Friday, October 2, 2015

Karma for Hire - Chapter 1

Karma’s hands are full, dealing with bitching angels, grumbling demons and humans who can’t seem to just love one another. Karma is overwhelmed and longs for her own happily ever after.

For three thousand years Thadeus, the sinfully sexy incubus demon has set his sights on Karma, but she doesn’t believe a demon is capable of love. Will Thadeus finally be able to prove her wrong?

When a wannabe demon hoping to take over as the Ruler of Hell, an archangel with his sights set on the loftiest of thrones, the upcoming Sin Convention, all hell breaks loose, literally, Karma must decide whether to stand up and fight for everything she has ever known, or let it go. Can Thadeus and Karma stand up and fight for the love they both so richly deserve?

Chapter 1

Karma is the sweetest revenge. ~Unknown~

Karma for Hire Headquarters

   In a very nondescript building, in a moderately sized city, an unusual company with an odd workforce was beginning a new day. The company’s name wasn’t on large signage out front, nor was the address published. If one was to look for this odd firm they’d never find it. Now, if one was to need the service of Karma for Hire, aka ‘We solve those pesky karma problems when you don’t have the patience to wait,’ one could allow their fingers to do the walking and go straight to their website.

   Inside, the bitching had begun, just like any other day. The raucous noise vibrated the walls of the cubicles that divided the workers, and most importantly, the head of the establishment, Karma.

   The problem lay within the workforce itself. While good at their positions of dishing out what humankind had coming to them, demons were not morning beings. Then again, they really weren’t afternoon beings either. Hell, the truth be known, demons weren’t any time of day beings. Well, most anyway. Just as humans come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, so too do demons. Add in various personalities and temperaments, which range from extremely touchy to overly obnoxious, and bam, instant turmoil.

   Barnabus, a rather unsightly sloth demon, grumbled as he pushed the on button of his computer. The device whirred and clicked, a bright light flashing on and off. “Just one morning I’d like to sit down, fire up this hunk of plastic, and not have two thousand messages waiting for me. Maybe it could greet me first, you know, like by saying good morning.”

   “Don’t say the word good before I’ve had my morning coffee. You know how that pisses me off,” Randall, a gluttony demon said, and sipped his boiling brew. The standard temp for human consumption ranked close to lukewarm for demons. A new coffee maker, straight from Hell, had been installed to suit the grumbling workforce with a medium setting of Holy Shitballs, That’s Hot! Other settings included Lake of Fire, for those with extreme tastes, and a low setting of You’re a Wuss, for a more delicate consumer.

   “Eat my shorts, Randall,” Barnabus complained, and if he'd had the correct amount of fingers, he’d have given Randall the middle finger salute. That was one downfall of being a demon. Giving a birdie didn’t have the same effect as when humans used it. “Fat bastard, anyway,” he complained under his breath.

   Dropping his jelly filled doughnut, Randall swiveled in his chair and glared at Barnabus with his beady red eyes. “You don’t wear shorts, Barnabus. Find a new decade of slang. You’re seriously wearing my ass out with the eighties lingo. And by the way, I’m not fat. I’m pleasantly plump.” Pleasantly plump as in close to the shape and color of a blueberry soaked in water, that is.

   With blackened eyes wide with humor, Barnabus chuckled. “Wrongo, Pac-man. You’re one pastry away from not fitting through the gates of Hell, and those are hella-wide.”

   “That’s it,” Randall shouted and struggled to stand up on his cloven hooves. Given his weight and disproportionate gut, this was a hard task. He had to steady himself from falling flat on his face since he was so top heavy. “Me, you, right here, right now.”

   Barnabus barked out an obnoxious laugh. “You must be trippin, Randall.” He waved the obese demon off as a mere speedbump in his way.

   “And you’re both going to wind up being punished if you don’t knock it off,” Jasmine, an angel of good deeds, interrupted. Pointing a dainty finger from one to the other, she tried extra hard to speak with authority. “Now, I want you both to stop this nonsense and apologize.” She raised her chin defiantly, trying to stand her ground. She was brave in a very stupid way.

   Jasmine glanced from Randall to Barnabus. Big, bouncy curled blonde hair shimmered in the sunlight streaming in, giving her a heavenly glow. Bright white wings outstretched, catching the rays, and reflected a blinding light into the demons’ faces. It was the light of love. Both squinted and shielded their eyes. Demons weren’t much for light, or mornings, or angels. In the last six months, Jasmine had learned a thing or two about dealing with the intolerable entities, and she still possessed all of her feathers.

