I looked them over again. Travis was wearing a
Grateful Dead tie-dye T-shirt while Andrew sported the more recent Phish
model. Both wore homemade hemp necklaces, sandals, and their faces were
covered by the overgrown and untrimmed scraggle that passed for a beard
in their subculture. I had judged them as pot-heads, and correctly so,
the moment I saw them. Easy targets. Not the brightest boys in town, either.
They thought they were ripping me off.
"So, do we have a deal?" I asked them. They gave each other
a glance, smirking.
"An ounce?" asked Andrew, "Each?"
"That's right," I said.
"In return for our souls?"
"Yep, that's all."
"Sure, man," said Travis. "No problem."
"Great," I said, "then we're in business." I offered
my hand to Travis. He took it and we shook. I could feel the exchange
begin even if he couldn't. I held out the bag with the goods inside and
Travis took it. "One for you... and one for you," I said, shaking
Andrew's hand, giving him a similar package. "It's been a pleasure,
"Whatever you say, man," Travis mumbled. The duo pushed their
way through the doors of the men's room, laughing all the way. I don't
know what the hell they thought I was doing. Maybe they figured I was
a beginning dealer, trying to win their loyalty for later business. Who
knows? Fucking idiots.
Once they were gone, I checked myself in the mirror, smiling. Charismatic
as ever, short brown hair, blue eyes twinkling, teeth clean. I looked
good. A face you could trust. Everyone who knew me said so. Warren Parsons
was a good guy, a guy you could trust.
I swung my book bag over my shoulder and headed out of the fine arts
building, going towards the dining hall. I went through and got myself
dinner and brought my tray over to the table me and my friends like to
sit at. Steve D'Angelo, Pandora Rieper, and Sarah Woolfsons, they're my
friends, already sat eating. Steve sat at the head of the table, backwards
cap covering most of his short blond hair, white T-shirt with some team
or other on it. Sarah sat to his right, long blond hair going over her
shoulders in waves, wearing a white tank top and shorts. Pandora sat across
from her, her red hair short, just framing her face. She was wearing a
pair of black overalls over a pink T-shirt.
"Tell her," Steve said to me as I walked up, gesturing towards
"Tell her what?" I asked.
"He," Sarah said, "is being a loser." I sat next
to her and gave her a kiss. She and I had a sort of thing, if you couldn't
"Good to see you honey," she said to me.
"Well, it is wrong," said Pandora.
"What is?" I asked.
"Well," Sarah said, flipping a blonde tress out of her face, "I
forgot my ID card, so I just brought my food out the back way."
I mock gasped. "You mean you didn't pay!" Obviously, I didn't
"Oh, shut up," Sarah said, rolling her eyes.
"Seriously though," said Pandora, "Maybe you're not paying
for it, but when the dining halls are ripped off they charge the whole
"No," I said, "no, I remember reading somewhere that they
charge everyone fifty dollars at the beginning of the year to cover theft
throughout." It's true. I checked.
"Yeah," said Sarah, "I'm just taking what's mine. And,
since you don't steal, I have to make sure I steal enough to cover you,
too, or else you'll be getting ripped off."
Pandora kind of frowned and took another bite of her macaroni salad.
"I didn't mean to start a war here," said Steve, "I was
"It's no big deal," said Pandora.
"So how's your soul collection going, War?" asked Sarah. They
knew about it. Well, they knew a little about it. They knew it existed,
that's about it. They thought it was funny, you know.
"Oh, not so bad," I answered. "I just got a couple more
a minute ago."
"What did you give them?" asked Steve.
"I can't reveal my methods," I said. Like I said, they didn't
know everything. They were generally easy going people, but I don't think
they would have been cool with large drug deals.
"What do you do with people's souls?" asked Pandora.
"That's my secret," said I, "But I know one way you could
"What's that?" she asked.
"Give yours to him!" said Steve, laughing.
