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FICTION — Ally McBeelzebub

“We’ve been in tight spots before, Chewie, but this… “ He whipcracked the pre-nup contract. “Never ever marry a demon lawyer! Doesn’t matter how cute they look when they smile!”

Ally McBeelzebub waved to him from the pool patio, and he shuddered, hard. Could she hear him through the glass? She raised a dripping Mai Tai and beckoned with her free claw to come join her.

From the poolside, looking down on their ranch with its acres of ochre Arabians running free to the far blue hazy mountains, he had to ask himself, yet again, is this really so bad? When the kid from ‘GIRLS’ turned up, claiming to be his son, didn’t she make that go away? And when Stephen and George tried replacing him with a younger Indie, he hadn’t complained about the sulphurous stink she’d raised then, now, had he?

But life ain’t all studios and stallions, he thought to himself, rasping the back of his hand against his jaw.

“I want you to stop seeing the bear,” she’d said.

“…He’s not a bear…”

This because he’d complained when she insisted on bringing the Soul of Robert Downey Jr along on their canal boat holiday. “What’s the use of having something if you never use it!” she’d shouted. He wondered if that was a reference to the origami set she’d bought him three birthday’s back, so Downey’s Soul got to come with. And wouldn’t you know Downey’s Soul would know how to play damn Mahjong, leaving him to negotiate every canal lock on his own in the rain while they played and laughed and stamped the boards below. It was only when they got back to Wyoming (and Chewie) that he learned Mahjong requires at least four players, (though a 3-player version is sometimes played in Japan and South Korea.)

Whenever she wasn’t home, he’d sneak into her room to re-read the contract, fumbling his way along the tunnels and praying his flaming torch would hold out. He’d once had to make his way back on hands and knees, steeping his slacks in who knew what’s blood. Of course he should have got Consuela to burn the clothes because Ally, of course, had asked what the heaven he’d been up to. “Golf,” he suggested, trying to make it sound not like a question. The corners of her mouth had twitched, but she hadn’t pursued it.

The infidelity clause of the contract didn’t change, no matter how many times he read it by firelight: non-corporeal presences were quite deliberately and professionally not mentioned. He didn’t have a blood-soaked leg to stand on; if they divorced, for any reason, she got it all. The planes, the houses, the horses, the hats. The car from ‘American Graffiti’ that he still liked to cruise up the main drag on hot summer Saturday nights. Her legal Satanic mind had him over a barrel of hot-breathed snakes.

On Sex Night, after he’d made the beast with two backs with the Beast With Three Backs, staring over her shoulders at the pentagram on the ceiling and counting the points over and over again and trying not to inhale, until he had to, then trying not to all over again; after she fell into grunting sleep, he lay on one elbow beside her, gauging what it would take to get through that neck of hers. He still had all his old carpentry gear in one of the garages. She slept with her throat tauntingly exposed, soft blonde hair crashing in waves across the pillow. A restless hoof grinding up the bed sheets. He could almost feel the saw between her vertebrae, the resistance. Muscle memory. It would take an hour at most, he figured. He’d be finished by the time Consuela came to make the bed up. The number of celebrities he knew who quite literally got away with murder… talking himself into it now. All he’d need was a damn good lawyer.

*

Nick Black’s stories have been accepted by literary magazines including Open Pen, the Lonely Crowd, Spelk, Sick Lit and Litro.  They’ve also won various flash contests and been listed for the 2015 and ’16 Bath Flash Fiction Awards, Land Rover/GQ/Salon House Short Story Competition and the Spread the Word Prize. You can find Nick on Twitter @fuzzynick

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