Bingo- Deal with the Devil 🎙️ Urban Fantasy Short Story 🎙️ by Maria E. Schneider

Bingo- Deal with the Devil 🎙️ Urban Fantasy Short Story 🎙️ by Maria E. Schneider


Tall Tale TV
SciFi and Fantasy Short Story Audiobooks Bingo – Not your average deal with the devil. by Maria E. Schneider When the devil arrived in the empty chair
next to me, at first I thought it was my brother because we were expecting him. Upon closer inspection it probably wasn’t
him because I didn’t remember my brother having a tail or using it to stroke his mustache. If my brother had recently grown horns out
the top of his dark curly head of hair, I hadn’t been told. “I brought my own cup,” the devil said,
a red coffee cup magically appearing in his right hand. Dad glanced up from his paper. “Uh-hmm.” Mom said, “That’s good. Phoebe just put on a fresh pot if you need
more coffee.” My eyes flicked around the table. I had just brewed the second pot of the day. We sat on the porch, eating breakfast, just
like we did every time I visited. Mom and Dad had started the habit on weekends
during the warm months when Dad was still working at the paper mill, and I was in college. It was nice to be back during this time of
year. The late-spring sun washed over the dewy lawn,
the daffodils and tulips leaned forward eagerly, Dad read the paper, and Mom stirred her coffee
while she watched the birds at the feeder. “I’ll just zap it to warm it.” The visitor applied his forked tail to the
side of the cup. It sizzled. “It’s the only damn thing in hell that
isn’t hot.” He smiled at me. “Not at the table,” Dad said. “It’s faster than taking it to the microwave,”
the devil replied with a smirk. “May as well use what nature provides, eh?” “He meant watch your language,” Mom chided. “No cursing at the breakfast table.” The devil blinked with either suspicion or
disbelief. It was hard to tell because I wasn’t going
to stare into those handsome golden eyes any longer than I had to. He was a lot better looking than my brother. I tended towards blond men, but his handsome
swarthy looks had my heart missing a beat or two even if he didn’t have the good manners
to know better than to curse at the breakfast table. He must have spent some hours at hard labor
too; his dark blue t-shirt rippled with muscles when he slurped his coffee. “I’m in need of an extra soul or two,”
the devil said. “My quota is running short, and you two
look like you’ve just enough years left to manage some good sinning. Live it up and bump your souls up in value
enough to make my quota. You’ll get to really enjoy your golden years.” He chuckled with nauseating insinuation. Dad flicked the newspaper to make the section
he was perusing easier to read. “Hmm.” Mom spotted something of interest at one of
the bird feeders and began flipping pages in her well-worn bird book. There was a long silence. The devil looked at me. I shrugged. “Let’s see…” Mom said, her hand trailing across the pages. “It’s a hummingbird,” the devil said. “Yes, I know,” my mother replied. “But what kind? It’s very difficult to tell the difference
between an Anna’s and a Broadtailed.” The devil glanced back over at the feeder,
but it was too late. The bird had flown. I kind of wished I could fly too, but I couldn’t
just leave my parents in the devil’s clutches, so to speak. The legs of his metal chair had turned a bright
red, matching the end of his tail. “Uh—” I thought hard, hoping to find
a way to encourage the guy to take his business elsewhere. “What’s it gonna be,” the devil interrupted. “Women? Serving your every whim?” A picture hovered in the air suddenly, right
on the table in front of my father. Scantily clad women sashayed ever so near,
throwing kisses and shaking well-endowed body parts. There were blonds, red-heads, and even blue-haired
beauties. One lady looked decidedly like an iridescent
mermaid. Dad finally glanced up over his reading glasses,
unable to ignore the flickering motion in front of him. His eyebrows shot up, and he grunted. A breezy gust tousled his gray hair so that
even it looked surprised. The devil smiled. The hot babe currently showing her stuff lost
another bit of clothing. Dad snorted. “The stuff on television these days. Can those ladies cook? They don’t look the type to have ever cooked
a decent meal in their lives. I bet they can’t boil water.” The devil’s face froze for more than a moment,
but then he rallied, albeit with a slight stutter. “Of…of course they can cook!” The picture changed. Suddenly the women had silver platters of
steaming food. The smell wafted across the table. Even though I wasn’t the intended victim,
it was hard to keep from drooling. “Seven course meals!” the devil declared. “Filet mignon. Scallops in cream! French pastries, strawberries in or out of
season…chocolate.” The last one nearly had me raising my hand. The chocolate was in mounds, flowing around
some sort of brownie; a never-ending volcano. A sprig of mint decorated the side of the
plate and the smell was…well, it didn’t go with hell, that’s for sure. Dad gave a sniff and returned his eyes to
the paper. “Can they do two eggs, over easy, one slice
