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Not anybody and everybody could get a contract with the devil.

That was one thing that people were so frequently mistaken about: they thought that all that the devil did with its life was to comb through the human world in search of the perfect candidate for its sick, sweet deals.

But no. The devil didn’t need to do that. Contrary to what many people wanted to believe, plenty people wanted to trade with the devil.

Sure, there were many who thought the devil wasn’t real. And oh, absolutely, there were those who did believe in the devil but didn’t want anything to do with it, because they thought they were going to burn in hell if they did. (As if the devil had nothing better to do than to burn its haters! As if even with all the eternities at its disposal, there was any time for that!)

But the point was this: there were plenty of people who did want a deal with the devil, enough so that the line for an interview with the devil was extremely highly unbelievably long. If that line had been literal, not figurative and in each of the line-standers’ head, and everyone in that line would stand side by side holding hands, then they could encircle the entire Planet Earth three times over.

Anyway, that was why T never gave up, and was making all these sculptures. T was a young man, almost still a boy, who knew what he wanted from life. It was something so cliche that he didn’t dare bring it up in a conversation with his human acquaintances. (He never called them “friends”; he didn’t keep “friends.”) But in his head, T always, all the time, without pause, thought about his one and only dream:

To be the next Michalangelo.

The one and only, but pretty important obstacle to this dream was that T sucked at sculpting.

In every exam at the art school he attended, he’d failed. In fact, they’d wanted to fail him from the school itself, and not just the exams. If T’s daddy hadn’t built a gym for that school, T would have been indeed kicked out from that place of “education” a long time ago. (“Eduation” in quotes, because, obviously it didn’t work, did it? T sucked at sculpting as much as he’d sucked before attending the school.)

It was one of those schools where you had to call your teachers “professors,” as if that gave them more credibility. Those people simply didn’t like the lowly vocabulary that were used at normal schools—places where kids with no rich Daddy’s went…

…and also places where all children had no talent, not just one, a.k.a.,T.

The assessment from the professors had been that T’s sculptures were dreary, dismal, and depressing. Formless, shapeless, and styleless.

But T would have none of that.

Who were the real dreary dismal depressing people, when those “professors” didn’t even dare kick him out of the school despite his works’ lack of form, shape, and style?

At least T burned with the desire to be good, to be great, and he was willing to do anything and everything to fulfill that desire. This included staying at this school where teachers needed to hear themselves be called professors.

His fingers and/or brain couldn’t handle his vision. Or maybe it was that he lacked a vision but didn’t even have the fingers and/or brains to know that. Either way, hell, he was willing to go to hell! He was willing to cut a deal with the devil!

That was why T was making yet another shapeless formless styleless sculpture in his grand bedroom, which doubled as his studio.

It was the middle of the night. Perhaps the devil would take extra pity on T for enduring yet another sleepless night, working on the sculpture. Then they could come to some sort of agreement.

T truly believed that the devil was capable of pity. If it weren’t, then it wouldn’t go around the world, taking all the time to select its contract partners very carefully.

And so T built up his sculpture of the devil for the devil. It was as tall as T himself, who was as tall as the coat hanger standing by the luxurious entrance to the T-family mansion—

Suddenly, a gust of wind blasted open the tall windows. T whipped around, feeling the cold, sharp winter air dry a very thin layer of the wet clay on his fingers.

And there, against the moonlight, was a mere silhouette of a person.

At least, someone shaped like a person.

And that person had horns.