   “Fine,” Randall blurted out and avoided direct eye contact. “I’m sorry you’re stupid, Barnabus.” He frowned as he tapped his hoof on the floor, arms sort of crossed over his immense belly.

   Conceding the battle, Barnabus harrumphed and paused. Demons weren’t ones to apologize for anything, whether they needed to or not. Finally he huffed out, “I’m sorry you’re fat, Randall.”

   Jasmine grinned and retracted her wings, proud of her accomplishment. “If the truth must be told, I haven’t had my coffee yet, and I’m in no mood to deal with either of you this morning.”

   Both demons sneered and returned to their cubicles, both taking a look back at Jasmine. “Stupid angels,” they nearly said in unison.

   Walking toward her station, Jasmine smiled and greeted Wilder, another angel. “Good morning!” she said in a cheery tone. Angels seemed to be at their best in groups of two or more.

From his station, Randall bellowed. “I hate that word!”

   “Complainers gonna complain,” Wilder noted, grinning at Jasmine while shaking his head. “Could be worse,” he surmised and his bright blue eyes lit up with amusement. “He could be uglier.”

   “I heard that!” Randall shouted.

   “Don’t stir up the demons before lunch, you two.” Aiden, a pale blue revenge demon beamed with his luminous ivory teeth, lavender eyes twinkling with mirth, and well, revenge. “It’s bad for our digestive systems and your health.”

   “Speaking of stirring,” Joe—as in Average Joe—a greed demon, spoke up from a nearby work station. He leveled a sinister glare at the angels. “Stirrers of the pot get to lick the spoon. Now be good little angels and quit stirring the damn pot!”

   Wilder’s grin fell and Jasmine’s wings drooped. Joe wasn’t a demon to trifle with—well, not for long anyhow. Most demons, outside of the extremely dense ones, should all be approached with caution. All angels knew that. Tread lightly became two words the winged force understood. A year previous, when Karma for Hire had just kicked off, an overly mouthy angel tested the demon. He no longer worked for company. After being plucked, the angel decided he didn’t need vacation time after all. And that was what it was all about anyway, vacation time.

   Being an angel or a demon wasn’t an easy gig. Now not officially in the job duties, neither received days off… at all. Working for Karma had its perks, as well as its pitfalls. Angels were required to work with demons, and demons had to put up with angels.

   Even though demons generally always have a bad disposition whether on duty twelve hours or twenty-four, the shifts had been set to twelve, with two days off per week, similar to humans. The breaks seemed to help the overall grumpiness of the demons. And angels, well, angels needed their beauty sleep, because a tired angel is a bitchy angel, and all demons knew that.


   “Please tell me why you need justice served so quickly,” Karma asked in a message, hunting and pecking on her keyboard in a virtual chat room with a client. Technology had never been one of her strengths. She had always been much better at what she does best: doling out punishments to those that deserve it for their actions and sins. If it wasn’t for the fact that human sins were multiplying by the day, overwhelming her, she wouldn’t have had to start up Karma for Hire, to begin with. It was past time for her to earn something for her services.

   Millennia ago, Karma had been forced to employ demons and angels in order to get the job done. Her services are always in need and the workload is more than one entity can handle alone. It’s no wonder why it takes many humans years to repay favors to those desperately needing bitch-slapped. Jokes and comments concerning how long Karma takes to initiate just punishments do nothing more than piss her off.

   She sighed as she waited for her newest client to reply. On the sidebar of her screen, the Acts in Need of Punishment counter was rolling at a non-stop pace. Great, she thought, more work. Sipping her now cold coffee, she clicked her nails on her desk while staring at the screen. “For the love of precious time, come on already,” she said to no one but herself.


   Sarah, Karma’s newest client, finally finished her message.

   “Sulphuric fumes! She didn’t need to write me a book,” Karma mumbled and began to read the extensive message.

   Poor Sarah, like thousands of others, had just recently had her identity stolen. Her bank account had been cleaned out and credit cards maxed. Karma could almost hear the despair through the poorly written message that was filled with numerous grammar errors and misspellings. No doubt poor Sarah was crying at that very moment. Karma read on, the tale so sad she herself had to grab a tissue. She cleared her throat and brushed away any emotion. There was no time for crying. Good grief, she thought, wondering what could have come over her.