of bacon, crisp? Or sausage will do if we’re out of bacon. Toast, with the butter spread evenly, not
one of those pats in the middle where you end up with a soggy spot and not enough to
cover the rest of the slice.” “And oatmeal on Tuesdays,” Mom said. She reached over and patted Dad’s arm. “He needs his oatmeal.” Dad smiled at her and gave her hand a pat
back. “Hot Ralston’s wheat cereal on Thursday
or Friday, depending on the weather. I’d rather eat cold cereal if it’s too
warm outside. Just make sure to add pecans. Gotta have nuts in the cold cereals.” The devil’s mouth gaped. The food platters disappeared with a whomp
as though sucked back through a dangerous vortex. “Saturday is pancakes,” Mom said. “With fresh Wisconsin maple syrup. I don’t like that Vermont stuff much. Too dark.” Dad moved his hand from Mom’s and turned
a page of the paper. The devil blinked at me again, but I clamped
my lips shut so that I wouldn’t ask about possibly trying the chocolate dessert. It was gone anyway. A bee buzzed its way onto the table. Mom shooed at it. “Got to get to that lawn today,” Dad said
as though the bee had come with a personal reminder. The devil brightened. “Want to never have to mow it again?” Now that got Dad’s attention. He whipped his reading glasses off and even
sat a bit straighter in the lounge chair. Out of nowhere a riding lawn mower appeared,
shiny green with a blazing red arrow—no, it was a forked tail, decorating one side. A young kid with a dark red cap pulled low
over his forehead drove the thing. He steered across the lawn towards the porch. “Don’t hit the lilies!” Dad yelled as the mower cut close to the big
oak tree. He put the paper down and stood up. “Watch the flower bed! You drive too close, you’ll bruise the dahlias
because they lean over.” He hurried to the edge of the porch and yelled
more instructions, but he must have decided the guy couldn’t hear, because after a moment,
he stomped down the deck and out onto the lawn. It wasn’t really possible to hear much after
that, but he waved his arms a lot, found spots the guy missed and when the guy actually ran
over a tulip, I thought dad might get to heaven a lot sooner. “I can get you more tulips,” the devil
said. He raised his hand in the air, ready to wave
a command. Mom looked affronted. “Those are Aunt Mary’s bulbs. You can’t go stealing her bulbs!” Mid-wave the devil stopped. His eyes slanted to her. His mouth opened, but either no sound came
out or the mower drowned him out. Mom continued, “And it wouldn’t be the
same if we put in bulbs from someone else. You’d better just have your friend there
not run over my flowers.” Her expression was even more threatening than
the one I got when I didn’t wash my dishes after eating. The devil lowered his hand. Instead of more flowers, the mower disappeared. That left dad screaming at the wind. He caught on fast though. He stopped yelling, but continued to stomp
around the yard, inspecting blades of grass. When he was satisfied that the lawn hadn’t
sustained overwhelming damage, he made his way back up on the porch and sat down with
a big huff. “I tell you what,” he said. “You can hire that guy, but I’m not gonna
pay him. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but
that was the most horseshit job of mowing I’ve ever seen. Breakfast is over,” he said by way of apology
for the curse word to my mother. “You can’t just go back and forth without
any regard to the tracks you’re leaving or the flowers. Some parts are wetter than others, and that
machine of yours could leave a real mess if you don’t get someone that knows how to
drive it better.” Silence. The devil didn’t even glance my way this
time. “I’m still gonna have to weed the beds
and trim. The guy didn’t even stick around until the
job was finished.” He selected a toothpick from the holder in
the center of the table and gave a grunt. “Probably too young to know better. Hasn’t been trained right.” “More coffee?” Mom asked, including all of us. “Shoot,” Dad said, “I need some iced
tea.” He wiped sweat from his forehead. “Then I may as well get started weeding
the flower beds.” “Money?” the devil offered weakly. Dad turned to him. “You want to pay me to do my own flowers? That’s nice, but I guess it’s a little strange. If you have extra money to be giving away,
just put it in the bank. That’s what I always did. It’ll come in handy in an emergency. Never know when one of the kids might get
in a bind and need something.” He smiled at me with fondness. I felt the urge to kiss his forehead, but
I didn’t want to embarrass the devil. Then again, he already appeared embarrassed
and quite annoyed. Even though it wasn’t clear if Dad was telling
the devil to put the money in Dad’s account or the devil’s, I guessed, “If Dad gives
the money away, it probably doesn’t count as much.” “Doesn’t count at all.” I decided to urge him on his way. “Well, you tried.” “There must be something you want!” Mom smiled. “Oh certainly. There’s nothing better than a spring day. It is such a nice day, isn’t it? In just a few weeks the tomatoes will be ripe. I love a fresh tomato, don’t you?” She turned to me and said, “If you’re staying
