In the silence that followed, Doorknob cleared his throat. "Um…I guess I'll go then," he said.
I pulled out my phone. "Hang on," I said. "I'm going to put in a good word for you since you rescued Gus."
My Hell Phone rang twice before Malkino, the Director of Torture, answered. "Yes?" he said in that rich, deep voice of his.
"Malkino," I began, "do you know a demon named Doorknob?"
He hesitated before replying. "Not…personally, no," he said. "But I've heard the name. Why do you ask?"
"He works in your department," I said.
"He just did me a big favor."
"I'd like you to make sure that he gets promoted at the first possible opportunity," I said.
"With all due respect, it weakens my authority to promote someone for doing you a favor," he replied. "But if he serves with distinction in my department I will reward him for it, of course."
"Let's not forget that your current department and your old department both required new directors because of me," I reminded him. "Tell you what, I'll send him to your office right now so he can impress you with his dedication to human suffering. I'm sure you'll see things my way."
He paused again, perhaps deciding whether or not it was worth it to risk the consequences of fighting me on this. "Okay then," he said.
I hung up and turned to Doorknob, who was actually trembling with excitement. "You have an appointment in Malkino's office," I told him.
"Thank you, sir," he gushed, his eyes glistening. "Thank you so much!"
I'd known Doorknob was ambitious, but I was still a little surprised and more than a little off-put by the emotional depth of his gratitude. "It's…no trouble," I said. "You should probably go. Malkino's waiting."
He nodded, took a deep breath to compose himself, and disappeared.
Sylnie smiled warmly at me. "That was nice of you."
"That guy saved my neck," Gus said. "You should make him Director of the newly-formed Department of Not Being an Asshole to Humans."
"You realize his job is to torture people, right?" I said.
"Sure," Gus admitted. "But just because he shoves hot pokers up people's rectums all day doesn't mean he can't be a nice guy, too."
General Gavsot arrived as Gus spoke, effectively ending the conversation.