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by Jeff
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Occult · #2308540
Work quotas apply to everyone, even those who dabble in the occult. Writer's Cramp entry.

“I’m just saying, you’re kind of living the dream,” Dave says as he downs the rest of his drink and signals to the waiter for another. “You have the easiest job within the entire organization and you don’t even appreciate it.”

This was a perennial conversation between Dave and myself. He’s your stereotypical “phone it in” type of employee, who just wants to collect a paycheck for doing as little as possible. He has no aspirations for advancement, nor any motivation to go above and beyond to improve our business.

I, on the other hand, still believe there is more I can be doing to grow the company. I already drank the Kool Aid; I want to make a difference here and I’m pretty sure there’s still time to climb the ‘ol corporate ladder. I can’t help it; I like to be challenged in my work, and the territory I’m assigned to cover is anything but challenging. My numbers are nearly double that of Dave’s and many of our coworkers, but I still find myself not really having to work all that hard at it.

My customers already want what I have to sell. It’s like running a water bottle business on the last mile of a marathon; there’s not a lot of artistry or skill involved in selling things to people who were going to buy them anyway.

Sometimes, I wish Dave and I could switch places. His work always seems so dynamic and challenging. And, sure, I bet it’s discouraging for him sometimes, to constantly be faced with rejection. But whenever he does land a client, the whole office celebrates him. It’s not often that we’re able to corrupt a soul that’s already in Heaven (Dave’s territory), but they expect big numbers from me as the demon assigned to the Earth territory.

Fortunately for me, humans are weak and greedy. The things they always seem to want: money, power, fame, success, instant gratification; those are all things we can provide in spades. If more people wanted the more important, ephemeral things in life like contentment or clarity of purpose or something that made the world better for others ... well, then I’d be in trouble. Thankfully, most people don’t want those things. They want material stuff for themselves.

As I finish up my drink as well, my pager goes off.

“Another one?” Dave grumbles.

“Yeah, a sixteen year old goth girl who’s looking to summon a spirit and make a pact with it in exchange for her dad paying a little more attention to her.”

“Must be nice, having them line up and reach out to you like that.”

“Yeah, but nobody celebrates when I corrupt just another human,” I reply. “You snag enough angels and saints, and your name goes on the wall in the break room.”

Dave considers, then inclines his head to the door.

“You better get going, before God shows up and answers her prayer instead.”

I clap Dave on the shoulder as I head for the door. “Good luck with Saint Augustine.”

“Oh, I’m going to bring him back to our side,” Dave says determinedly. “Sooner or later, I’m going to get to him. Good luck with your sullen teenager in need of validation.”


540 words

Written For: "The Writer's Cramp

Prompt: Tomorrow, November 18, is Occult Day. Write a story or poem about an encounter with the "concealed, secret, hidden, mysterious, unnatural." One of the chosen genres must be Occult.
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