"No thanks," she said, "I'd prefer to keep mine where
"Aw," said Sarah, "Pandy's too holy to lose her soul?"
"No, I just want to hold on to what makes me my own person."
"You don't actually believe in souls do you?"
"Yeah," said Sarah, "I didn't think you were religious."
"I'm not," Pandora said, "But, I don't know, it's my soul.
It's the essence of my being, the source of me, right? I don't want to
take a risk with it."
"It's just a gag, Pandora," I said. "Just on of my little
quirks. It's not like I'm evil, or something. I'm not collecting souls
for Satan or anything, it's just a joke."
"I know, I know," she said, "I don't think you're evil,
I just want to keep my soul."
"No problem," I said, returning to my turkey cutlet. Those
things are good.
"It's no big deal," said Sarah.
"If it's no big deal," Pandora said, "Why don't you give
"OK, what will you give me for mine, Warren?" asked Sarah.
"What to you want?" I asked.
"To be your slave forever," she said, draping her arms around
"Oh, love," I said, "You already are."
We all laughed. "Well, then you can have my soul." She was
beautiful, but I suppose she never was as smart as she tried to seem.
But who cares? As I said, she was beautiful. I kind of prefer blondes.
Not to say there is anything wrong with redheads or brunettes, I like
those too, but if a blonde and a brunette are equally hot, I'll go with
"Thanks," I said, shaking her hand, "That makes five in
"See?" said Sarah. "I trust him. I know he would never
do anything bad to my soul, right Hon?"
"Of course, love," I replied, and I leaned in and kissed her.
She was a good kisser. She was good at a lot of those sorts of things.
After dinner I told them I was busy and walked back to my dorm. I went
into my room and shut the door behind me. For a few minutes I lay on my
bed trying to do my Calculus II homework, but after a few minutes I got
bored and decided to summon up His Satanic Majesty.
I lit my candles, drew out my symbols, and after I completed the chant,
the center of the dorm room floor erupted into an enormous billowing pillar
of fire and brimstone, which, after a dramatic bit of swirling, congealed
into Satan himself. He's a big man, if you could call him a man, but I
think it's important to stress that he isn't. We're not talking about
Jack Nicholson or Al Pacino with an evil grin and malicious intent, no,
in actuality, Satan is a huge, inhuman monster. He's red in color, his
eyes burn yellow/orange, and he's got terrifically large horns growing
out of a head which, itself, is much larger than a human's. He could probably
fit an entire human head in his mouth if he wanted to. He probably has,
now that I think of it. His teeth are much sharper than any I've ever
seen, he's really ripped, probably works out, and his legs are similar
to those of an enormous goat who is strong enough to kill an elephant
with one kick. He had to crouch in order to fit comfortably in my room.
"Oh, unholy master!" I said prostrating myself, "You honor
me with your presence!"
"Thank you. Get up," he said. "Do you have any souls for
"Yes," I said as I rose, "I got five more today. They
are yours." I gestured and could feel as the souls flowed out of
my being and into the possession of Satan.
"Not bad," the Dark One said, "You shall be rewarded.
How did you get these souls?"
"Two were a couple of pot-heads," I said, "I just gave
them weed. I saw a couple of bums on the bus on the way back from the
mall earlier. They wanted money. The last one is my girlfriend's. She
gave it to me for nothing."
"It never ceases to amaze me what fools these mortals be," said
Satan, "present company excepted, of course." I just smiled,
pleased to have pleased. "I have a request, however."
"Anything, my liege," I said. Yeah, you know, we all kiss our
"These souls, although nice and relatively innocent, are not the
most pious things. I want you to bring me the soul of Pandora Rieper.
Her soul is very pure. I like getting the good ones. It really makes God
mad. I love that, as you know."
"As you wish," I said, and in a brimstone burst much like the
first played backwards, His Unholy Lord was gone. I sprayed some Wizard
Air Neutralizer so my RA wouldn't think I was burning incense.
