An Excellent and Most Remarkable Guide to Destroying One's Life


The Butterfly

Original poster

Anthony Long was your average hotshot banker type working for Lando, Luckman, & Lake, a large financial firm that had it's fingers in many pots, guided many hands, and traded plenty of money. Days for Anthony were spent talking fast to his clients and promising them the world, his nights were reserved for talking fast to women and guaranteeing them the world. He had it all and still wanted more. He was hungry, tenacious, and driven. He was a shark.


Today, Anthony found himself outside L,L, & L, across the street and in front of his favorite hotdog vendor. His name was Paul, just Paul, a stout little man who kept his business running smoothly despite appearing to be nearly overwhelmed at any moment. There was a delicate art to this, a dance Paul did well, and as a result paid off well.

"Hey, Paulie, gimme two dogs, one naked and the other covered in blood... uh, and a Pepsi, why not.", Anthony said. His usual order of one plain hotdog and one with ketchup. He had overheard Paul use the slang a few times and now used it every chance he got. Not every vendor knew the "lingo", but he figured they must be new.

"Just Paul, Tony. Come on, you've been comin' here for, what? Five years now? It's just Paul.", was the reply from the vendor. He hated the name, just as Anthony hated to be called "Tony", it was their little game.

Anthony laughed and paid the man, half of the appeal of coming to here was the casual bullshitting that was done. Balancing his two hotdogs and can of soda, he walked down the street to a small park that was mainly used by pigeons and business types. He found his usual spot, a bench that sat close to the wall of a big building, covered by trees on either side. It was ideal for him to sit and think or just people watch. Resting with a sigh, he dug into his lunch, letting his mind wander among his various interests. A wide range of baseball, women, and money.

Though he had more than most people could dream of having, he always wanted a little more; have a better car, be completely irresistible to the ladies, hell... be a professional baseball player. He was never satisfied and that drive is what made him so successful now.

With a bit of a chuckle he said to himself, "I wish..."

The Devil was, in fact, a woman. A rather good-looking one, if she would say so herself - and it was exactly the thing she'd say. She had no particular name any more, just the Adversary, the Tempter, the Fallen Angel and all other sorts of fancy titles. Personally, she liked to make up names for whenever she was in need of one. They were the sort of fashionable accessory every Queen of Hell needed, after all. The Devil's current sporting name was Kathleen. Kathleen was by no means her favorite. It was a bit long, and she wasn't sure of its origin or meaning. In fact, the Devil wasn't even sure she had a favorite, just that Kathleen wasn't it.

The Devil ran a very busy business by the name of Hell - perhaps you had heard of it. She normally kept a whole slew of Dukes and Marques and Counts and Barons of Hell at her side, each one slaving and pitting their forces into punishing the sinners of Earth. It was rather amusing, really, the amount of paperwork she had to go through. You know, being the Devil, no one really thought you had to do much. Yet she could drown whole cities or perhaps even crush strongmen's torsos under the stacks of these damn things. Kathleen had mentioned moving everything to computers not so long ago, but then laughed and went back to writing with her quill. Being old-fashioned was part of the painful process, after all. And who knew how many souls got wrongfully judged because of the massive amount of work to be done?

As it was now, the Devil was contemplating taking a vacation. Going to Jamaica to scare some Witchdoctors straight, or maybe even visit one of those Evangelical camps just for the amusing irony of it. Besides, she heard they were out in lovely parts of the country! Hmm. No, no. None of that seemed to speak with the same flair, the same dazzle, as what she liked to do. She liked small things, lovely things full of irony and mirth. Souls that were to be corrupt not through horror but her own smiles and wistfulness and...

And a most remarkable idea came to her! With that Kathleen turned to her heir and her consort and told them she would return one soul richer. Then, the Devil was gone to walk the mortal lands and partake in human pleasures. She came how she always did, with a pale face and dark, stylish hair. Her body was that of a model, starved and impossibly proportioned, and Kathleen currently wore a suit. Dark, expensive, perfectly tailored. It was a suit to marvel at, a suit to be envious of, but still just a suit when compared to the woman who wore it. The Devil found her hunting grounds quite easily in the big city, always hustling and bustling. Normally she chose places like malls or bars - parts of town strangers would normally meet and talk at - but today she desired something different.

A park was what she wanted. The Devil got what she wanted as well, while she strolled through the greenery and the scarcely-populated lanes by which people were permitted to traverse upon. Kathleen was following her nose, so to speak, coming upon a quaint scene with a lawyer-looking man devouring two phallic-shaped foods. He was adorable really, in that college douchebag way, sitting all alone in his lonely life with his lonely, lonely hopes. The best part was, he probably had everything and wanted more.

Kathleen walked forward, high-heels sounding sure and steady as she came up to the bench and sat down at the end just in time to hear him saying, "I wish..."

