pointed out that The Mortician had three other cousins besides me on active duty, one wasn't in the Army, and two more in the pipeline. When we were all together, we would conspire to really slap Uncle Sugar around...Like a prison bitch. If The Mortician was in on it, she'd be handled in house by her family. What would we do about that? She'd go home a civilian with a black eye and a few busted teeth, and no longer a concern.

It worked.

It was the lesser of two evils. I loved The Bride as much as I loved The Mortician. They were married in a gay night club called the Sibylline and I was the Best Man. Our family showed up almost in total. Since The Bride's family didn't show, and as The Mortician wore the tuxedo, she was given away by her father in law. The happy couple took leave there after and The Bride was welcomed into her new family as anyone else would. As for the riff-raff that didn't show, they were told about it in no uncertain terms. I understand why The Bride did it, and can say when she met her in-laws, that was the first time she ever experienced having a real family.

The Devil gave me two weeks to prepare for it. Now I know the Army has schools for political assassination, schools that operate about than twice a year because of how few qualified recruits there are, wash-out is around 90%. The Devil's business was raking it in by the truck load and hence on the job training. That was the extent of preparation.

Anyway, I left two dead souls at the crime scene. Hers and mine. I do precision work, it stumped the West German Police. It impressed The Devil and his associates tremendously, so tremendously that they tried to tie me to a few other unsolved murders and gave me a battery of test to see if I was a psychopath. Needles to say I had work coming for years.

The Mortician was in the field at the time, and when they told her she lost her mind. Twenty-four hours later I stood in the morgue in Wiesbaden and I signed the death certificate. Talk about starting off in entertainment and ending a comedian. Then afterward, The Devil comes to my billets and hands me my paycheck. It was a yellow punch card check drawn on the Treasury of the United States for ten thousand dollars, and naturally The Devil's accountant took care of the taxes. In the memo line, 'Services Rendered'.

I was able to maintain a composure that resembled a cucumber for about two weeks. Then came the day of reckoning, time to pay up. I had to face The Mortician. It happened in The Sorceress's flat. She was stoned out on meds when she came in, she hugged me and she felt hollow. The Mortician is a big girl, not tall but like most women on my father's side, all muscle. I know exactly what she' suppose to feel like, and how strong she is. She's one of the few women that has body slammed my 190-pound ass and when she did it, she broke three ribs and dislocated a shoulder...And we were just horsing around too. She's also one of the emotionally toughest in the world...She's a mortician. But when we embraced she was hollow and all she said was that she forgave me and then whispered T.S. Elliot's The Hollow Man.

Once she left I grabbed The Sorceress and bawled. It dropped me to my knees. I have never been hurt as bad as anything like that. The Bride's family didn't claim her. They rejected her as she was a lesbian and a soldier. So, my family, we buried her on the family plot under her married name. On that point alone, I consider The Bride's originating family FDA approved Grade A White Trash, fresh from a trailer park to you, packaged in riff-raff by the freezer section.

That there, is the beginning of a journey, where I became thinly veiled as a rat's foot across a dirt floor. Where my voice is no more than a breeze among dry leaves, as I dance around the prickly pear in the pale moonlight with The Devil. Today I clothe myself in a coonskin cap among the bending stalks of an autumn field, a shirt stuffed with straw. A young man made ancient, that casts no shadow in the fractured sun light of Cactus Land. A whisper that guards the door to Death's invisible places, where only hollow men go.

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