Disclaimer (A story in Lawyers in Hell)

Lawyers in HellDisclaimer
(A story in Lawyers in Hell)

The last thing he remembers is the chatter of an automatic weapon.  Glass explodes from the French doors.  Drywall erupts from the office walls.  Paneling cracks and splinters from the opposite side of the room.  Knick-knacks, pen holders, picture frames rain down on him from his ruined desk.  Warm, sticky, wetness oozes from the soggy carpet beneath him.  Cold numbness spreads inward from his limbs.  Darkness grows, closes him in.

Closes him down.

*

Lawyers in HellAaron “Monty” Montgomery awoke face down on a hard laminate surface.  A deep rumbling vibration thrummed throughout his body.  He heard a metallic rattling from somewhere above and behind him.  Slowly, he pushed himself to a sitting position and looked around.  He frowned.  He was sitting in what looked like an elevator car.  From his right he heard a discordant humming sound rather like Muzak played over an old, cracked speaker.  The rhythm seemed familiar.  He turned his head.  Centered in the wall to his left was a pair of closed steel doors.  A rectangular panel was mounted half way up the wall between the doors and the wall opposite him.  Instead of buttons for different floors there was only one.  It made no sense. Instead of a number, he saw just a single word:

THERE.

In front of the panel was a tall, four-legged wooden stool.  His eyes followed the blond wood until he reached a pair of stone-colored taloned feet.  His eyes moved further upward.  On the stool sat…

“Hi.”

Monty crabbed backwards to the opposite wall and tried to keep going.  The thing sitting atop the stool could not possibly exist, let alone talk to him.  It sat with its knees folded in front of it.  Monty guessed it was between three and three and a half feet tall.  Gray, stone-like skin covered its naked body.  From between its legs rose a penis that would have made any male porn star hang his head in shame and envy.  Monty guessed that made it a he, not an it.  Leathery wings the color of dried blood sprouted from between its – his – shoulders and draped his back.  He had arms and legs like a man.  Instead of hands and feet, however, he sported claws and talons.  His face was canine, although the ears were wide, pointed, and hairless.  A tuft of thick, black fur ran up and over the center of its head and down its back like a Mohawk.

“Name’s Rudolfo.”  The creature extended his right claw as if to shake hands.  When Monty just stared at him, he shrugged and returned his attention to the panel before him.

“Wha-what are you?” Monty whispered.

“I guess you’d call me an imp.”  The operator looked at Monty and smiled.  His teeth accented his canine appearance.  “Or, a lesser demon, if you prefer.  Just one of hell’s many little annoyances.”

Monty shuddered.  He should probably play nice until he figured out what was going on.  Still, he had to know.  “No offense, but you look more like a gargoyle.”

“None taken.  I been called worse.”

Monty looked around, but the car offered no clues. He could have been in any number of cheap hotels or early office buildings.  Sweat trickled from his hairline and ran down his cheek.  Whoever owned the building really needed to do something about the air conditioning.  He sniffed.  He wrinkled his nose.  Rudolfo needed a deodorant.  Badly.

“Where am I?”

Rudolfo’s face split into a mischievous grin.  “On an elevator.”

“I had that much figured out,” Monty grumbled.  “Where is this elevator?”

“It’s between destinations.”  Rudolfo was enjoying Monty’s rising frustration.

“Okay.  That means it’s going somewhere.  So, where is it going?”

“To hell.”

Monty blinked.  “But, it feels like it’s going up.”

“What it feels like and what it is ain’t necessarily the same thing.”  Rudolfo twitched with repressed glee.  He loved baiting the ‘new dead.’  It made the long elevator ride so much more enjoyable – for him.

 “Shouldn’t it be going down?” Monty persisted.

The imp laughed.  “You new dead always get it wrong.  Up, down – it don’t mean nothin’ here.  Einstein had it figured out.  It’s all relative and dimensional.”  Rudolfo leaned toward Monty, winked, and gave him a conspiratorial poke in the ribs.  “He’s down here, by the way.”

Monty looked around.  The car was austere.  The walls were bare.  Dark splotches dotted the surfaces.  He sniffed again and immediately regretted it.  It wasn’t coming from the demon.

“What’s that smell?”

The imp sniffed.  “Oh, that.  It’s brimstone.  Sulfur.  Goes with the territory.  You’ll get used to it.  No, wait.  You’re dead.” The creature chortled and snickered.  “You’ll never get used to it.  So, get used to it.”

“Dead?”

“Right.  Dead.  Expired.  Recently departed.  Deceased.”  Rudolfo leaned forward and breathed an acrid sulfurous cloud into Monty’s face.  “Dead.”

The demon returned his attention to his control panel and its single lighted button. He began humming the same, discordant, familiar tune.

“What is that?”

Rudolfo stopped. “What’s what?”

“That tune.  What is it?”

“This?”  He hummed a few more bars.

“Yes, that.  I’ve heard it before.”

“Oh, it’s just somethin’ I picked up in a bar in Sydney when I was up there doin’ some harvestin’ for one of th’ big boys.  See if this helps any.”  The demon cleared his throat and started singing.  “Don’t mind you playin’ demon – as long as it’s with me – if this is hell – then you could say – it’s heavenly – hell ain’t a bad place to be.”  He grinned.  “How’d you like that?”

“It was definitely … interesting.”  Monty smiled.  “That was an AC/DC song, wasn’t it?”  In truth, it sounded like feeding time at a large zoo.

“It’s called Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be.  I’m thinkin’ about singing it for Demonic Idol when the auditions come to Sinsunatti next month.  What do you think?  Have I got a chance?”

Monty shifted expressions, using the smile he reserved for when he told his clients everything was fine, no worries, when truthfully all had gone to shit and there was nothing he could do to save the situation.  “I guess it depends on the competition, doesn’t it?”

The ascent was bad and got worse.  Monty had been on high-speed elevators in the past, but nothing like this.  The laws of physics said this kind of speed was impossible, yet he was certain that the car had exceeded terminal velocity some time ago.  Just when he thought the car must burn up from friction, it stopped.

It did not slow down.

It did not ease gracefully to a halt.

It stopped.

While he tried to come to terms with the realization that he was not a puddle of protein jelly on the car’s ceiling, the doors slid open with the sound of fighting – or mating – cats.

