Black Petals Issue #78 Winter, 2017

One Hell of an Interview
Mars-Chris Friend
All is As It Should Be-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Clown Attack-Fiction by Paul Strickland
One Hell of an Interview-Fiction by Daniel Clausen
Sacrifices-Fiction by Toney Baus
Self-Immolation-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
Surviving Montezuma, Ch. 5 &6-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Lucky Break-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Those Other Guys-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Only at Night-Poem by Cindy O'Quinn
Ouija-Poem by Ramona Thompson
Roadkill Cat-Poem by Ramona Thompson


One Hell of an Interview


By Daniel Clausen


The details of a deal

There I was in my mid-40s, out of work for a few months, dressed in my finest threads, ready for the interview of my life. I was being interviewed (I thought) for a manager’s job at one of the major ad agencies that dealt mainly in breakfast cereals and soaps. Clean living, as they say, or as clean an advertising job as you could get. So there I was when who should appear but the Devil.

As nice as I looked in my custom-made Italian suit, the Devil looked better—Armani from what I could tell. It was just the two of us in the waiting room. The other guy who had gone in just a little before was a little too young probably for the job, which boded well for me. As far as I could tell it was just between me and this guy.

He made his presence known right away with a deep sulfurous fart.

“Oh, that’s what happens when you eat raw fetus for breakfast. Hey, you know who I am, but for the purpose of this meeting, call me Billy O. Cocksmith.”

“What?” I said.

“Boy, you’re thick. I hate the ones it takes longer to frighten and humiliate.”

I didn’t know who he was or what the blazes he was talking about. I was focused on one thing only.

“See, here’s the thing. You’re such an insatiable boob. I saw you walking to this meeting and thought, someone needs to take this asshole’s lunch money.”

At this point, things still hadn’t clicked. It seemed as if he were talking to another person just beyond me. I figured that he was one of those aggressive types who had just started out in advertising, hoping to muscle his way in any way he could.

“Nice suit,” I said casually. “I’d buy one of those too if I had a prick as small as yours. I feel sorry for the girl who has to lie and say your two-inch worm satisfies her.”

The sulfurous fart just started to hit me. Oh, was it awful! “Oh man, do you need a doctor? That was hideous.”

The Devil just looked at me and smiled sheepishly. “Fetus fart,” he said, shrugging. “I bet at your old job they thought you were a laugh a minute. And then they promoted you to manager. Oh, the fun never stopped. And then you had to make the layoffs. But, you didn’t think twice and the jokes kept coming. You don’t know how much those jokes burned on the way to the unemployment line…like my farts burn on the way out.”

Now I was getting suspicious. Some of these hot shots were bound to know about me. After all, advertising is a small world. I was beginning to suspect this guy might’ve actually known some of my old employees.

“Listen, guy, I’m sorry if I had to lay off a friend of yours. No hard feelings, right? Advertising is all a kind of hustle anyway. Sometimes, we just can’t keep the hustle going. Hell, even I got canned in the end.”

“But you got yourself a little something on the way out.”

“The severance?”

“Your lunch money—see, I’m going to go in that interview room in a minute and take your job. Then, I’m going to come back out and take your lunch money.”

I glared at the guy, no longer amused.

“Not looking so good, pal. Is that raw fetus stench starting to bother you?”

I didn’t say anything. I figured I’d wait this guy out, and decipher his game. He started exercising his eyebrows, kind of like he was flirting with me. Then he started putting his tongue through his index and middle finger. After that, he started groping his crotch.

“It ain’t no two inches, buddy boy. If you were drowning in the ocean, I could cast it out and pull you ashore.”

Then it hit me. “Bailey and Company! That’s it! The CEO of that company hates my guts. Jim Smathers sent you here to rile me up. Man, I’ll never underestimate that douche bag again.”

The Devil just smiled. “You’re as thick as a brick. I guess you’d need to be to get to where you are in life. The man upstairs himself saw me walking over here. Didn’t do shit, just said, ‘Go get him, devil boy. One less for me to worry about.’ Now I’m about to go in there and take your job right out from under your nose, fetus breath and all. What are you going to do about it?”

I smiled to myself. The obnoxious little prick really thought he had figured me out. “Easy. I’m going to get some water. Want some?”

The Devil just smiled at me. I walked over to the water cooler and got two cups, one for myself and one for my new ‘friend’. “Nice, cold, and fresh,” I said, as I filled two cups.

I walked his water over to him and graciously presented it. “Here you go, friend.” I emptied the cup onto the crotch of his suit. Then I added mine, and crushed the two cups on his head. The entire time he was just smiling.

Every once in a while you get a fighter with one of these sociopath advertising types. Maybe one out of twelve is a fighter, but mostly they’re all bark in those fancy suits. I expected this guy to cry or something, but he just looked up at me, glowing fire in his eyes. I thought at the time I’d imagined it.

“You see, in advertising, as a manager, I had to deal with nutters like you a lot. Can’t tell you how many times we got some young associate, thinking he was Napoleon, or some mail clerk with delusions of becoming Caesar. So, I’d have to bring them into my office and tell them, ‘Listen, if you work here, you’re just another maggot on the carcass. Do your job and you’ll be fine. If not, hit the bricks.’ Your place, good sir, is to sit next to me and shut up until they call your name—or go home and change your pants—up to you. Unless you intend to duke it out, just mind your manners until one of us is called.”

