2002-11-10 - 6:52 p.m.

“So...,” the Devil asks, leaning back in his chair, hands behind his head, “am I to understand this correctly? Last month, while you were traipsing through Europe, you didn’t have any cramps, not even a slight tinge?”

“Uh, yes, yes sir, not even a tinge. Had it not been for the well...ehm...the obvious symptoms, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell I was having my period,” I tell him.

“Hmm, don’t really know how I let that slip past me...” he mutters to himself.

“What?” I ask.

“Well, as you know I really can’t have that, I mean, I have very strict rules to follow around here. Letting you get by for a whole month without cramps...well, that’s just not right. I’m afraid I’m going to have to rectify the situation somehow, let’s see, how could I make that up, hold on, let me check my books...” he trails off as he pulls a giant book from his bookshelf.

“But sir,” I start to plead, “don’t you remember those years, when I was eighteen through twenty that you waged war in my reproductive organs, when for one week out of every month I was completely immobilized, even hospitalized from the pain? Wasn’t that enough to make up for last months oversight?”

“Heh heh, yeah, those were good years, I really had it in me back then didn’t I? You don’t think I’ve gotten a little soft do you?” he asks and then brushes the question away with a flick of his hand, “Ah, no, no...I’m not soft, I still get you pretty good, I’ve broken almost every single major appliance in your house haven’t I? Sent a storm that ripped your electrical service, phone service and cable completely off your house? Given all your cars strange afflictions which no one can fix? Yes, yes, I’ve done a pretty good job, I’ve kept up,” he sits back again with a confident air.

“Yes sir, you have indeed done all those things, I think all that FULLY makes up for my not having cramps last month,” I tell him assuredly.

“Ah, but what about all those times I let you get away? How ‘bout that time your stupid boyfriend your freshman year in high school poured you that glass, not a cup, a GLASS, of Bacardi 151 and you slammed it? Remember, you were so drunk that they left you in a ditch while they went to the homecoming parade? Well, I could have had a truck come barreling down the road and hit you, but I didn’t. Or what about that time you decided to read a book while driving all the way to Kalamazoo? I easily could have set something in your path that you wouldn’t have noticed because your eyes were glued to that damn book, but I didn’t. Let’s see, there have been numerous plane rides I didn’t interfere with, robberies that took place right after you left places..nope, I spared you all that...” he tells me, his eyes starting to get fired up, a glow with the torment he is sure to cause me in due time.

“Really sir, I don’t agree, I think the things I have had to endure have been much more numerous than the things I have been spared,” I panic, my body slowly trying to escape my seat.

“You still have your tiny waist,” he says, “that alone is worth a lot, especially at your age, unless...well, I suppose I could take that away, that would surely compensate for the lack of cramps last month?”

“Oh God no!” Please, please oh please leave me my waist, for heavens sake I’ll take anything you have to give me, just leave me my waist!” I scream.

“Tsk, tsk, stupid girl, for all those heaven, (phooey! he spits) references you just made I’m going to have to increase the pain just a little, no way you will learn unless I make you remember NOT TO USE THOSE WORDS IN MY PRESENCE!” he growls.

“Ha!” I laugh at him, ‘I’ll just take some pain killers then!”

“Oh, you are more stupid than I thought,” he says shaking his head, “don’t you remember that I made you immune to pain killers, that all they do to you is make you insufferably high so you walk into more walls than usual?”

“Oh, that, yeah, I forgot.”

I sit, my head hung in defeat. I suck in my air, remembering these last few minutes without pain and that’s when he strikes. Suddenly my gut is filled with a slow heat, with a twisting within my skin that nearly knocks me off the chair and onto the ground.

“I sentence you to six days of intolerable cramps dear girl. Even your legs are going to be so achy that to stand on them for more than two hours will cause you so much pain that tears spring to your eyes. You will gain no less than five pounds of water weight, you will have black circles under your eyes from lack of sleep due to the pain, (the irony of this not being able to sleep is that you will be in so much pain and so tired that you cannot get out of bed, BOY, I’M SO GOOD AT THIS SUFFERING STUFF!) you will suffer mood swings every ten minutes, crave chocolate but will not be able to eat it because any time you put food in your stomach your guts will start twisting more and lastly, you will be plagued by people knocking on your door asking for donations to this and that while you are trying to relax through your mote it be!”

I fall to the floor gripping my stomach, writhing in agony, tears spilling from my eyes. The Devil looks on, at first quite proudly and then his face twists into a little grimace of remorse. “Oh dear,” he says, “perhaps I am getting a little soft, just let me make some altercations....” he says as he starts fiddling with buttons. “There, I was giving you the burning pitchfork twisting at intervals of twenty times per minute, I tuned it down to smoldering fireplace poker at ten times per minute, I hope you’re happy dammit.”


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