Marty looked through the door at the empty vista beyond.  The terrain that stretched before him was totally flat and featureless, devoid of vegetation or creatures.  Black, billowing clouds raced overhead across the garish, red-orange sky.  A bright glow shone through the clouds straight above, but he could not tell if it was the sun, the moon, a star, or a really big spotlight.  The wind howled as it raced across the plain with nothing to retard its progress.  The rotten egg smell filled his nose and throat.  He gagged.  Tears filled his eyes and ran down his cheeks.  The gas mixed with the tears and turned them to acid that burned runnels in his skin.

“Here you go, Mac.”

“But… but…” Monty choked, unable to speak with the burning in his nose, mouth and throat.  He doubled over.

“Hey, a smart lawyer like you oughta come up with somethin’ better than motor boat sounds.  Step on out there.”

Monty turned to Rudolfo.  “You said … this … is hell.  There’s … nothing … here.”  He choked the words from his raw throat.

“You been listenin’ to too many religious stories.  Some people say that everyone builds their own hell when they’re livin’ back on Earth.  If so, this is the one you made.” Rudolfo sighed.  “Look, Mac. I don’t make the rules and you ain’t the only soul I gotta pick up.  This one is all yours.  You own this bit of real estate.  Now, get out there and claim it.”

Rudolfo gave him a firm shove and propelled him, unresisting, through the doorway and spinning him around as he did so.

Monty caught his balance and looked up.  An elderly woman stood before him.  No, not elderly-geriatric – ancient.  For the first time in his life he fully understood the meaning of the word ‘crone.’

Her liver-spotted scalp shone beneath the thin, lank silver threads that cascaded down either side of her head in limp curls.  Her seamed and leathery face bore more cracks than a dried riverbed.  Pale, bleary blue eyes sparkled from below a thick, snowy unibrow.  Her nose was a hooked wedge of flesh stabbing knife-like from between her eyes.  Cracked, flaking lips opened in a leering grin as spittle dribbled from the corner of her mouth.

“Well, well,” she cackled, exposing cracked and yellowed teeth.  She leaned toward him for a better look.  “Ain’t you the pretty one?”

Unable to stop his natural, ingrained male inclination, his eyes continued downward over her naked flesh.  The skin hung in sagging, wrinkled folds.  Her breasts – dugs, really – lay flat against her chest.  On the right breast the word WELCOME was branded in angry, brownish-red letters.  On the left, the word was WOMAN.

Monty’s glanced continued downward to her crotch.  Her right hand partially covered her pubic hair in an obscene parody of modesty.  Her fingers rapidly worked the protruding and sagging lips of her ancient slit.  He saw more movement within the thicket of gray hair nestled between her legs – motion other than that of her fingers.  He shuddered.  A scream grew within his mind.  Something was twisting and writhing down and out and reaching toward him.

This can’t be happening, his brain screamed even as his legs tried to push him away from the squirming flesh.  He first thought they were tentacles, but he soon realized his error.  They were worse.  They were tongues – two twitching, reaching, grasping, bifurcated, blue-black appendages.

And, they were reaching for him.

“Welcome to hell, Darlin’.”  She raised her arms and stepped toward him. “I have so many wonderful things to show you.”

The old woman pressed herself against him, her sagging breasts surprisingly firm against his chest.  Her left hand slid up and behind his head as she tilted her face up to him and his down to her.  Her lips parted.  Her pustule-covered tongue darted over their flaky surface.  Despite his struggles, he felt his head pulled inexorably closer.  His nostrils filled with the stench of shit and rotting flesh.  Her lips pressed against his; her tongue stabbed into his mouth.

Monty screamed around the invading flesh and tried to push himself backwards into the car.  The doors were already closed.  He pushed helplessly against the steel panels as he felt his zipper pulled slowly down.  His erection grew to a tumescence he had never experienced in life.  The slippery tongues reached into his boxers.  As the black muscular flesh enveloped his engorged member, darkness claimed him.

*

Monty awoke face down on a hard laminate surface.  He frowned.  The last thing he remembered was being raped by an ancient hag on a flat plain under a red-orange sky.  The pain of his chafed, abraded organ told him it wasn’t a dream.  He also had the worst case of “blue balls” he had ever experienced.  His scrotum felt swollen to ten times its normal size and it ached like it had been used for field goal practice by an NFL place kicker.  His body screamed for release, but he was afraid to touch himself.

 A deep rumbling vibration thrummed throughout his body.  He heard a metallic rattling from somewhere above and behind him.  Slowly, he pushed himself to a sitting position and looked around.  He frowned.  He was sitting in the elevator car again.  A feeling of déjà vu washed over him.

Not again, he thought.  If this thing takes me to that old woman I’ll kill myself.

“Goin’ down.”

Monty shuddered.  “Rudolfo, right?”

“Afraid not,” the creature on the stool growled.  “What, we all look alike to you?  You racist or somethin’?”

“Um, no.  N-nothing like that.”

“ Oh.  So you think we only got one elevator, then.  You think this is sticksville or somethin’, don’tcha?  Listen, Bud.  This was a heavy duty, high class operation long before you came along.  Modern guys like you an’ Howard Hughes an’ all th’ rest think just cuz youse is th’ newest deads that nothin’ else before you was any good.  You don’t know it, but we hadda huge marble staircase that worked just fine.  Yeah, it was slow.  Yeah, all you newly-deads kept bleedin’ an’ pukin’ an’ pissin’ an’ shittin’ all over it, but, hey!  That only gave it character, y’unnerstand?”  The demon poked a blackened claw into the middle of Monty’s chest.  “There’s so many of you dyin’ up there and comin’ down here we’d never handle it with just one car.”

A cold dread filled Monty.  “You’re not taking me to that old hag again, are you?”

“Dubbayah, Dubbayah?  Nah. Fun time’s over.  Time t’get t’work.  Th’ Undertaker’s released ya back t’full duty status.”  The creature extended a green, scaly, black-tipped claw toward the panel and pressed a button.  The car halted.  “You’re overdue for orientation.  You musta had a real good time with the Welcome Woman.  I unnerstand she gives some great tongue action.”

Monty felt the acid burning in his throat as his gorge rose.

The doors rumbled open revealing a massive foyer.

“Hall of Injustice, hell’s Law Library.  All out!”  The demon kicked Monty forward.  As he pin-wheeled to keep his balance, the doors closed behind him.

