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I’m not going to shoot a panda for you!

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Greg’s never tried summoning a demon before, but it seems to be his last resort. Nothing he’s doing to Roy from afar is working in any way to ruin his life. The worst thing Greg ever did was ask Ginny to walk away from her failing marriage and into a life with him. It worked well, possibly too well as now nothing he tries seems to have any effect on Roy. It looks like Roy hit the bottom of everything after Ginny left and has been resting there or just slightly above it, ever since. So Greg turns to demons in the hope that they can help him ruin Roy’s life.

He must get the incantation or the circle or something wrong, because he doesn’t get just any demon in his living room, he gets the devil.

“What?”

“Shouldn’t you be politer? You are at my command remember.”

“I’m at no one’s command. I’m the devil. I shouldn’t be here, but you messed up some part of the summoning. What do you want?”

“I’m trying to ruin someone’s life.”

“And you’re failing at that too.”

“I managed it once, but nothing else is working as well as it should be.”

“If you’ve already ruined his life, then it’s ruined. There’s nothing else you or anyone else can do to ruin his life further. If he’s already at rock bottom then that’s that.”

“I have summoned you though.”

“And I’m not going to do anything you tell me to. I’m the devil. I don’t answer to anyone, let alone self obsessed self-aggrandising mortals.”

“I’m not self obsessed.”

“Really?” Lucifer asks gesturing to the portrait of Greg they seem to be standing under.

“That proves nothing. Now. Since you aren’t going to help me, what will you do?”

“Nothing stupid, if I have to do anything, and I’m not saying I’m going to do anything you tell me to.”

“Run a marathon?”

“No. What hellish sort of suggestion is that?”

“Go to a remote and deserted island for ten years?”

“That’s just a punishment. All I’ve done is been wrongly summoned by an idiot, that’s punishment enough. And I’m the devil. I’m not doing anything.”

“Get me a glass of water.”

“I think that’s beneath my dignity.”

“Yes, but once you’ve done that you can go back to hell and get on with whatever it is you normally do.”

“Fine. There you go. Happy now?”

“Not especially. Are you sure there’s nothing you can do to Roy Steel?”

The devil goes pale, and Greg finds it almost but not actually impossible to laugh at the devil being scared by the mention of Roy’s name.

“He’s protected. There’s nothing I can do to him regardless of how much I want to.”

“I find that hard to believe. Who or what is he protected by?”

“He’s one of God’s favourites. I’ve been told very emphatically, that there are worse places I could end up if I mess with another of his favourites. It’s actually very annoying.”

“There are worse places than hell?”

“Yes. And if you don’t let me go, then that’s where you’ll end up when you die.”

Greg moves slightly closer and wipes at the circle with his foot. It vanishes almost instantly and a second later the devil vanishes in a very overdramatic cloud of smoke.

Greg forgets about this encounter, and buys a castle in a remote European country. When he gets back from finalising the deal, he finds his house full of glasses of water and curses the day he tried to summon a demon.