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The Bathroom Mirror
by Steve Isaak © 2010
Jeremy was cooking eggs when thumping shook the ceiling above his kitchen.
“Turn your fucking music down, you Godless piece of shit sodomites!” he heard through the ceiling.
Jeremy flinched, glared at the ceiling. He glanced at the mini-boom box in the apartment living room.
Pailhead, post-punk, agitated from it, at a low volume. Not only had he not wanted to wake his live-in husband, Adrian, who was in their bedroom, but he’d wanted to avoid any indirect confrontations with his homophobic neighbor, who constantly harassed them.
I wish that bitch would die a slow painful death, he thought, not for the first time, sprinkling Demon Seed Hot Sauce on his eggs.
A puff of smoke snagged his attention.
“You rang?” an amused mellifluous voice said.
Jeremy turned toward the male voice. Where a moment ago, there’d been no one, there now stood a five-foot-five, crimson-skinned bald man, with little horns curving upwards out of his temples. He wore a gray business suit that showed off his trim body.
“Who are you? And how did you just. . . appear like that?” Jeremy sputtered.
“I’m Sauce Operator Six-Twelve-Nine. In my mortal life, I was a lawyer who terrorized people with my aggressive arrogance and dishonesty. Now, like other Sauce Operators—most of whom are also ex-lawyers—I’m a demon who must grant one act of vengeance per sauce bottle to whomever summons me—someone like you.”
“That’s a mouthful,” Jeremy said. He was still processing what had happened. Turning off the stove burner, Jeremy removed the egg pan from it, setting it on another burner.
“I’m contractually required to say something along those lines,” the demon replied. “It’s part of my penance for being such a human douchebag for so long.”
Jeremy look calmly at the demon. “What now?”
“Well—“ Adrian, half-asleep, his dark hair tousled, came out of the bedroom. “Fucking Kuntner,” he growled. “I swear I’m going to—“ He saw the demon, and said, “Who’s this?”
“Sauce Operator Six Twelve Nine,” Jeremy said. “He says he’s a demon whom I accidentally summoned. I’m not sure how I did that, though.” He looked askance at the ex-lawyer demon.
“You thought murderous thoughts about your neighbor while using the hot sauce,” answered Six Twelve Nine. “You see, Demon Seed Hot Sauce possesses magickal properties that are easily unlocked. It’s easy for neophytes to use, and good business expansion for us demons.”
Six Twelve Nine paused, continued.
“Since you seem surprised to see me, I’m guessing you didn’t purchase the sauce? It’s something you can only buy in select magick shops.”
Adrian, looking pre-coffee mean and buff-sexy in his black boxers, glowered at the demon.
Jeremy headed off his potential nastiness by pouring a cup of coffee from the coffee pot, and handing it to Adrian.
Six Twelve Nine politely moved back to allow Jeremy to do so and waited for his response.
Adrian nodded his gratitude to his husband, accepted the coffee, and took a noisy sip of it.
Jeremy finally answered, “Our friend, Emma Weiksmith-Wilkins, bought it for us two weeks ago. She said ‘it has a delicious heat, and might solve some problems for you and Adrian.’”
“And you didn’t think that was a weird thing to say?” the Six Twelve Nine probed gently.
“Well, no, because I thought she was suggesting it for. . . sexual use. I’d told her about problems that Adrian and I—” Jeremy stopped short, looking at Adrian, realizing he was about to admit to a verbal indiscretion.
“What my husband means,” picked up Adrian, “is that we haven’t had sex in almost a month, and it bothers him. The reason for this is our neighbor upstairs leaves ‘reparative therapy’ and other Biblical homophobic tracts taped to our door, but refuses to engage us face to face when we knock on her door to ask her to knock it off. She claims it’s us harassing her, by living here.”
Noting Jeremy’s gratitude at his lack of anger, and Six Twelve Nine’s attentive gaze, Adrian continued.
“Michelle also pounds on her floor at all hours, yells into her speaker phone then yells at us for having normal voice level conversations. She also claims that either Jeremy or I are smoking, exacerbating her asthma. We’ve repeatedly told her, and our complex manager, Leigh, the truth, that neither of us smoke. That doesn’t stop Michelle from calling Leigh every day, within our earshot, to complain about the smoke, and our ‘sinful’ life style.”
Six Twelve Nine prompted, “And this affects your sex life how?”
Jeremy said, “Adrian gets tension migraines easily, which kills his sex drive. He’s more misanthropic and combative than I am when it comes to people. To be constantly terrorized like this, in our own apartment, when we’re quiet neighbors. . .”
“What about your complex manager? Why doesn’t she do anything about Michelle’s misbehavior?” Six Twelve Nine was less impatient now.
“Leigh won’t do anything because she’s close friends with Michelle. They’re both conservative middle-aged women, who’ve known each other as long as Michelle’s lived here, twelve years. We’ve only lived here two years, though the harassment didn’t start until late last year when Michelle discovered that we were gay, not just ‘roommates’. The cops aren’t much help—they just encourage to file *another* noise complaint on top of the ones we’ve already filed.”
“I see,” Six Twelve Nine smiled. His incisors, sharp and small, gleamed in the morning light. “I can fix your problem.”
“Do you think the world would be a better place without Michelle in it?”
“Yes,” Adrian replied.
Jeremy nodded, after a moment. “What will it cost us?”
“Nothing more than what your cousin Emma paid for it.” The demon smiled, again exposing his incisors. “I will not see you after this. Note that future uses of this bottle of Demon Seed sauce will only make your food hotter.”
Six Twelve Nine paused, continued. “No matter what you hear, don’t go up there. Call the cops in four minutes—“ Michelle thumped the floor again. “Keep it down, you hellbound queers!”
Six Twelve Nine chuckled. “If she only knew.”
He disappeared, in an acrid puff of smoke.
A moment later, Michelle’s blood-chilling screams of terror resounded through the ceiling, followed by violent apartment shakings, as if something heavy—Michelle?—was being bounced off the walls and her floor. .
It was followed by the sound of breaking glass, further quaking Adrian and Jeremy’s apartment. No doubt about it, it was Michelle’s sliding glass door, the one that led to her plant-bordered balcony.
Jeremy and his husband, now standing inside their apartment by their sliding glass door, heard heavy footsteps on Michelle’s balcony.
Something resembling a human body sailed over their backyard and across the street, into the police station parking lot, where it landed on a paroled child molester exiting the station.
The molester was killed instantly, under the impetus of Michelle’s descending heaviness.
Adrian and Jeremy were unaware of the outcome of Michelle’s falling.
Placing Jeremy’s hand on his boxer-tenting erection, Adrian grinned. “Let’s make further use of the Demon Seed sauce.”
Jeremy squeezed his husband’s swelling dick, and tried to rein in his shock at these turn of events.
© 2010 Steve Isaak. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.
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