He managed to keep from falling on his butt – barely.  As he smoothed his coat and shirt and brushed the ever present sprinkling of yellow dust from the lapels, he saw a little Greek-looking man wearing a gold-trimmed white robe hurrying toward him.  He was followed closely by an Egyptian-looking kid dressed in a crimson smock, gray slacks and gray sandals.  The boy wore heavy black eye makeup and there was no mistaking the adoration on his face when he looked at the older man.

What the hell, he thought.  The old guy looks Greek.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  Unless I’m supposed to defend one of them, it’s not my problem.

“My name is Demetrius.  I’m the Chief Librarian of hell’s Law Library.  And, you are late,” the figure scolded.  “Foreman and Belli are about to introduce the guest speaker.  For you to come in afterwards would be a horrible insult.  I ought to make you wait for the next group.”

Monty blinked and looked around.

“Over there.”  Demetrius pointed to where a number of men and women sat watching two others standing before them.  One looked to be the embodiment of every successful litigant who ever lived.  The other, not quite as impressive.  “Get moving or I will hold you back.”

*

This was not what Monty expected.  This was not how a lawyer of his stature and standing was supposed to be treated.  He listened to the speech and the pep talk from Justice Cardozo.  Yes, he, too, was a big deal in his day.  He handed down many important decisions in landmark cases; wrote dozens of scholarly reviews; yadda, yadda, yadda.  So, what?  He died in 1938.  That was almost a century before Monty had … died.  The world – and the law – had moved on.  In the modern world, Cardozo’s only value was as a precedent and resource material.

Afterwards he had to go with Belli to receive his assignment.  What was with that? Monty had been a very successful (and, well-paid) defense attorney.  What was with this tort crap?  That was for schmucks with no balls.  Yeah, insurance lawyers and corporate geeks made decent bread, but criminal law was where the stars came out to shine.  And, Monty was one of the brightest.

Then Belli gave him that slip of paper with his assignment on it and, before you could say “Goodbye, Porsche!” he was standing in a linoleum-tiled foyer.  In the center of the room, four couches had been arranged in a square.  A low table stood in the middle.  A wide vase rose from the table’s center, its glass throat filled with fake flowers on plastic stems.  Dusty, tattered leaves adorned the stems and flowers in lackluster and uncaring disarray.  Faded framed watercolors and bleached photographs hung crookedly on the walls.

He glanced at the slip of paper.

Golgotha Gardens Retirement Home

And Assisted Living Center

What the … a goddamn nursing home?

Monty looked up.  Men and women shuffled toward him like a scene from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.  Some had canes; others crutches.  Walkers squeak-thumped along the floor as the dead advanced.  Wheelchairs screeched their worn rubber tires as decrepit hands propelled them forward.  Uniformed demons moved here and there among the creeping tide, intent on their errands and oblivious to the human detritus around them despite the crisp nurse’s hats and starched uniforms each one wore.

The omnipresent rotten egg odor of sulfur was gone, replaced by the stomach-turning stench of old urine, feces, vomit, sweat, and decay.

Monty backed up until his butt hit a hard, unyielding surface.  He reached behind him; his hand brushed a metallic lever shape – a door handle.  Frantically he worked it until the door opened.  A clawed hand gripped his right shoulder and pulled him through the doorway and into a lighted office and then slammed the door.

“Aaron Montgomery?”

The voice was feminine, sultry, and so seductive that Monty felt himself rising in response despite the intense pain of his previous encounter.  With the pain and erection came the memory.  He spun and placed his back against the closed door.

“Ooo.  Are we jumpy?”

The source of the voice was the most beautiful woman Monty had ever seen this close. The top of her upturned head came to just below his nose.  Her shimmering blue-black hair was parted in the middle and cascaded down each side of her round face.  The tips of her pointed ears only added to her sex kitten charms.  Dainty, pointed little white teeth peeked from behind full, scarlet lips.  Her tiny bifurcated tongue darted ever so coyly – now peeking, now hiding.  He decided that her delicate green scales only heightened her beauty.  Her big, round, yellow eyes with their catlike, vertical slits captured his heart completely.

She took a deep breath revealing a cleavage that mortal women vainly paid thousands and tens of thousands of dollars to acquire, only to fall short of this creature’s magnificence.  Pain filled his brain from his already tortured penis.  Even as he clutched himself in agony he knew he had to have her at any cost.

“Cool it, Mac,” the succubus said, pitching her voice into a less seductive register.  “You don’t want this.  You ain’t getting this.  That ain’t my assignment.”

After several very long moments (for Monty), the room’s pheromone saturation dropped enough for him to think clearly and for his painful erection to subside.  He looked around the office.  Dark wood panels glistened below the wainscoting.  Pale green patterned paper – possibly flowers but most likely leering demon faces – covered the walls above.  A dark brown leather chair stood behind the mahogany desk.  It took Monty a moment to realize that there was no computer – no office equipment of any kind – on top of the desk.  All that was there were a leather-cornered blotter, ‘in’ and ‘out’ trays (the ‘in’ stuffed to overflowing, the ‘out’ bare and dusty), a pen holder, and a black, rotary dial telephone.

“Whose desk is this,” he asked.

“Yours, of course.  I hope you didn’t think I was going to sit here for hours on end listening to them whine and bitch and moan, did you?”

Outside the office the lesser demons and imps gathered the residents.  The line started at Monty’s office door and extended down an infinite (literally) corridor as people shuffled papers, looked through valises and briefcases, and otherwise prepared for their meeting with the home’s new administrator.

Monty lifted one of the slats from the mini-blind that covered his office window and looked out at the waiting people.

“Who are those people?” he asked.  “And, why is there a rest home in hell?”

The succubus smiled.  “These people weren’t patients when they were alive.  Oh, no.  Far from it.  These were the ones – the nurses, the orderlies, the administrators, the inspectors, and the families of those unfortunates left to finish out their existence in squalor, indifference, and neglect.”

Monty shuddered as he dropped the slat and turned around.  “So, what is my role?”

“Your role is to sit here and listen to each and every one of them.  You are to help them with their estate planning, trusts, and wills.”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“Not at all.  You will find that almost every one of them is absolutely certain that they brought it with them.”  She paused and licked her lips.  “And, you have one other duty.”

Monty groaned inwardly.  “And, that is?”

“You are their intermediary, their ombudsman.  It is your job to listen to their complaints, fill out the proper forms, and present those complaints to HSM for proper resolution.”

“HSM?”

“His Satanic Majesty, of course.”

“Of course.  So, when does this farce begin?”

