Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_je44ndu wrote

"Mr. S, the person we told you about is here..." I gulped, then waited as the receptionist put me at the waiting line. There's always a waiting line. Always has been, always will be. It's the last attempt to keep people away. They just keep you in line, for all eternity, expecting this to either be your last hell or that you'll get bored and go back to eternal damnation. I had been through this multiple times...but an eternity gives you all the time in the world to find the loophole.

It took trial and error in other waiting rooms in hell, but I cracked the code. The secret is in the Muzak in the waiting room. Most people never really listen to the background Muzak in these places, but I always had done it- and that's my advantage. If you don't listen to the Muzak, then you're going to have to just sit, and wait in line, forever. But if you listen to it, and you can convince yourself whatever workday-lite rock-pablum song they're playing is your favorite, if you actually WANT to hear the song...then the person will call you in just so you don't get to hear the full song.

Listen to it, get the idea...I bet all those fundies in the '80s talking about metal or rap being the devil's music would have shit themselves knowing Kenny G was what they play all the time here...start to smooth jazz out...and...

BUZZ. Satan poked his head out of the room.

"y...you actually beat the last test. W-well, come on in then." I walked into his office.

"Well, this is the proof. It took me an eternity, but I finally got past all the trials, and I want my just reward."

I waited, then Satan shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, you're one of THOSE people. Well, what reward were you looking for? Say the word and I'll pull it up for you...but then, all you had to do was put in the request at any of the places and it'd be done there too."

"Yes, yes, I know the rules of the 'no, you can have or do whatever you want to whoever you want down here, Hell is not really fire and brimstone, the real Hell is getting all you want in excess until you cease to get any joy from it' thing. Now, I want to rise above it." Satan put his hand on mine.

"...oh....ohhhhhh, I have to level with you, kid...that's not how it works here. See...I control it all."

"All of it...?"

"You know how Hades became one of the names for Hell, right? I thought I couldn't make it any more clearer then that and that'd turn people on to how it works- Hades ruled the underworld and the afterlife. Like, ALL of the underworld and afterlife. Only one. I guess the Greco-Roman myths did die after all...I owe Athena a nectar, I guess."

"Then God is..."

"Oh, no. God exists. Actually a nice enough person when you get to know him- but, he made all of existence. He's a creative person, and like most creative types, he's...not exactly a people person. God really doesn't like getting bothered all the time while he's trying to work on new projects. I wanted a bit more power, so he put me in charge of dealing with all the people here in the afterlife while he got to sit back and just keep working...so, yeah. This isn't the good place, it's not the bad place, it's the ONLY place."

"Only one afterlife..." Satan smirked.

"I thought modern day religions made it clear in so many words. Each one says their religion and only their religion is the One True Faith and if you don't worship them and only them you go to Hell for all of eternity- but they all worship the same God in so many terms. I thought people would realize the catch-22 means "you can only go to Heaven if you worship every single religion and cult in the world, and if you skip even one that religion condemns you to hell...but if you do that, you have multiple Gods and thus also go to hell due to the First Commandment. Nope, only one afterlife."

I looked.

"So heaven...?" Satan looked.

"Not just heaven. They're ALL covered by me. You could go to any of them right now if you want without an issue; there's a big building saying each. Heaven? The description is just you sit on a cloud and look at God all day. Ignoring that we established since God is a creative person at heart, all it would be is sitting around in an apartment with the guy as your roommate, trying to get him out of his room to actually socialize or do something while he makes it clear he'd rather be left alone so he can actually work, those people just go into the Heaven room...they sit on clouds, look at God...and you wouldn't believe some of the epic meltdowns they have when they realize they can actually get bored with that too and it isn't all its cracked up to be..."

"I believe it, you have the whole Heaven channel showing it, I've seen it..."

"Excellent. We're clear. And then I'm sure you saw the same with the nothingness channel where people find out the hard way their mind still keeps working even in the nothingness,and now they're trapped in their own thoughts for all eternity with nothing to show for it- not even any new stimuli to make new thoughts..."

"I bought the Betamax copy of that series because you were out of any format people used; I'm aware."

"Then you should know. Only one afterlife. Nothing else." I looked perplexed.

"...then reincarnate me?"

Satan laughed as I said it.

"Oh, now you're just joking, you'd actually go back to THAT?" I shrugged.

"Fine. Then why tell me?" Satan shrugged.

"What do you want to hear? I gave you the rundown because you're so fucking special, you figured it out? No, me explaining this is part of your hell. You clearly spent most of eternity working on your plan, and now you know it was all for naught and there's no light at the end of the tunnel. At least a few people a day get through this, finds this out, and gets this whole spiel- smile, you're on HellNet!" Satan pointed to a camera.

I was beaten.

"So what do I do?" Satan looked.

"Just remember...eternity's a really long time...all the time in the world. You have time to see everything, do everything, experience everything- and not just experience them, enjoy them, master them, get sick of them, get bored out of your mind by them...and then go find something else to do. So, you don't want to be stuck in hell...go do that. Now, you have your answer, so back to the rest of the afterlife...and try doing something besides scheming for something better. You might just get your heaven that way! You're dead, so live a little!"