The question everyone always has about now is "Why do you do it,
Warren?" Well, to be honest, I don't really want to get into it.
Suffice to say that Satan and I first got in touch with each other after
my parents died, there was some confusion there as to what was happening
with them, but it's all worked it out now. Plus, you know, I get all the
traditional minion of Satan benefits, earthly wealth and power, etc.,
so this is a good deal for me. It's really none of your business.
The next day, Thursday, I was fortunate enough to get Pandora to go to
the mall with me. Satan wasn't joking, she really was a sweetheart. Wouldn't
hurt a fly except to feed a sickly spider, you know? She wanted to go
to the mall to buy her mother a mother's day present. I hadn't picked
one up yet either, so I figured it was a good opportunity. Not for my
mother, obviously, but for my grandma. She raised me after they died.
I bought her a couple of Star Trek books from Waldenbooks. She reads them
a lot, loves those shows, you know? I read them once in a while. I'm not
a Trekkie or anything, but I think they're ok. Pandora hadn't picked anything
"Let's try Hallmark," she said.
"Sure," I said, and the two of us immediately headed for the
card stand devoted solely to mother's day. I started looking at the Garfield
cards. Pandora was looking at the more generic ones, they type with poetry
"So how are things going with you and Sarah?" she asked, making
"Good," I said. "She seems happy. I know I am. Oh yeah,
by the way, we're going out to the movies on Saturday, you want to come?"
"No thanks," she said, "I don't want to be a third wheel."
"So, why don't you bring someone?"
"What," Pandora asked, "like a double date? No thanks,
I don't have anyone to ask."
I let the subject die for a minute. Let her brood on it, I figured. I
picked up a card with an angel on it. On the outside it said, "On
mother's day I promise to be your little angel again..." and the
inside says, "As long as you forget why I was cast out of Heaven
in the first place." Stupidest card I've ever seen.
"I'm all set," I said, grabbing the envelope that went with
the card. Pandora stood looking into a glass display case with all those
little porcelain children inside of it. I can't remember what those things
are called for the life of me, but they're all dolled up from way back
when, looking all sweet and innocent like adults always fantasize that
children do. I'm glad my grandma doesn't like that stuff, I wouldn't be
able to stand being around her. Star Trek I can take, but these? I walked
over to her.
"Oh, come on," I said, "I'm sure there's someone."
"Well," she said, "there is someone..." Told you
she'd keep thinking about it.
But I could never ask him out."
"Why not?" I asked her.
"He'll say no," said Pandora.
"Why would he do that?" I asked. "You're a beautiful girl,
you're great to hang out with, I'm sure there are lots of guys who'd love
to go out with you." I wasn't bullshitting her. She really was hot.
I mean, I already had a girlfriend, but if I didn't, I'd have hooked up
"Well, if these hundreds of guys won't say anything, why should
"Because it'll be fun! What have you got to lose?"
"My pride," she said, crouching down to see the price on the
bottom of one of the statuettes. A sad little porcelain girl knelt as
a little porcelain boy kissed her on the forehead.
"Oh, come one," I said, "people ask each other out all
the time. I think Steve is going to ask someone to come with us, too." A
lie. But I figured, peer pressure, right?
"Who?" Pandora asked, looking up at me quickly.
"I don't know I just..." Duh! She had the hots for Steve. To
be honest, I'm a little ashamed that I never noticed, but, oh well, too
late now. I smiled knowingly at her.
"No, no," she said.
"It's Steve, isn't it?"
"No!" she said. She stood up, instantly defensive. I gave her
a look. "Ok, yes. But you can't tell him!"
"Because, Warren, that would be betraying my trust!"
"Ok, ok," I said, "I won't tell him. I just, you know..."
"Well," I said, looking away, "I might be able to get
him to ask you to the movies."
"Yeah, out of pity," she said, rolling her eyes.