“It’s not a farce, and it begins now.  Take your seat.  I’m about to open the door and let you meet your first client.”

*

“This is all a mistake,” the middle-aged woman in the nurse’s uniform whined.  Her fat rolls wiggled like Jell-O as she daubed at her eyes with a mascara streaked tissue.  “I took great care of my patients.  I treated them like family.  I washed them and dressed them.  I made sure they had clean sheets.”

Monty looked at the file on his desk.

Johanssen, Maureen.  Age at death: forty-three.  There followed all of the expected data about school, training, experience, family, et cetera.  What caught his eye was the notation regarding her reason for assignment to the home.  Whenever her patients developed life-threatening conditions, she waited until the last possible moment to call the ambulance so that the institution where she worked would collect every possible penny from Medicare and Medicaid.

Glad I didn’t have to depend on her for my care, he thought as he scribbled a note on the Infernal Action Request Form.

“Exactly what sort of remedial action are you requesting, Mrs. Johanssen?”

Before she could reply, Monty felt suddenly dizzy.  A sensation of vertigo washed over him.  The office shimmered before his eyes and then vanished.

The dizziness vanished along with his office.

Monty rubbed his eyes and looked around.  He stood in a massive room.  Red, polished sandstone formed graceful Moorish arches creating walls open on all four sides.  Muslin sheets – bleached white and gauzy – billowed on the dry desert wind blowing in from one side.  Persian rugs decorated the smooth stone floor.  A low, square table covered in marble and supported by curved, intricately-carved leg stood in the center of the room.  A silver coffee pitcher and two dainty demitasse cups in wrought silver holders sat on top.  Thick, tasseled cushions lay on the floor on all sides of the table.  A hookah-bottle of green glass trimmed in brass and sporting two tubes tipped with ivory mouthpieces stood near one corner of the table.  Small silver cream and sugar pitchers rested on an ornate oval service platter.  A silver ewer with droplets of condensation on its sides was positioned close.  Elegant gold-rimmed crystal goblets decorated with gold filigree surrounded the vessel.

Through the arches came the distant sounds of voices, of vendors calling out their wares, the bleating of sheep and the braying camels and donkeys.  He heard the clatter of hooves as horses walked on stone streets.  Bells tinkled and music drifted on the wind.  Although he spoke none of the Arabic tongues, the picture was clear enough to Monty.  Somewhere beyond the arches was a market.  It was exactly as he imagined Marrakesh or Tunis or even Cairo might sound.

“Please be seated, noble sir.”

He turned.  A beautiful black-haired woman (odalisque?) had slipped silently into the room.  Standing less than five feet tall, she was quite a bit shorter than he.  Her figure was petite, yet deliciously rounded.  She wore a loose-fitting harem outfit.  The diaphanous fabric revealed as much as it showed.  The lavender blouse and aqua trousers were so pale they were more hints of color than actual hues.  She pointed a graceful arm at the table and cushions.

“My master will join you shortly,” she smiled, her cheeks dimpling and her dark eyes downcast.  A kind of circlet of brass wire with tiny brass bells hanging from it circled her head just at the top of her forehead.  “I am instructed to see to your comfort until then.  If you wish, I will serve you coffee at the table.  Or, if coffee is not to your liking, I can bring you juice or water or tea.”

“T-thank you,” Monty stammered as he turned and walked toward the table.  Before he had taken two steps she had somehow slipped his suit jacket from his shoulders in a deft and mostly invisible motion.  One moment he was wearing it; the next she had it draped over one arm.

“I will have one of the household slaves take care of your garment while you and my master converse.  It shall be as new when you are ready to depart.”

So, Hell has a one-hour dry cleaning service, he thought.  He sat down, cross-legged, on a cushion and looked around again.  He felt like a backwoods bumpkin visiting a well-to-do city cousin for the first time.  He thought for a moment and then shook his head.  No, that wasn’t quite right.  There was none of the rub-your-face-in-it garishness of the nouveau riche.  This was the simple elegance of a palace – the more impressive because of its understated presence.  He felt it more than he saw it.

“Coffee?”

He looked to his left.  She knelt on the cushion beside him holding the silver vessel in both hands.  The position pulled the fabric taut across her right breast revealing a slightly oval silver dollar-sized aureole.  His breath caught in anticipation of a painful response, yet the stirring in his groin was surprisingly pleasant.  He slowly, carefully relaxed.

“Please,” he smiled as he reached for one of the dainty cups and held it toward the curved spout.  The aroma from the thick dark liquid filled his nostrils and he suddenly realized that it was the first pleasant, appetizing thing he’d smelled since his passing over.  He took a deeper breath.  The girl’s perfume – heady and intoxicating – washed over his senses like a tsunami.  Riding the aromatic wave were notes of coffee, of course, but also notes of fruity essences and a dry spiciness he couldn’t quite identify.  Saffron?  Sesame oil?  Clove?  Frankincense?  All of them and more besides.  He swayed, nearly reeled from the olfactory onslaught.

One thing was missing: the noxious stench of brimstone.

“So, how do you like the torture, damnation, and deprivation over there in New Hell?”  A tall, dark-complexioned man asked.  The newcomer walked toward the table.  Monty started to rise but the man gestured for him to remain seated.

“Please forgive the disconcerting method I had to employ to bring you to me.  I imagine you are – or were in life, anyway – more accustomed to having someone send a car and driver.”  The man spread his arms in a “what can we do” expression as he folded his long legs and sat opposite.  His white linen suit was impeccably pressed.  The white silk shirt fairly glowed against his dark skin showing above the open collar.  His smile and open demeanor put Monty in mind of Omar Sharif, a former movie star.  “The Goetic faction likes to control the comings and goings within their realm.  Of course, we do, too.”

“This isn’t New Hell?”

“Take a deep breath, my friend.”  His host closed his eyes and inhaled expanding his chest fully, then slowly breathed out.  “Does every breath you take here smell like flatulence?”

“No,” Monty conceded.  “It doesn’t.  In fact, it smells fantastic after breathing the daily sewer for – for however long I’ve been breathing it.  I’ve wondered about that.  I’m supposed to be dead.  Why am I breathing?”

“For amusement.”

“Amusement?”

“Of course.  Anyone – excuse me, any being that runs an operation built around punishment and torture and pain and suffering must be some kind of sadist, don’t you think?”  Monty’s host gently clapped his hands together.  As the female slave filled his cup with coffee he asked Monty, “I trust that Mari has seen to your comfort.”