I headed out of Satan's office. Well, that one restaurant by here DID look kind of interesting and I don't think I've tried that yet...


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_jccfgfp wrote

"Genie of the Key, speak to me." A puff of smoke came up as the genie of the key headed out.

"What is it now?"

"Look. You told me you were going to grant me wishes, and you keep going back on your word. What is the deal?"

"I keep granting you the wishes, just as you said."

"Oh really. I wished for untold riches."

"Yeah, you did it many times. I don't know what else I can do. I taught you how to code, I helped you sign up for a Robinhood account and start learning the stock market and get into crypto, I got you into the sports card scene again so you could get into those super rare hits- I did all I could to help you there. Not my fault the bubble burst..."

"You're a genie. You can fix it so it can't."

"No, my power doesn't work like that."

"Well, whatever. And the time I wished for immortality?"

"Did you SEE that one piece you wrote? All you have to do is get it published and you'll live on forever with something that good. You make great works and leave a legacy, you become immortal."

"You keep blowing smoke up my ass, but I don't think that works..."

"And the wish for true love..."

"Hey, I got you some nice clothes that you might look better in instead of those wrestling and anime T-shirts you always wear like you're still a teenager, I signed you up for Tinder, I got your confidence back up, I helped you look for new opportunities to get yourself out there instead of spending all your time shut away from everyone. I did all I could, the rest is up to you to prove you can be a good man...which, I might add, if you had followed the first and second wishes to its conclusion, you MIGHT BE!"

"Can you just give me some quick fix to get some of these?"

"Another person who wants a quick fix. They always blame the life coach and not themselves."

"Genie of the Key, I wish for some quick fixes to make these wishes come to pass."

I waited a bit...and I suddenly felt a big jolt of inspiration. I've been wasting my time. I need to get back to that website to learn, I need to write again. Let me get cleaned up, get back to work, and actually try to make this stuff wor-why the fuck is that genie laughing?

"...you all always think you're so smart, don't you? You're not the first who tried that and you damn sure won't be the last. Enjoy the burst of motivation."

"Dammit, genie, I wish for a billion bucks to show up right at my doorstep!"

I waited- and a huge pile of acorns fell all around my apartment. "Well, I did it. Just open the door and give it time, I'm sure the deer in the neighborhood will be happy."

"This is not funny, Genie, I wish for eternal life!"

I heard a knock on my door.

"Hi, we're with the local church, have you heard the word of our Lord?"

"GODDAMMIT!" The missionaries in the front looked peeved. "Well, clearly this person seems like a real pleasure to deal with..."

"Genie, I wish for a beautiful model to head to my doorstep and be ready for me..." Just then I saw an Amazon truck come by, and hand me that figurine I had been waiting for for a few month "YOU THINK YOU'RE SO FUNNY, DON'T YOU?"

"I told you. I do not grant wishes, I give you the power to grant them yourself."

"Dammit...I will only say this once. GENIE, I WISH FOR YOU TO GIVE ME EXACTLY WHAT I DESERVE!"

A big pounding sound was at my door...


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_jabvqqq wrote

...you'd be surprised what laughable things from the past can matter so much.

To the rest of the world, it was one of the most maligned products of the 1990s. It was supposed to be the future of beverages, and it ended up a national punchline in six months. The black eye stayed on for the rest of the decade. It was a debacle the likes of which hadn't been seen. How could it- it tested so well in the test markets.

And if you were in those test markets, it was a little different. That's where we lived. And that's how I would connect to it.

I shouldn't have known you. You were always on the boats whenever I was a kid, never spending much time at home- and then, one of the rare times you were at home, you had your first heart attack. You'd be in and out of bad health for the next seventeen years of my life and have to retire instantly. You still tried to work, but you just couldn't handle it anymore. You were strong, and ended up the stay-at-home father for me. I actually got to know you for the first time in my life.

You'd still try to work- and then there was the ways. You'd drive with me every few days up to the place, grab some horseshoe crabs from a medical research facility taking their blood, we'd go release them into the bay. Your friends would catch more, they'd go in, and the circle would continue. We'd go up- I'd get one of those drinks, some breakfast at the fast food place, and continue. A little pocket money for my troubles, and we'd go.

It was really one of the first times I'd get to know you, driving in that old beat-up truck to do this. Finally, I could feel like I had a father, not just a guy I barely got to know.

We'd remain close throughout. Soon, you wouldn't be able to do it anymore. You'd stay at home, still raise me through school. You never told me the doctors said you wouldn't live five years. You told them you'd live to see me finish high school. It came close senior year- but you got out of the hospital in enough time to get just as big a cheer from the people in my school community who knew your trouble as I did walking across.

Shit, you damn near came close to seeing me finish college. I still remember it- I just couldn't cry. People thought it weird. If it was like that, I almost needed to fake it. But how could I cry? I got seventeen years with you I really never should have had.

Things didn't go like that, but it's there. You're buried near work, and hey- the nyuk-nyuk history of things made jokes about it so long they brought this stuff back. If you're right here, it's easy to pick another one up.