   Pecking away at the keys, Karma replied. “Sarah, I can enact swift and just punishment to the man in question, but there’s a charge for my immediate service. Did you read the disclaimer when you entered my site?”

   Some may call Karma’s price steep, but hey, good and expedient service actually deserved more, much more. The fees she charged was how she paid and rewarded her grumbling and bitching workforce. Demons and angels don’t work for free, and vacation time had to come from somewhere.

   Another long pause and Karma sighed again. In order for Sarah to be pushed to the front of the line for “immediate service,” someone in her group had obviously dropped the ball.

   “You’re kidding, right?” Sarah finally replied. “You want a whole year of my life?”

   Karma clicked her nails on the desk, harder than normal. Why didn’t humans bother to read the fine print?

   “Yes,” Karma replied, slowing pecking away. “Premium and swift action from me comes at a price, sweetie. There are two options, and if you bothered to read the disclaimer before entering, you’d know that. While I’m indeed sorry for the predicament you’re in, you are in fact one of thousands. Other options available to you would be to wait for one of my associates to take care of your problem for half my rate, which may take weeks or months, maybe longer. Or, you can wait in line for free, but I cannot guarantee how long it will take my associates to get to your case. It could take years. ”

   “Years!?” Sarah typed back.

   “Yes. Now, if you would like my swift personal service you must sign the contract. Do pay attention to the fine print. In the event the justice you’re seeking is part your fault by your own misdeeds, karma will be paid to you as well.”

   Damn, this was getting old. Why didn’t humans understand how this shit worked?

   “And the cost is one year of my life? Isn’t that a bit much?” Sarah asked.

   Karma chuckled. “Would you miss it?”

   “Yeah!” Sarah replied in big bold letters.

   “That’s the price. Tick tock. I have over ten thousand new requests waiting.”

   “Fine, just take it. How long before punishment will be served to this bastard?” Sarah quickly typed back. Apparently her need for justice in this matter weighed more than the price. Karma couldn’t blame her.

   Karma laughed at that. “Sweetie, once you sign the contract, my punishments are immediate.”

   “I’ll download the contract, sign it, and return it.”

   “It was a pleasure doing business with you.”

   Karma signed off and shoved away from her desk. Damn demon website designer anyway. The disclaimer notice should be the first thing visitors to Karma for Hire saw before entering. Secondly, Diamond Service, which came directly from Karma herself, was supposed to be screened and clients well informed of costs associated with her service. “Damn demons.”

   Stopping outside of her office, her demon and angel workforce became statue-like, waiting with nervousness in their expressions. Karma wasn’t much for mornings, or demons, or angels, but she hated mornings the most. Her workforce knew “the look” and she was using it.

   “Who’s in charge of screening my clients today?” Karma asked with one hand on her hip, glancing around the call center.

   The room stayed quiet, not an entity daring to move.

   Karma tapped her foot on the black marble flooring. “Don’t make me ask again.”

   Bridget, an overly obnoxious angel, pointed secretively to Randall.

   Randall. She should have known. His morning ritual began with doughnuts, a dozen to be exact. “Randall, please tell me why clients have not been properly screened before reaching me? Do you know how annoying it is to constantly repeat yourself?”

   Randall hung his head down and looked at his powdered sugar desktop. Globs of jelly clung to different areas of his keyboard. He slowly shook his head. Even his horns were ashamed and resembled wilted flowers.

   “You’re about to find out.” Karma snorted. Punishments were her specialty, and the only way to teach even her staff was by well-crafted situations meant to train, but mostly to discipline.


   Randall disappeared and nothing but the sound of throats swallowing in unison could be heard. Karma smiled. Randall would be away for a while, placed in a position worthy of his just punishment. A greeter in a large chain store for a human shift should do nicely.

   “Now, for those of you still here, get to work. Productively counts. Remember that,” Karma warned and offered a threatening glare. She truly wasn’t all that mean or hateful, but mornings were such a bitch to get through, especially Mondays.

   Back to her previous mission, Karma stomped around the bank of cubicles where her workforce was busy once again, dispatching service based on sin. Below those seated in the main office were hundreds and hundreds of lesser demons and angels. Their task was to initiate justice based on the case worker’s instructions. To be elevated to such a position in the call center was and should be a great honor, which is why Karma got a little cranky from time to time when they didn’t produce as expected.

   Walking by Average Joe, a pale blue revenge demon, and one of her best employees, Karma could see he was busy at work, fingers flying at a dizzying pace. How she wished she could type that fast. Between strokes of the keys, Joe was apparently feeling proud of himself, and chuckling about a punishment he had set in motion.

