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Beezie, Angie, Swan Lake, and Me!

A lawyer who wants to dance ballet negotiates for his soul with Satan and an Angel.

“I’ll rip off one of those dumb horns and shove it up your nose you stupid, red jerk!” Angie shouted. The angel told me that I could call her Angie.

“Go ahead! Try it, you disgusting, pathetic pure white virginal pompous prude!” Beezie retorted. “You’ll be sorry.” Beelzebub said I could call him Beezie

“Please folks, can’t we all just get along?” I asked. That, of course, was me. Henry Jenkins, forty-two, a tad overweight, and the sharpest, most ruthless personal injury and divorce lawyer on the West Coast.

I still wasn’t sure how I wound up in the middle of all of this. It all started when the Devil approached me one day to bargain for my soul. It was in the alleyway that I often used as a shortcut after work. I didn’t believe that he was the Devil at first

“Prove it!” I demanded.

He snapped his fingers. Suddenly I was a giant Cockatoo! He snapped his fingers again.
I squatted and layed an egg!

“Believe me now?” Satan said.

 I tweeted loudly, and I don’t mean from my twitter account.

“Ooops, sorry,” Satan said. He snapped his fingers and I was myself again.

“Believe me now?” Satan asked again.

“Yes,” I replied. “I stipulate that you are Satan.”

My first impression of the Devil was that I liked him! Maybe because lawyers and the Devil have so much in common. And he didn’t look scary. He was actually very well kempt. His long black hair was slicked down, and he had a goatee and a heavily waxed handlebar mustache. And he kept his head tilted so that his horns made about a forty-five degree angle with the ground. He was always smiling.

I decided to bargain with him. It was the only way that a lifelong dream of mine could be fulfilled. Satan was a creature of the Dark, but so was I! I dealt with insurance companies and vindictive spouses! Dealing with him was going to be child’s play!
 
“Well? Do we have a deal? What do you say?” Satan asked.

“To be frank with you, not even close,” I replied.

“Well, Frank….,” Satan said

“My name is Henry,” I corrected.

“You just said ‘to be Frank with you,’” Satan responded. “I thought that was one of your demands! Whatever. A soul by any other name is still a soul.”

“But mine is a special soul,” I said. “If you want it, you have to pay what it’s worth.”

“Fair enough,” Satan responded. “And by the way, please just call me Beezie. I like to keep it informal with future underlings.”

“O.K. Beezie,” I replied.

“How about this,” Beezie said. “Thirty years! Any car! Any chick! All the money you need. And I’ll even throw in all you can eat Pizza! What do you say?”

“I don’t want women or riches or pizza or TV’s,” I proclaimed. “I make a very good living. I can get those things myself. I want something that I can’t buy.”

“Name it!” Beezie said.

“I want to be a ballet dancer. An adored ballet dancer! I want to be the Prince in Swan Lake.”

Beezie was flabbergasted. He looked at me askance and he was suspicious too.

“A ballet dancer?” Beezie said. “You’re forty-two, five feet seven, and two-hundred twenty pounds!”

“So what?” I said. “You’re Satan. You can make it happen. I was a Cockatoo five minutes ago!”

Beezie paused and stroked his chin.

“Look,” he said, “you’re a sharp guy. I won’t play around. I’ll level with you. Contrary to popular belief I am under certain constraints. Yes, I’m allowed to do stuff like make you an egg laying Cockatoo for a few seconds. But that’s just for purposes of establishing street credit. It’s kind of like a cop showing his badge. Even I have my limits! I can’t snap my fingers and make you into a ballet dancer!”

“I want to be in Swan Lake,” I repeated. “I want to be an adored ballet dancer.”

“What if I could get you a part as a rock in Swan Lake?” Beezie suggested. “Given your size, maybe even as a boulder! Or if we got the staging tweaked a little somewhere, you could be a huge, fat goose observing from the far side of the lake when the Swan Queen lands in Act Two! But dance the Prince? You have got to be kidding me. For Heaven’s sake!”

As if on cue, there was a blinding flash of light and an angel appeared! She was the most beautiful vision I had ever seen. She was dressed in white, had dark hair, ruby red lips, magnificent blue eyes, and a smile that could warm up the South Pole! She made the Good Witch in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ look like an emaciated rotting leper with gum disease, acne, and warts.

“You rang?” she said looking at Beezie.

“You’re late,” Beezie replied. “What took you so long? I expected you here sooner.”

“I was watching you negotiate,” the Angel replied. “Pathetic.” She turned to me.

“Hello!” she said. “I’m an angel. From Heaven.” She extended her hand which I gently shook. Even I, crusty conniving cad that I was, became transfixed.

“Frankly, you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!” I said aloud.