for dinner, we should start on the potato salad. I bought some nice red potatoes, and Marma
up the street brought us some eggs from her chickens.” “Sure, Mom.” “Will you be staying for dinner?” she
asked the devil. He tried to speak, but only a puff of smoke
came out. He sucked it back in and sputtered, “That’s
it? The only thing you can think of that you want
is a nice spring day and a dinner guest from hell?” Mom lowered her head, studiously inspecting
her hands in her lap. I knew she was trying to find a polite way
to tell the devil that no one wanted a guest from hell. She found inspiration in a single cat hair
floating on the cuff of her shorts. She picked it off and held it up. “I always wanted a cat that didn’t shed. The stuff gets all over everything this time
of year.” The devil brightened. “A Sphynx?” A picture of a hairless cat floated in the
air above my mom. The cat looked bald and kind of angry about
it. Or maybe it didn’t like being exposed to us
because it crouched in that defensive way that cats have when they would prefer to be
hidden from prying human eyes. Mom jerked back. “Oh heavens no. I didn’t mean that. I want our dear Pixie, just with no shedding! Why would I want a different cat?” The devil snapped his teeth together. “I don’t change the laws of creation. Or the laws of physics. It has to be something that exists.” “Not much of an inventor, huh?” Dad asked. “Ever think about investing in some extra
schooling? They teach just about anything in college
these days. Get yourself a decent career.” I thought it sounded like a great idea. I leaned over and suggested, “It’s a lot
easier to sway the young. You might want to peddle your wares in a college
dorm. You could get a lot of cooperation in exchange
for a six-pack of beer. ”
“Too much time to repent,” he hissed back. The assisted living place a few blocks over
came to mind then, but sending the devil there seemed mean and wrong. What could I do? My parents were so polite, they might agree
to take something from the list of temptations just to make the devil happy and go away. The devil drummed his fingers on the table. The plastic directly underneath melted slightly,
leaving dimples in the smooth surface. Desperate, I blurted out, “1504 Weston Street. It’s an assisted living place.” It might work out, especially if the devil
went tonight. “Go tonight at four. I promise, there will be lots of souls.” He cocked an evil eye at me, distrusting. “Old people?” I nodded, giving him my best innocent look. “Some maybe only have days. We’re talking guys that shouldn’t be buying
green bananas.” He rubbed his hands together. “Good. Good! I won’t bother you folks any longer then.” He left a puff of smoke and a rather sulfurous
smell behind. I wrinkled my nose. Dad fanned the air with his paper, while Mom
used her napkin. “I didn’t want to complain in front of that
young man, but he should buy a different kind of soap and use it in copious amounts,”
Mom said. Dad nodded in agreement. After the air cleared, Mom stood, leaned over
and gave me a kiss on my forehead. “It was nice of you to try and help him
make friends. He should have a wonderful time. Those folks wouldn’t miss their bingo night
for anything, and they’ll be happy to include him.” “No, nothing will tempt them from bingo. He’ll have a devil of a time,” I predicted
with a smile. “He probably shouldn’t have waited until
the last minute to try and make his quota.” “The trick,” Dad said, “is wanting what
you have. Not getting what you want.” Mom and I smiled. Maybe Dad had noticed the tail after all. Maria Schneider can be found at her blog:
www.BearMountainBooks.com. She writes young adult fantasy (Dragons of
Wendal series) and urban fantasy (Moon Shadow series). In the more mundane, she writes of crime,
murder and family troubles in her Sedona O’Hala mystery series and her Nutrition Mafia series. Maria saw her first dragon while gardening. She asked the gnome to take pictures, but
dragons are shy and very fast. One of the fairies finally snapped a shot,
but just as she handed it over, the dragon flamed it to ashes! None of us want to get our fingers burned
a second time so, sadly, there will not be pictures any time soon. You can find Maria’s books at most major retailers. Including her Amazon page which is linked
in the description. And for the next three days, Maria has marked
down one of her books! You can pick up ‘Under Witch Moon’, the first
novel of her urban fantasy series, from now until the end of sunday for only 99 cents. I’ll put links to the various distributors
in the description. Hey guys! I adored the light hearted nature of this
piece. It made me laugh when I first read it, and
it still gets a chuckle out of me every time. For anyone interested, Maria actually recorded
this piece herself and posted it on her website. She did a really great job too! If you liked this one, she has several others
posted there as well. If you’d like to hear more scifi and fantasy
short stories, subscribe to the channel. Or if you’re an author with a story you think
people would like, head over to TallTaleTV.com for submission guidelines. I’m Chris Herron and that’s it for today’s
Tall Tale TV!