The Devil and Danielle the Fry Cook – Part 2

Hello again, and sorry for again being late.  Here’s the conclusion to last week’s story.  Don’t forget that, if you haven’t already, now would be a good time to purchase a copy of The Apocalypse Shift, since the sequel will be serialized here starting in two weeks.


Derek J. Goodman

The Devil and Danielle the Fry Cook – Part 2

     At eight o’clock, with two hours to go until closing and the main portion of the dinner rush over with, Carrie knew she should be worried.  Danielle may have been doing slightly better at her duties than normal, but that wasn’t saying much.  Carrie had rearranged everyone’s position tonight to accommodate the extra worker, which had landed Danielle working the drive-thru.  Three times already, Danielle had screwed up the customers’ orders, and despite Carrie’s constant reminders that both their souls depended on her, Danielle seemed to be ringing up orders and counting out change slower than usual.

     The Devil, on the other hand, was the model of a perfect worker.  She worked the front registers where Carrie could keep a close eye on her from the fry station, and Carrie could barely see anything wrong with her.  She was quick, polite to the customers, and even managed to get most of them to super-size their combos.  Under other circumstances Carrie might have even admired the girl.

     If there was any flaw to the Devil’s work, though, it was that Carrie could clearly see how much she hated this.  The Devil managed to keep her smile with each and every customer, but the instant they were gone her smile would disappear.  Carrie could even see how forced that smile was on occasion.  With one man she had asked if he would like fries with that and he had gone off on her for no real reason, getting rather loud as he asked her just how stupid she had to be to not know that of course he wanted fries with that, that he actually worked a real job for a living and after a long day he was hungry, damn it!  People like that came in once in a while, people who thought they were so much better simply because they were on the other side of the counter, but despite some uncontrolled twitching at the edge of her fake smile, the Devil had maintained her cool until the customer left.

     Carrie pondered the incident as she sat in one of the booths and flicked the ashes of her cigarette into a small aluminum ashtray.  She’d been working long enough today that she got a smoke break, and she needed this time to calm her nerves a little.  She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t notice that both Andy and the Devil had disappeared from her immediate sight until the Devil walked up to her booth.

     “Hey boss,” the Devil said without any irony or sarcasm in her voice.  “Think I’ve been here long enough for a smoke break myself?”

     The absolute last thing Carrie needed right now was the Devil sitting next to her and fraying her nerves even more, but what was she going to do, say no to the Devil?  Besides, according to Burger Master policy the Devil really had been working long enough for a short break.  Carrie gestured to the seat across from her and pulled the ashtray to where they could both get at it.  The Devil sat, patted down the pockets of her uniform, grimaced, then looked sheepishly at Carrie.  “I’m sorry, but I don’t suppose I could please bum a cigarette from you?  I wasn’t expecting to be gone from Hell this long today, so I didn’t bring mine.”

     Carrie only hesitated for a moment before giving her one.  The Devil had actually just said “sorry” and “please.”  Whenever Danielle wanted one she was always rude about it.  “Enjoy it while you can,” Carrie said.  “I heard the boss say that all Burger Masters across the country are about to go smoke free.”

     “Yeah,” the Devil said.  “A lot of Hell is like that now, too.  Which is surprising, considering how many people from California are down there.  You’d think they’d allow smoking just to annoy all those health-conscious jackasses.”

     Carrie chuckled as she exhaled a breath of smoke.  “You know, you’re nothing at all like I expected the Devil to be.”

     “And how did you expect the Devil to be?”

     “I don’t know.  Not like you.”

     The Devil looked around to make sure there were no customers watching, then lit her cigarette on a burst of flame from her finger.  “Part of that is probably because you surface people have such weird ideas of what Hell is.” 

     Carrie couldn’t help but lean forward in interest.  “Why?  What do we have wrong?”

     The Devil took a deep drag, then let it out.  “Well, for starters, I’m not the Devil.”

     Carrie raised her eyebrows.  “But I saw what you did earlier, with the horns and hooves and whatever.”

     “Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong.  I am a devil.  I’m just not the Devil.”

     “Okay, I’m confused.”

     “There’s more than one of us,” the devil said.  “All the stuff that you people blame on the Devil, which, by the way is usually not our fault at all, but the stuff that is our fault… You don’t think it’s really possible for just one person to do all of it, do you?”