"No," I said, "We've talked about you before. He has an
interest. There is a definite interest there." Mostly true. Well,
it is true, I'm just making it sound more active than it was. It was really
one of those things where we were listing girls we knew and saying what
we thought of them. He thought she was hot. I think I gave her a better
grade than he did, but that's not important.
"You're kidding," she said eyeing me skeptically.
"Nope." I put my arm around her. "I guarantee you, if
you ok it, I can get him to ask you out."
"Are you sure?" she asked.
"You're a friend," I said. "I like to help people."
She looked me in the eyes. "You want my soul, don't you?"
"Well," I admitted, "It would be nice..."
She smirked at me. "No way."
"Alright, alright," I said, laughing, taking a step back from
her. "You don't have to give me your soul. I'll do this one pro bono.
But if you ever reconsider..."
"I sincerely doubt I will," she said, chuckling. "Are
you serious about this?"
"Completely," I said.
"Alright, talk to him," she said, smiling, "but be subtle!"
"You can count on it," I told her.
So, I told Steve that she was nuts about him. Ok, I wasn't subtle.
"Really?" said Steve, sipping a Bud from his hidden stash.
"Wow..." he said. "What do you think I should do?"
"Hello?" I said. "Ask her out."
"Are you sure, man? I don't want to ruin our friendship."
Jesus Christ, can you believe this? This guy is supposed to be a college
male? "Don't worry about it. You like her, don't you?"
"Well, yeah," he said, shrugging, "I mean, she's hot,
and she's nice, I just never thought about it so much, you know?"
"Well, try thinking now. Can't you imagine what she'd be like in
He laughed. "Dude, what's gotten into you?"
"Nothing, I'm just trying to hook up a couple of my friends who
have both been lonely for too long," I said. I hit him on the arm. "You're
not still hung up on Veronica are you?"
"No fucking way," he said. I knew how to touch a sore spot. "I'm
over that bitch."
"Well, then, what's stopping you from this?"
"Nothing..." he said.
"It's been, what, two months?" I asked him.
"Yeah... yeah, I'm going to go for it."
"Yeah!" I said, hitting him on the back. "Give her a call.
She's home now. Take her out tonight."
"Tonight? To what?"
"Whatever you want. Dinner, I guess. Or take her to the pool hall.
"Yeah, ok," he said. "It's gonna be fun. We can go out
to the Underground, maybe. Does she like clubs?"
"Probably. And if it goes well, why don't you ask her to double
date with me and Sarah tomorrow. We're going to the movies."
"Cool, yeah I will," he said.
"I've got to get going," I said, taking a speedy leave while
he picked up the phone.
"Hey," he said, stopping me, "Thanks a lot man."
"No problem," I said. "I'd do anything for a friend."
It was not so long after that, a mere twenty-four hours, when I stood
in my room mixing up a potion to slip my good friend. This Satanic Mickey
Finn was a fun one. The basic idea behind it was simple; Steve drinks
it, he wants to have sex with Pandora. Very badly. Various ingredients
were in it, most of them easily obtainable through supermarkets or local
occult shops. The only thing I needed was Pandora's blood. No big deal,
So, over to Pandora's dorm I went. I brought a couple of CDs I had borrowed
from her. It was the two Best of the Beatles sets, you know, the red and
the blue one that each have half of their career on them? I like the Beatles.
Except it really bugs me how the two CDs in the red set would have easily
fit on one disc. They just put it on two CDs to rip people off. That really
gets me. Record people are the scummiest people on earth.
So, anyway, Pandora. I called her from the front of her dorm on the little
intercom and she came down to let me in. I wish you could have seen the
look on her face. I've never been in love. I've had relationships, of
course, and I've had my heart broken, pretty much, but Sarah is the most
serious girlfriend I've ever had. It's been, what, six months now? The
point is, I'm not in love with her. Pandora wore a look that morning that
I can only assume was the look of one who is madly and helplessly in love.
I'm not exaggerating here. I have never seen another person seem so happy.