   “How’s it going, Joe?” Karma stopped to ask. Joe was also her top producer and earner of many posh vacations for his diligent service.

   Joe leaned back in his chair. He smiled brightly. His little nubs of horns wiggled back and forth, pride evident there as well. “Great. I can’t complain.” He motioned to his computer. “I have the best job in the world.

   “That’s the spirit.” Karma loved rare moments like these. “What’s the case?”

   Joe snorted with amusement. “Ah, the usual: boy likes girl, girl doesn’t like boy. Girl goes a step further and humiliates the nice guy.”

   “So why are you so chipper?” Karma asked. Joe was in charge of the Minor Offenses Division, not at all affiliated with Affairs of the Heart Division.

   Joe laughed and waved for her to come around. “I have to tell ya, the streaming video idea you came up with so we could see punishment happen in real time was genius. Just genius!”

   Karma enjoyed the stroke to her ego, but the best part were times like these, when her staff could get a glimpse of the action. Productivity had increased nearly eighty percent since the software was installed six months previous. The office had turned into a riot of noise and enjoyment for angels and demons alike, when they weren’t bitching, grumbling, and arguing, that is.

   “So, here’s the story. The girl, Bethany here,” Joe said, pointing out a buxom blonde on the paused screen. “Bethany not only rudely dismissed my average Joe, but she embarrassed the poor guy in a club a few months ago, making him a laughing stock.”

   “And he came to Karma for Hire and got you?” Karma asked.

   Joe shook his head. “No. In fact, the guy is too nice to want or ask for such.”

   Confused, Karma scrunched up her brows. “So why are you working this case?”

   “I was hired to do so by someone else.” Joe wiggled his bushy black brows.

   “Who would pay with something as sacred as life time to help someone else?” Were humans capable of such love or generosity? In all her years of existence, the act of giving up life for another wasn’t entirely rare, but not as common as some would believe.

   “Someone who is in love with my average Joe and watched it all take place.”

   “Okay, so you’re saying this other person hired you to enact swift karma because she’s in love with the said average Joe. Why aren’t these two together?” Karma was befuddled by the case. Of course, she didn’t have a clue about love, and honestly didn’t care, but what a story so far.

   Joe shrugged. “I think she’s as timid as my main man here and is too scared to approach him.”
“Isn’t this a job for the Cupid Division?” She pointed toward a bank of pink cubicles, a color she absolutely despised, but let slide in the name of productivity.

   “Eh, it’s a fifty-fifty toss-up. The case is both a minor offense and in the cupid realm. I figured I’d take half and the bleeding hearts over there could do the rest.”

   Karma grinned at that. “I guess you want to show me the karma you set in action?”

   “Oh, yeah!” Joe laughed. “So, Bethany has had this coming for a long time. I took a look back into her character and this isn’t the first instance she has done something like this.”

   “Oooh, now I’m intrigued to see what you did, my little revenge demon.”

   Joe hit the play button on the screen. “Okay, this chick thinks she’s just way too much for any normal guy. She has her sights set on this gentleman. He’s some sort of suave business guy with lots of money.”

   Karma nodded and smiled. There was just something about humans with multiple traits worthy of punishment. “Ah, I see. So our little target is led by money. I’m seeing another division in this case also.”

   “Sure, but for now, I have the case and I need to deal with my average Joe’s case first. Okay, okay, here’s the really good part. Bethany has caught Mr. Suave’s attention and he just slid up to the bar next to her. Yeah, look at his expression. He’s checking her out!”

   “When does this get good, Joe? I have appointments.” Karma glanced at her watch. Time was always of the essence in her line of work.

   “It’s getting there. And wow, look at the fireworks between them. A match made in heaven? I think not.” Joe snickered.

   A loud belch erupted from Bethany’s mouth, surprising her, and most everyone within earshot. It was a burp so obnoxious that beer drinkers during the Superbowl would have been proud.

   “Dear gods. Did you hear that?” Joe held his stomach. “The best part was her expression. Look, get a load of that face. She’s totally mortified! And Mr. Suave,” Joe said between bouts of laughter. “He isn’t impressed. He simply slid off his bar stool and backed away.”

   Karma had to giggle a little. The punishment was just, but the best part was watching one of her staff enjoy their position so much. “Good job, Joe.”

   “Thanks,” he replied as Karma gave him a pat on his back. “It’s the little things that make my job so fun.”

