Monday, April 22, 2013

Finding Common Ground

It was time to convince an uncompromising, bloodthirsty monster with near-absolute power to compromise.  I teleported over to stand directly in front of the beast who called himself Halkkor.  He narrowed his eyes suspiciously at me as I appeared.

"Hi," I said with half-sarcastic pleasantness.  "Me again.  Listen, we should talk."  Halkkor was clearly not much of a conversationalist.  I think my attempts at amiability simply pissed him off.  He drew his arm back to prepare another powerful backhanded blow, but I dodged deftly backward.  

"I'm a pretty new Devil," I continued, acting as though he hadn't just tried to smack me a second time.  "I only took over a little while ago and I'm still getting the hang of it.  During my short stint as the ruler of Hell, I've noticed some of the same problems you just mentioned."  Halkkor, sneering, wordlessly brought his other arm toward me, but I ducked and took another step back.

"The bureaucracy--it's a nightmare," I admitted.  "Every simple task is broken down and distributed across so many different departments, each with its own subdivisions.  We might get more paperwork done than torturing, to be honest.  And the infighting--it's epidemic.  Every demon has some kind of grudge against at least a dozen others.  It's confusing and distracting--and it only serves to make the bureaucracy less efficient, as inter-departmental cooperation is almost non-existent because the directors are all out to get each other."

I thought I'd learned to judge Halkkor's movement, but he took me by surprise by lunging forward.  He was so fast I almost hadn't realized that he'd even moved until I'd been tackled, straddled, and throttled.  The monster--who was quite heavy--wrapped his grotesque claw all the way around my neck, brought his face down toward mine, and hissed, "Will you desist?  I tire of your purposeless prattling."

Through the pressure on my neck, I gurgled, "I think we should work together."

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