"That you were more successful?" the lovely Devil opened, pulling a cigarette and lighter from somewhere in her blazer to light. "Or that you had more women, more money? More of a bit of everything? A faster car - no, an actual race car. Why dream if you're not going to dream big?" She inhaled deeply and blew out smoke rings, watching the businessman-douche from the corner of her eye and looking - quite frankly - sexy as Hell. Pardon her pun. "I can help you, you know. I can get it all for you, though you'll have to give me something back. Fair's fair and all."
Anthony slowly stopped chewing as he glanced over to the origin of those smooth, enticing words. The body and face more than matched the voice. She was the perfect package. He was so entranced by her looks that he nearly didn't hear her questions or her proposition. He almost couldn't believe what he was hearing, a total package babe and some too good to be true deal? Right.

Still... she didn't look like she was bullshitting, whatever game she was playing she was playing it well. All right, he thought, gotta play this one cool. This girl's top'a the line, make believe or not. Anthony straightened his back, put on his little smirk that killed, and cleaned the food from his teeth. A quick swig of his Pepsi and was ready to face this perfect ten. Okay, Anthony, you're the lion here. Now let's let her know that and then... we move in.

"And how exactly are you going to help me? Don't get me wrong, when a beautiful girl like yourself makes promises, I'm sure anyone would listen. So what makes you special?", he said rhetorically, letting his smirk grow into a full on winning smile. "Listen, I work for Lando, Luckman, & Lake.", he name dropped just to see if it meant anything. High class girls, "Princesses" he called them, would likely know the name and be easily swooned. He was aiming to kill.

"That means if you're looking for a client or maybe someone to invest, then you're lookin' at the wrong guy. I'd be something akin to a rival. Though, if I can be honest, I'd hate for a girl like you to go head to head with me. Now I wouldn't call me the best, but others have and plenty of evidence has made me inclined to agree", his chest rose as his ego began it's ascent, his shoulders moved back, his voice gained a bold edge. He was the fucking lion. His body instinctively shifted into a near mirror position of the mystery woman, he maintained eye contact without being leery, he kept his winning smile firmly equipped, and his ego properly shined. It was only after his little display that he presented his hand in greeting, "I'm sorry, how rude of me, I didn't catch you're name, Miss...", he fished.

Now to see if I can take down this hot gazelle.
How to help him, indeed. Oh she did so love skeptics, and here was one staring her in the face! It made her want to giggle, but the Devil did not giggle. It was not exactly an authority figure did, as feminine as she was. She let him speak, holding that internal grin as an even face. It would do no good to start laughing like a maniac from his silly, cutesy questions. What made her special! Oh, oh, that was possibly the best thing to ask. But no, she had to calm down. Had to put on the game face and take this a little more seriously. He was arrogant and a douche, but that didn't mean he had no less practice trapping people with words than she.

This would prove a fun game. At the name of his work, she made no reaction. What? Was that some sort of head-shot corporate business? Really, why did everyone assume others would know such stupid things? Besides, she was a busy women. It wasn't her job to remember all those corrupt figureheads. That was Malach or... Hm. Whoever, it was someone else's job. Maybe Hastur. But it was clear who he worked for did not impress the woman, as she crossed those long, shapely legs and began to look bored.

Looking for a client? Invest? Was it some sort of loan company? Oh how adorable! And his little warning about being a rival, about being the best, it should have been endearing. It wasn't. The way he puffed him, how he tried to force into her space, made her eyes narrow. What an irksome attitude, and it was beginning to piss off Kathleen. In fact, the woman stubbed out her cigarette and turned to face the man fully. The Devil's thin lips spread in only the sweetest of smiles and she accepted that handshake with a gentle one of her own. They said that a person's character could be judged by a handshake. If that were true, then the Devil's was meek and frail, which just said everything about that whole wive's tale.

"Kathleen," she prompted. "For being the best, your assumptions have been completely empty insofar. I'm unimpressed." Her tone was flat, clinically; stating the facts as though trying not to hurt but being brutally honest. "I am looking for a client, but of a different sort. Here is what I do. I sit in the background and I give you absolutely anything you wish for. And then when I show up again, I'll ask for one thing in return. By then you'd have absolutely everything you could want, so what is a little something in return right?" The Devil threw him a playful wink then, stretching her arms over the back of the bench to arch her back. "I mean, I heard you saying you wished. Wished for what? What is incomplete in your life?

"And if your life is so void of this, why not try to fill it? Why not make things perfect?" Those pale eyes stared into Anthony, and one could almost feel the intensity in them. "You deserve it, after all. Look how handsome you are. Look at how successful you are at your job. Everyone loves you and envies you. So why haven't you gotten to the top floor? Why don't you have that glass-walled flat and the sexy model girlfriend?" She relaxed, finally breaking eye contact and examining a bit of lint on her pants. "Why? Why worry about it any more? I'm offering to help you, to give you what you deserve."