   “Keep up the good work.” Karma offered a sweet wink and continued on her way.

   As she neared the hall leading to her computer demon’s office, Karma noticed her newest employee, Gretchen, rubbing her eyes and talking to herself. The poor thing looked all out of sorts. Her wings were ruffled, appearing as if she had hit a forest of trees and struck down every branch during her fall.

   “It looks like you could use a little assistance, Gretchen.” Karma sighed. She didn’t have time for this.

   “Oh, Karma. I didn’t see you standing there. Yeah, this, well, I’m having a little trouble with this case.” Gretchen chewed her bottom lip and batted her lashes with confusion.

   “What could be the trouble?” Karma had to wonder. Gretchen was in what some would term the easiest and fluffiest position in the center.

   “Well,” Gretchen said and looked up at Karma with a conflicted expression. “I got this case a few minutes ago. My client has had some problems with another woman, and, gosh, I can understand her anger. The client has been harmed numerous times by the other, but it seems my client is too vengeful.”

   Karma leaned back against the desk. “What makes you say that?”

   “When I asked if she had a preference of punishment, my client said, and I quote, ‘I want you to cunt-punt her to Jupiter!’ Can we even do that?”

   Karma closed her eyes and tried not to laugh. Her newest angel was seriously disturbed, and secondly, she apparently hadn’t paid much attention during her training.

   “Well, can we?” Gretchen prodded for an answer.

   “First of all, no. Secondly, never, and I mean never, ask a client what type of punishment to delve out. That only brings out the nature in them deserving of punishment, and then you have a bigger mess on your hands,” Karma explained.

   “What do I do now?” Gretchen asked.

   “First, you need to refer your client to the fine print of the contract and ask her if after reading about the two-way punishment clause if she is still sure about what she asked for. Secondly, why in the world are you dealing with such a case? You’re in the Common Courtesy Division.”

   Gretchen shrugged with a frumpy 'I don’t know' frown. “I got an email that said ‘Attention Gretchen’ on it.”

   Karma shook her head, again trying not to laugh. “I think someone in the office is messing with you.”

   “I believe you’re right.” Gretchen sighed heavily. “Being the new girl kind of sucks.” Immediately she slapped her hand over her mouth. “Sorry, I shouldn’t say such things,” she quickly apologized.

   Angels were too nice to use words like suck—well, until they started working for Karma, that is.

   “Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. Now forward that case to someone in vengeance and find a nice case that will make you feel better.”

   The angel nodded and offered a relieved smile. Karma knew who was behind this, as this was not the first case of an angel who came to work for Karma and got what they all termed 'The Welcome Package'. It was meant in fun and no new member to Karma’s team so far had escaped initiation.
Demons will be demons, she thought, and continued on.

   At Thadeus’s office, Karma ignored the common courtesy of a knock and barged right in. There was a reason she did so, and damn it all to hell, it didn’t work!

   “Ah, good afternoon, my lovely entity,” Thadeus said with a deep tone that vibrated in her ears and lower parts of her anatomy.

   Sitting in his chair, Thadeus was Karma’s every wet dream come to life. Shape shifting bastard. Thadeus was known for his ability to morph into any woman’s fantasy. An incubus by creation, and once the head of a domain in Hell, Thadeus was quite a force to be reckoned with.

   Karma pointed a manicured finger at him. “Stop doing that. You know that pisses me off.”

   Thadeus grinned, all sly like, and leaned back in his chair. Today’s flavor was a bad boy, wearing a sleeveless shirt, tattoos abundant on his shoulders and arms. Worn denim jeans, black leather boots, and a little bit of sexy stubble on his face completed his bad-ass biker look. Bright blue eyes regarded her. They were innocent, yet dangerous, hinting of a wild night in wait, and promising as much with his smug grin. He waved his hands in the air, stretching back, legs spread open with relaxation. “What am I doing?”

   Karma internally groaned. How in the world could she rip him a new asshole when he looked so damn enticing, delicious? He knew what he was doing, and this was the way all their meetings started. Thadeus could read her, much like any woman. As her fantasies changed, so too did Thadeus. Just last week she'd tried to catch him before he knew she was coming, only to encounter her previous night’s wet dream.

   “Turn off the charm, now,” Karma ordered and wiggled a bit as she sat down. Incubus demons were something else. Not only could they shape-shift, they also emitted a scent or pheromone that made them almost impossible to resist. She knew. She’d been resisting him for centuries.

