My Dear Darling Husband
by A.M. Matson
My dear darling husband:
There you are innocently out playing with the children and, it is with a heavy heart, I write to tell you that I am dead. How I can be writing to you while dead is a funny story.
You remember that hole in the wall in the kitchen? In the paneling? The one you always said you would fix but didn't? Yes, you know it, down by the sink, to the right of the sink under the window? Right—big hole. I know you have been busy I am not blaming you or anything but what happened was this: there I was at the sink as usual washing the dishes and I got to thinking about one thing and another. About you, and how much you hate your job. About the kids and about how on earth we were ever going to afford a house and college for them. And I was thinking if fun as we knew it when we were younger was all over, and while I was thinking, a creature—yes—a creature, a cloven footed creature—backed out of that hole.
I wasn't as shocked as you might think. Ants have come out of that hole, a mouse or two, and I know that wild things can occur. I didn't faint. The thing came out feet first and back wards. At the sight of the cloven feet themselves I had a good clue about what was up. As the derriere came through and I could see the balls the creature had, I knew it was going to be tough going. The curly tail could not hide them. Tight strong little balls; sign of a hard bargainer. No live and let live little demon was in my midst. Then, as the strong hairy back slipped through the hole and I saw the powerful shoulders I braced myself and clutched the scrub brush. This was no fledgling. When the head came through—full head of wild hair, goatee from central casting, sharp hooked nose and a sexy gleam in the eyes—I could tell was in the presence of one of hells higher ups. Once fully out of the hole he turned around to face me head on. He was almost as tall as me but not quite.
In case you are wondering—if my visitor was any indication—demons do not cover their genitals from the front or back and they are as big as they want to be. His phallus hung half way to his knees and bounced when he spoke. I took the initiative.
"What's the offer?"
"Why Madame, what makes you think there is an offer?" His voice was low, scratchy and mocking. A growl proceeded each sentence.
"I doubt you are here for tea." It was hard to keep my eyes off his long plump thing.
"Have you nothing stronger? To take the fear off you?" He smirked as he said that.
"My husband keeps some whiskey in the cupboard, would you like some? I don't drink myself."
"Really? Even when visited by the devil?"
"If you are nervous, please let me pour you a shot, but no. I don't need any. Now tell me, why are you here?"
"Well. I think you know."
"Been listening to my thoughts, have you?"
"Yes, we have been! You seem ripe for a deal."
"You do take your time. As I asked when you slid through—what's the offer?"
"Well. If you insist. Tuition for both children. A house nearby—and enough for your husband to retire early."
"No deal. Forty five. And we'll need more cash."
"I have not yet said the cash amount."
"Madam, I'll take that drink."
I hadn't thought it would be so easy to fluster him. His growl was softening and his gleam was losing some spark. As I moved away from the sink and went toward the cupboard I realized he was playing me. Letting me think I had him in a corner, but how could I? Cheech. Who did I think I was? I poured the shot and handed it to him. His hands were not cloven. They were normal, dark and hairy, but normal. Good solid working mans hands, the kind I like. He thanked me and gulped the drink all down in one fast move and shuddered. I was amazed to see his beastly nipples harden as the whiskey traveled down his throat. Up close I got a whiff of his scent. Very powerful stuff. All those colognes they sell to entice women—pishshaw—kid stuff—this was the real McCoy. It was musk a thousand times more powerful then I could ever have imagined. I became dizzy, my knees went weak. My mouth watered. I backed away and tried to keep my wits about me.
"Madam? Are you all right?" His tone was now less mocking, more gentle. "Would you like to sit down? You have gone all pale."
"Yes. I am not myself I think… I will sit or… lie perhaps."
"Please let me help you to your bed". He bit his lower lip, then ran his thumb across it. I've always been a sucker for that lower lip thing; well you know that. He offered me his arm and I almost took it but didn't. Bed. Oh Dear.
"No, No. I'll be fine here."
I slunk into a kitchen chair and took a deep breath.
"Could you open the window? Please?"
He did. The fresh air was all I needed to resume my former bargaining stance, or so I thought. I gathered what wits I had left and asked the demon.
"So. Now. Tell me. What is the best you can do for me? How much are you authorized to allot without travelling back down to your. . .boss at headquarters?"
Dear , remember you had told me to ask something like that when I went to buy appliances and it had worked well for the washing machine and the VCR so I gave it a try.
"Are you sure you are up for this? It is an important matter you know. Why don't we have a small rest? You can think better after you've gotten your pulse back to normal."
"I am fine. Listen. How about this. Full college tuition—and acceptances—for both the children and an house here in town and one small country house and two million cash?"
He chuckled. He pulled up the other kitchen chair, put the empty shot glass on the table and leaned in towards me. The scent oh god the scent. I pulled back and held my breath.
He spoke low and soft.
"That sounds rather good. Very good in fact. I could tell you here and now that I could authorize a deal like that all on my own. But tell me, have you considered your part of the bargain?"
"Well. I assume it is the usual. My immortal soul. That sort of thing."
"Not in your case Madam."
"Oh? Really? How's that?"