“I know,” she said. “Next you’ll tell me that I make the Good Witch in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ look like an emaciated rotting leper with gum disease, acne, and warts. If I only had a dollar for every time I heard that! That’s just the effect my appearance has on people. Please don’t make a big deal about it, Frank.”

“My name isn’t Frank! It’s Henry,” I corrected.

“Then why did you say ‘Frankly’ just before?” the Angel asked. “Why didn’t you say ‘Henrily’?”

“I’ll throw in lifetime satellite radio!” Beezie shouted. “And a DVR that records twelve shows at once! You can’t buy that anywhere. And an invisible I-phone that no one will mug you for!”

“I’m talking here! Do you mind?” the Angel said loudly. “Don’t be rude. Give it a rest!”

I couldn’t stop staring at her.

“Hey,” she said noticing that my mouth was still totally agape, “just think of me as the girl next door, o.k.? Please. Just call me Angie.”

“O.K., Angie,” I said. “And please, my name is Henry.”

“Fifty years!” Beezie shouted. “You’ll have fifty more years instead of thirty! And you will be potent for the whole fifty! Deal?”

Angie was really irritated by the constant interruption. She turned to look at Beezie.

“He told you what he wants!” she said. “He wants to dance in Swan Lake.”

“In what? The Hippopotamus production?” Beezie asked.

Angie glared at Beezie.

“That was very mean!” she said.

“I’m perfectly serious,” Beezie said.

Angie walked over to Beezie and looked him right in the eyes with her hands on her hips.

“I don’t appreciate your rudeness and cruelty,” she said.

“I don’t appreciate your piety and phony humbleness!” Beezie shot back.

“I don’t care what you do or do not appreciate!” Angie said in a louder voice.

“Gosh! Sorry! Maybe I should go home and say some Hail Mary’s!” Beezie responded.

 “That was incredibly inappropriate! I don’t like your sarcasm!” Angie said.

“What are you going to do about it?” Beezie responded.

“I’ll rip off one of those dumb horns and shove it up your nose you stupid, red jerk!” Angie shouted.

“Go ahead! Try it, you disgusting, pathetic pure white virginal pompous prude!” Beezie retorted. “You’ll be sorry.”

“Please folks, can’t we all just get along?” I pleaded.

 The answer was no. All heck broke loose! Angie grabbed Beezie’s right horn and tried to twist his head. But with one quick flick of the neck Angie was propelled over his head and went flying thirty feet through the air, eventually crashing into a garbage bin in the alleyway and winding up sprawled on the ground behind him!

Beezie turned and laughed. “Hey, Doll. It’s so nice to see you back where you belong!” he uttered.

Angie raised a hand and a brilliant bolt of light shot out that temporarily blinded Beezie! Beezie was stunned and stumbled backwards. In an instant Angie was on her feet. She ran up to the still stunned Beezie and while facing him grabbed him by the throat with both hands!

“You are such a poopy-face!” Angie screamed as she choked him. “I hate you so much!”

“Nice talk for an Angel!” Beezie gasped. “Real classy!” And then his hands found their way to Angie’s throat, and he began choking her!

The two stood there in the alleyway, each with their hands on the other’s throat, each staring into the other’s eyes. They both kept squeezing as hard as they could!

Suddenly, Angie gasped to Beezie, “Are you as excited as I am right now?”

“I’m Satan,” he managed to say. “I’m always hot.”

“Yes you are,” Angie said. “Yes you are!”

And then they embraced and kissed! I’m not talking about an innocent kiss here, but a hard, passionate one that lasted for at least thirty seconds! I’m talking about a kiss during which Angie’s right hand found its way to the top of Beezie’s head and caressed his horn tips! But then they suddenly stopped and disengaged. Each stepped back and they stood there facing one another about five feet apart.

Beezie spoke first.

 “Ooops,” he said. “I’m so sorry. We’re in a lot of trouble! That was definitely over the line and a clear violation of the Covenants. I apologize. Are you going to report it, Angie?”

“No,” Angie said. “I was at fault too, Red. I was as bad as you. There is no reason to report it.”

“According to the dictums we have to report it,” Beezie observed.

“To hell with the dictums!” Angie said. Then they both looked at each other and started laughing hysterically!

“Please,” I said, “somebody tell me what’s going on here?”

Beezie and Angie walked over to where I was standing. Beezie was still laughing.

“To hell with the dictums!” he kept repeating. “I love it!”

Angie came closer to me. She took my hand.

“Well,” she said, “I can see where you might be confused. First, let’s talk about the little tiff and the innocent peck that you just saw.”

“Innocent peck?” I asked. “That looked like a lot more to me! You touched his horns!”