The funny thing about this scene was that I was sure I had been done. At the young age of forty-five, I already had a nest egg that would be the envy of many. I didn’t need this shit. But the shit had called me back. Who was I, if not the guy managing a team to get a pitch ready for a sugary breakfast cereal that was going to give some kid diabetes? Why be just another schmuck living in Thailand, pressuring underage girlfriends to get abortions?

The Devil had been quiet for a bit, but now his eyes were lighting up.

“Fetus!” he said almost like he could read my mind. “Yes, fetus!”

“Hey, what did I tell you about talking?”

“Oh, but you were thinking about warm fetuses!”

I noticed that the wet spot around his crotch was beginning to grow.

“Are you pissing yourself?”

 I’d had enough. I called out to the secretary, “Hey, this applicant is pissing himself right here in the waiting room. Can anyone hear me?”

The Devil was touching and rubbing himself now. “Fetus!”

The puddle around his chair grew wider.

“Hey, get this creep out of here!”

The Devil suddenly snapped out of the wet reverie that had been possessing him. “I’m sorry,” he said. “You see, that coworker you banged several months ago in your office without protection got pregnant. She thought she miscarried. But the truth is I came into her bedroom and devoured her unborn—a tasty one. I wasn’t going to hire an employee who breeds nasty-tasting stuff. Down where you’ll be working, trust me, you’ll be banging a lot of tail —some with actual tails, devilish ones with little red stingers. Poke a she-devil, and she may poke your eye out.”

I was starting to get scared. I had this feeling we were alone, like, the only two people on the floor.

“I’m the Devil, sir.”

He stepped in his own pee to approach me so he could offer his hand. I don’t know why, but I took it. His hand burned mine, but I didn’t care. All I could think about was that this guy really does eat fetuses.

“Now there is one other thing I need to get out of the way, just so there are no misunderstandings.” He pulled down his pants and three organs snaked out, where there should have been one, and started to coil and uncoil.

 All three of them had little faces. One said, “Where do you get off saying I’m two inches?” Another one seemed to disagree, “I like him. He’s got moxie.” The third one seemed eager. “What say we bend him over and—”

  “Don’t worry,” the Devil interrupted. “I don’t let them control me….much.” He and his three peckers started laughing uncontrollably. He put away his three-headed snake and wiped the tears from his eyes.

  “Man Upstairs,” the Devil said, “how did we get so far off track? You’ll be heading our ad department.”

 “Wait...wait. Stop. You’re telling me that this is the interview?”

 “Wow, you’re thick! And by ‘thick’ I mean stupid. Let me spell it out for you,” he said. Suddenly, the urine around his feet started to move on its own, spelling out the words, “I’m really the Devil, sucker.”

 The floor of the office building suddenly went dark. When the lights came back on I was in an office with a legal contract in front of me.

 “See, here’s the thing. I need an ad-guy like you, someone who is just bad enough to get along in a place like Hell, but not so egotistical that he’s going to spend his days hot-dogging it. Ad guys like that are hard to find. Last ad guy we hired spent his time trying to usurp the guy above him. Even got himself a prosthesis prick with four heads so he could boast to me while we were pissing, and paraded that thing around like there was no tomorrow when he should have been working. All the while people were forgetting about Hell because the ad department was four months behind schedule. You’re a genuine dirty prick. But at least you do your job. And you don’t take no guff from the likes of me or other pissants. So it all comes to this. What’s your price?”

 I had a lot of thinking to do. I didn’t want to spend my days taking orders from a smelly, fetus-eating monster. On the other hand, retirement was worse than Hell, and I didn’t know whether Hell could blackball me with other ad agencies. Also, I’d always wanted a miniature of my abusive stepfather to slap around. Something told me this prick could arrange that.

 Apparently, the Devil could read my mind because he said, “Yeah, that’s not a problem. What else?”

 What else indeed? There was my old office assistant I’d been banging, but his fiendish appetite had made that awkward. And she was a devout Christian. Just as I was thinking this, a nice piece of demon tail walked into our little office bringing me a whiskey sour and a cigar. She was a demon alright—red skin, pointy tail and all—but I could tell by the way she grinned at me, served my drink, and didn’t say a word that she’d be a delight.

 I took a sip of my drink and watched as she left the room. Yeah, that’d do fine. The Devil must have been talking for a good two minutes, but I wasn’t listening. Then I heard him clearly.

 “Sure the pay is good, but the perks are where the real value is.” He winked at me. “Now, there’s one more thing you’ll need if you decide to take this job.”

 He pulled out a pair of safety goggles. My thoughts turned to the hot demon secretary who’d just left the room. “You see, our insurance doesn’t cover accidental eye-gouging. Safety first, right?”

 At that, we both laughed and I heard a little bit of laughter sneaking out of his trousers as well.

 I took a sip of my whiskey sour. By the time I’d finished, the Devil couldn’t have stopped me from signing that contract.


The Tail End





Daniel Clausen,, wrote BP #78’s “One Hell of an Interview.” Daniel has wanted to be a writer ever since he was in elementary school. He has published stories and articles in Slipstream, Spindrift, Zygote in my Coffee, and Leading Edge Science Fiction (and many others). He has written six books: The Sage and the Scarecrow (a novel), The Lexical Funk (a short story collection), Reejecttion (short story/ essay collection), ReejecttIIon—A Number Two, (short story /essay collection), Something to Stem the Diminishing (short story/essay collection), and The Ghosts of Nagasaki (a novel).  

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