Photo by Khaled Ghareeb on Unsplash
“The world owes me,” Billy Bob said to his mirror. He was short and baldish, with a belly full of Milwaukee’s second finest. “I’ve been butchering meat at Billy Bob’s Best Bites for forty years, at rock-bottom prices. Brownsburg, Indiana wouldn’t even be on the map without me. Where’s my reward?”
A pillar of fire sprang up in Billy Bob’s cluttered TV room. A dapper figure climbed out. “At your service,” said the Devil, polishing his cuff links. “What would be ideal for you?”
“Gorgeous twins, hot for my bod.”
“Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.”
“Never mind.” The Devil made a mark in his little black book, nodded, and disappeared.
At the stroke of midnight, Billy Bob was awakened by a frantic hammering on his door.
“Our car broke down,” said one of the two twenty-something women, fashionably dressed. “Can we use your phone?”
“It doesn’t work.”
“No problem. We’ll just stay here for the night and find a mechanic in the morning. You don’t mind?”
“Of course Billy Bob doesn’t mind,” said the other woman, in a silky voice. “Does this man look like a sucker?” She turned to him. “I’m Aello. She’s Ocypete.” Aello shook Billy Bob’s sweaty hand, guided it through making a signature on a one-page form, then kissed his mouth hungrily.
“Hey! Leave a little for me!” Ocypete rasped to her sister.
Billy Bob couldn’t decide which twin he liked best. Aello’s golden ringlets cascaded down her tanned back, but Ocypete’s gown clung to her curves.
Suddenly, somehow, the three of them were on the tattered bear rug in advanced stages of undress.
“Pull down your gown,” Aello told her sister. “Your talons are showing.”
“Talons?” Billy Bob said.
“We’re Harpies, love,” Ocypete said. “Twins, just like the thirteen other bird eggs in our batch.”
“I didn’t bargain for this.”
“Read that contract you just signed,” Aello said, “if you happen to know Sumerian.”
“Your wig is slipping,” Ocypete said to Aello. “Maybe you need a little help.” She ripped off the wig, exposing Aello’s bald and yellowing skull.
“So that’s the name of the game,” Aello cried. She lunged for Ocypete’s glittering gown, revealing the sore-ridden vulture below, densely populated by lice. Screaming, Ocypete pulled out her blaster. As did Aello.
“No need for a duel,” said Billy Bob. “I’ll take each of you in turn!” He stepped between the twins just as they fired at each other simultaneously, bisecting the famous butcher of Brownsburg.
“Some folks,” said the Devil, gazing down at the percolating Billy Bob, “are just a wee bit hard of hearing. ‘Be careful what you wish.’ Oh, well. Someone will come by to mop up this farrago. Meanwhile, girls, where to next?”
Leon Taylor teaches economics at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a post-Soviet nation in Central Asia. A Hoosier, he was a newspaper reporter before becoming an economist. He's written fiction for Schlock!, Space and Time, 96th of October, 365tomorrows, kaidankai, Sanitarium, Mono blog, Spotlong Review, The Quiet Reader, The Unpleasantville Anthology, Samjoko, Made of Rust and Glass Anthology, and other publications.
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