She let me in and rushed me right upstairs to her room. She took the CDs
from me and set them aside, dispensing with all pleasantries in favor
of the most humongous sigh I have ever heard in my life.
"Warren," she said, "Thank you so much!"
"Well, I told you I'd bring them back," I said. Nothing wrong
with playing dumb. Gets peoples guard down.
"Not that," she said, "I don't care about that, I'm talking
"Oh, yeah!" I said, "So, how did it go?" I sat down
on her bed.
She fell back into her desk chair. "It was the most fun I've had
in such a long time! We went to the Rendezvous Café first and he
got us coffee and we just talked and talked until about eleven, then we
went over to the Underground and danced until about two."
"I'm so glad you had a good time." I checked out her nightstand.
Tissue box, alarm clock, candle, copy of Jane Eyre. Nothing I could use
"I had a spectacular time! And then afterwards we came back here,
and we talked some more, and we kissed a lot, but he didn't pressure me
at all. After he left, I just lay on my bed thinking about how the two
of us just seemed to click together, we both seem to go at the same speed.
I think I dreamed about him. I'm not sure what happened though, something
like I had a baby that died and he was there... I don't know, but he was
in it, and I loved him."
"You love him?" I asked.
"God, I don't know," she said, "You can't ask me that!" She
got up and started pacing, looking up at her posters, a couple bands,
one with a unicorn, and one of Titanic with Leo and Kate dancing. "I'm
way too emotional right now. Isn't it a bit early to ask me that? I have
to wait until we've gone together for a while, right? I shouldn't even
think about things like that yet." She stopped again, and looked
at me. "I think I do."
I smiled at her and stood. She grabbed onto me and hugged me for ages.
"I'm so happy for you!" I said, "What about Steve?"
"Well," she said, releasing her hold on me, "He seemed
to have a really good time. Why, did he say anything?"
"Yeah," I said, "He told me it was the best time he's
had all year." Sometimes I lie just because I can. I hadn't seen
Steve all day. In retrospect this was a dangerous thing to say. What if
she had talked to him about it later? I mean, she didn't but still. I
guess I was getting a little cocky.
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, of course," I said, "Why would I lie?" Her
desk didn't help me either. Computer, keyboard, monitor, calculus book,
French book, a couple of pictures of her family and friends, Cathy coffee
cup with pencils and pens in it.
"This is too much. I never thought he would ever be interested in
me. This is the best thing that ever happened to me!"
"One thing, though," I said, sitting in her chair, looking
her right in the eyes, "I think you might want to reconsider giving
me your soul."
"What?" she said, caught off guard. She laughed it off. "No
"Ok, no pressure," I said, looking away. "I just figured
you'd be better off without it."
"You know, you'd have nothing left to lose." I spied her garbage
can next to the chair and tried to subtly glance into it while I talked. "You
might get hurt otherwise." Tissues, plastic spoon, Chinese food carton,
Coke can... pay dirt! A Band-Aid.
"No thanks," she said "I've got too much to look forward
to." She turned her back on me, picking out some earrings or something.
I figured it might be my only chance, so I went for the trash can. "If
I didn't know you so well, I'd think you seriously wanted my soul for
something." Got it. She turned back, putting her choice into her
ear. "You have a weird sense of humor, that's for sure."
"You know it," I said, pocketing my treasure. I got up. "I've
got to get going, I've got lots of work to do. Oh, hey, are you two going
to come to the movie tonight?"
"Oh yeah," she said, "Definitely. We're both looking forward
"Cool," I said, on my way out the door, "Then I'll see
you around sevenish, ok?"
"Yep," she said, "See you then!" and I headed back
to my dorm.
This is too good: on the way back home, I was kind of bored. I saw this
guy, what's his name... Peter something. Something with an S. He was in
my Brit Lit class. I didn't really know him so well. Anyway, he was there
talking to his friend Jackson, and when I get to them, I go, "Hey,
uh, Peter, can I have your soul?" extending a hand towards him.