“Yes, indeed, sir.”  Monty held up his cup and took a sip.  The thick, dark liquid was strong and bitter.  After the food and drink offered in New Hell, however, he found it ambrosial.  He set the cup on the table and stared at it for a moment.  He shook his head, a wan smile on his lips.

“Is the coffee not to your liking?”

“It’s fine. Strong, but fine.”

“Then I fail to understand your facial expression.”

“Who are you?”  Monty looked up.  “What’s really going on here?”

“I doubt that my name would mean anything to you.”

Monty leaned back and crossed his arms.  “You’re probably right,” he replied.  “Religion was never the strongest part of my life, which probably explains why I’m in this mess.  Since I’ve been here I’ve been raped by an old woman whose pussy sprouted tongues covered in sores that felt like sandpaper.  Since then, every time I get hard, the pain is harsh.  Imps insulted me and took me places on elevators that only had one destination, yet delivered me to different places.  I found myself assigned to work as an ombudsman and legal advisor in a nursing home filled with former nursing home owners and caretakers.  My secretary is a succubus so provocative that I find myself with a perpetual erection and constant agony.  I’ve breathed air and fumes and gasses that would gag a maggot.  I’ve had drink that – on its best day – was flat and tasteless, although most times it had the flavor and consistency of industrial waste.  I eat the food because for some reason dead people need to eat down here.  Alive, I would have been afraid to dump it into the garbage for fear the EPA would hunt me down and throw me in jail.

“Suddenly, I find myself yanked out of my dreary office to a desert palace.  The air smells like perfume.  The hard-on I get from looking at this beautiful woman doesn’t cause me excruciating pain.  The coffee tastes like strong, bitter, wonderful coffee.  The fruits look fresh and smell enticing.

“So, I find myself waiting for the sound.”  Monty took a deep breath and let it out in a long, drawn-out sigh.  “I’m waiting for the thump of the missing shoe.  I’m tired of being someone else’s play-toy.  Who or what are you?  Why have you brought me here?  Is it to remind me of what I no longer have?  Just how much shit do I have to shovel for you and where do you want it dumped?”

His host’s black eyes glittered as he looked at Monty.  Despite the hand rubbing across his beardless chin and hiding his mouth, Monty could tell he was smiling.

“I realize this is hell,” Monty continued.  “It’s all part of the grand, celestial game to make me and other sinful mortals suffer.  I get it.  Can we dispense with all of this and let me get back to the hell I was already in?”

“In spite of all that was done to you, you still have the courage to demand respect.”  The man stood.  “You have the intestinal fortitude to look me in the eye and demand that I treat you as a man.”

Monty shrugged.  “What are you going to do to me?  Kill me?  Send me to hell?  Sorry.  Already dead.  Already there.  I’m not courageous.  I’m just tired.”

“I believe I have chosen well.”  The tall man spread his arms.  His body shifted and changed as Monty watched.  “You asked for the truth and you shall have it.  Behold!”

Marty swallowed, but the hard lump in his throat refused to budge.  The being in front of him could only exist in a nightmare.  The head rising above the silk shirt collar and smooth lapel was a lion’s – long, sharp teeth, rounded furry ears trimmed in black, tawny mane streaked with sable strands, and long, twitching whiskers.  Its thin black lips curled upward in a snarl.  Its nostrils flared and its gold-colored eyes with their vertical pupils sparked as it spoke.  Two pairs of wings sprouted from its back and twitched menacingly.  A scorpion-like tail curved back and up over the being’s head.  After his experience with the Welcome Woman upon his arrival, Monty really did not want to know what was squirming inside of the football-sized bulge at the being’s crotch.  He shuddered at the memory.

“I am called Pazuzu,” the being’s voice rumbled across the marble floor.  “In Babylon of old, I was worshipped and feared.  Believers filled my temple with gold and myrrh and silk and precious gems.”

Monty scrambled backward, his eyes never leaving the horror towering above him.  When the creature failed to pursue, he stopped.  The more he looked at the demon, the more familiar he seemed.

“I-I’ve seen you somewhere,” he stammered.  With the light behind its wings, it formed a haloed silhouette that was mildly frightening, but more and more something of memory rather than nightmare.  Suddenly, he had it. “A movie!  The Exorcist!  You were the demon that possessed that girl.”

Pazuzu seemed to shrink a little.  “Is that what I’ve come to?  A motion-picture monster? Is that how I’m remembered up there?”

“Don’t knock it.  It was a pretty scary movie when it came out back in the seventies.”

“Yes, well, that is the problem, I’m afraid.  Image and following.  Nothing’s been the same since Jehovah sent his rejects down to the fiery pits.”  Pazuzu began to pace as he spoke. “First we had all of that sulfur smell drifting into our little paradise.  Then, Jehovah sends his followers all over the deserts, pillaging Palestine, eliminating the Pharaoh’s troops.”

Pazuzu turned with a chuckle.  “I have to admit, though, that his trick with the Red Sea when he had it drown all those soldiers was classic.  How stupid were those officers?  Come on, even a Philistine could have seen it was a trap.  I mean, could it have been more obvious?”

Monty shook his head.  This was not how he expected the conversation to go after the creature changed form.

“When they came out of the desert, though, that’s when it all started going to hell – literally.  Sodom.  Gomorrah.  Jericho.  I don’t know what was going on in the desert all those years, but when they came out they started kicking some major ass.  Yeah, they had their setbacks, but for the most part they were unstoppable.  When they took on Babylon and Damascus, well…”  The demon stopped and shook his head.  He sighed.  “I guess we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves.  We just didn’t take them seriously.  And, we didn’t think Jehovah would intervene as often as he did.  The gods all thought there was some sort of unwritten code or something.  You know, I fight you, you try to kill me, but we leave the mortals out of it.

“Things kind of quieted down for a while.  Yahweh had Jerusalem and Canaan and all those countries down by the Jordan River.  Ra and his bunch had Egypt.  We had Persia.  There was a balance of power and everyone was happy.  Not Yahweh, though.  It should have been enough that he had hell and the area around the Sinai and the Eastern Mediterranean.  No, he had to have more.  He wasn’t going to be happy until he had it all.

“So along comes this carpenter.”  Pazuzu paused and looked directly at Monty.  “I ask you.  Who would take a carpenter and his band of hippies seriously?  Would you?  We certainly didn’t.”