     “Well, I guess not.  I’ve never really given it much thought.”

     “And you don’t just wake up one day and Bang!  You’re a devil.  You have to work for it.  You want to know why I’m so good at this job you’ve got me doing?  It’s because I had to do this for three hundred years in order to pay for college.  Then, after school, I had to do another hundred years of internship before I earned the right to actually call myself a devil.  Do you have any idea what an internship is like in Hell?  Not pretty.”

     Carrie didn’t realize her jaw had been hanging open until she closed it.  “Wow.  So how long have you been a devil for, then?”

     “A month.”

     “Only a month?  But I thought you said Danielle sold her soul to you last year.”

     “That wasn’t me.  That was my predecessor.  She retired and moved to Antarctica.  I’m still on probation.  And that’s why I’m not going to blow this challenge.”  The devil took a final puff on her cigarette, and then stubbed it out in the ashtray.  “I’m sorry that little waste of flesh dragged you into this, Carrie.  I’m not just saying that.  When I looked into your eyes earlier I saw how hard you’ve been working for your dreams.  But if I lose I’m going to get fired, and there goes my chance at my dreams.”  The devil stood up and started walking back to counter, then stopped and turned back for a moment.  “Still, for what it’s worth, good luck.”

     Carrie finished her cigarette, then immediately started another one.  That last one hadn’t managed to calm her nerves at all.

*    *    *

     With only a few minutes until closing, Carrie was no longer just worried.  She was scared witless.  She paced back and forth in front of the fryers, trying to think of something, anything, that might save her soul at this point.  Andy kept looking at her from where he stood emptying the shake machine for the night, and even though he didn’t have anything to worry about he looked just as nervous as her.  The devil was wiping down trays with a damp rag and putting tray liners on them for the next morning, and despite how sure her success looked about now she would occasionally look back at Carrie with something that may have been anxiety.  Or maybe that wasn’t anxiety at all.  Maybe it was sympathy.

     Danielle, however, was nowhere to be seen.  Carrie glanced quickly around, then noticed the suspicious smell wafting through the air.  Carrie followed the odor towards the back, past the cooler and freezer to the storeroom in the far rear of the store.  Danielle stood in the storeroom doorway smoking something that was most assuredly not a legal cigarette.

     “Danielle!  What the hell are you doing?”

     “Enjoying my last few minutes on earth before I’m dragged down into Hell.  Want some?”

     Carrie grabbed the joint out of her fingers and stomped it out on the floor.  “You’re supposed to be working, dammit!  Both our souls are depending on this!”  She took Danielle by the arm and started dragging her back to the front.

     “What’s the point?” Danielle asked.  “We close in, like, two minutes.  And then it’s over.”

     Both of them were back by the fryers now.  Carrie only barely noticed as the front door of the restaurant opened and a lady with graying hair made her way to the counter.  Under normal circumstances that would have annoyed Carrie to no end.  The store hours were clearly posted for everyone to see, but there was always someone who waited until the last possible moment to come in.  The devil took her place at the register as the woman stood staring up at the menu.

     “It’s not over,” Carrie said.  “After the store is closed there are still things that need to be done.  We’ve got maybe another half-hour.  We can still do this.  But you have to stop being such a damn slacker!”

     “Can I help you, ma’am?” the devil said to the woman.

     “Don’t you go calling me ma’am.  I’m still young enough to be your sister, young lady,” the woman said.

     “We’re still not going to win,” Danielle said.  “So why bother even trying?”

     “Why?” Carrie asked.  “How about because I stood up for you!  I’m going to have my soul eaten by some Hell-beast now because I did what I thought was right.  Don’t you think you owe me at least to do what you can?”

     “What’s on your Burger Master Supreme?” the woman said.

     “Cheese, bacon, onions, tomatoes, and barbecue sauce,” the devil said.

     “Ugh.  That’s disgusting.  What about the Burger Master Deluxe?”

     “That’s a quarter pound hamburger with mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce.”

     “I never asked for your help,” Danielle said.  “If you’re screwed, that’s your own fault.”

     “That sounds disgusting, too,” the woman said.  “But I suppose I’m not going to get anything better out of you, am I?  I’ll have the Deluxe thing.”

