The Contract

Harvey’s deal with the devil turned on a single, misapplied term in the new Faustian Transmigration of Souls Contract. Like all beings cursed with a lack of mortality, the devil had taken her sweet time getting up to speed on office computing. She was inventive enough when it came to the art of suffering; navigating autonomous bureaucracy, not so much.

Instead of harvesting rotted souls to torment, she was stuck delivering one bribe after another to various members of the Bilderberg Group. The task was torture for the devil, for these powerful people were like her damned siblings: they had little incentive to accede to guilt-driven extortion. She had to use every trick in her playbook to bridge the disassociation between their natural greed and the complacency that accompanies vast wealth accumulation.

Being the devil, she would not be bested by Bilderbergers or stupid contracts. Once she realized that a non-performance breach was her only option, she crafted her bribes with all the care of a mother buzzard feeding her young. Essentially, she offered those wrinkled sloths the only thing they could not acquire on their own: immortality.

Harvey, for his part, took exquisite delight in obtaining the insiders’ most secret agendas–and then leaking them to the news media. He was eager for the opportunity to continue to do so forever. As the devil was more accustomed to granting the ephemeral tastes that aligned themselves with the seven deadly sins, Harvey’s addiction to schadenfreude seemed suspicious. He reassured her that such insider access was simply for recreation. The devil shrugged. This esoteric knowledge was a harmless enough trade for an endless supply of souls. She snapped her fingers and proffered the scroll that materialized.

Harvey smiled at the dot-matrix printing on curled vellum–a charming mix of past and antiquity. He might have continued perusing the contract with the mirth of an indulgent uncle, had he not spotted The Typo. He sneaked a glance at the devil, assured himself that she was impatiently awaiting his bloody fingerprint and quickly complied. As the devil greedily snatched the adhesion contract, Harvey quipped, “Good luck getting souls from my potted plants.”

The devil arched an eyebrow and glanced at the scroll. A bit of smoke escaped from her ears before she got herself under control. She shook her head in shame at the botched harvesting clause:

25(c) In the interest of minimizing loss due to translocation, Supplicant agrees to supply Overseer with all vessels, vehicles and other conveyances known to facilitate movement of Product.