“Is there a point to this story?”  Monty started to refill his coffee cup but Mari was quicker.  She materialized by the table and filled his cup.  She held a silver tray piled with fruits toward him.  He took a huge strawberry from the stack and leaned back.

“What?  Do you have somewhere to go?  Are you in a hurry to listen to Madame Greylocks’s whining?  If so, I’ll send you back.”

“No, no,” Monty responded quickly as smells and sights and sounds from the rest home flooded his memory.  “I’m not in any hurry.  I was just wondering where this history lesson was leading, that’s all.”

Pazuzu looked closely at him, eyes narrowed.  Finally, mollified, the demon continued his discourse.

“We did not take the carpenter seriously and that was our undoing.  How were we to know that his bloody death would create a sub sect of Yahweh worship that would grow until it swept around the world like a wildfire fanned by a Santa Ana wind?

“That was bad enough.  We felt it had somehow missed us.  None of our followers seemed interested, until another upstart god entered the contest.  His name was Allah and his champion was Mohammed.  Those who avoided the Christ banner leaped for the Prophet’s call to arms.”

Pazuzu sighed.  “And, here we sit, like a bunch of Kathy Griffins on a polytheistic D-list.”

“So, who is this we you say are on the D-list?”

Pazuzu waved dismissively.  “I doubt that you’ve heard of them.  No one cares about the old ones anymore.”

“Humor me, please.”

“Do the names Apsu, Marduk, Mummu, or Ba’al mean anything to you?”

“I’ve heard the names Marduk and Ba’al before.  Not the others.  As I recall, they weren’t all that nice.  Didn’t that last one require his followers to throw babies into his statue’s burning belly?”

“Propaganda.  Lies spread to demonize a culture being conquered.  So, you actually know nothing about them.”

“I guess I don’t.”

Pazuzu sighed.  “That’s exactly what I mean.  There was a time when the mere whisper of our names caused fear and anguish.  Nations trembled before us.”

“So, what does this all have to do with me?”  Monty sipped his coffee.  Despite Pazuzu’s protest, he was pretty sure about the baby issue.  When he set the cup back on the table Mari quickly refilled the cup.  She handed him another fist-sized strawberry.  “And, where do you get these magnificent strawberries?”  Monty bit into the berry and allowed the sweet yet slightly tart juice to trickle down his throat.

“Well, to put it succinctly, we want to regain our position in the celestial hierarchy, and we want you to help us.”

Monty choked.  Once his coughing subsided and he wiped the tears from his eyes, he laughed.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.  How on earth – I mean, how in hell am I supposed to do what you, a demon, cannot?  Or will not.  I’m sorry but taking on His Satanic Majesty and his legions of demons is just a bit out of my league.”

Pazuzu tilted his head back and laughed, a sound not too dissimilar to a volcanic eruption.

“Take on Satan and his demons,” he said, still chuckling.  “What a concept.  What an ego.  Did you really think we would even consider such foolishness?”

“That’s what it was starting to sound like to me.”

“No, no, no, no, no, my friend.”  Pazuzu changed back to human form.  “I – we have nothing so dramatic in mind.

“We know that we have neither the power nor the numbers to take on Satan and his gang in a stand-up fight.  Even if we should try such a thing and find ourselves winning, Yahweh would step in and throw his angelic host into the fray.  No, my friend, a head-to-head conflict is a losing proposition.”  Pazuzu took a sip from his cup.

“We plan to take a page from Yahweh’s own book.  It will take a long time, but we have eternity in which to work.  We shall work from within.  An insurgency, if you will.  We will encourage some events already taking place, such as Che Guevara’s intermittent revolution.  And, we shall add to that some minor irritants – political itching powder, if you will – designed to weaken the belief that the status quo is invincible.  Stir the pot a little and add a dash of promise and voila!  Suddenly, the powers that be no longer exert the same control and New Hell becomes New Babylon.  No muss, no fuss, no god wars.”

Monty stared at Pazuzu for a long time.  “Do you really think that will work?” he finally asked.

Pazuzu shrugged.  “Why not? And, even if it doesn’t, so what?  If nothing else, it will relieve the tedium of eternity.  Think about it.  Do you want to spend forever listening to the same bitching and griping, day in and day out?  Eating the same tasteless food?  Drinking the same rancid water?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have the zing and zest of a secret mission to add a tang to your existence?”

Monty paced while he considered Pazuzu’s words, unmindful of the breach of protocol.  Finally, he turned to the being.  “So, what do I have to do?”

“Right now, nothing.  Watch and wait.  There will soon come a time when they pull you out of your current torment to have some fun with you.  They will probably put you into some kind of no-win scenario.  I don’t know what it will be, but I have faith that you will recognize it.

“When they do, go along with it.  Make them believe that you are trying your best, giving it your all.  In the meantime, look for your opportunity to turn it in a way that they didn’t expect.  They are bored bullies and they are not nearly as smart as they think they are.”  Pazuzu chuckled to himself.  “No, my friend, not nearly.  When the time comes, pull your switch.”

Monty shook his head, his doubts plain on his face.  “How could that possibly help you?”

“By itself, it won’t.  But, if you do it here, and someone else does it over there, and something happens in this alley, then the actions accrue and the image that the demons might not be all-powerful begins to spread.  As it spreads, their control weakens.  The more they try to fight it, the worse it gets.”

“So, what’s in it for me?”

“In the short run, probably nothing.  In the long run, maybe nothing still.”  Pazuzu winked.  “Then, again, maybe you’ll get another good cup of coffee.”

Suddenly, Monty was sitting behind his desk.  In his hand was an Infernal Action Request form.  Opposite him Mrs. Johanssen was staring at him, her expression uncertain.

“Well, I was hoping that you would take it up with whoever’s in charge of these things,” she finally said.  “You look like such a nice man.  They’re bound to listen to you.”

Monty took a deep breath and instantly regretted it.  The mixture of smells – rest home neglect coupled with the rotten egg stench of sulfur – was too much.  He barely turned over the trash can in time as his stomach violently ejected everything he’d eaten and drunk.  After several minutes of spasmodic upheaval, he was finally able to sit upright and wipe his lips with a coarse, brown tissue.

Well, he thought, at least I have the memory.

