Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Chapter Two

As he climbed the stairs to his office, Brambleshot wondered why Big Red would bother with such a clumsy attempt. Surely he didn't think Brambleshot would fall for so obvious a ruse. There must be something larger happening and this was just a small part of it. Well, as long as he remained just a small part of the big picture, Brambleshot expected he could just ignore it and get on with his life. When he unlocked the door to Brambleshot Investigations, entered his office and heard that dreadful voice, he realised that wasn't going to happen.

"Ignatius! Wonderful to see you again, my lad."

There, sitting in Brambleshot's chair, hoofed feet resting on the edge of the desk, was Satan. His dangerous smile surrounded by deep red skin, two perfectly symmetrical bony protrusions on his forehead, the meticulously coiffed hair and pointed beard left no doubt about his intentions. He only wore this visage when offering deals. Brambleshot had an uneasy feeling.

"I said to make an appointment," grumbled Brambleshot, knowing any attempt at intimidation would be wasted, but feeling the need to try anyway.

"Oh, but I did. Reputation aside, you know I can't actually break the rules. Just bend them a little." The devil paused to consider his statement. "Okay, bend them a lot," he conceded as he slid Brambleshot’s appointment book across the desk.

Brambleshot looked down at the book. It was open to the current date and there, in Brambleshot's own handwriting, he saw, "Nick - 2:00." He checked his watch and glared at his visitor. "You're early."

"It's now a sin to be punctual," offered the devil. Brambleshot wasn't certain whether it was actually a question or a statement. One could never be certain with Satan. His voice seemed to not so much speak to you, but speak into you.

The voice had always bothered Brambleshot, in many ways, the most significant of which was that it just didn't match his face, his frame, his overall appearance (no matter which appearance he chose). The timbre was wrong, the volume didn't seem quite right, a little too much treble, not enough bass. It wasn't until he'd been on Earth for a few years that Brambleshot made a shocking discovery about the voice. He'd been watching television, randomly channel surfing, when his ears perked up at the sound of his former boss's voice. He paused and watched the channel for a moment. On the screen he saw a small man sitting in a large chair. He wore black-framed glasses and clasped his hand together between his knees. He seemed to be telling a joke. It was very unnerving and Brambleshot had changed the channel quickly for fear of being drawn into one of Big Red's traps.

What he had seen, though, left no doubt. Satan spoke with the voice of Ronnie Corbett. Or maybe Ronnie Corbett spoke with the voice of Satan. He had never been able to confirm one over the other, but either way it was a disturbing discovery.

"Get your feet off my desk," said Brambleshot, shoving the cloven hooves onto the floor. "You'll leave burn marks on the oak."

"Oh," replied Satan, standing and walking around the desk with a repentant look on his face. "Forgive me." After moment's pause, he burst into a giggling fit of laughter. Brambleshot sat in his chair and stared at him, balanced on the edge of patience. Eventually the Prince of Darkness managed to suppress his laughter got himself under control again. "Heh, that's still one of my favourites," he confessed as he collapsed into the smaller wooden seat opposite Brambleshot's large leather chair.

"Whatever," growled Brambleshot, glaring at the devil who had managed to invite himself into his office. "Your flunky says you need my help. I couldn't care less, but you have an appointment, so I'll listen to you for the time allotted."

Satan's expression was suddenly serious and focussed. "Thank you, Ignatius. This is actually something of a somewhat sensitive nature. I wouldn't normally approach you without-"

Brambleshot held up a hand to stop the rambling devil. "New policy. All appointments are now one minute in duration. You have until 2:01 to convince me that I'm even the least bit curious about your problems."

The devil leaned forward and placed his hands on the edge of the desk. "Synthia is missing. She's been kidnapped."

Brambleshot's memory cast him back, a slave to her name. Years before, when he'd still been a minion of Hell, he and Synthia had indulged in a variety of sins of the flesh and, for a brief time, had suffered an unexpected and unfortunate side-effect. They fell in love and it had ended badly. He hadn't seen her since but it all came crashed back to him at the mention of her name. He hadn't thought that Satan knew about their romance, but obviously he did and was now using that knowledge to intrigue him, trick him, for some reason.

"You're kidding," Brambleshot finally said. "Who would kidnap the daughter of Satan?"

"That's what I want you to find out," came the reply, "and I'm willing to offer you complete freedom. No more conditions, no more double-speak guidelines, just complete freedom." The devil paused, seeming uncomfortable, then with determination he uttered one more word.
"Please," begged Satan.



Blogger Billp said...

Ronnie Corbett? RONNIE CORBETT? I think I'm actually offended. You bastard.

Good stuff, though. Not wasting anytime getting things going, are you? I think you've got the equivalent of about four pages of text here, and we're already well on our way. Nice.

Don't suppose you mind if I try and point a few extra readers your way... they like this stuff on The Straight Dope Message Boards.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006 12:54:00 p.m.  
Blogger tga said...

I like Ronnie Corbett. I loved seeing him sit in that chair and tell a rambling joke with side tracks commentary. It was always one of my favourite bits on "The Two Ronnies."
Not for a moment would I suggest that Ronnie Corbett is evil, but, to me the idea that the ultimate evil, the Prince of Darkness, the First Fallen has a voice that sounds like Ronnie Corbett, well, I think it's funny. If you don't think so, buy me a beer and convince me otherwise.

...And a hearty welcome to our visiting Straight Dopers. Make yourselves at home.


Friday, June 16, 2006 8:18:00 p.m.  

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