...I miss you, Dad. Next time I'll make sure it's a Dunkin' like you always preferred.


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_ja7m2ye wrote

This, thank you for explaining it for the person.

For people who don't know the series it's got the fanfic element for/need the context: link


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_ja763ad wrote

When you know that the twist is something expectable, always best to pile onto the twist to give an extra bonus to the reader. If that means turning into fanfiction, so be it.


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_ja6wsup wrote

The couple were looking for ways to have some fun in their relationship. When you have a child to look after, the spark seems to fall out of place. Looking for help, they needed advice anywhere they could get it.

The man was stumped for ideas. He thought back to his academy years, and a game he and his friends would play. Everybody had their target, and they would each search for the target they were assigned and tag them. The one who succeeded got the next target, and so on and so forth. He remembered the game fondly, it was one of those experiences at academy that made him the man he would become.

He'd teach it to the family that night.

He showed it to his wife and daughter as a game the three of them would play. It seemed to work well. He thought he could let his daughter win on a lark, but she seemed to not need the help. They would have some fun playing, then studying, then off to bed. It was nice. After the game was done, he went to his wife. "Now that you see the rules, let's have a game for ourselves. You and I, no need for our daughter."

His wife was taken aback.

"I didn't do well in it, but sure, it sounds like fun."

He was happy. He made his plans. He went to a friend, and got a box, then put the card in it saying 'Bomb. You are dead.' The box was sent back a couple days later, made to look like an urgent message.

His wife knew she was it. She had no clue how to play the game right, but she seemed to know how.

That night, she was waiting for him, still dressed in her work outfit. She met him at the door. She smiled, and prepared. She was still a little unsure what the game's title meant, but clearly she had the spirit.

A little too much.

"Mama, what have you done?"

"I thought that's the game Papa wanted to play!"


"Operation Strix has failed.

Twilight is dead.

The "Thorn Princess" is responsible for his murder.

Awaiting new plan."


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_ja1dlcq wrote

"...I have no interest in all of that. I made this shop to have a simple, quiet life. I'm not expanding the business- if anything I've made the shop smaller since I got it!" The time traveller looked at me.

"No, no. You don't get it. You're destined to make it a ruthless and exploitative corporation. You will bring ruin to the world if you run this shop..."

"ENOUGH! I've heard this over and over again, I've told every one I'm not expanding the business. I closed every location I had but this one, and moved this one into a smaller store. I've donated most of my stock to charity and slashed the prices to the point I'm barely keeping my head afloat here. I have went past unionization and turned the shop into a co-op and all my employees have equal shares in the success of the business, and I made a point to hire anyone who asks for a job, sight unseen. I've done LITERALLY EVERYTHING possible to make it clear I am NOT going to expand the business. So, I am not going to sit back and let you time travellers keep trying to kill me until I get some goddamned answers for why you keep coming after me when I make it clear I don't want to expand!"

The time traveller just looked at me.

"...you want answers, do you?"

I glared. "YES. I think I deserve that much."

The time traveller stared at me.

"...you're too good."

I was taken aback.

"...what." The time traveller continued.

"You heard me. You're too good at running your business. You're a kind shopkeeper. You're a fair, honest shopkeeper. You run your shop like a well-oiled machine. Your prices are reasonable without being undercutting. Your product is great quality. You manage your employees well and know when to get out of the way of your underlings, and if they have problems you understand and give them the time they need. Your shop is run incredibly well for a mom and pop shop. You are a talented merchant."

I was shocked.

"Well, thank you. But why are you trying to kill me if you know I'm a skilled merchant?" The time traveller shook his head.

"You ARE a skilled merchant. Once upon a time, so was Sam Walton. Once upon a time, so was Jeff Bezos. None of the ruthless, exploitative megacorporation superstores started with an evil, ruthless mastermind who was hellbent on destroying humanity. They always started with...well, a skilled merchant who was dedicated to giving the customers what they want, doing their job, and doing it right...and the people in your town know this about you. They know they can trust and go to this store."

"Well, of course. My shop's dedicated to doing what's best for our customers- and if that means staying as small as possible, I will."

"Don't you get it? The customers make their decisions about where they want to shop, and they vote with their wallets. By being so talented a merchant, it's inevitable that the customers will demand this store expand, and keep expanding, and keep expanding- and eventually, if a store expands too much, it becomes impossible to remain a well-run business. Inevitably a store that becomes too large will become an evil megacorporation, no matter what the merchant tries. And even if you say you'll run it well- and we know you've never become a bastard, no matter what we do? One day, you're going to die. Or your kids. Or THEIR kids. But one day, it's inevitable that a piece of shit will be in charge of the company, and then it'll cross the line and no matter how good a company you run, it'll all be for nothing."

"I can teach them."

"You'd be surprised what happens when someone grows up in unchecked luxury. Why do you think we go after you now while you and your high school sweetheart are still dating and haven't married yet? It's a damn sight better than the alternative to cut it off at the source."

"So, it's inevitable?"

