Devilish Dealings and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Submitted into Contest #215 in response to: Write a story about someone making a deal with the devil.... view prompt


Fiction Funny

I’ve closed my fair share of deals. Some may say that I’m the original, the greatest businessman. The oiliest, sleaziest, the best at taking advantage of vulnerable people. But that isn’t wholly true. I feed the greed festering within people. I tempt their darkest desires, and you’d be surprised how quickly they bite.

You’d also be surprised at how monotonous it gets to witness people’s bleakest hours. It’s my 9-5. Even a human would become desensitized after dealing with it regularly. There are only so many things that a person will sell their soul for. It becomes a pattern. Humans are so simple it’s boring, particularly when they’re in crisis– a brain operating in fight-or-flight runs its most basic script. No matter how diverse the people I cross are, they’re all the same person.

A grown man who drains his parents’ retirement to invest in his failing start-up, desperate for success. A kid clamoring for fame, tired of eating canned beans in the back of his van and showering at the Y. People always have a reason for conceding, and always at their lowest point. Addictions, dead family members. Snooze, bore.


I seek them out at rock bottom and carefully craft the arrangements myself. Never before have I been summoned for one. So imagine my surprise as I poof onto the doorstep here. Into the center of a neighborhood that's obviously in the grip of an oppressive HOA, with rows of identical, crisply painted Craftsmans. This particular one has an unfortunate number of garden gnomes occupying the front yard, their little red hats stabbing out of the grass.

The front door is ajar– I’m expected. I know where I’m supposed to go, called by an unknown source, like a thread at the center of my sternum pulls forward. Family portraits line the hallway, featuring a young happy couple, two curly blond children dressed in their Sunday best, and a golden retriever.

I open the door to a study that’s been converted into a personal office. It’s dark, candlelit, but I catch pieces of the room as they’re divulged by the light– the gold crested bindings that fill the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves behind a grand desk, itself thickly polished so it looks wet in the wavering shadows.

A man sits cross-legged in the middle of an Afghan rug. He’s dressed in a button-up and khakis, sat in front of an open book, in the middle of a salt circle. I don’t know what evil the salt is meant to protect him from, seeing as he’s summoning the literal devil.



I silently wait for him to continue. I swell my presence and manifest a halo of flame behind me, intense heat radiating from the fire. He looks me in the eyes, unfazed. It’s unsettling. Every human I’ve met before has feared me. As they should.

“I would like to make a deal,” he states in an indifferent tone, as if he were asking for a pack of cigarettes from behind a gas station cashier.

“What is it you wish for?” My voice booms off the walls. Only now does he look rattled, as my words individually crawl and slither into his ear.

“A Klondike bar.”

“What.” The flames behind me dampen, my voice an ordinary volume.

“Those ice cream sandwiches.”

“You want a lifetime supply of ice cream sandwiches?”

“That’s even better. I was just going to ask for the one. Yes, let’s do a lifetime.”

“You can have anything in the world,” I try to tempt him. That’s what I do – or what I’m supposed to do. Convince them to sell their soul by dangling desires an inch above their ravenous mouths. What is this? Far from any of my typical cases.

“I know.”

“And you want ice cream sandwiches?”

“Klondike bars, specifically. Thanks.”

He speaks unequivocally, cutting himself short before exposing anything of interest. His facial expressions are unrevealing. Who is this man? Why is he doing this? He has a well-maintained façade—I can see it, but not through it.

It must be gluttony. He’s simply being coy. I have made deals for lust, greed, vanity. Why not gluttony?

I force myself to accept this as the case. Even if it isn’t true, at least I can find some sort of explanation. It’s enough to satisfy my craving for answers.

I twirl my fingers and a fine teal mist swirls out of his chest. I cup it delicately with both hands.

“It is done.” And so it is.


It doesn’t take long for me to start wondering about him again, a quick few years. I’ve been abetting others in their boring predicaments and predictable plights. He’s unlike any other human I’ve encountered.

“Are you even listening?” A hunched woman wails at me. I jerk back to the middle of a dark alley, where I stand with my back pressed against a brick wall, picking at my nails.

“Something about a son?” I guess. She looks offended and I roll my eyes, “hold that thought.”

My curiosity has become intrusive, and I keep zoning out to entertain it. It’s starting to affect my work. I have to get to the bottom of this.

I leave the alley and snap myself back to the creepily homogenous houses, in front of the home loaded with garden gnomes. There are some that I don’t remember seeing before, most notably one with his pants pulled down to moon the neighbors.

As I enter, the dog lifts its whitened face from the couch. It doesn’t bark, but its tail halts mid-wag, and its head moves minimally to follow me. Graduation pictures hang at the end of the hallway.

