14 Lovers: 11 : James Carker 1983-1987

This story has a happy ending.

Most stories don’t, especially in a time of plague. But this story? This story does. It’s about a man and a demon who meet in a bar after midnight. The man’s name is James. The demons name is Charles.

The man, James, has been drinking steadily all night. It’s the kind of drinking you do when you don’t care how your liver is going to look in thirty years because you’ll be dead in five.

The demon had one drink that night, but it didn’t come from a glass. He cared a lot about what happens in thirty years, because creatures like him are immortal and when you’re immortal you play the long game. It’s like chess.

James and the demon, Charles had been talking for an hour. They started their conversation when Charles entered the bar because they were the most attractive people in the room, and those people tend to clump. James had opened the conversation with a comment about Charles velvet coat, which was a fine, but flamboyant piece of clothing. Charles responded with a compliment regarding James physical fitness, which was also a difficult point to ignore.

An hour into the conversation, James felt like he couldn’t lead Charles on any further and he dropped his usual conversation bomb.This admission would usually end any hope of future acquaintance, but James knew, morally, he could not keep such important information to himself.

“Listen,” said James, “I don’t want to bum you out or anything, but I’m dying.”

“Yeah,” said Charles. “Well, I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I’m already dead.”

“Really,” said James, who was used to a kind of flamboyant banter, especially regarding death, “could you tell me what it’s it like on the other side?

“Surprisingly political,” said Charles.

“Isn’t it always?” agreed James. “You go into something thinking that you’re just going to live your life or die your death and then it ends up all politics – buttons and community organizations.”

“Ugh,” said Charles, waving his hand. “Don’t get me started.”

James was used to several kinds of responses regarding his coming untimely demise, but casual chat wasn’t one of them. He decided to address the issue. “You don’t seem to freaked out by my horrible plague.” he said, before taking another sip of his rum and coke on the rocks.

Charles shrugged his attractive, dead demon shoulders. “You don’t seem to freaked out by the fact that I’m an undead monster, risen from the grave to consume the living.”

“Like Christopher Lee?” asked James.

Charles nodded. “Like that. Sort of.” He paused and made a face.  “Less capes, unfortunately.”

James turned back to the bar and leaned over his drink. “I only wish that you really were. I’d rather sleep in a coffin than be dead in one.”

At that point, Charles, the demon, made a decision. “You’re not going to die.” he said, putting on hand on the small of James back.

James shook his head. “Sorry, but that’s what the doctors say.”

Charles smiled a toothy grin. “No,” he said.  “No. Other people are going to die, but not you. Not completely, anyway.”

“I see,” said James. “And how do you propose to make this happen? Perhaps you plan to freeze me in ice?”

“I already told you,” said Charles, “I’m an undead monster. If you’ll step outside with me, I’d be happy to bring you into my company.”

“Ah,” said James, not taking the demon seriously. “But to what do I owe this distinguished honor? Surely monsters are particular about who they give their undead gifts to – and we only met tonight.”

“True.” said Charles. “But you are missing one vital peice of information.”

“And what is that?” asked James.

Charles smiled, a glittering grin. “The damned love attractive company.”