Tempting Proposition

‘No, I won’t sell my soul, shut up, stop asking, and get out of my head. Get out of my head, I won’t sell my soul.’ Of course, that would mean there was still a soul to sell. ‘I do have a soul, get out of my head, it’s not for sale.’ Sometimes it wasn’t enough to think the words. Gradually, as time passed, as incertitude crept like worms burrowing inside his mind, maggots of self-doubt spawning in the recesses of fear, what started as a simple vision, ‘no, I won’t sell my soul,’ became a mantra screamed in thought with rapid succession. ‘NO, I WON’T SELL MY SOUL.’ Eventually, when that no longer worked, he mumbled the words aloud, although softly, at first. “No, I won’t sell my soul, get out of my head.”
His coworkers sat around the large table talking animatedly before the meeting about company gossip, family politics, rising gas prices, you name it. They talked and he smiled, nodding his head when he thought appropriate, occasionally murmuring “oh definitely.” But no one noticed how white the knuckles on his closed hands had turned just as they couldn’t see the sweat forming under his arms. No one knew that with every upturned wink and casual chuckle he was actually screaming no, I won’t sell my soul, shut up, stop asking, and get out of my head. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
The voice never stopped, would never stop. He knew that. In fact, in a way, he’d even come to accept it, however grudgingly. Because as long as the proposition hung in the air then it meant he had a soul to sell. It was comforting to imagine he was still human, if only for a bit longer.
This is ridiculous he thought absolutely stupid. Get control of yourself. And yet, despite judicious reassurance of foolishness, pushed past all comforting thoughts of impossibility, the offer was there, sometimes with a lusty lick on his earlobe, and other times a vision of cancer. Her voice was velvet, forever ripping, forever stained and torn beyond measure. Her voice was poverty to the brinks of crime. She ran her words down his creamy thighs, only to tear at his testicles with reckless abandonment. ‘I want you’ she said ‘like no other. I can be like no other. I want your soul.’ Her voice was worse than death because at least death was over, cash out, all bets closed, divorce; however, the offer meant eternal suffering until space out of time.
“NO, I WON’T SELL MY FUCKING SOUL! I HATE YOU! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”
Every face in the room seemed to stare through him like he was the terrible precursor for something much, much worse. “Jim?” The voice came from one of the flock, although it was difficult to ascertain which when they all spoke with group mind. Every dark tie thought the same thing ‘he’s going to get fired. I wonder who’s going to cover his work. Better not be me.’
A smile crept across Jim’s face despite the outburst…the voice was gone. “It’s gone. I’m gone. I quit. I won’t slave out my soul for you or anyone else ever again!”
The loss of a job never felt so sweet when there was still something inside, something quiet, but always watching, and not for sale.

Tempting Proposition

Dave Legere

Joined January 2008

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Artist's Description

a shorter excerpt of a longer piece.

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short fiction

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