Angie turned red. Maybe it was because Beezie was always red that I didn’t notice any change.

“Henry,” Beezie said, “touching my horns isn’t even making it to first base!”

“Really?” I asked.

“Really,” Angie replied.

“Look,” Beezie said, “you’re a worldly guy. You understand the subtleties of passion. The line between love and hate can be a thin one. Angie and I are both passionate about what we do. We’ve been butting heads for eons. We’ve developed a kind of powerful love-hate relationship over the years. Every once and a while things can get a little out of control.”

“And exactly what is it that you two have been doing for eons?” I asked.

“We fight for souls,” Beezie explained. “One by one.”

“There’s a never-ending battle going on, Henry,” Angie explained. “For the hearts and minds of all mankind. Good vs. evil. Lightness vs. darkness. It’s a dirty, ugly, guerilla war that rages every day, soul by soul. Today was your day to confront the ultimate choice and make your pick. Today you were the soul.”

“One of these days you’re going to kill each other!” I observed.

Angie broke into a huge smile.

 “That is so sweet! He’s worried about us! Isn’t that sweet, Red?” Angie said. “That is so sweet.”

“I’ll forever deny that I ever said it, but yes it is,” Beezie responded. “It is sweet.”

“Henry,” Angie explained, “we’re like two cartoon characters when we fight. We’re both indestructible, we’re evenly matched; we really can’t hurt each other. The fights allow us to let off a little steam now and then. But mortals aren’t supposed to see them. We have to apologize to you for that too. It’s another bad rules violation.”

“A rules violation? Another Covenant thing?” I asked.

“Yes,” Angie said, “there’s Covenants that govern everything about intra-heaven relationships, intra-hell relationships, heaven-hell inter-relationships, heaven-human relationships, hell-human relationships, and so on. They’re hard enough for us to understand, let alone a mortal.”

“I don’t know,” Beezie said. “I think the Covenants are only half as big as the U.S. tax code! I mean trying to figure that out is really hell!”

Beezie and Angie cracked up again.

“You really do have a funny side when you show it!” Angie said to Beezie.

“I do have my moments!” Beezie observed laughing.

Finally they both got their self-control back.

“Look, Henry,” Beezie said, “we have to ask you a favor.”

“You have to ask ME a favor?” I said incredulously.

“Yes,” Angie said. “That kiss was a real no-no. If you turn us in, we’re in a lot of trouble. Any chance we could keep this all among just us? That you could never mention it to anyone or anything? Not even in your prayers?”

“Geesh, Angie,” I said, “Now you’re wheeling and dealing like Beezie! And you’re an Angel!”

“Well,” Angie said, “just as with love and hate, there can be a very thin line between good and evil, between the Light and the Dark How about we all just forget that any of this ever happened? We’ll reschedule this whole thing for an unknown later date.”

“Sure,” Beezie said. “We’ll just tell everyone the parchment work got lost. Let’s all just go our separate ways, Henry. How about it? Deal?”

“I want to be the Prince in Swan Lake,” I repeated. “I want to be an adored ballet dancer.”

------------------------------------------------------------------

The audience listened as Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score from Act II of Swan Lake played softly. I stood in my tights, crossbow in hand, staring up at the sky as the Swan Queen approached. There was a little laughter in the audience, but that was fine with me.

I was at my spot stage right, looking up stage left. I let my head drop down slowly as if I were visually tracking the landing of a graceful bird. Suddenly, from the wings, the Swan Queen appeared stage left. There was more laughter in the audience, but I still didn’t care. The Swan Queen mimed shock, surprise, and fear as she approached and saw me. Soon we were in each other’s arms, dancing across the stage. And the audience was in hysterics!

“Look,” a child shouted. “The two hippos are dancing!”

And so we were. For it turned out that Beezie wasn’t being facetious at all when he talked about the Hippopotamus production of Swan Lake! For each year, to entertain the kids and give homage to Walt Disney’s classic Fantasia, this hippo version was performed, much to the delight of all the patients, staff, and parents at the local Children’s Hospital.

So the laughter was welcome. I was dressed as a Hippo, but I got to dance the Prince in Swan Lake as I had demanded. And I was adored for it. Afterwards all the parents and kids thanked me for the joy I had given them.

It was all part of the compromise that Beezie, Angie, and I had worked out. Actually, my whole approach to life changed after that experience. I began to emerge from the Dark and move into the Light. I quit my job as a divorce and personal injury lawyer, set up a non-profit corporation, and used it to open up a free dance studio for underprivileged kids.

And I did it for one simple reason. There was no way that Beezie was going to have the edge on me the next time that we negotiated!
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Lee Goldberg 2011, 2012, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Contact info: leegpoetry@gmail.com

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