"Uhhh..." he's looking at me like I'm nuts. Probably didn't
recognize me at all. "Sure..." And he shook my hand. Can you
believe it? For nothing. When I walked away I could hear him laughing
at me. What a fucking idiot.
Anyway, I get back to my dorm with my ill gotten and fairly gross prize
and set about trying to scrape off enough blood to make it useful. Then
I mixed well and let sit for at least three hours in a cool place, namely
my fridge. It was just about seven when Steve popped over to get ready
to go to the movies.
"Hey, man, you want a beer?" I said as he came in.
"Sure," he said. I took two out of the fridge and gave him
one, which he opened and started to drink. The other I opened myself and
subtly slipped in my concoction. Then I mock sipped it, very careful not
to really sip it, obviously.
"Oh, shit," I said, "I forgot. I can't drink this, I'm
driving. You want it?"
"Uh... ok," he said. He finished off his Bud and took mine,
not being one to pass up free beer. I had to work pretty hard on it to
make sure the taste would be masked, but it payed off, he seemed to like
it. "Thanks a lot. I've give you one later, ok?" He was wearing
a Dave Matthews Band t-shirt from some tour or other, a regular old pair
of jeans, and another cap. I think it was a Yankees cap. He was on the
track team. He got some sort of scholarship from it, too. He was in really
good shape. Ok, I'll admit, he was better looking than me. Happy?
"Don't worry about it," I said, "I've got plenty. So how
did it go last night?"
"Oh," he said, "It went well. We had a really good time."
"You think it will turn into something serious?" I asked him.
"I don't know," he said, "It's too soon to tell. She's
pretty cool, you know? I like hanging around with her."
The plan was that we would decide on the movie when we got there. Steve
and I took my car over to get the girls. First we grabbed Sarah, who looked
great as always, then Pandora. She was still aglow and she and Steve kissed
hello. My potion takes a while to get up to strength, but it had started
to work its charm already. Steve was beaming at Pandora.
I had a pretty good night out that night. We let the girls pick the movie
we saw, but to be honest with you, I don't remember what it was. I wasn't
really watching the movie, I was paying attention to the show next to
me; Pandora and Steve. Sarah sat to my left, but she was a fan of whatever
attractive male starred in the film, so she didn't notice. Pandora was
on my right, and Steve was on hers.
He wasn't paying attention to the movie either, but for different reasons.
My handiwork had kicked in and his hormones were raging for Pandora. As
I said, I was tuning the film out completely, so I was able to make out
most of what was whispered. When the movie started, he had his arm around
her. He leaned in close.
"I'm so glad we ended up getting together," he whispered to
"Me too," she said. "I never even knew you liked me."
"Of course I did," he said. "You're so beautiful. You're
so smart. You're so... sexy."
That's when he put his hand on her leg.
"Steve," she whispered, but she said it in that giggly, nervous-but-happy
kind of way girls have. She didn't take his hand away.
He started kissing her neck after a few minutes. She kissed him back,
but when he made a subtle move for her breasts, she deflected. "Slow
down," she whispered, "Let's watch a little of the movie."
There was no way he could focus on the movie. His hand was rubbing her
knee seductively and his head, close to hers, kept moving, brushing their
skin together. After a moment, I think he must have been blowing on her
ear, or maybe licking it, or biting it, because she giggled and put her
hand up to her ear.
"Stop that," she said, laughing.
"I'm sorry," he said, "I just can't stop thinking about
She kissed him again. They made out for a couple of minutes. I was amazed
by his restraint; he only went for her chest once. He got a good grope
before she moved his hands away, but once she did, he kept his hands down
for the remainder of that kissing session.
It went this way on and off for the rest of the movie. I am proud to
say I did not laugh. He said a lot of 'You-are-so-beautiful's and even
some 'I've-always-loved-you's. The problem is, Pandora was less amused
with each attempt. She was flattered, obviously, but she's not the type
to have sex on the second date, let alone before she left the theatre.
