“Hi,” I said dumbly, shaking his bony hand. “Uh…like, the real Satan? Devil and all that?”
As I shook his hand and asked him stupid questions, I stared at him. He was a handsome guy. He was fit, but not muscular. He was a few inches over six feet. He looked to be about thirty-five.
He had very dark, very thick facial hair which he’d shaved into a thin curve along his upper lip to the corners of his mouth, a soul patch and a narrow, almost pointy goatee. His teeth were white, his eyes were quick and intelligent, and his smile was disarmingly genuine.
He answered my question with a wink. “Yes and no,” he said. “Have a seat and I’ll be glad to explain a few things to you.” His extended arm gestured toward the wooden chair.
“Okay,” I said uncertainly. I sat. He walked behind his desk and settled into his expensive-looking adjustable desk chair. I squirmed on the hard wooden seat.
He opened a drawer in the side of his desk and withdrew a file folder, which he laid open on his desk. “So,” he began, perusing a page. “Jason Giles. You’re dead, huh?” he glanced up to give me a brief look of sympathy.
I shrugged. “I guess,” I said.
“Tough break,” he replied. “Beaten to death with…gardening equipment?” he read, chuckling. “Well, I gotta tell you, I’m supposed to be the representative of personified evil in the universe and sometimes how fucked up people are impresses even me.” He looked up. “Are you thirsty?” he asked.
What a strange question. “A little, I guess,” I answered uncertainly.
“Great,” he said, pulling a bottle of wine and two glasses from the bottom drawer in his desk. “You’d be surprised how great some of the vineyards down here are,” he said conversationally, pouring. “What should we drink to?” he asked, standing up to walk my glass of wine over to me.
“I don’t know,” I said, accepting the glass and feeling more and more intimidated by the second. He gave me this unidentifiable but unmistakable sense of uneasiness, like he had complete control of the situation and was simply enjoying himself while he manipulated some unseen force to ensure my demise. I held the glass of wine in my hand and stared into it fearfully.
And, in the midst of that dark line of thinking, it suddenly occurred to me how strange it was that the Devil had a modern American accent. And that his computer had the Hewlett-Packard logo on it. And that the waiting room outside his office had played Elton John.
This was weird.