I find him again in his study, sat at the grand desk, surrounded by curios I couldn’t see before in the dark: a cradle-mounted globe, engraved slabs of glass commending him for hard work, an oil painting of a ship in a storm. The room is brilliant in the sunlight, everything the color of smoked walnut and leather. His hair has begun to gray, but he still is – and I don’t use this term lightly – a handsome devil.

Though, he hasn’t gained any weight. So, it's not gluttony. Conversely, he must have impeccable self-control – most humans can’t control themselves with unlimited access to forbidden fruits. Especially junk food. Middle-aged women buy special locks for their cabinets to resist tasteless 100-calorie brownies.


“You’re back,” he pushes the chair out from behind him and holds himself in an awkwardly formal manner. He looks as if he might bow. “Why?”

“I want to know what the deal is.”

“Our deal? Have you forgotten?”

“No, smartass,” I say, though he seems dopily genuine. “Why ice cream sandwiches?”

“Oh,” his stiff shoulders slacken, “guess it was a while ago now. I was trying to get my son’s frisbee off the roof and fell off the ladder. Nearly died,” he chuckles.

He crosses to an end table with a decanter of whiskey. He prepares two glasses.

“Had a brief encounter with an angel and rather didn’t like the fellow. Couldn’t imagine spending eternity with that sort. Thought I’d pick my side.” He hands me a drink, then takes and swirls his own, clinking the ice inside.

“You thought Hell would be better?” I ask.

“Everything that makes life worth living is sinful. Heaven must be exceedingly dull. Why waste life suppressing every desire, just trying to reach an even more boring place?”

“You become freed of temptation— you stop caring.”

“That’s all I want though. Desperately. To care.”

I swallow the contents of the cup in one gulp and then eat the glass.

“Why not do what you want now?” I speak through the shards, “Since you’ve already sealed your fate.” I hold out my hand, and above it floats a curled piece of parchment with a signature swirling at the bottom next to the teal imprint of a soul.

“I have kids. A wife. I can’t go off on a bender. Don’t think I could enjoy myself while knowing the toll it would take on them,” he warily sips his whiskey while watching me chew. “I just need to get through this bit of existence, and then after, I’ll be free.”

I massage my temples. ‘Free’ is exactly the opposite of what he signed up for. Maybe his intentions were unique compared to other humans’, but he’s still as stupid as the rest of them. I’m growing impatient. I’m getting my questions answered, but they aren’t what I wanted.

“Have you had any ice cream sandwiches at all?”

“One— I was stuck in traffic after staying late at the office and it was way past dinner time. So, I had a Klondike instead.”

“That was it?”

“Yeah, it upset my stomach. I would have preferred a meal.”

I’m dumbfounded. Defeated. Getting pissed off. People give up everything for a deal, and then destroy themselves with what they’re given. I work to ensure they do. This man is spitting in my face.

“I’ve never done this before,” I hesitate to offer, “would you like to amend the deal? Change it to a food you’d like. You look like a Bolognese guy.”

“No, thank you. I recently got my blood pressure under control. I started this new exercise routine—”

“I give up!” I yell. I’ve reached my boiling point. This human weaseled his way into my head and disrupted my thoughts– for nothing! The little ingrate. I offer to bend my own rules for him, just to be turned down. Who turns down the devil?

My chest swells. The flames behind me grow until sweat beads on his forehead like pearls. This time he looks intimidated—good. Everything finally feels right. Once I see the fear in his eyes, I simmer down slightly.

“Never in my life – which is all of time, by the way – have I encountered such a dismal creature. And I just came from a woman who sold her own son for crack.” Oh yeah, that’s what it was. Guess I had been listening.

“Wow, really? I can’t imagine doing something like that.”

“That’s the problem,” I narrow my eyes, “you aren’t the type I make deals with. I’m revoking it.”

I summon the contract to the palm of my hand again and rip it in half. The torn paper hisses like a tea kettle and releases a teal mist into the air. It smells faintly of blue raspberry.

“It is done.” And so it is. We are both free.

I ready myself to poof away. I can’t wait to get back to my regular cases. To the pathetically predictable people.

September 15, 2023 15:03

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05:54 Sep 20, 2023

Good story, you really kept me guessing what the plan of mr klondike's man was. And it turns out he's just too normal and well adjusted to be evil. And in the beginning I thought the narrator might be the leader of the home owner's association, so had a laugh on this sentence: "I swell my presence and manifest a halo of flame behind me, intense heat radiating from the fire. " The part where the devil got bored and wasn't listening was funny too. Gods having human foibles it a great comedy angle. Anyway all around fun story.


D. Grimes
20:53 Sep 21, 2023

Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you found some fun bits in there. I really enjoyed reading Curdled, so this means a lot


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