If you’re reading these words, then I guess my title managed to catch your eye. I thought it would, since it promises so much in the way of wacky fun. I spent a good deal of time thinking about what to call this, and in the end, well, I decided on inaccurate sensationalism. Sorry about that. So, right off the bat, let’s get things straight. I had adventures with a devil, not the Devil. I don’t think I’ve ever even met the Devil, but, let’s face it, “the” sounds so much better than “a”. Which would you rather read about, “The Southern Invasion” or “A Southern Invasion”? “The” just makes it sound so much more important.
Which brings me to my second point. I like to make myself look good. I mean, I’ll try not to, but it’s hard. I also exaggerate a lot too. So, if you’re reading something in this book and thinking “No way could someone learn that fast!” or “No way could anyone think of something that witty while being held at gun point!” just imagine it happening in a way that is at least twice as slow or stupid sounding, or whatever, and that should be closer to the truth.
As you can see, I’m probably not likely to win a prize for best narrator any time soon. But, let’s face it, I was there, you weren’t and you want to hear about it, so you’re stuck with me.
Oh, yeah, in case you forgot to check the book cover for my name, or you did, but you’re such a slow Southy you forgot already, it’s Drina Zerroux.
I think that’s anything for general background information, so, I might as well start the whole story part.
By early Junio, it was clear this summer was going to be long, drawn-out torture, possibly alternating with the occasional concert. Not too promising. Sixteen years old, with parents out of town for a month and a half, sounds good in theory, right? Sure, if it wasn’t combined with my two best friends being away at camp, and family vacations, and with these two best friends being basically the only people in this tiny town under twenty that I actually talk to. Add to that the fact that I needed a job, and soon, since I had managed to crush the front right side of the family car two days before my parents leave for their “second honeymoon” in the Eastern Mountains, and they expected me to have at least half of the money by the time they got back. The job search wasn’t going too well, a fact that is caused only partially by my complete lack of job related skills or experience. It’s hard to make a good impression at a job interview when you pull up in a car with a crushed fender.
It was about a week and a half into “The Worst Summer Of My Life” when I saw the poster for an all-ages concert that night at Oleos’. By this time, I was dying for entertainment, so I went. The band wasn’t bad, but I felt kind of out of place coming by myself. I managed to get over it though, and joined the dancing pit. Unfortunately, in line at the washroom, around 11, this girl vomited on me. It was mostly on my shoes, but she’d gotten the bottom quarter of my pants fairly badly too. The smell was disgusting, and the thought of someone’s vomit touching my skin made me feel nauseous, so I pretty much dashed out of there, into the car, drove home, and ran into the shower. I hadn’t even noticed that I’d lost my purse until about five minutes before the doorbell rang.
When I opened the door, I almost shut it again, because I didn’t recognize the guy standing on my doorstep at all. I did, however, recognize the purse he was holding awkwardly in one hand. The rest of him was, well, rather mismatched. He looked about twenty, with nice cheekbones, light olive skin and curly blue hair poking out from under his grey beat-up fedora. He wore black jeans, yellow sneakers, and a purple t-shirt.
“You’re Drina, right?” he asked, holding out my purse, “Is this yours?”
“Yes,” I said, probably sounding a little on the nervous side. After all, it’s not like I always get attractive older guys returning things to me. “Thank you for returning it. Would you like a cup of coffee?” I said, opening the door further, and taking my purse from him. I hoped he would take my offer of coffee, since it was pretty much the only thing I can make that is okay to serve to complete strangers. I figured my breakfast of a banana, peanut butter and chocolate chips put in the microwave wouldn’t cut it.
“Sure,” he said, smiling and stepping inside. His smile was warm and friendly, like he was some kind of charisma hero that could fix all my problems. I don’t know about you, but I think I deserve coolness points for not fainting on the spot.
“My name’s Azul,” he added.
We exchanged some small talk about last night’s concert, and I made coffee successfully. He kept his hat on the whole time, and I found it kind of strange. I also thought that it was the sexiest hat I ever seen, and wanted to try it on, although I admit there may have been some bias there.
I was feeling a bit more relaxed around Azul, and I’ve never been one to resist an impulse, so when I asked if he wanted a refill, and he did, I neatly snatched both his cup off the kitchen table and his hat off his head, spinning towards the counter as I did so. I had just put his hat on, and was about to set the mug down when I was spun around sharply and it fell to the floor.
The first things I noticed, aside from the fact that Azul’s hands were attempting to squeeze my arms into jelly, were the horns. Two of them, white and about as long as my thumb, curved up from his blue curly hair, exactly where his hat had sat. They looked a bit like tusks.
Of course I screamed. And I would have kept screaming until someone came to see what was going on, if Azul hadn’t reached behind him, pulled out a gun and pointed at me. That pretty much shut me up.
“I don’t want to kill you, Drina,” he said in a soothing voice I wouldn’t normally associate with crazy horned people with guns.
I think I whimpered in reply. This was not my finest hour.
“I just can’t let you go now, though, so I need a guarantee that you won’t tell anyone about me. That you’ll help me.”
He snapped the fingers on his free hand, and a crumbled manuscript and pen appeared in them.
“Just sign here,” he said, pointing to the dotted line at the bottom of the last page.
“Help you do what?” I managed to ask.
“Stop the world from ending,” he said, without a smile this time.
I wish I could say I read the contract, or at least skimmed it, but with that gun pointed towards me, I did exactly as Azul asked, as quickly as possible. When he saw that I was finished, he put the gun down on the counter, and extended his hand towards me.
“Welcome to the World Destruction Prevention Society, Drina,” he said as he shook my hand firmly and took his hat back.