"The heart of any store is the customers. No matter how evil a megacorporation is, if the customers just all refused to shop there, the store would fall into ruin immediately. It's happened to store after store that was seen as too big to fail, and it'll happen over and over again throughout history...but then, the customers have to agree to not shop there."

"So, this isn't my fault?"

"It's not. But, in order to make sure we don't get these megacorporations, then we have to make sure the only merchants for mom and pop shops who can succeed are the ones who have some flaw or another that means they can never really make a revolution in stores. You're just too good at this for us to let you continue to run your store."

"...so, what should I do?"

"...do you have ANY other dreams? Any other hope?"

"...not really."

"Take some hobby up. And when you get good at it, quit your day job."


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j9smbj5 wrote

"The dragon has been slain! All Hail Sir Barkley!" The man was aloft his white horse, a beautiful princess on his back.

"My knight, I am sorry I thought it was time for you to be put out to pasture for your age. The kingdom is in gratitude to you." Sir Barkley bowed.

"Thank you, Your Majesty. It was all part of my job."

"I know you did not ask for retirement, even after I allowed it...thank the Maker you did not. Now, it is time for your just reward."

"...just reward? Your gratitude is enough reward for me, Your Majesty."

"If we don't give you the reward, it flies in the face of my kingdom. PREPARE THE ROYAL WEDDING!"

Sir Barkley was shocked.

"...royal wedding?"

"Yes. You saved my daughter, the princess, and as such you will be betrothed to her!" Sir Barkley looked confused as the king continued.

"...uh, Your Majesty...I've BEEN married! For years! Th-the royal bishop ordained my marriage! You know my wife, she works in the royal kitchen as one of your chefs!" The King looked, then was confused.

"...w-well, why did you save my daughter if you're already married? You amongst all the knights know the rule- you save the princess, you marry the princess!"

"I am one of your finest knights. The princess is in trouble, you can't trust a serious problem for the kingdom to an untrained knight. You need the best knight in the country on the job to handle this. Wo-would you have rather I sent one of the new guys out there? Most of them haven't even been taught how to handle a dragon!"

"Well, we never expected that a married knight would go to save the princess." Sir Barkley shook his head.

"You DO remember Princess Fairmaiden is my Goddaughter, right? I'm not about to let her get captured, I swore an oath to you when you gave me and my wife that honor to protect her with our life! I merely did what you expected of me way back when!" The king nodded.

"I remember that well, Sir Barkley..."

"So, you know why I would go to save her without thinking...and you know why I could never marry her. Even if something happened to my beloved wife...I'm literally old enough to be her father myself. I changed her diapers with the queen, for crying out loud! I cannot possibly think of her as a bride...and I'm sure the princess couldn't think of me as one as well!" Princess Fairmaiden looked sheepishly to the king.

"...yes, Father. I know about the rule of the land, but...he's just too old, I've known him for too long. I can't possibly see him as a husband." The King threw his hands up in exasperation.

"...well, I don't know what happens here. ...oog, this is unprecedented. We've had so many different pairings of knight and royalty, all of which saw the betrothal without a problem, and the law of the land has been used forever...but this is the first time we've had a knight who saved royalty refuse to marry the person they saved. I can't imagine sending Princess Fairmaiden to a convent because she has been rejected."

Both Sir Barkley and Princess Fairmaiden were taken aback.


"A convent, Your Majesty?" The king looked downwards.

"We cannot go otherwise. If she has been saved by a knight who will not marry her, she must go to a nunnery. It's the rules of the land."

"Oh god..." Sir Barkley shook his head.

"King Lawler, I ask for one request before deciding on this."

"Yes, Sir Barkley."

"...to me, my son, my squire." King Lawler had his pages send to the knights' helm, and finally, a young man headed in.

"Father, what did you need me for?" Sir Barkley looked downwards, then started speaking as if he was badly reading lines.

"Why, I needed my son to be here to find out that I am about to kidnap Princess Fairmaiden! I cannot let her be sent to a nunnery, and so I kidnap her!" Sir Barkley went to his sword, then dropped it. "OH NO! My sword has fallen out of its hilt! I'm sure only someone who has known my style of fighting could defeat me easily!" Sir Barkley winked to his son, who caught on immediately. His son grabbed the sword and swung at Sir Barkley, who fell to his knees.

"I am beaten! The Princess has been saved, and by my own son no less! How could this be..."

King Lawler looked, as Princess Fairmaiden caught on and hugged Sir Barkley.

"Father, the rule is there...I HAVE just been saved by this man..."

King Lawler nodded.

"Let the preparations for the royal wedding begin!" Princess Fairmaiden hugged the squire as they left. King Lawler looked at Sir Barkley.

"...you could have just asked to have your son betrothed to the princess instead..." Sir Barkley looked.

"I am a knight. I serve the land and my King. If the land's laws say that the person who saves the princess must be betrothed to her, then the person who saves the princess will be betrothed to her."

"I understand. You are aware I will have to take you from my knights for this, right?" Sir Barkley nodded.

"You had said it was time for me to retire anyway, right?"

"Aye, my dear friend...or family, is it?" The king and his knight shook hands.


