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state: first draft
last update: 1999 September 3

Killing Buddha

12. Name Your Price and I'll Pay It

By Kevin Kelleher

The two men sat in Renzo's office with the door shut.

"I have a proposal for you," the devil said. "I'll do something for you if you'll do something for me. Let's be clear, even though I've said this already: this is a one-time deal. You do one little thing for me. It will take a half an hour of your time and that is all. You will keep everything we agree on, including your soul." The devil smiled. "You can still be a good boy and go to heaven and all that. I won't do anything to stop you. My offer is good until this Sunday -- the day after tomorrow. And after that day, whether you take my offer or not, you will never see me or any other devil ever again."

"Not even in the next world?"

The devil smiled. "Your afterlife is your own affair. But in this life we will never meet, after this Sunday." He put his fingertips together into a steeple, gazed at his hands a moment, then went on.

"I think that what I've done so far has convinced you of my power. Now, I'm going to give you one more proof, or more accurately, a preview of what you may enjoy if you take my offer. I assume that you've been thinking about what you'd like."

Renzo nodded.

The devil continued, "Let's say first of all that I'll guarantee you money, health, youth, and vigor. You can choose whatever you like beyond that. I want to be clear about what I mean by each of the four boons I've named.

"As to money: you will always have more than you desire. At the same time, you must work for it so that it doesn't lose its savor. This means that efforts you make will be rewarded beyond what an ordinary man could expect, but you can't simply reach into your pocket and find money. Is that clear? You won't be like Midas, in that everything you touch turns golden, but you will have more success than failure. Let me give you an example.

"You will need money, and so you start a business. The business may do well or it may not. But you might sell the business and find an incredible profit. If everything you did came out well, you soon wouldn't give a damn about anything. What I can give you is a guarantee of financial success, but no indication of where it will come from. And further, if you just sit on your ass and watch TV, you won't find a cent."

Renzo nodded.

"As to health: If you abuse your body, you will suffer for it. If you drink too much, you'll get a hangover. However, your healing and recuperative powers will always be at their height and the hangover will pass as soon as it would for an twenty- year-old. Your own inner sense of health will be heightened, so that you will want to eat well and keep in shape. Again, if you just lie around you'll get flabby, but you're going to have a stronger desire to get out and move and enjoy life. Instead of having your body as an enemy, you and your body will be very good friends, and you'll enjoy yourself much more than ever before.

"As to youth: I'll set your body's clock back ten years - or more if you want, but ten is a fairly invisible change. I mean, your friends will notice it but they'll believe it. If you wanted to roll all the way back to 18 or 14, we can do that, but in my experience no one wants to go back that far. From the point of your rejuvenation forward, you will age much more slowly than anyone else. You will get older, but with tremendous grace and cat-like agility." The devil laughed lightly. "At sixty, you'll have the body of a forty-year-old."

"Again, if you want to be one age forever, whether it's eighteen, thirty-seven or forty-five, you can be, but believe me it's a waste of time. This way you can keep your old friends, have a more-or-less normal life, and be the envy of everyone. If you stick at one age forever you become a freak."

"And as to vigor, I think you know what I'm talking about."

Renzo nodded, smiling.

"There will quite naturally be times when you are not interested or ready for sexual activity, and your performance and experience will always vary. However, you will never be found wanting. Multiple orgasms, sex twenty times a day, erections for hours, whatever you want, it will all be there. Is this clear?"

Renzo had to swallow before responding, his throat was so dry. His hands were trembling slightly, and all he could do was nod and smile nervously.

The devil sighed and cracked his knuckles. "So, it comes down to this: tomorrow I'm going to give you a free trial. You'll see what it's like to have all these things from sunup to sundown. You can do whatever you want. Don't worry about getting into trouble. You won't. You can't. Tomorrow will be a magical day for you. Then, on Sunday morning we can meet for cappuccino and I'll tell you what I want.

"For now, all that remains is for you to tell me what else you'd like from me."

Renzo smiled.

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