*

The room was huge – enormous – far larger than any office he’d ever seen.  The panels of the drop ceiling were at least fifteen feet above his head.  The dark paneled walls formed a cube forty feet square.  Looking around, Monty noticed that the only furniture was the receptionist’s desk, a massive highly-polished redwood structure.  A computer monitor faced away from him at an angle.  The keyboard, mouse, and mouse pad sat neatly in the center of the far side of the desk.  A slender but well-endowed platinum-haired woman sat in a thickly-padded, oxblood leather chair while she typed, hunt and peck fashion, on an old IBM Selectric typewriter.  The woman looked familiar, but Monty could not figure out why.

Set inside recesses in the wall behind her desk on either side stood two massive oak doors.  Between them, in thick gold letters, were the words:



Asmoday, Amdusias, Amon, Marchosias,

Marbas & Zepar

Attorneys At Law



Monty relaxed.  A law office!  At last he was on familiar ground.  A long, narrow carpet runner stretched from the elevator doors to the front of the desk.  It was a garish, imitation Persian design.  Twisted shapes in gold and crimson and black and orange turned and writhed like snakes or worms.  He walked gingerly toward the desk expecting to feel the reptiles wriggling beneath his shoes.  All he felt was solid floor.

“Do you have an appointment?”  The voice was sultry, Midwestern sexy, and full of feminine allure.  The receptionist had turned from her typing and now faced him.  Only now did he realize how petite she was.  He didn’t need a hairdresser to know that her hair came from a peroxide bottle.  Although she was very pretty – starlet beautiful, in fact – the retro thirties look with the too red lipstick and the rouge did nothing for him.  Still, there was something familiar, something about those wide green eyes…

“Jean, is my two o’clock appointment here, yet?” the intercom on her desk buzzed.

“I think he just arrived, Mister M.”  The woman replied, leaning forward to speak into the machine and giving Monty a generous view of her ample cleavage.  She looked up at Monty questioningly.

He shrugged.  “I don’t know.  I guess I am.  A moment ago I was sitting at my desk giving estate planning advice, and the next; I’m standing here talking to you.”

“It’s him, Mister M.”

“Very good, Jean.  Would you bring him to Conference Room B, please?  And, see what he would like to drink and get it for him.”

Monty glanced at a black nameplate framed in brass.  The engraved white read:  J. Harlow. Of course!  The original blonde bombshell of the 1930’s.

“Right away, Mister M.”  The woman stood and turned toward the door on the left.  “Would you follow me, please, Mister…”

“Montgomery,” he replied as he tried to race her to the door.  “Aaron Montgomery.  You can call me Monty.”

She beat him and held it open with her left hand as she slipped through the portal ahead of him.  He trailed behind while his eyes followed the figure eight movement of her almost perfect ass even though he knew it was pointless.  After two twists, they reached a conference room.  The room was large – forty feet long and twenty-five wide.  In the center stood a massive conference table.  The highly polished and oiled mahogany surface reflected the overhead fluorescent lights like a mirror.  The top was three feet wide at either end but widened at the middle to four feet.  A luxurious leather captain’s chair sat at either end.  Five leather armchairs graced each side.  One end of the room sported a huge whiteboard with markers in the metal tray along the bottom edge.  The wall opposite was plain with a low mahogany credenza between it and the end of the table.  Both long walls were wood framed glass panels looking out over rows of cubicles.

The receptionist indicated the nearest chair.  “Please have a seat.  Mister M will be with you shortly.  Would you like something to drink?”

What the hell, he thought.  “Would it be possible to get a small Scotch?”

“Certainly,” she smiled.  “Would you like that with cola, on the rocks, or neat?”

“On the rocks, please,” he replied barely concealing his surprise.

“I’ll just be a moment.”

He watched as she turned and gyrated through the door.

Five minutes later she returned, placed a napkin on the smooth surface, and set a heavy glass tumbler in front of him.  Ice cubes tinkled against the sides as Monty picked it up and took a sip.

He almost spit it out, but managed to gag it down.  It tasted like industrial sludge.  He wiped his mouth with the napkin and sat back.

He waited.

And, waited.

Thirty minutes passed.  Suddenly, he looked up as the conference room door slammed open.  The being striding toward him put him in mind of horror stories.  It stood a little over six feet tall and had a man’s torso, but that was where any species kinship ended.  Rising from the neck of the tailored suit was the head of a wolf.  A serpent’s tail exited the seat of the trousers and writhed behind the creature.  Griffin’s wings rose from between its shoulders.  It pulled a chair away from the table and sat next to Monty.

“I am the Marquis Marchosias,” said the demon as he extended his hand.  “I am one of the senior partners in this firm.”

Reflexively he reached for the creature’s paw.  As they made contact he felt its flesh squirm and shift.  Before he could pull back, however, the paw had changed to a hand and the winged werewolf to a well-dressed older – and human – male with silver hair and glowing, red-flecked gray eyes.  The man was fit, too, judging from his grip.  His olive complexion spoke to a Mediterranean or even Middle Eastern heritage.

Although disconcerted by the shape change, Monty started to rise.

Marchosias shook his head as he released Monty’s hand and made an off-hand gesture for him to stay seated.

“My legal team – of which you are now the most junior – has been given an interesting case.  Since you were a defense attorney when you were alive, this should be right up your alley.”

Monty tried not to fidget.  This was a demon, after all, and according to all he’d ever read or seen in movies or experienced here, their acquaintance with the truth was distant at best.

“It’s a simple case.  A defamation of character suit.”  Marchosias smiled, showing a full set of lupine teeth bristling within his human mouth.  “The defendant, our client, is a writer named Bram Stoker.”

Monty groaned.  He could see where this was going and he did not like it.

“You’ve heard of him, then.  Good.  That makes it so much better.”

“Who filed the suit?” Monty croaked through his constricted throat.

Marchosias glanced at a document lying on the far end of the table.  “Let me get this right.  It says here Prince Vlad III Drakulya aka Vlad Tepes aka Drakulja, Prince of Wallachia and Transylvania.  I believe that is part of Rumania.”

Of course.  Who else could it be?  Monty slumped in his seat.  “Not that I think it will matter, but who is the opposing counsel?”

The demon sat on the end of the table.  “It’s a team.  Two men – Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.  From what I understand they are quite good, despite their differences.”

Monty looked up.  “Differences?”

“They’ve hated each other for over two centuries.”

“Maybe I can use that,” Monty mused.  He didn’t really believe it, but the thinnest of slivers looked like a raft to a drowning man.

“I doubt it.  They usually put aside their differences inside the courtroom.”

“This could be difficult,” Monty said, shaking his head.  “The historical – the real – Vlad Tepes was many things.  He was never a vampire.  There’s no such thing except in horror stories.”