   Thadeus sighed and kicked his thick boots on top of his desk. “You are so not fun at times.”

   “You have no idea,” Karma replied and finally felt like she could breathe without wanting to jump in his lap. “Now, the reason I’m here is because of the website. Clients are not reading the terms and conditions of the services before they enter. This needs to stop. Valuable time is being lost because of this.”

   Thadeus smiled and tilted his head to the side, studying her for a moment. “Why haven’t the two of us ever gotten together?”

   Karma stood up, knowing full well his charm was dazzling not only her eyes, but her libido as well. And that was all an incubus was, dazzle and charm, and not much more. “See to it the website is fixed. Please don’t make me find a just punishment for you.”

   Thadeus outstretched his arms, welcoming her to give him all she had. “Baby, you can punish me all you like. Just promise to make me like it.”

   Karma crossed her arms and glared. “I don’t make promises, but when I punish you, you won’t like it at all.”

   “Okay, okay. I’ll stop.” Thadeus relented and turned off his charm. “You can’t blame an incubus for trying. Have a seat, please.”

   Karma exhaled, exasperated by the entity. She herself wasn’t too far from being a demon herself, and she was a damn long shot from being an angel. Karma was an in-between entity. An 'angel with dirty wings' kind of being. “I’m very busy, Thadeus.”

   “You know what you need?” he asked with a raised brow and a quirky grin.

   “No, but I bet you’re going to tell me.” Everyone had an opinion, yet no one seemed to fully understand the enormous task her position really was.

   “You need a vacation. Now the incubus in me screams sex, and yes, you seriously need it, but Karma, you seem restless, agitated lately,” he noted, grinning while wetting his plump lips.

   “Could it be because humans can’t love one another?” she asked. If humans spent half their time loving each other rather than hating each other, her job wouldn’t be nearly as difficult.

   “It’s more than that,” Thadeus replied. “You really need a break. You deserve one.”

   Karma was studying her nails, realizing she was in bad need of a manicure. “While I do enjoy ass-kissing most of the time, today I’m just not in the mood.”

   “When was the last time you did something different?” he asked. “I’m being serious. Work, work, work, makes Karma a real bitch… pun intended.” He chuckled at that and leaned farther back in his chair, taking on a more relaxed position.

   “Ha, ha. Yes, don’t we all know the jokes?” Karma glanced up at him and rolled her eyes. Nobody had a damn clue.

   “You need a hobby, and since you won’t make me your hobby, may I suggest you do something different for a change, or at least something that would make you feel better.”

   “I could use a massage,” she noted and rolled her head back and forth, making a mental note to call for an appointment. There were advantages to living in the human realm.

   Thadeus’s ears perked up at that and he leaned forward. “I can give you a massage.”

   “Uh, no.” A massage from an incubus was just asking for trouble, and a big bed, and a night of hot, unbridled sex.

   “Fine, I give.” Thadeus threw his hands up in defeat. “One would think after three millennia of trying I’d get my girl.”

   “Every girl is your girl,” Karma emphasized as she walked to the door. “Fix my website.”

   After exiting, Karma shook off the unwanted desire that seemed to cling to her skin. Thadeus was bad news and always had been. While she would like to believe she knew him inside and out, demons were crafty bastards. The two of them had shared some damn good times together in last few thousand years, but never a bed. There were just some situations Karma refused to put herself in.

   Back in the call center, Karma strode with pride. Angels and demons were busy, taking care of business, and the office had taken on a delightful hum. It seemed to take a good hour for everyone to calm down, stop bitching, stop arguing, and settle in for a productive day. Putting angels and demons in the same room was like putting cats and dogs together… in a rain storm with hundreds of bouncy balls.

* * * *

   Meanwhile, in a large chain store, located in quaint town with extremely polite humans for the most part, Randall stood in human glamour, wearing a blue smock with the statement, “Thanks for shopping! Have a nice day.”

   The beauty of Karma’s punishments were in the design. No matter the entity or the power they held, all signed a contract with her, giving her power over them. This came in especially handy when reprimands were called for, like this particular instance. While Randall could inflict his powers of gluttony on humans at will any other time, this was a special time in the human world where he was devoid of all powers of persuasion and demonic sorcery. Today, Randall had become nothing more than a human, and all he could say was, “Have a nice day.”

   Inside, Randall was a seething mess of annoyance and hatred. On the outside, however, he sported a pleasant smile, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t utter anything but those four little words.

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