Faustian Return Policy

“Listen, this isn’t working out.”

It hadn’t been that long; I remembered his raspy voice. I picked up another crate and put it onto the stack. It hadn’t even been a year; he was early. “Not sure what you mean.”

“Most people, they ask for things for themselves. When you…” he trailed off, shrugged. “I guess I thought I just didn’t get your angle. But there wasn’t an angle. Was there?”

“Still not sure—”

“You’re just helping people. Selflessly. This hasn’t ever happened before.” He nervously stuck a cigarette in his mouth, flipped open a jet-black zippo and lit it. He took a long drag, holding in the smoke, savoring it, before speaking again. “It’s a problem, Ernest. Conceptually.”

“You gave me what I asked for, I’m prepared to give you what you asked for. When it’s time. It’s not time yet.” I hoisted another crate onto the pallet, and reached for the hand jack.

“You don’t get it. The deal is supposed to bring out corruption that’s already there. You make the deal, it means you deserve it. But this is… I can’t have your soul down there.” He flicked his cigarette at the ground. “Stinking up the place.”

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