“I’ll confess something,” the devil said. “I was originally going to pull an Old Testament when I saw you, pillars of flame and all that. But you and I both know that we can’t go around whipping out the flaming swords any more.”
Despite not wanting to agree with the enemy over anything, the angel was forced to nod. “Too much paperwork,” he complained. “I mean, even just a simple smiting requires me to complete a WX1074-B within 24 hours. The long form, even! I can’t fill out the short form unless I have three angelic witnesses testifying that it was ‘blocking an active corruption’.”
Calcifer nodded sympathetically. “And no possessions for me, not if I don’t want to go before the advisory board,” he said. “So while we could still pull of a miracle if we really needed to, we’re forced to follow the same rules as the mortals.” Azrael was nodding, agreeing despite himself.
At that moment, the barista stepped up to the table. “Something wrong, Calcifer?” she asked.
“Yes, there is,” the devil replied, obviously enjoying the shocked look on Azrael’s face as he heard the mortal use his true name. “This man, here, should be refused service and thrown out of this shop.” He made a shooing gesture towards Azrael.
The barista sighed and rolled her eyes, but she turned towards the angel nonetheless. “Sorry, but you’ll have to go,” she said apologetically. “You know, ‘right to refuse service to anyone’ and all that.”
“What? Do, do you have any idea who I am?” Azrael stuttered.
The girl shrugged. “Afraid not. But I know this guy’s a devil, and he’s the only one that stops our cappuccino machine from breaking twice a week. So we try to keep him happy.” She jerked her thumb towards the door.
Angels aren’t programmed to disobey orders; those that don’t follow the beat of the drum tend to become fallen and join the ranks of the devils. This didn’t stop Azrael from glaring fiercely at both Calcifer and the barista as he packed up his laptop. “I hope you realize that, just by consorting with this monster, you’re putting your immortal soul in jeopardy,” he snapped at her as he turned to leave.
The girl shrugged, not looking particularly worried. “I get a lot of impure thoughts anyway,” she admitted. “Besides, I stopped going to church when I was, like, eight.”
As the angel stormed out of the coffee shop, the girl turned to Calcifer with a tired look. “Calcie, I know you get off on the whole ‘abusing power’ thing, but you need to stop with this,” she complained.
“Calcie? What is this?” Calcifer broke in. “I’m a devil! You can’t give me a nickname!”
The girl wagged her finger at him, in what he felt was a far too scolding manner. “Look, if I’m your big guns for keeping angels out of here, I get to call you whatever I want,” she explained. “You can either deal with them all yourself, or you can make these beans roast themselves. Your choice.”
As Calcifer snapped his fingers, causing demonic flames to gently lick each of the coffee beans behind the counter until they were perfectly dry-roasted and ready to be ground, he wondered if he was being used. No, he decided. He was an immortal devil, tasked with the corruption and degradation of humanity itself. There’s no way that mortals could be pulling a fast one on him.
Meanwhile, as the barista headed back to the counter, she was also weighing the benefits of keeping the coffee shop devil around. He did keep the machines in perfect running order, and saved them from burning the coffee. That was worth the occasional hassle of playing along with his little squabbles.
Halfway back to his booth, Calcifer paused, glancing up at the ceiling. “Wait, squabbles?” he asked suspiciously.
He heard no response about his very important cosmic battles with the angels, however, so he returned to his booth without further incident.