Author’s note: Part I can be found here.
Nothing special seemed to be happening at the front counter of the coffee shop. I looked at my companion again with a quizzical look. “I don’t see it,” I said.
Calcifer sighed, but explained. “See that girl in line? The second one from the front?” he asked, pointing obtrusively.
I nodded, looking the girl over. She was young, maybe in her early twenties, and had a cute, perky face. Waves of long, dark brown hair cascaded over her shoulders and down her back. She was dressed in a leather jacket, denim skirt, and multicolored leggings. “What about her?” I asked.
The grin stretched from ear to ear on the devil’s face. “Your boy Danny up there at the counter? This girl’s his soulmate,” he said triumphantly. “And he’s about to totally blow it! A million points, straight down the tube!”
At first, I wanted to confirm that I had just heard, from a supernatural being, that soulmates actually existed. But there was a more pressing matter at hand. “He’s going to blow it?” I repeated.
“Oh yeah, big time!” Calcifer guffawed. “He’s going to chat with her for a minute, and she’s going to just light up his life. And then she’s going to get her coffee, and he’ll want to go talk with her some more but he can’t leave work, and she’s going to walk out the door and vanish forever.
“And best of all,” he continued, “in that split second before she leaves? Danny boy’s going to realize that she’s the perfect girl for him, and his heart is going to just break! I wouldn’t be surprised if he spits in coffees for the rest of the day and kicks a puppy on the way home. He’s going to lose so many points on this, it will take him years to recover!”
I was aghast. “That’s horrible! How can you be enjoying this?”
Calcifer shot a quick glare at me. He reached up and pulled back the hair on his forehead, revealing two small, nub-like horns. “Devil, remember? I thrive on suffering like this,” he said. “Look, there she goes!”
I turned back to the front to watch the girl step away from the counter, moving down the line to where she would pick up her coffee. Danny was standing at the register, staring dreamily after her, completely tuning out the words of the next customer.
“It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion,” Calcifer said happily next to me. “You know that it’s going to be destruction, murder, mayhem, the whole nine yards, but you still are just mesmerized by it. Beautiful, dark, poetry in motion.”
I glared at him. “Yeah, but you’re forgetting one thing,” I said.
“Me!” I answered. I stood up and pushed my way towards the front of the line through the crowded shop. The girl had by now received her coffee, and was making her way towards the door. I caught a glimpse of Danny’s face, and Calcifer was right: he looked completely, utterly, crushingly heartbroken. “Danny!” I yelled.
On the second yell, he heard his name, and turned towards me. I gesticulated wildly towards the door. “Go after her!” I howled. “I got the register! Go!”
He opened his mouth to phrase another question, but I doubled my hand motions. Finally, apparently deciding that true love was worth the risk of abandoning the $129 in the register, he dashed around the counter and sprinted for the door, dodging around patrons and managing to only spill two drinks. As I circled the counter, I saw him make it to the door and dash outside.
A few minutes later, Calcifer sidled up to the side of the counter as I was finishing the last of the mob of customers. A quick glance showed that he was fuming. “What happened?” I asked.
“He caught up to her, no thanks to you,” grumbled the devil. “They’ve got a date set for tomorrow. He picked up five thousand points just for catching up with her, and another ten thousand for totally making her day. And now she’s off to go give points to a whole bunch of other people who probably don’t deserve it. The whole thing makes me sick.”
“Well, I’m glad,” I respond. “It feels good to do a good deed like that.”
“Nah, that’s just your own points talking,” he said.
“You introduced someone to their soulmate!” Calcifer half-shouted at me. “That’s five thousand for stepping in for a friend, and probably at least a hundred thousand when they get married. Freaking lottery, that’s what it is.”
Calcifer was still angry as he stomped off to his usual booth in the back of the shop, but I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I was happy to know that, although I regularly consorted with a denizen of Hell, I was still a good person.