The Devil in Paris
by Vince LiCata
And the Devil lives in France. In Paris actually. In a small apartment near the Sorbonne. The Devil can see the river, the river Seine, from his apartment. To see the river, he must flatten himself against the wall next to the big pane glass window in his living room. If he doesn't flatten himself against the wall next to the window, he just sees the building next door. He used to like to watch the people in the building next door. He used to sit in the dark and watch their comings and goings. He watched them fighting and loving and grooming and cooking; but after a while, he got bored of this.
The Devil never pays for anything. He shoplifts all of his daily needs: his food, his wine, his clothing. It's easy for him. He just slips through tiny cracks in perception. He never gets caught, even when he does get caught. The Devil doesn't even pay for his apartment. He killed the former owner on the day the old man paid off the thirty-year mortgage. The body is still in the deep freeze. He purposely picked an apartment complex with no maintenance fees, and no pesky superintendent or on-site manager, so he only very rarely has to deal with anything relating to the apartment.
The Devil hardly ever fucks the same person twice. He prefers women to men, but only very slightly. The Devil is not a gentle lover. Rough and efficient, kinky yet humorless, the Devil gets the job done and gets back to work. The Devil never wears a condom. He is not a human being and is not susceptible to normal human infections. Whether or not he is a transmissible carrier is debatable, but the Devil doesn't really give a fuck.
The Devil doesn't like to bathe, and he speaks his mind no matter what's on it, and he smokes like a chimney, and he likes fatty food and kinky sex. The Devil feels comfortable in France. He could do without art, though. Less art, more golf: that's what the Devil says. Half of these Frogs don't even know what golf is. Stupid French: that's what the Devil thinks. He'd like to play a round of golf in the Louvre. He'd like to drive a perfect four wood right through a fucking Monet, or watch golf balls bouncing off Degas' ballerinas and whacking snotty art patrons in the forehead. The Devil thinks this would be a great day in the museum, but the Devil hasn't had a day off to visit the museum in years.
The Devil conducts almost all of his business electronically, so he rarely ever leaves his apartment. Most of his work, nowadays, consists of intercepting, delaying, altering, or deleting email correspondence. It's amazing how easy his work has become. The Devil can start a war, kill a few thousand homeless orphans, cause a radiation leak, inspire a terrorist act, fuel misguided religious zeal, and cause the accidental death of a promising young altruist all in typical morning of hunting and pecking on his little black laptop. But the world is round, and it's always daytime somewhere, so the Devil's workday never ends.
When the Devil does take a quick break, it's usually to go shoplifting or to pick up someone on the street and fuck them. Once in a blue moon, the Devil will put his work aside for an hour or two of idle wandering. He likes to go to the Eiffel Tower on clear Paris nights and piss off of the top. He likes to see young lovers looking up and thinking that a light Parisian rain is caressing their faces. They won't see the permanent stains his urine leaves until the next day.
The Devil likes living in France, though occasionally he must live in other countries. He figures the US should be okay for a while, unless they somehow elect another fucking Jimmy Carter or something, then he might have to move back there for a while to do damage control. He used to like to go where the action was: into the war zones, into the plague regions, into the corporate offices, but now that bores him too. He knows what an orphan dying of AIDS looks like. He knows what a land mine wound looks like. He helped get the land mines there in the first place. He helped keep the drugs and condoms diverted. He doesn?t need proof anymore; he knows his efforts are successful. He can just turn on the television. He can just google it. It's just all become so fucking tedious.
The Devil is working on a computer program, or maybe it's a worm, a virus, a Trojan Horse -- he doesn't know exactly what to call it. He's been working on this bloody thing for years, but something always goes wrong with it: it doesn't transfer to the new Windows environment, it doesn't work well on Macs, something. The Devil is writing a computer program to replace himself. The Devil is tired, and maybe a little burnt-out, and more than half of what he does is mind-numbingly simple anyway, and, Jeez, he'd just like to get away for a little while and play some golf. He's certain that the right program will keep things going automatically; just the right combination of code: a little AI, a little fuzzy logic. If he could just perfect this little program, he could exit the system himself. He could let things run by themselves for a while, like God. Only he hasn't quite figured out how to do it yet. But, he thinks he's close. He thinks it won't be very long now, just a couple more fixes, and in the meantime, at least France doesn't suck.