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j8g7xo7 wrote

I was there, and I had been handed a card by the Prince of Lies.

"...this...it makes no sense."

"Look. You summoned me with your letter. You were the one who came to me asking for a gift."

"I made a typo. That was a letter to Santa."

"You're 40. Santa doesn't give you gifts anymore. You know that as much as anyone. But I'm here and gave you something."

"Well, you didn't give me what was on my list, you obviously aren't Santa."

"Look, if you REALLY want to have eternal damnation for a PS5 or getting your car fixed, I can snap a finger right now and it'll be done. But if someone summons me, I can look in their heart. I can find exactly what is their true heart's desire, and I can give it to them. And I can see- creature comforts won't satisfy that pit in your soul and give you the good life you'd consider to be worth hell. It wouldn't be a fair trade on my end. The deal is always straightforward. I give you a happy life, you accept my torment for an unhappy afterlife."

I looked...and he was right. It's like he got me, in a way beyond those commercials everyone was badmouthing on TV.

"Look. I know you made a typo; this is to your benefit. Usually to the man upstairs, even just summoning me here is enough to condemn you to Hell when you die, so it's basically just getting a reward for seeing me. But, since you sincerely made the typo- if you don't want the reward, I'm sure I can tell the customer services of heaven and they'll cancel punishment for this one. But...if you want it, all you have to do is follow the instructions there and it'll be seen."

Satan vanished in a puff of fire. All that was left was a card.

I opened it, worried this would be the condemnation.

It showed directions to a certain place, a name, and a photo. The message said "...go here, and you'll have what you really want."

But do I listen to it?


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j5pxuuq wrote

Another year of dealing with all these fools.

I mean, how can I deal with them? Thousands of years young and don't look a day over 18. Rich enough to make every billionaire look like a pauper. Never seen without the hottest celebrity of the year on my arm. Some use yachts, I have naval fleets. Some have sports teams, I have leagues. I could buy and sell any country on earth fifty times over. Even comically rich joke people in cartoons ain't got shit on me.

I'm awesome. And that's why I come here. I see the pilgrimages- my parents took me back when I was a wee lad, and I saw it. I remember seeing the fireworks display for a successful wish granted. Others forgot about the moment- but to me, it's the single most important memory in my entire history. A young lovelorn man wished for his sweetheart to return his feelings, the genie rejected him. The man kicked a rock, and said "one year wasted, I wish I didn't say that." The genie nodded, and the fireworks went off. No one knew the wish, but they saw the man make another wish. It was nothing major- an ever-blooming bouquet of roses, presumably to try and give to his lady-love. They thought it was the bouquet, it went down as the bouquet. I knew once and for all what it was. No one says you can't make multiple wishes, all it says is the wish had to have never been used before...but if the wish was never used, someone else conceivably could make additional wishes as long as they count. Maybe they don't let it go because someone could just keep going until they drop dead waiting.

I couldn't tell anyone what I just saw. I was nice. I tried hinting it to my family. That year during the Super Bowl, I made a point to say 'Father, isn't it interesting how with the instant replay rule, if the coach is successful at their challenge they get an additional challenge?', but my father just thought I was a football fan and paid it no mind. This is the weakness...plebians can't think of the overarching nature, the doers can. I had to take it and wait, and bide my time.

Then, the moment that started my lifetime trajectory. I got to go myself when I turned 18. I made my way through the people, and I got through to the front of the line. Then, I sweetly said my words, and saw the genie get pissed- but every word I said afterwards got fireworks, one after the other, in a great day.

Now, it's my time this year. I waited through the line. I ended up seeing the face of the genie, who was angered at having to deal with me again. "What do you want now?", the genie said, as I smiled and said the words I always started with:

"I wish to reset your list of wishes."


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j5dakxc wrote

It was a dark and stormy night. (I always wanted to do that.) Somehow, feeling like I'm some hardboiled private eye makes me deal with this job a bit more. I mean, I was kind of lapsed in my religion, but when the undeniable proof of life after death came, everyone had some worries. And when you work with the government, they manage to handle things even more.

It always seemed like this could be used poorly. After all, with all the lives in the world, from every different type of being there was, and how cruel the animal kingdom is, technically the government could have an excuse to put anyone and everyone in their country in jail for mass murder. After all, in the animal or even plant kingdom, if you have lived, you must have caused something to die- and if people can be reincarnated as an animal or a plant, technically the simple act of eating any type of food just to sustain yourself is a capital offense. Don't get me wrong, some nations who really wanted to be cruel for cruelty's sake did indeed read it that way, but those nations were soon struck down by the rest of the world and their own problem of "if everyone's a criminal, then no one is." Eventually, the more Hinduist viewpoint of reincarnation took hold, which included a firm belief "if someone was reincarnated as an animal or plant, then it is considered them already being punished for their crime"- which both lessened the amount of potential criminals and got out of that nasty loophole before everyone in existence became a prisoner.

But this isn't perfect. Sometimes, the evil go unpunished on the karmic scale. Sometimes, a real piece of shit gets reincarnated as a human being.

