21 May, 2013

Terms of Employment

"Wait...um...what?" Edvard Marsailles, crotchety old neighbour, former (maybe) Nazi, the only real competition Diego and I had for the Greenest Lawn Competition, and primary sponsor of the Green Thumbs, our direct rival in the Lawn Games, was dead? How? And why am I getting so choked up?

"Ah, I see this news comes as a shock to you." It must have been displayed on our faces. Maybe former Nazi Edvard Marsailles' corpse continued. "For what it's worth, he died suffering. It was truly quite gruesome, I assure you. Even for me. Would you like to know the details?" He looked almost anxious to tell us.

"No! You sick fuck, did you murder him?" Sal was shouting at the new resident of Mr. Marsailles' body.

"Hah! Oh, no, child!" chuckled the possessed body. "He just called out to me as he faded from life. Now, shall we retire to your den for refreshments and polite conversation, or shall I convince your weeds to devour you? I really don't want to do that, you know. Truly. The paperwork involved-"

"Fine! Come in, then. Or are you like a vampire, needing a more formal invitation?" I choked out. No sympathy for the devil's paperwork.

"No, Mr. Dillinger, that will suffice. I hereby grant you my word as that of the Guest-" There was something about the way he said that word that made me think that there actually was something to this oath he was making. "-that neither you, nor yours, shall come to harm by direct or indirect action on my behalf." With that, he old-man-shuffled up the pathway that bisected our lawn, right up to the steps of the porch, at which point, he looked up at the three of us standing in his way, and said, "Well?" with the grin of a man who knew much more than he was letting on.

We turned around and silently led him to our front room, more than a little nervous about how this whole situation was going to play out. Controlling those murderous weeds was a trick I don't think we could have easily beat. Upon entering the room, he barked a word that sounded almost like 'chair,' but with an accent that very much muddled the actual word, and the vines slithered into the room and began assembling themselves into the vague shape of an armrest.

All at once, Diego, Sal, and I sat on the sofa, and stared at our evil guest, bewildered. It was all I could do to not laugh at the absurdity of it all. Diego cleared his throat, apparently more able to readily accept what was going on than either Sal or I.

"What's going on, former Mr. Marsailles?"

"A question for a question, then? We must hurry. There are days, at the most, left."

"Yes, fine. Question for question," Diego responded.

"Deal. As far as what is going on, well..." he paused to think. "Your...hiatus will most likely cost you your lives if it continues. Your neighbourhood rests above the burial ground of an ancient evil. Your source of employment was not of your own choosing. You were drawn here because you three are presently the most apt to keep the evil at bay. Your refusal to do your job, while noble in your reasoning, will doom the planet. My question: What would it take to get you three back to work?"

We all just looked at each other, mouths agape for several minutes.

"That's too big. Too big of a weight to be on only our shoulders. Three slackers against an ancient evil? That's unimaginable! For chrissakes, we barely even know what we're doing half, no most, of the time! Who are you to make this request of us?" I felt my voice tremble as I spoke, but this was something that needed to be said, and I couldn't just let it go on anymore. Not to mention that our free will had been sapped in order to contain something that was evil on such a supposedly unimaginable scale.

"I am...Allendriel, the Fallen. I have made it my duty to ensure that the evil never gets out, and will do whatever I have to in order to continue on this path. Who do you think you are, to put your own lives above the lives of literally everything you've ever known?"

"I already told you: we're three slackers from California who can barely feed ourselves, let alone-wait, a Fallen? I'm no religious scholar, but aren't you supposed to be on the side of said evil?"

Allendriel shifted slightly, possibly uncomfortably, in his seat. "Every fiber of my being wants to release that which lies here, but, well, have you ever read 'Good Omens'?"

"You've grown to like existing, haven't you?" Sal replied, ignoring the looks of shock Diego and I were giving him at the revelation that he knew how to read. He turned to us and began explaining his answer. "In the novel, there's an angel and a demon, I forget their names, but they both work for the...uh...Almighty plan, but they pretty much bungle the Apocalypse because they want to continue their own existences. Allendriel is in the same boat."

"Yes, you could say that," he leaned back in his vine chair and sighed. What were we going to do about this?

"How do we fight it?" I asked.

"The evil that's buried here? You don't."

"Comforting. Why us?"

"Again? Because you three are the most capable of doing this."

"Based on what, exactly?" Allendriel went silent. I'm not entirely certain that was a good thing. In fact, I was willing to bet on it.

"I am going to tell you a story, gentlemen, and afterwards, tell me what you think."

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