Solomon's dating service prides itself on peerless service. For a modest fee, you get a life companion of guaranteed physical beauty, eternal youth, and a safe word from the grimoire itself, tested against hexes, curses, and the seven seals of heaven itself. Using the most sophisticated of matching algorithms--blood sacrifice and chanting in hooded robes under the pale moonlight--it does not proffer satisfaction guarantees. Your happiness is their command, one pentacle at a time.
Damian is a nice guy, but unlucky in love. He swipes, bumbles, bagels, and matches, but doesn't connect. Bars intimidate him and his crushes use him as a sympathetic ear. The problem with the women he meets is that they either aren't interested or aren't interesting. And he's done with profiles.
Which is why he is dressed in a sackcloth robe and defacing his dining room floor with chalk circles. The room is hazy with burning tallow and he blushes while he speaks. It seems ridiculous, really. But unlike blind dates and chat emojis, this is a sure thing.
He hopes, anyway. It's a bit scary, trading part of your soul for a soulmate, as it were. He didn't really use his soul--never played an instrument or learned anything besides the awkward hand in your pockets shuffle--but something about the vestigial theosophy of its value to the person made him hesitate. So he hedges his bet. No need to commit the whole soul for love. Give a little, get a little. Damian is sure that a Maxwell's demon is just as good as any other.
He says the incantation slowly...
*Klaatu barada necktie!*
And it works. With a plume of sulfur and pyrotechnics, she appears before him like a vision. Not his ideal vision, but better in person than most profile pictures.
"I am Delilah, daughter of Furfur. Your wish is my command."
"I'm Damian. Welcome home."
The thing about mail order demons that is not advertised is a distinct culture barrier that owners need to overcome.
For instance: leisure time. Damian sits in front of his PC, clicking away to glory and a fat loot drop.
"What do you wish to do tonight?" Delilah asks.
"Hmm." Damian is scrolling through stat buffs.
"Tonight, together, us."
"Does anyone have any AoE damage? This mob is crushing me."
"AoE? What human ritual is this?"
Damian stutters and dies. Two hours of grinding lost and it's back to the spawn point.
"I cannot," Delilah replies with a frown, "It's beyond my infernal powers. If you wanted to upgrade--"
"Can you do something?!" Damian snaps.
"Anything besides bothering me."
Suddenly the screen goes blue, then black. There is a smell of ozone and a thin wisp of smoke as the processor shuffles the mortal coil. It's not every day the heat syncs fail, but it's not every day a demon with complete control over thermodynamics wants to watch a movie together. Damian doesn't understand how this isn't entropy.
"Perhaps we can Netflix and chill?" She says hopefully, a wicked little smile curling at her plump lips.
It's not better when he wants something from her either.
"Is breakfast ready?" Damian asks as he wakes up just shy of noon.
"What is with this mortal demand to always consume at whim?"
"It's called eating, it makes me happy, and I believe you are happiness at my command."
She cooks the eggs with blue flames from the range until they are black and the smoke detector squeals for mercy. She serves them icicle cold.
"I just don't know what to do anymore," Dianne said between sniffles.
"I think he just doesn't value you as a person," Damian spoke in hushed tones over the phone. It is not for modestly. He merely fears that a loud talking voice will trigger more sobs.
Delilah sits patiently and wonders what is available at her command. Will he ask her how her day was? Will he see if she has a preference for dinner? When will they share thoughts, fears, setbacks and aspirations? She has fucked, sucked, and listened. Does she earn a right to talk?
For days after the call, water freezes in the tap when he showers and the night is so feverishly hot that his dreams are haunted swamps and jungles, purging furnaces and a holocaust of the heart. They do not speak until he deletes Dianne's number.
"Do you love me?" Delilah asks in a rare moment of repose. They are in bed, naked, in truce if not peace. Damian is started by the question, did not think she has the agency to ask.
"You're the most important thing that's happened to me," he says one way, hoping she'll hear it differently.
There is a cooling between them, one that does not have to do with the movement of molecules. When he says the safe word, they are both relieved by the banishing.
It would be a lie to say Damian is a better person, but sometimes he reflects upon the episode with guilt. He wonders, too, what might have been, were he willing to trade his entire soul for love.