That's where I come in. Some say I'm a wolf of the government, but the badge says I'm a lama.

I head to my boss. They told me that they found out somewhere in the city, this nasty piece of work has reincarnated. I looked at his history and shuddered- this is the type of shit that should make you a cockroach in your next life, and he's still walking around as a human? They handed me this book they found in the guy's collection they got from lockdown, then told me to go pick out a few fake possessions to hide it. I was to head to the preschool and have the children test which possession they liked the most; the real one would naturally choose their own possession and we have the guy.

This is the part of the job I hate- you always see the problems here. Sometimes you can see it, the biggest bully of the kids is the one who picks it and you know the soul is rotten to the core, but then it's this quiet, this sweet, adorable kid who picks it and you wonder if their soul is really purified. Doesn't matter; if prison values punishment first and foremost, they say you have a bunch of life sentences to deal with, you deal with them.

I head to the preschool. The parents didn't know which was which, but I put the possessions out. I see some kids play with some of them, not wondering. It seemed normal. Then, this one kid who was busy reading in the background headed over. This is what I'd fear...he picked the book.

I shut it down. I went to his parents. "I'm sorry, but your son has proven he's the reincarnation of a serious criminal. We have to take him in." His mother cried, his father punched me out. It happens- sometimes it's out of anger, out of frustration, even a desperation that an assault charge gets them arrested and forced into prison to watch their child. I have to shake it off and just let it go. I take the child in my car, the father goes in a local cop car.

I always feel so rotten when it happens- but if karma doesn't punish people, that's what we have to do.


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j4xxbjj wrote

It used to be that I had all of the time in the world

to make my name

That was yesterday

It used to be that your honors kept being unfurled

now I ended up tame

youth has gone away

And the hopes that I would reach you

have faded like a sun-bleached poster


with the coming of the dawn

Used to think I'd die before I grow old

Now I'm old before I die

No matter how hot blooded I get in the cold

More proof that I couldn't be the guy

And all the thoughts that I could reach you

making me able to chill the most here


and I still don't get to make nice

I emerge to shaking,

never making any sense

a victorious secret

made up to be in the past tense

And all the hopes that I could reach you

Won't happen until I'm on my cloud

Life just had me plowed

Youth is over, too damn sober to let it go

The cocoon's open, the dream must go then, to let you know

To let you know


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j3ywgy3 wrote

It's OP if you're in business or as a merchant, but not so much if you want to be a hero [though the character probably would be smart enough to catch on to it's best heroic use of "I can go to an armed criminal and see what it'd take to disarm them before they do something".]


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j3xt1gh wrote

I have to love the New Mutants. I remember getting a minor comic book for them, and seeing how everyone mocked Cypher as a kid. How could someone who could speak every language be any good? Then, they found 'oh, it also counts computer language, body language, the language of love', and suddenly he was overpowered.

For a kid who was always told growing up all they'll ever get to be is a random person in sales with my stupid birth power of "knowing exactly the lowest price that someone will sell something for", it was just what I needed to hear to know I could still have a chance. I knew how my life was going to be. Some people moneyball sports, I'll moneyball powers.

My first plan for this was when this kid at school was pissed all he got was to change the color of things at will. I traded him my Larry Johnson rookie card for it. He thought it was a cheap party trick, I knew how useful it could be...and the second I was able to help capture my first bank robber a few days later after running to their getaway car when I changed a red light to green and got him hit by a car to stop him, I was off to the races.

Next it became "giving the kid who could detach his arms at will five bucks for it. He was happy he wouldn't have to worry about it- I could rip my own arm off and have a baseball bat to whack people with...plus, good luck trying to slice me if I can take myself apart at will. The kid who could eat anything was despondent he had the reputation in school of 'the kid who ate weird things for money' and wanted to change his image? My copy of Sonic 3 later, and now I could chew my way through anything and free myself from anything. That kid who talked to ants who thought it was stupid? Great, I'll take that from you- an army of one of the largest populations in the world, especially with them biting and causing some pain, will do me just fine. Plus, it is more sustainable than the time I bought the power to train bees to fight people- the ants won't die after biting people, and when I got the ability to talk to squirrels you don't know which ones have rabies to hurt the person.

Some of it even gave me some hobbies. Sure, you may not like being able to blow up into a ball and bounce around, but being able to squash people is fine with me...plus, it gave me a nice relaxing hobby of sumo wrestling to clear my head. You don't want to convert sound into light waves? Fine, I'll take it and use it to shock and blind my enemies to stop them quickly...especially when added to when I got the power to shoot fireworks from my hands for a nice quick pyro burst. Someone was unhappy they had really good ventriloquism? That's fine, I'll just use it to throw my voice and distract people.

Enough good powers, and people think I'm just useless and sell me their useless powers, and the more and more it has, the stronger and stronger I get without them realizing. But, I have to go, I'm pretty close to getting the money I needed to buy from the person who can change trash into trees, and I might be able to do it without costing me my chance to create balls to stick to people and subdue them.


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j27rnga wrote

"So...you found the arrow, didn't you?"

