Jocelyn finished her sixth glass of wine and settled in to finish reading her newly acquired book on the occult. She had paid an enormous fee to get the book, the word being in the underground that some of the incantations actually worked. She considered what she would do if she had magical powers to transform her life. There would be many changes. Yes, many changes.
Jocelyn was wealthy, alone, miserable, and drunk. Wealthy because her company had gone IPO just over a year ago, and she was able to sell some of her shares and reap the benefits of so many years of hard work. It was nice to to have millions of dollars to play with. More importantly than the money was the validation. Validation to all the naysayers who said that a woman couldn’t succeed in the digital media business because it combined technical know how with the ability to be hard headed and obnoxious when the occasion called for it. She acknowledged that it was, perhaps, the need to be obnoxious which was one of the reasons she was alone. That, and the fact that she was obese, weighing in at two hundred and fifty pounds distributed in a rather unattractive way across her body. Yes, that was the primary reason that she was alone and miserable. She had never managed to get her obesity under control, and undertook constant dieting, none of which worked, but all of which put her in a continual bad mood. She focused on taking this out on her competitors, but acknowledged that perhaps a bit of it leaked through to her subordinates at work. And would probably even had an impact on friends, if she had any. And finally she was drunk, not heavily so, because it took more than six glasses to make someone her size drunk. Rather she was heavily tipsy.
She continued reading the book, then, after finishing it and finding that there was not much of interest, slammed it to the ground, and leaned back in her chair to drink another bottle of wine. As a result, she was well and truly drunk when she finally felt sleep enough go to bed, and only then glanced down at the book and discovered that she had cracked the binding and a sliver of parchment was hanging out of it. Intrigued, she picked up it and started reading it, struggling a bit with what looked to be two hundred year old English. The document contained a description of a demon which required no blood sacrifice and no binding of the soul to hell, but rather one which balanced karma. The demon could modify bodies and people’s perception of them and their own perception of the world. Generally, no material rewards ensued and there were limits, but it was definitely intriguing. Essentially, the evil received their just desserts in their lifetime and the good were rewarded and the people in the middle were nudged one way or the other. All it took was a summoning and signing of a contract.
“This is great,” she thought. Finally a chance to get the rewards that she deserved - more than just money. She avidly read through the description of the summoning: It required a pentagram sketched from ash, a candle, and a willing believer, all of which she had available in this very room. She was believer, though the extra bottle of wine may have had something to do with that. She thought about what she wanted out of life, and then set about the summoning.
With the candle burning and chanting a few nearly unpronounceable words, there was a flash, and a slightly built gentleman wearing an old style suit and hat appeared in the middle of the pentagram. He looked around a bit startled, his eyes went white for a few seconds while he reviewed the modern plane of existence, and then with a wave of his hand, he re-appeared with a modern, though nondescript, grey business suit.
“It’s best if I keep to an ordinary suit. Too many references to devils wearing Armani. I’m not that kind of demon,” he said to Jocelyn with a nod and assuming a slight English accent.
“Shit, it worked! I was trying to bluff myself that it would work, but now I really am a believer.”
“I get that every time,” stated the demon. “It is not unusual for humans to go through the eight stages of demon summoning, starting with rejection and finishing with acceptance and then contract. You seem like an intelligent woman, how about we skip the intervening stages and go directly to acceptance and contract.”
“You’ve got that right. I am ready to go.”
The demon noted her slurring her words, but simply considered that a modern day speech affectation. He had gotten used to the evolution of language through the ages. This was better than the grunts of Neanderthals in ages past.
“OK, please describe what you want as concisely as possible”, he said.