     “You little frickin…” Carrie started to say.  Then she finally realized what was going on at the counter.  “Oh.  Wait.”

     “Wait?” Danielle said.  “Wait for what?”  She turned to look where Carrie, as well as Andy now, were looking.  Despite the false smile still on the devil’s face, it was obvious how annoyed she was starting to get.  She punched in the woman’s order, then said, “Would you like to make that a combo today?”

     “Just hold your horses and don’t rush me, all right?  I’m still thinking.”  The woman stared at the menu for a few more seconds.  “On second thought, I don’t want the Deluxe.  I want the Supreme.”

     The devil’s smile was no longer so easy to see as she had to void out the order and start over.  “Will that be all then, tonight?”

     The woman looked offended.  “Aren’t you going to ask whether or not I want it as a combo?  Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

     The devil had to take a deep breath before she spoke again, but her voice no longer sounded anything close to polite or friendly.  “Would you like to make that a combo?”

     The woman nodded her head.  “No.  That would be way too much food for this late.  But when you make my burger, could you not put on any of that… um… that one topping… I can’t think of it.  The one that doesn’t taste good.”

     The devil just stared at her.  No smile anymore whatsoever.

     “Oh come on, help me jog my memory,” the woman said.  “It’s that one topping… it’s red…”

     “Tomatoes?” the devil offered.

     The woman grunted.  “No.  Do you think I’m stupid?  I know what a tomato is, thank you.  No, that other topping.  It’s runny.”

     “Ketchup?” the devil said.

     “Yes, that’s it.  No ketchup.”

     Carrie felt her heart start to beat faster.  She gestured wordlessly for Andy and Danielle to look at the devil’s hands.  She gripped the sides of the register with so much force that she left dents in the plastic.  Her skin looked like it was trying to go back to its natural red color, but she still fought it.

     “Ma’am,” the devil said in a tone that made it quite obvious that she didn’t care if the woman took offense to the term or not.  “There is no ketchup on the Supreme.  I told you.”

     Carrie put her hands to her mouth.  That was definitely a rude thing to say, but it still wasn’t enough to offset Danielle’s horrible performance.

     The woman narrowed her eyes at the devil.  “And I told you that I didn’t want a Supreme.  I clearly said that I wanted the Deluxe.”

     The devil bit her lip as she voided the order again and re-rang the burger.  “That will be three-sixty-five, then.”

     The woman started to rummage around in her purse.  “I have a coupon for a dollar off.”

     The devil entered the coupon into the register.  “Two-sixty-five.”  The woman handed her the money.  There was no coupon.

     “The coupon?” the devil said.  The woman blinked at her like she was speaking a foreign language.

     “What about it?”

     “You said you had one.”

     “I do.  It’s at home.”

     The devil started voiding out the order again.  There was no hiding the venom in her voice, and Carrie thought she could actually see smoke coming out of her ears.  The scent of brimstone suddenly filled the air, but the woman didn’t seem to notice.  “Three-sixty-five.”

     “But I have a coupon!”

     “You have to have the coupon with you in order for it to work!”

     “No one ever told me that!  If that’s your policy then you should have it posted somewhere!”

     “I can’t give you the coupon price without the coupon.”

     “Where’s your supervisor?  I want to speak to your supervisor!”   The woman raised her voice to a ridiculous level and slammed her fist down on the counter.  “I want my burger for two-sixty-five!  I demand that I get satisfaction!”

     Carrie expected that to be the last straw, that the devil would finally snap and say something nasty to the woman.  But the devil didn’t say anything at all.  Instead she snapped her fingers and set the woman on fire.

     “Holy crap!” Carrie screamed.  “Danielle, grab the fire extinguisher!”  She could barely hear herself over the woman’s cries as she started running back and forth in a panic in front of the register.

     “I don’t know where the fire extinguisher is!” Danielle said.

     “Andy, grab the fire extinguisher!” Carrie said.  He didn’t run for the extinguisher, though.  Instead he grabbed the bucket into which he had been emptying the shake mix.  Carrie turned to the devil who, despite a brief moment of satisfaction on her face after she had snapped her fingers, now looked absolutely horrified at herself.  “Hey,” Carrie screamed at her.  “Put her out!”