I should have expected it. I read Death Note, I touched an arrow I knew was run by a Greek god, the second I grab the arrow, Cupid will show up.

"Oh, don't worry about it. I expected you to grab it. Other people wouldn't have seen the arrow. This is yours."

"Wait, you gave me the arrow?"

"Everyone gets an arrow once. You mortals say 'you only get one chance at love and that's that'...well, this is how that one chance happens. You have the arrow, go for it."

"So, I can shoot anyone I want?"

"Oh, no. Mom asked me to fix that after that whole bullshit with the golden apples. It's only going to be able to hit the person who is your fated soulmate. You try hitting anyone else but them, it'll pass through them just like if they didn't see it originally. It is in corporeal form for only you and your fated person."

"So they would have chosen to be my soulmate without the arrow anyway? That feels a little cheap."

"Well, the more mortals prove they can't be trusted with weapons of mass affection, the cheaper we have to be. But on the plus side, think of it this way. Your soulmate will see the arrow even if you never use it, so you'll know just who it is."

"I guess that helps out a lot. So, when do I use it?"

"You'll know...."

Cupid vanished, and the arrow was in my hands. Well, this at least seems somewhat helpful...not sure how much, but somewhat...


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j1s1r2t wrote

It's all about the thoughts of the people. All about their jealousy, their awe, that feeling that knows they're impressed by you, that people like you...and when you read minds, everyone likes you. Once you know what people want, you serve a purpose and are the life of the party.

I guess it was what led me to chess. Quiz games are too boring- when you're in a group of friends, most will know the answer. There's a reason poll the audience is usually one of the most surefire answers on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire (which I fucked around and won as a lark once.) Real sports are too hard- sure, I know what pitch the pitcher's throwing each time, but I still have to hit it. But chess? It's a war game, and as it was said, "Know your enemy and know yourself, and you need not fear a hundred battles."

So I played. And won.

And kept winning.

And kept winning. Soon, my friends said I was good at chess. They suggested I go to chess clubs.

And kept winning. Soon, local tournaments. And kept winning. And regional tournaments, and national tournaments, and now I stand here as the newest grandmaster.

I never really got the hang of the rules. Just read the other person's mind for what they plan to do next, what they're most afraid I'll do, and do it.

Finally, they offered me a big game against IBM's newest supercomputer. A big prize offer, a big deal...and with how many do it before, you can't NOT do it.

Shit. It's a bot. I hem, I haw, but the money's too good. The match is set.

I go into the room. The supercomputer is there, close to having broken chess, and I play it.

This is it. The moment of truth.

And then...the audience was in shock.

I CRUSHED the bot. Absolutely destroyed it. The first big win for a human against a supercomputer in decades. It was all over the news. The chess grandmaster who saved chess for humanity. AI fans were inconsolable, in shock. The programmers were apoplectic- they thought it was impossible I could win against a bot, but wipe the floor with the bot so badly that even reprogramming the AI would be hopeless; the whole supercomputer's chess mind was hopelessly broken. I felt bad for them as I heard their thoughts- they were some of IBM's best programmers, and I just ended their careers in an instant.

I have to feel for the people on the project. They did so much to help me.

After all, I may not be able to read the mind of a supercomputer, but I can damn sure read the minds of the people who programmed it and find out how to hack the program, can't I?


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_j0uebc9 wrote

I headed into the building. It was the day we all get the power that we would wait on. Of course there's a traffic jam today- all the other 18 year olds head in. I see some people had camped out, raring to go, but of course my parents wouldn't let me do it. By the time it was there, I had to end up at the end of the line, waiting for hours. Finally, when I got into the building, I waited to see it.

"We're sorry, every other power but one was taken already. We're out of literally everything else, it's take it or...well, actually because everyone's required one power, you can't even take it or leave it. Sit down and get the power."

I looked at them. "Well, maybe it won't be fine...let me see the computer.

I looked and was shocked.

"My power is...you're the worst?" The people nodded.

"Yep. Your power is that you're the worst. At everything. You will be the single worst person in existence at everything you do."

"The worst at everything?"

"Yep. No matter what metric we use, you will be the single worst at it."

"Okay. So I have everything against me. I can build on this."

"No...no you can't. If you have a visible weakness you can't build on, you might actually be able to work hard to make it a strength or at least use it to build some character. You don't even get that...well, even if you did, you'd just fail miserably at it. You'll have nothing wrong with you on paper, but you'll just be the worst at everything."

"So I'm going to end up a villain?"

"Well, no...or, not unless you already are a villain. You're just...the worst at everything."

"Though it really wouldn't matter if you DO become a villain or not, since if you tried to be a hero or a villain, you'll just be destined to fail miserably at it. The whole...you're the worst...thing again."

I smiled.

"Well, that's great. I can just use this bad luck and try to succeed, and then fail in a way I get what I want to happen! I can build on this..."

"No, no, it doesn't even work that way. If you try to do the opposite of what you want, you're still trying something, so it'll manage to fail in a way you still don't get what you want. Again, you're the worst at planning too."

"So, that's basically it? I have nothing to hope for? Just sit back and accept life sucks and just do nothing..."