Marchosias leaned down until he was nose-to-nose with Monty.  “You’re a lawyer.  What does reality have to do with anything?  Besides, you misunderstand me.  I don’t want you to win this case.  I want you to lose it.”

Monty’s head snapped up from looking at the papers.  “Lose it?”

“Exactly.”

“But, he’s our client.”

“Yes.”

“We’re supposed to defend him.”

“And, we will.”

“But, you just said…”

“I told you that you must lose the case.”  Marchosias smiled.  “I fail to see your dilemma.  Defend him.  Just don’t win.”

“But, he’s our client.”

“So is the prince.”

Monty looked down at the paper.  This made no sense.  It was a clear conflict of interest.

Marchosias leaned close to Monty’s downturned face.  “Do not even consider recusing yourself or this firm.  That is not an option.”

Monty didn’t trust his voice so he nodded instead.  His nose wrinkled in disgust.  Didn’t anyone use breath mints in hell?

“I will leave you to your thoughts,” the demon said as he left the room.  “Just remember.  You must not win.”

Monty remained in the leather chair.  He stared at the white board while he collected his thoughts and tried to map a strategy.  Obviously, he could not prove the prince was a real vampire.  They did not exist.

He shook his head.  He couldn’t use that, anyway.  It would be a win.

How common was the name Dracula in Rumania?  Were the names spelled the same?

Stop it, his mind screamed.  That’s a winning strategy.

In the book, Stoker referred to him as Count Dracula.  The man suing Stoker was Prince Drakulya.  Obviously a count was lower on the food chain than a prince, so that was another difference.  How many more discrepancies could he find?  Monty glanced at the end of the conference table.  The legal paper was still there.  He leaned forward and pulled it toward him. He scanned until he found the name.  Drakulya. Prince Drakulya, not Count Dracula. He felt his hopes lifting.  Was it enough?

Quit thinking like that!

He needed to do more research.  Perhaps the library was open.  Although he’d seen tens of thousands of shelves filled with books and scrolls, and clay tablets and stone, he’d also seen computers.  If the database was up to date – a big if in this place – then it might not be such a daunting task.  He picked up the legal documents and quickly scanned the first page.

Monty sat in the chair for a long time, afraid to move, terrified to breathe.  He had time to understand one thing.

It was possible to be frightened enough to wet your pants, even in hell.



*



Monty sat at the defendant’s table with his elbows on the hard, wooden surface and his hands over his eyes.  So far this “cakewalk” case had been anything but.  With flowery, eighteenth century oratory, Aaron Burr had stipulated all of the damning history of Prince Vlad with indifferent aplomb.

Did he kill tens of thousands of Turks?  So stipulated.

Did he nail the turbans onto the heads of three of Sultan Mehmed II’s emissaries for refusing to remove them in his court?  So stipulated.

Was that really him depicted in the woodcutting eating his dinner while Turkish soldiers hung around him in a forest of poles, impaled and dying?  Again, so stipulated.

And, in the end, irrelevant.  Yes, he was a monster.  Yes, a tyrant.  And, yes, sadistic, even for his times.

But, was he a vampire as depicted by Bram Stoker’s infamous novel, the same book as the one lying on the evidence table and marked as Plaintiff’s Exhibit C?

Defense had yet to make its case.  Monty shied away from the discrepancies, although it went against every part of his nature.  His fiery, competitive nature screamed at him to go for the jugular.  The knockout punch was easily within his reach, but he dared not swing.  It looked like Marchosias was going to get his loss.

Monty glanced at his client.  Stoker was a well-dressed heavy set man in his mid-sixties.  He had a full head of dark hair along with a reddish brown beard and moustache.  He also stank.  His face bore swellings and nodules characteristic of tertiary syphilis, the disease that had claimed his life – or at least had contributed to his demise.  In life, these would have been unremarkable bumps and swellings.  In Hell, however, nothing was ever that simple or easy.  The bumps turned into pustules that burst and ruptured, oozing a noxious thick shiny liquid that made Monty wish he could smell the brimstone once more.

He stood and walked slowly toward the evidence table, more to clear his nasal passages of the stench of his client’s disease than because he had any clear strategy.  Without thinking, he picked up the book.

“This book,” he intoned as he absently opened the cover and slowly turned the first two pages.  “This novel is the crux of this case.”

He paused.  A paragraph caught his eye.  He read it twice, keeping his emotions in check.  Was the solution really this simple?

He looked to the rear of the courtroom, to the back row of seats in the gallery.  Marchosias sat in the far left corner.  How much loyalty did he owe to the demon’s cause?

Suddenly, Pazuzu’s words echoed in his mind:  There will soon come a time when they pull you out of your current torment to have some fun with you.  They will probably put you into some kind of no-win scenario.  I don’t know what it will be, but I have faith that you will recognize it.

Marchosias stood for everything he’d endured since his arrival.  The Welcome Woman, the belittling, the lowly posting in the rest home – all of it.  What had Pazuzu done to him?  Besides yank him from that demeaning task, treat him like a human being, and give him a chance to at least feel like he had value?

A snatch of song – Won’t Get Fooled Again, by a group called the Who – ran through his mind:

Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

Both regimes might be the same in the end but he knew one thing for sure.  The current regime was full of crap.

“Your Dishonor,” he began.  “Plaintiff has stated – and read into evidence – this book as proof that my client defamed and impugned the character of his client, Prince Vlad III Drakulya, is that not correct?”

“It is.”

“I beg the court’s indulgence while I read a passage printed in the front of this book, and I quote:

This is a work of fiction.  All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

“If it pleases the court, I move that this case be dismissed.”

*

Aaron “Monty” Montgomery awoke face down on a hard laminate surface.  A deep rumbling vibration thrummed throughout his body.  He heard a metallic rattling from somewhere above and behind him.  He smiled.  It would be interesting to see how long before the insurrection would take hold.  He certainly had time to find out.  And, maybe, just maybe, he’d get a decent cup of coffee.
Disclaimer, © John Manning; Perseid Publishing, 2011
2011© Lawyers in Hell (Janet Morris), 2011, all rights reserved

Gäste sind momentan nicht mehr berechtigt Kommentare zu schreiben, da täglich bis zu 200 Spamkommentare gelöscht werden mussten.

Bitte registriert Euch beim Zauberspiegel. Wir suchen nach einer Lösung.