Friends can annoy the hell out of you. They make demands on your time, they drain your emotions and borrow your stuff without asking. They’re often thoughtless and even rude. Worst of all, they sometimes ask you to help them move.
But one thing is also true about friends: no matter what kind of crazy situation you’ve gotten yourself into, when your back is against the wall you can always count on your friends to rag the hell out of you.
Or, as Oscar Wilde said, “A true friend stabs you in the front.”
“Well, there goes our Firefly marathon,” said Chuck. “It’s obvious Robert’s hankering for a dose of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
“Nah, that’s not it,” said Jimmy. “It’s the incipient schizophrenia finally coming through. I’ve seen the signs for years now.”
“Schizophrenia?” said Chuck. “I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure we’re talking about early childhood head trauma.”
As the bantering continued I rolled my eyes and nodded at Adramelech who went into full demon mode right where he was sitting.
That’s another thing that’s true about friends: when you show them an honest-to-god live demon, they shut the fuck up.
Of course, that could be true of complete strangers, too. It’s not like I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with this a lot.
“Now that I have your attention,” I said, “let me tell you what I’ve been up to over the last, uh –” I tried checking my watch, discovered yet again that I wasn’t wearing one, and looked at the clock on my laptop. It was now just about noon. I’d run across Ignatius on the streetcar sometime around seven the night before. “Uh — the past 17 hours? Really?” I shook my head.
I looked up to find my audience staring in open-mouth amazement and terror at Adramelech who at this point was entertaining himself by making faces at them.
I told Adramelech to knock it off and he returned to human form.
“It’s okay,” I told them. “He’s a friendly demon. Really.” I kept up a soothing patter until I was fairly sure the shock had worn off. When they showed signs of actually paying attention to what I was saying, I figured it was time to get down to the nitty gritty.
“Let me ‘splain,” I said. “No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”
“Princess Bride!” exclaimed Chuck. At that point I knew everything was going to be all right. We might all be in our 20s, but where it counted, we were really still children. And children don’t let the miraculous disorient them for long. As Stephen King says in It, “A sudden upheaval of beauty or terror at ten did not preclude an extra cheese-dog or two for lunch at noon.”
It took the better part of two hours for me to “sum up,” but long before I had finished, their fear, disbelief and shock had given way to curiosity, theories and an increasing number of requests for Adramelech to “do” various celebrities.
Ignatius was the quietest of the lot, which didn’t surprise me at all. I’d actually expected that upon discovering Adramelech’s true nature he’d walk out of the room and wash his hands of the lot of us.
“What about it, Iggy?” I asked. “How does it square with you to team up with a demon in order to get to the bottom of whatever is going on with your sister?”
Instead of answering me, Ignatius addressed Adramelech directly.
“You’re a Nephilim, aren’t you?”
Adramelech, who was at that moment in the form of Justin Bieber, looked surprised. “Yes. How–?”
“Well, there’s the sister thing,” said Iggy. “Not possible if you were one of the fallen angels.”
“Ah, right,” said Adramelech. “Good catch.”
“So –” I said. “Wait. You’re not a demon? And would you stop doing Justin Bieber, please? It’s distracting. And annoying.”
“Plus,” said Jimmy, “It’s pretty well impossible to look at you like that and not believe that you’re inherently evil.”
Adramelech switched back to his human form.
“Yes, I’m a demon,” he answered me, “But not an angel. The angels, fallen and otherwise, have been in existence since before Creation. I’m a bit younger than that.”
“Sometime before the flood, unless I miss my guess,” said Iggy.
“The Nephilim,” Iggy explained to the rest of us, “were the offspring of angels and humans. Or at least, that’s always been one interpretation. As it turns out, I guess it was the correct one.”
“And your sister?” asked Paula.
“Also a Nephilim,” nodded Adramelech.
“When this is all over,” said Iggy, “I want to have a very long chat with you.”
“In the meantime,” I said rather loudly, “we’ve got other problems.”
“I think the first thing we should do is to go over those documents you — liberated,” said Chuck. “If we divide them up between us we should be able to make short work of them.”
“We’ll need more computers,” I pointed out.
Chuck looked around at the crowded space we were presently occupying.
“Also? We’re going to need a bigger boat,” he said.
“Jaws!” said Jimmy and I simultaneously.
God, it was good to have friends.
For those interested, there are notes on this chapter which can be found HERE. Notes to previous chapters can be found by hovering over the “Notes: Chapters 11 – 20” tab at the top of the page.
Warning — Read the chapter first, otherwise the notes may be an inadvertent spoiler.
This is my __ entry in the February writing challenge, “30 Minus 2 Days of Writing: III” (or 30M2DoW) issued by We Work for Cheese, the rules for which, such as they are, I am completely ignoring — except the attempt to post each day during the month.