The last time I saw the Boss was about ten years ago, the last time I went home for any appreciable length of time.

I was sitting in a booth in the bar of the Boss's main hotel, the one reserved for us working folk, next to the glass window which overlooked the floor below, watching the stream of souls wandering in, out, looking lost as they normally do. A literal sea of fleshless humanity, waiting for their next turn on the big wheel of life.

"Oh, Prince of Depression, Lord of Guilt, Deacon of Longing, Grand Master of Angst, I am pleased that you have seen fit to grace my small paltry realm with your great presense," came a voice from my elbow. A drink skidded on the table and bumped into my hand. I looked up as he made a grand bow, then slid into the booth across from me.

"You're funny."

"I aim to please." The dark impudite lit a cigarette, and tossed the flaming match over the glass wall onto the crowds below. "So to what do I owe the pleasure of your presense back in my realm? Another failed relationship? A bad gig? Are you finally going to accept those distinctions I offered you? Or have you just come to sulk?"

"A little vacation from up above. Mostly just to stop for a bit and think."

"Sulk it is! Well, this is just the place to do it. An entire realm of demons who really do believe they are quite funny. And some of them are." He made a another sweeping gesture. "We have jesters and clowns and why, an occasional comedian graces my presence and my stages."

I ignored him, and tapped the papers on the table in front of me with the tip of my finger. "You have a marquis who is running you dry. He is being exorbant with your forces, and you're losing..."

"So? I'm aware of the problem." He looks down the papers, and grabbed his own drink. Then he gave me a long look. "Should I assume that, after several thousand years, I've acquired a little secretary, then?" And if so, do I get all the perks that go along with having a little secretary?" He leaned over and leered a bit. "You think too much, Daimonique. You're busy thinking when you could be busy pleasing your Prince, in any of your favorite ways."


"Don't worry about it. Really. I don't." He put down his drink, reached across the table, and grabbed the accounting reports away from me. He casually ripped them into little shreds. He tossed them into the air and each shred turned into a tiny imp, who made obscene gestures and disappeared in little puffs of smoke. "Hey, I know you feel this need to be responsible. But no one else is, so what the hell. Literally, you know?"

I gave in with resignation. There was no use in arguing, because I was going to lose, in a big way. I took a sip of my drink, and watched the masses move below me. "Is that all there is to it?"

"To what?"

"The humans. Is that all there is to it? They get born, they live, they die, they come here for a bit, and then they get born again?"

He looked at me quizzically. "You have got to be the most depressing Lilim I have ever met. That's good, though, because it works well with you." He looked through the glass at the masses below. "If they arrive here, sure. That's pretty much how it works." He leaned back, and drank a bit more. "If they get lucky enough to arrive here. I believe I go pretty easy on a pack of sinners, considering. Although I do make them watch some of Nybbas's slop. I wouldn't worry about them, if I were you." He made a wide sweeping gesture, and then motioned a waitress over.

Some young demon wiggled her way over, fawning over the Boss, and I remembered once being just like her before my life started to become insteresting. I'm a bit more jaded now. I watched her do her thing, and the Boss grabbed her ass. She smiled, and wiggled away. He stared after her, obviously filling his evening. I cleared my throat. "Nice young girl, full of wholesome values, don't you think?" He asked me with a big grin.

I figured I would finish up my train of thought to the very end, and not go down that road. "That's really sad, you know. Like, there is no point to existing if you are human. Why bother, if you just end up here again?"

"Ah. Well, you keep ending up here too, no matter how much you end up on Earth, and you seem to find a point. You, Daimonique," he said, gesturing at me with his drink, "think entirely too much for a lowly servant. Especially one of mine. You're supposed to be having a good time." He shrugged and took a drink. "Besides, they have plenty of free choice. They choose to come here, much like many of my more interesting servants. It's not like there is any skimping on the advertising."

"Hmmm." I sat there, in silence, looking out and watching them for a few moments. I let the noise sink into my thoughts, which were mostly revolving around several well placed and extremely spoiled demons who were trying to make a move that I didn't like. I had a feeling that the Boss was just going to take care of them, permenantly.

"Have you thought about going back to Andre?" he asked in sort of a random abstract way, like as if he was asking if I had a light, or if it was raining.

"Wha?" It took me by surprise. I was jolted upright. "Of course not. Why would I ever think of that? Am I not doing a good enough job?" I waved my arms around in protest.

"No, you're doing just fine." He flicked another cigarette butt over the wall, and lit another one. The flaming match went over as well, and this time I heard a little yelp of pain from below. "Better then fine," he shrugged. "There might be some changes, and I don't want my favorite servants getting destroyed."

"Uh...." Destroyed?

He pressed onward, pleased at my sudden discomfort. "I wouldn't worry, if I were you, Daimonique." He patted my hand reassuringly, and nothing is more frightening then a Prince trying to do anything reassuring. "I doubt you will be affected. But if you are, I have made some arrangements for the time that you finally give up and decide to go Bright."

"Uh.... Boss?" Hello? I never mentioned anything about this. I never even acted like I wanted to go Renegade, or even thought about it, except for that whole transition thing, and that was another story entirely.

So my heart sunk. Something was going on, and I'd never know what. All I knew is that it was going to suck. And he was kind enough to warn me. Either that, or he thought it was really funny to watch me squirm. I leaned towards the latter.

He gave me one of those damned Impudite friendly smiles which are supposed to put me at ease. "Like I said, I wouldn't worry. I considered your background and your loyal service carefully, especially your trusting manner. I expect it to happen, soon enough, rather then stay here and be traded back to your, well, original Prince. Would have happened anyways, and heaven is filled with angsty celestials who wander around beating themselves for even thinking about their own well being for more then a second or two. You'd fit in well. You'll love it. Then you can walk around writing love poetry and telling everyone how much you love humans." He grinned. "And some of them might even make you do stuff you like."

"Thanks. I feel loved."

"Well, you should." He waved a hand, then drowned his drink. His grin faded. "Things are gonna change kiddo. But, it's going to be for the better. You just wait and see. I'm not going to make any promises, though."

He stood up, and gave me this pat on the head. Then I watched him chase the little waitress, her geases flowing around her like a shroud. I reached up and felt my own, the collar around my throat. And tried not to think about what it would feel like for it to be gone.

I drank a few more drinks, for a while, before I left and wandered the hotel and casino areas for a while. The lesser demons, and even some who were technically much more important then I, gave me deference as I breezed in and out of resturants and brothels and casinos and other pits of human debasement and sin.

Eventually, something else happened, because I ran into people, and some were people I wanted to see and some weren't, but that's another story, for another day. Things happened, deals were made, Geasa were traded, and I was neither richer nor poorer then when I started.

I went back up to Earth, in time, and resumed my life. But he was right, things did change. And they weren't for the better, when my peers started to change.

Flaming edge graphics from Our Domain Gallery of Graphics
The "In Nomine" and "flaming feather" graphics are
(C) 1997 Steve Jackson Games, Incorporated.
Used with fnord.