"Oh, no. Your dreams going unfulfilled goes even further than that. They'll be unfulfilled so even on the smallest level it'll fail. If something happens that is good for you, then it's a complete and utter fluke that would happen- and better- for everyone else."

"Well, what the hell power is this then?"

"Don't you see? Because you're the worst person at everything, you'll serve as a beacon of light for the rest of the world."

"Life...it's tough. A power doesn't change that every life has some hardships in it. No matter what you can do or do not do in life, you'll always have something go wrong in life and you'll have problems."

"That's where you come in. No matter how bad someone else's life is, no matter what adversity or hardship comes into someone's life, they will always be able to look at you and say 'this is bad, but at least I'm not THAT guy'...and then they'll realize they've still got some good things in life, and that this too shall pass."

"So, you serve a purpose, no matter how bad it looks. Anyway, take your power and go. Live your life. And remember. As bad as life seems, it can't get any worse than it already is."

I left the room. As I left, I heard some whispers.

"You think he caught on we don't have any powers to give?"

"No one else has ever caught on..."


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_iyw5yw2 wrote

Likely, though I could assume it was connected to the power, so even instant healing yourself becomes "heal the fire, lose the power. And if you heal your wounds, you'll just instantly get wounded again." Still a good point.


Spiritual_Lie2563 t1_iyut8mx wrote

...when you spend all your time locked in a lamp, eventually the one thing keeping you going is being an asshole.

People always talk about the problem of the wisher, but they forget- the wisher? A greedy bastard. You don't wish for these things unless you are. 'Oh, I want to be the richest person in the world.' Great, you plan to be another rich bastard. 'Oh, I want the love of the most beautiful person in the land'...do you even know the person? Creepy. 'Oh, I want eternal life'...it'll get boring after a while, and you're thinking about you and not everyone else. After seeing all these greedy people, you kind of like the chance to be an asshole. You have all this money? Great, your area will be razed and ransacked by thieves, and you'll be known as the worst for suddenly having it all. You want the love of this person? Shame they're going to make your life a living hell. You want eternal life? Shame you didn't ask for eternal youth- you'll shrivel and rot away into simple entropy. And if you did ask for eternal youth too? Enjoy living forever in the body of an infant.

Yes, I'm an asshole. But they deserve it.

But you know what I hate more than that? It's the people who think they're some altruist with their wishes- they're somehow bigger bastards than the greedy ones. At least the greedy person admits they're greedy and want what's best for themselves. The 'oh, I want world peace' types don't even have the guts to admit that they want world peace on their terms. They want a peace that makes their nation, their tribe, their viewpoint in the position of power. That's not world peace, it's not creating utopia, it's a greedy wish to be in power by someone who doesn't even have the dignity to just say 'I wish to rule the world.' I love twisting that around- I love showing these people that maybe there's no place for them in their perfect world. And if they do wish to be in power? Well, they're obviously someone who shouldn't have power, so I make them be hated and run out of power on a rail too.

Yes, I'm an asshole. But they deserve it.

And once you go through these things- you end up wary about anyone's wish. 'I wish for world hunger to be ended'...didn't say which species had it, but I'm sure the tigers are happy for humanity's sacrifice. 'I wish for [x] to have a happy life'...aww, that's so noble of you. Too bad your very existence causes their misery, just have to blip you out of existence. Tell the truth, I'm so sure these people are greedy and bitter I make it a point to find a way to ruin their wishes. Those guys in charge of monkey's paws had a good thing going.

Yes, I'm an asshole. But they deserve it.

At least I thought it- and then I had to be caught by a lawyer. I played his games for the first wish. Yes, he wished for eternal life...great, yeah, enjoy life imprisonment for a crime you didn't commit..."...and in the process, I want a normal standard of health sufficient to someone of my current age for the whole time, without any criminal or other punishments to this effect..." Shit. And if he's this smart, he likely has very few people he cares enough about to go with it. Ah, that's an idea- I'll give him true love every 30 or so years and make him watch them live their lives, only to lose them. That's good...

And time passes. Now he wants the power. Fine, there'll be a revolution and he'll face the guillotine, that worked that one time someone asked for i... "And I want a power where my leadership is seen as the most important, with a guaranteed approval rate to never drop below 51%, and an amount of monetary success equal to one million dollars a year..." Good, good. Hyper-inflation can happen, enjoy not being able to afford a loaf of bread even as world leader, and then you'll lose your power.

It keeps going, and the lawyer kept waiting and waiting. He tries rebuilding and fails. Then, he finally comes to me.

"I wish to free you..." , and then he opens a book. He wants my power, he wants to torture me, make me suffer, die. And I can't throw him in a lamp, he wished for his lamp to be the finest penthouse suite in the world, with no war or any form of act of god to ruin it...that's covered too. He...he worked this out. It's airtight. Almost every option is in, and it ends up making him the person in power and leaving me in the cold.

I was beaten.

"Your wish is granted."

I watched, and the man caught flame.

"Oh, sorry. You didn't wish to NOT be on fire..."

They always said nice guys finish last- thank God I'm an asshole.