He kept growing more and more passionate for her, trying so hard to get
into her pants, or even her shirt, while she became a little more nervous
By the time the credits rolled and the lights came up, she had let him
feel her up, but that was as far as it went, much to his disappointment.
When we all got up to leave, Pandora was... flustered is a good word for
it. The evening hadn't gone as she had expected, that was for sure.
"So, now what?" I said as we walked to the parking lot.
"Let's go to Denny's!" suggested Sarah.
"No thanks," said Pandora, "I'm too tired."
Steve had his arm around her waist. He leaned into her and whispered
into her ear, but I couldn't hear what he said.
"No," Pandora said, "I think I'd better go home. I have
to be up early."
"No problem," I said.
Steve looked really disappointed.
In the back seat of the car, while I was driving home, I could tell he
was trying something. I couldn't tell you what, I was mostly watching
the road, but Pandora's whispered 'Stop!'s gave away the fact that something
unsavory was up.
She put on a happy face as we pulled up to her dorm. "Thanks for
a wonderful night guys," she said. "I had a good time, Steve,
I'll call you later." She turned and went inside.
"How was date number two?" I asked Steve as I backed out of
"It didn't go as well as I had hoped," he said. "Why didn't
she want to come over?"
"Don't worry about it, Steve," said Sarah. "Some girls
like to take it slow. They can't all be like me." She smiled and
kisses me on the cheek and rubbed my chest.
"Whatever," said Steve, slumping back in his seat and turning
in a brilliant performance of the college-age version of sulking.
We got back to our dorm in about three minutes. I wished Steve a good
night and Sarah and I went back to my room. When she stepped out to use
the bathroom, I called Pandora.
"Hello," she answered.
"Pandora?" I said. I had put on a sad voice.
"Warren," she said, "hi." She sniffed.
"Were you crying?" I asked her.
"No," she lied. "What's up?"
"Sarah and I just got into a big fight," I told her. As we
talked I lit a candle and began putting some herbs into a little bowl.
"What?" she said, surprised. "Why?"
"She was mad at me for fixing you two up," I said, "She
said you obviously had an awful time and it was clearly a bad idea from
the start. She said I probably ruined your friendship with him, and then
she stormed out. I'm... I'm so sorry." This is when I started doing
a crying sound. I used my razor to cut my fingertip and added it to my
"Oh my God..." she said, "It's not true Warren, you didn't
"Pandora," I said, "Do you think you could come over?
I really need someone to talk to."
"Well, I... sure, Warren," she said, "I'll be there in
We got off the phone just as Sarah was coming back.
"Who was that?" asked Sarah.
"Pandora," I told her.
"Is she ok?" she asked.
"Yeah, sure. Can I see your hand?" She put her hand in mine
and I quickly cut her index finger.
"Ow! Shit!" she said, pulling back.
"Oh, man, I'm sorry! Let me see it," I said. She gave it to
me cautiously. "It's alright. It's not too bad." I gave her
finger a squeeze, coincidentally dripping her blood into the little bowl. "Here's
a Band-Aid," I said, giving her a fresh one.
"What are you doing?" she asked, putting it on.
"Nothing," I said, using my mortar and pestle to crush the
little mixture I'd created. Then I sprinkled it over the large candle,
doing a little chant I know. When I finished, Sarah was properly mesmerized. "Ok,
sweetie," I said to her, "here's what you're going to do. Go
to Steve's room and have sex with him. A lot. You got that?"
"Yes," she said, and left. People without souls are so easy
A few minutes later, Pandora came knocking at my door. I had to become
all sad again. No big deal, it's not hard.
"Hi," I said as I opened the door.
"Hi," she said. She came in and gave me a hug.
"I'm so sorry," I said.
"It's alright," she said. "You didn't ruin anything, War.
Tell me what happened again." She sat me down on my bed and sat facing
me on my desk chair.