"You don't believe in the soul do you?"
"Well. No. I don't. But so what? Looks like I was wrong, doesn't it?" I moved my chair clear over to the window where the outside air was helpful.
"Not as simple as all that. You see. We down below take no pride in striking bargains with you godless atheists. No profit in it. Because contrary to popular belief, those who do not believe in souls, have no souls."
"Then… what do you want?"
"Well. You see. Down in hell it gets boring."
"Yes. All that punishing of the wicked. All those folks constantly promising they will be better next time around… so now and again us demons like to come up here and do a good turn for someone who had been… good. Not committed any crimes. Not done anything more awful than the occasional white lie or maybe cut school … or coveted a neighbors wife… but not really done anything thing about it. So we come up and offer one of our soul exchanging deals but we don't take the soul… "
"But I will get the stuff? The money and the houses and all that?"
"Yes. But… "
"I may have a heart attack if you don't tell me what it is you want."
"I want to posses you."
"What? You mean so you can haunt people?"
"No. No. No. To have you."
"To have me what? Do what?"
"Make love to you."
"Have sex with you. Sex. All night. Just for one night… "
- - -
I am sorry to have to report to you darling what I have already hinted at, that the offer the demon was making was one that I was not adverse to accepting, I was tempted. He knew his business well, and no doubt saw in my eyes that I was half way there.
"That is all? Just sex? And then I really get all the things?"
"But wait. If I have sex with a demon won't that make me bad, really bad. I mean won't that qualify me for hell for real?"
"No. Not at all. You see. We cut a special deal. We have some leeway, some discretionary dispensation."
"Oh? Sounds… like old-fashioned temptation to me. You tempt me into this all night thing and then wham you've got me."
"Have you got any good books?"
"Sure. All sorts!"
"I mean Bibles, Talmuds, Korans… The Tao."
"Oh. Yes. All that."
"Marlowe and Gothe?"
"Uh. Yes. Why?"
"Well. Have you read them?"
"Yes… might have skimmed here and there but yes I can say I have."
"Did you ever come across this sort of thing in any of them? Did you ever read where some nice woman like yourself spent a night in amorous delight with the devil himself? And then went to hell?"
"Well no. But there are many stories about how women have been lead astray by men who had the devil in them."
"Not the same at all. Oh sure we have gotten inside some guy now and again to help him seduce a lady or two but it is still him that gets the fun, not us."
"Oh, So you strike out on your own and then keep it to yourselves?"
"What's the catch?"
"Have a drink."
"No." I insisted. "Tell me."
"All right." The sweet demon explained. "If you agree to my proposition it will be good. The sex, the love. Very good."
I had no doubt he was telling the truth about that. He looked deep into my eyes with no smirk, no guile, just plain straightforward lust. His lips, the ones I have already mentioned he knew how to bite in a fetching manner, were full and sweetly red, his deep brown eyes were now tender and warm.
"And you will receive all the goods I promised. But… "
"But. . .what?"
"The lovemaking has been known to be too much for some women."
"Yes. Some have succumbed.
"Succumbed? You mean had intense pleasure?"
"No. I mean—died. In ecstasy."
"I see", I said. "I see."
"So you must consider the facts very carefully. You could provide your family with all they will ever need or want and, you could have all the physical pleasure possible, but you might not see tomorrow."
"Now tell me," I asked
"This dead thing. I take it, it is not like I thought it was, right? I mean if there is a hell, well, then there is a heaven, right? Would I still qualify for a spot there if I die in sexual ecstasy?"
"Good question. Yes and No. You see you would go to the holding area."
"Right. But we don't call it that… it has been updated. Then you would have the same chances everyone else has. You would have to be reviewed and in time you would be sent up or down but … "
"You would have a special mark."
"Yes. On your rear. A heart. It would qualify you for a high place on the angel recreational list. You see, angles get bored with all the goodie-goodies just as we devils get bored with all the evil-doers down below so… "
"They have a place for women like me who… "
"Who know how to have a good time."
My dear darling husband. I believed him. And as you can see from the cash on the kitchen table and the deeds sitting next to it and the college acceptances for the children I took the deal, and he spoke the truth. I am somewhat sorry to say I didn't make it through 'til morning. Only somewhat sorry. It was quite a night.
Please don't be sad for me. I am not dead in the way you and I always thought of dead. I am still in the holding area up here and it is not bad at all. There are others here like myself who are good company. I have a room to myself with a lovely view, a desk to write on; reams of paper, lots of books—no dishes; no worries and I can see you and the children whenever I want. And there is a very handsome Angel who has assured me that he is jumping me up even further on that list.
Sweetheart. Listen, if I were you I wouldn't bother fixing that hole in the paneling. I hear that there are plenty of she-devils who also get antsy down below. I haven't seen them, but I've been told that they are not the least bit hairy.
About the author:
A.M. Matson lives in New York City and studies writing at Brooklyn College and The New School. Her short story Izzy is in the current issue of Center: A Journal of the Literary Arts. She has work forthcoming in The Carolina Review. Several of her stories can be read on line at In Posse Review, ken*again, and Pindeldyboz.