"Good morning, darling!"
"Don't call me that, you soulless demon!"
"Aww! Do you like to hurt me? You can hurt me any way you want, as long as you love it!"
Jon rubs his eyes. "How did you get in anyway?"
"It's a lot easier when you don't look."
"Fine, don't answer."
"I got underwear. Want to see it?"
"I'll just leave it in the drawer then."
"You were supposed to buy shoes!"
"Did too, but I also bought some underwear. It's not like I can't wear both."
"I hate it when you make sense."
"The violet cow won the jousting championship."
"I was just trying to not make sense."
Jon is silent and brooding at the breakfast table. Hedonia knows the reason, or so she claims: "Your parents have an unhealthy influence on you!"
"It's just that I feel all small and stupid when they are around."
"I can make you into a real man."
"OK, perhaps later then, you non-morning-person you. But remember I am always here for you, well, until the job is done at least. If you need someone to talk to, a chest to cry on ... Look no further! There's no reason to go off and pray, for instance."
"Thanks for reminding me."
The worst part of it is that she is right. She does cheer him up, with her weird humor and casual small talk. And his parents ... he remembered them different from this. It is as if they have grown colder and stiffer in his absence. Or is it just his memories of them which have grown happier when he did not have them around?
Still lost in thought, he goes over to the computer and reads up on the latest news. As a good Christian he doesn't have television – TV is of the Devil – but on the computer he can easily look up both local and national news any time he wants. It's in the local news he stops, and so does his heart, as he stares on the headline.
"Here I am, Master! What can I do for you?"
"I let you out for a couple hours, and you mutilate some guy and take his genitals as a trophy or something!"
"Jon, I'm sorry, but..."
"Sorry? SORRY? Is that all you can say?!?"
"Before you cut me off, yes, evidently."
"OK, talk, but you better have a really good explanation for this."
"I am not just any demon, I am a succubus. It is a highly specialized class of demon, exquisitely versed in all the arts of lust and even love. Yes, although love is a four-letter word to my kind, I am willing to court and woo you in order to capture your heart and take it with me to Hell. But not in a literal sense. Cutting out body parts is not on my agenda. I damage your soul, leaving you a hollow shell forever longing in vain for my embrace, unable to love your fellow human the way the Creator intended. I will hurt you badly, but you will love every minute of it! Mutilation is simply not our style. There are other demons for that. Think of it as a guild ... labor union thing, if you will. Even if I could, which I can't, it would be elbowing in on a violence demon's turf. And trust me, you don't ever attempt to do that. He would come down on you like a ton of sharpened knives. And I don't even mean 'down on' in my usual way. No, darling. If you want some guy mutilated, you'll have to summon a suitable demon for the task. I'm not going to do it. Sorry. I'll make it up to you in some other way."
Not only does she look totally serious – he wouldn't trust that – but it all makes sense too. And then she asks: "Why the heck would you suddenly send me off to mutilate some random guy anyway? It seems way out of character. You're suppose to be like a lamb or something, aren't you?"
"Me send you? I thought you did it on your own!"
"Did what on my own?"
"Yesterday. Read this."
She leans over him to read the news. Oh yes, she is a highly specialized succubus all right. "Wow. Poor guy. He'll never have need of my services, I guess."
"I'd think not. Yet another reason why you'd not do it, right?"
"Right. That's just so wrong. I mean, you can live without fingers and toes, but some parts are just, you know, sacred."
"I'm sorry to say that I share your view on that one."
"See? We are getting closer. Perhaps I can sit on your lap now."
"I'll be damned if I let a succubus sit on my lap."
"But what a way to be damned! And it only gets better from there."
"So then there are two demon girls in town?"
"It would seem so. I didn't know; it's not like we're sending each other text messages, or have a buddy list on AIM or anything."
"So, out of pure curiosity, what did you actually do yesterday?"
"You still don't trust me?"
"Oh, I trust you to not castrate random people, I think. But I'm worried that this will be traced back to you."
"And hence to you."
"That's fair. And besides, I was afraid you'd never ask!"
"Now I wonder if I never should have."
"Well, I left the house and used my Demonic Greed Sense (patents pending) to locate the nearest bazaar. A big one it was too, a bit west of here."
"We call them malls these days."
"Once there, I used my Demonic Lust Sense (patents pending) to scoop for horny guys."
"Do I sense a pattern here?"
"There were of course a lot of them, and I could feel their eyes on me as I sauntered through the building complex. Big as a flicking kings castle the place was, and lots of people, although more of them were women. And even the men were not so easy to catch: The mature ones tended to have women with them, which kept watch over them. The younger tended to rove in groups, which could prove hard to handle and really did not fit my purpose."
"Your purpose, if I remember correctly, was to buy a pair of shoes and stay out of here for the evening."
"Eventually I found this young man. In fact, he was 21 and his girlfriend had broken up with him some weeks ago. His mind was still adjusting to this, and his body less so."
"Don't tell me you seduced the poor guy."
"You know I am only yours, at least till the job is done. Still, I gathered we could be of assistance to each other. So I found an opportunity to talk to him ... actually I asked him to recommend some underwear that would impress my boyfriend ..."
"Do I really need to know that?"
"And soon he spilled the whole story. And I told him about how my hypocrite boyfriend booted me out in the cold November night because his religious parents were stopping by. The guy now hates your guts, but I did not leave enough clues to identify you. This town has thousands of hypocrites, after all."
"I am NOT a hypocrite!"
"Then why did you boot me out when your parents came by?"
"Because they would never understand!"
She shrugs prettily. "Jon, I'm a demon; I like hypocrites! They are so much easier to work with. And all that pent-up sin that they don't dare to reveal but don't have the heart to give up on ... it just keeps building and building up inside them until I can come and release it all in a torrent of lust, a maelstrom of desire, an avalanche of ..."
"Just get on with the story, why don't we?"
"So anyway, we were miserable together over two bottles of beer and hot spicy pizza. The pizza was because the eatery would for some reason not allow us to just consume our legally acquired brew. But spicy is good too, because it makes people hot and therefore more likely to remove clothes. I couldn't do this, of course, because I had no underwear. I didn't even have shoes my own size, which filled him with righteous indignation. He decided to correct your negligence by buying this for me ... admittedly after I had mentioned that I would like him to verify the impact of the underwear before I went home."
"You're talking snobbish again, so I guess you're saying something dirty. That underwear you came home with, the guy bought that for you?"
"And the shoes too!"
"And in return, you did the succubus thing on him."
"Well, I may have given him that impression. The clothiers did not allow me to try the underwear on, so we simply had to buy it and then I tried it on in a nearby restroom. This was the point where I had to explain to him that I wanted to remain a virgin for my hypocrite boyfriend, but if it made him feel better he could touch the clothes he had bought."
"While you had them on?"
"Yes. He only touched them rather briefly before he suddenly felt much better."
"I can imagine."
"That was the idea. I kinda excused myself after that, and that's the end of it. It was a fun evening."
"Well, I guess you're not the bloodthirsty Demon Girl after all. But mind you, if these things continue to happen just when you are away from home..."
"I'm so glad you have started to think of this as our shared home! In fact, I'm so happy I could kiss you ..."
"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!"
"OK, OK! But just to be sure, perhaps you should keep an eye on me during the night too?"
"Or banish you to Hell?"
"You know you don't want to do that!"
"I will, if my family jewels are in danger."
"I just want you for your soul."
"That would be such a sweet thing to say, if you weren't a demon."