"Well, after you left," I coughed, "After you left, Steve
was upset. He was like, 'Oh, man I screwed that up so badly, she'll probably
never talk to me again,' and I was like, 'No, man, she said she'd call
you,' but then when Sarah and I got back to my room she was like, 'He
was right, she obviously had a rotten time, now they can't be friends
ever again.' So I said, 'Why not?' and she's like 'That's just the way
it is,' you know, 'Too bad.' And then she walked out." I was really
playing it up, looking at the floor, rolling my head around, going all
out to look really upset.
"Shhhh... honey," Pandora said, "Calm down, shhhh... You
were right. She was wrong. Maybe the date didn't go perfect, but I'll
give it another shot. I've had feelings for Steve for a long time. I've
never seen him act that way with any other girl, I'm sure it was an isolated
incident. And even if it doesn't work out, I'm sure we can still be friends.
I'm still friends with my last boyfriend."
"Really?" I asked.
"Of course," she said. "Have I ever been the kind to hold
"No," I said. It was true. She'd forgive anything.
"See?" she said, taking my hand and bringing my face up to
look her in the eyes. "You haven't ruined anything. I know you had
only the best intentions. You just wanted to make your friends happy."
"Yes," I said, slowly coming around, "I guess."
"What can I do to help you?" she asked, really concerned.
"Well," I said, "can we go talk to Sarah and Steve to
let them know how you feel? I think they both are mad at me..."
She hesitated for a minute and then decided, "Sure, why not. Come
on," she said, standing. "Talking things out is the best way
to get through them."
We walked out of my room. "I guess we'll go see Steve first, he's
"Sure," she said.
We walked down the hallway to his door, her leading me by the hand, and
she quietly knocked. There was no answer. "Steve?" she said.
She knocked again. A strange noise emanated from the room. "Steve?" she
repeated. The noise sounded again.
"What is that?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. She reached down to try the knob.
It was unlocked, so she slowly and quietly opened the door. There on Steve's
bed lay Steve and Sarah, both completely naked, still making love pretty
vigorously. Pandora shut the door so quickly I don't think they could
tell who opened the door on them. They showed no signs of stopping, that
was for sure.
Neither of us spoke. She dropped my hand and walked back to my room.
I followed her. She sat in my chair again. I just stood next to her, staring
down at her. Eventually, she looked up at me. Then she started crying
and looked away.
"Does it hurt?" I asked her.
She looked back up at me, astounded. She nodded.
"Why?" I asked.
"I..." she said between sobs, "I don't... know..."
I crouched down to her level, to look her evenly in the eyes. "I
told you it would," I said.
She couldn't believe I was saying this. She couldn't say a word.
"Didn't I tell you?" I asked her. No reply. "Didn't I?" she
nodded. "Yes. I told you. 'You could get hurt,' I said. Do you want
the hurting to stop?" Again, she didn't reply. She just cried. "Do
you want it to stop?"
"Yes," she whispered.
"Good," I said. "You know what I want, right?" No
answer. "Trust me," I said. "You'll be much better off.
No one will ever be able to hurt you like this again. You'll be practically
invincible. You know what I want?" She nodded. "And you're ready
to give it to me?" She waited a moment, then nodded. "Good," I
said. "Give me your hand."
She put her hand in mine. I think she even felt it this time. What a
soul! I had never felt a thing of such beauty. So pure, so untainted,
so sensitive. I could feel every ounce of pain I had caused her. She must
have felt it leaving her, it was very powerful. I wonder if she regretted
it. I wonder if she forgave me.
I hugged her then. "It's going to be ok now," I said, trying
to calm her tears. I kissed her on the forehead. "Cheer up," I
said softly, "Things can only go up from here." I held her for
about five minutes, just talking to her, comforting her, trying to ease
the pain and subsequent emptiness she felt.
Eventually, without a word, she stood and left, a shell of her previous
self. I lay back on my bed, content.