     The devil snapped her fingers again and the woman went back to normal.  There was no damage whatsoever to her or her clothes, although her screaming continued for a few seconds more.  The screaming cut short when Andy, already in the process of throwing the bucket, dowsed her in melting chocolate shake.  The woman stood there for several moments, wiping the shake off her face and staring at the four people behind the counter.

     “Well!” the woman said.  “See if I ever eat here again!”  She turned and tried to run out the door, but she ended up slipping twice in the shake on her shoes before she finally made it out.

     The devil sighed.  “Thing is, I know I’m going to see her again.  It’s a little known fact that there’s a special place reserved in Hell for anyone who comes into a restaurant when they’re trying to close.”

     Carrie, Danielle, and Andy were all quiet for several seconds before Danielle spoke.  “So… what does this mean?  Does this mean we win?”

     The devil nodded.  It was such a surprising sight that Carrie almost doubted her eyes, but the devil appeared to be on the edge of tears.  “You win.  I failed to keep my temper, and you and Carrie get to keep your souls.”

     “Yes!”  Danielle pumped her fist into the air and proceeded to do something like a jig past the fryers.  Andy watched as Carrie talked to the devil.

     “So what happens to you, then?” Carrie asked.

     “At best they fire me.  At the worst they continue to employ me but make me clean toilet stalls instead of collect souls.”

     “Why is that the worst?” Carrie asked.  “You’d still have a job.”

     The devil snorted.  “Obviously you’ve never seen a toilet stall in Hell.”  She changed back into her real form, and Carrie couldn’t ignore how surreal it was to see a seven-foot tall demon with a tears streaming down her red cheeks.  Strangely enough, this didn’t seem fair.  Here was someone who had worked hard for something like four hundred years only for all of it to suddenly mean nothing.  In the mean time, Danielle got out of the consequences of her actions all because of a fluke.  Carrie took a deep breath, making sure this was really the decision she wanted to make, then spoke to the devil in a whisper that Danielle couldn’t hear.

     “You know, I really like my soul right where it is.”

     The devil sniffed.  “Huh?  I don’t think I follow you.”

     Carrie shrugged.  “If I were to keep my soul, then maybe… you know… I might not have seen you freak out on that lady.  As the one judging the challenge I might still say that you won.”

     The devil raised her eyebrows.  “Are you serious?  You’d do that for me?  But what about your friend Danielle.”

     “She’s no friend of mine,” Carrie said.  She looked back at Danielle in time to see her pick her nose and then flick what she had found into the nearest fryer.  “And I’m dead serious.  What’s the point of her keeping her soul if she never uses it?”

     The devil wiped away her tears.  “So is it official then?  I win?”

     “Only if it’s official that I keep my soul.”

     “Deal,” the devil said, and her smile returned.  This time it looked genuine.  “Okay, Danielle, time to go.”

     Danielle stopped in the process of reaching for her other nostril.  “What?  No, wait, I won!”

     The devil grabbed Danielle by the arm and pulled her toward the back door.  “Stop squirming.  We’re wasting valuable torture time.”  As she reached the door, the devil turned around and looked at Carrie, gesturing for her to come closer.  “Thank you.  Maybe I’ll see you again sometime.”

     “Don’t take this the wrong way,” Carrie said, “but I kind of hope not.”

     “Right,” the devil said.  Her voice dropped to a whisper.  “And don’t worry.  That little slimeball can’t deal worth shit, so you’ll snap out of it sooner than he suspects.”

     “Huh?” Carrie asked.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

     “You will.  And when you do, remember to aim for his soft bits.” 

     The devil nodded at her, gave a smirk to Andy, and then pulled Danielle out screaming into the night.

     Andy narrowed his eyes at Carrie as she approached him and put an arm around his waist.  “What did she say to you?” he asked.

     Carrie shrugged.  “Not a clue.”  Then she smiled at him, following it up with a deep kiss.

The End

(c) 2010 Derek Goodman


3 Responses to “The Devil and Danielle the Fry Cook – Part 2”

  1. 1 JackieH.
    February 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Great ending…except for Danielle. Crispy critters, anyone?

  2. 3 azurae
    February 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Awesome! Loved the twist and the extra Andy zing.

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