“I know exactly what I want: As you can see, I am pretty heavy and unattractive. What I want is to be beautiful. And I know exactly the look. I have my eye on the VP of marketing, he is a real hunk of man. However, he would never look at me because he is married to a gorgeous blonde, slim twit. Well actually, she probably isn’t a twit because she is a VP of sales at some company. Now what I want is to look just like her - long blonde hair, thin body, beautiful face, elegant arms and legs. But something extra, she is a bit thin up top and I want to have a bigger bust.” As she said this, she held her hands in front of her chest, showing figuratively what she wanted. The demon took careful note of the placement of the hands in this gesture.
“I want men to worship me at my feet for my beauty. I want them to desire me. They want to have sex with me.” Jocelyn waxed lyrical on this theme.
“OK, you want to look like Emily, the wife of Jack, your VP of marketing, but with larger breasts as you have noted in your gesture. And you want men to desire you deeply and worship you at your feet. Is that it?”, the demon stated. He scanned the pathways to evaluate the karmic effect and judged this request to result in neutral global karma when enacted.
“No, I want more. I want Emily, Jack’s wife, to become obese, more than I am. She’s a goody two shoes, so I want her good aspects to become bad and I want her bad aspects to become good. I want Jack to be separated from her.” Jocelyn described this with drunken glee.
“You want Emily to become obese and for her good aspects to become bad and her bad aspects to be good and to be separated from Jack.” Again, the demon scanned the pathways, looked quite startled for a moment, and acknowledged that this was well within his power to manage with neutral karma.
“And finally, I have the hots for Jack. I’m a great CEO you know, and it’s time that Jack to married the CEO. I want the company to build on its success with the most intelligent, beautiful, and charming CEO in the world!” She went on, again, waxing lyrical in her drunkenness, using the type of management speak so common in the corporate world.
“I see. You are a great CEO. So you want Jack to become infatuated with and the marry the beautiful, intelligent, and charming CEO of your company.” stated the demon.
“Yes! That’s what I want”.
“OK, let me see, Ah. I’ve got it. That took some work, but, by Jove, I think that we can do all of this and maintain neutral karma.” Stated the demon with satisfaction.
“And here is the contract with all the terms. Note that there is no soul in hell clause, no fine print, just the agreed upon points as discussed. No money back after the fact.” The demon handed over a parchment in which the words were etched in flame before turning black. He handed over a fountain pen to Jocelyn, and Jocelyn, with great drunken flourish, wrote her name at the bottom, and collapsed back into her chair and started snoring.
Jack arrived early, looked over at the open door of the CEO, sighed thankfully that she was out, and then went into the office of Julia, the Chief Financial Officer. Julia worked long hours, kept the finances in order, worked with all the teams, was committed to the company, and, most importantly, was the person everyone came to for help with the “wicked witch” CEO. When needed, she interceded between the CEO and the rest of the organisation, trying to manage the inevitable conflicts when Jocelyn went on a tirade. Julia was often on the receiving end of these verbal tirades, but seemed to manage it with calm and aplomb, though what she was feeling internally about this, she never discussed. To her credit, Jocelyn always supported Julia publicly, and they presented a united front to shareholders. As a result, the board looked favorably on Julia as a stable influence on the company executive team, and nicely counterbalanced the CEO’s admitted brilliance but overly strong personality. Julia was in her mid thirties, but unmarried, either from her work ethic, or more likely because she would be considered plain looking by any measure. Stick thin, with no real figure, and a plain face with hooked nose, she dealt with her lack of beauty with the same lack of judgment and calmness she did anything else. As a result of all of these factors, Julia was liked by all and judged harshly by none.
Jack eased himself into one of the chairs and Julia’s office and waited patiently for her to finish the email she was working on. Jack viewed her office as an oasis of calm in an otherwise hostile world. Jack could only imagine what life would be like if he could go home to someone like Julia and relax in the evenings. She had become his closest friend and his feelings for her were far from neutral. Studying her, he thought that she seemed more attractive this morning for some reason. He wasn’t sure if it was the luster of her hair, maybe her clothes seemed nicer, and even her nose seemed a bit straighter for some odd reason.
.... There is more of this story ...