And Here’s Satan with the Weather
The rest of the HON6 news station doesn’t share my excitement over today’s hundred-and-thirty degree high. Maybe it has something to do with our busted A/C unit, but there are a lot of sweaty, hangdog faces in the studio. Producers, cameramen, janitors, everyone. Even the morning anchor Ty West—who I call Powdered Sunburn—isn’t his usual shining self as he swivels toward me for the weather. Sooner or later, one of the producers better hand me his job.
Until then I’m happy to spice up my segment with humor: “Now to my Guaranteed Five-Day Forecast, and look at those temps! Szz! You can cauterize a wound with Tuesday’s high. Ty, you shouldn’t have trouble maintaining your tan this week.”
“At worst I’ll overdo it, Lou.” Ty croaks a laugh as his makeup runs. “That was Lou C. Ferguson with the weather. Now onto another heat-related tragedy in Honolulu…”
I’m barely off-camera when my producer Lana Kokami grabs onto my magma-patterned tie and drags me outside. Pardon my racism, but Lana perpetuates the Hawaiian-girl cliché with dark frizzy braids and a yellow hibiscus. She’s drenched in so much sweat that her sleeveless pink blouse has soaked around the outline of her bra. Contrary to typical mortal myths, I have zero taste for human flesh. For me, a damned dirty body has nothing on a shit-stained soul. And Lana? She’s got one.
She hired me, after all.
Out in the parking lot, the stifling heat and cloudless sunshine hit my face like a soothing splash of lava. My eyes widen and drink the blinding light. It’s refreshing enough that I can see why mortals mistake Honolulu for paradise.
Lana jabs a finger at me and starts to say something, but her mouth goes dry. She sips from a canteen dangling at her side. Three gulps later she says she’s figured me out. Took her long enough. She says I scammed her—that I wasn’t the Hawaiian native I claimed to be in my interview.
“Wrong,” I say. “I did originate in Hawaii. This incarnation, at least.”
Her eyes narrow to a pair of sickle-blade slits. One quick swipe of her arm and she brandishes a pen, clicking it before pressing the tip to my throat. Hell yes. She’s making this easy. Usually I have to tempt and torture, but today it’s like I pulled a lever and hit the damnation jackpot. She drags the pen’s tip down the bumps of my windpipe and says, “I should kill you. Lying demon.”
“Liar?” I say with a laugh. “One thing I am is honest—full of guarantees. You air-breathers often forget I was an angel.”
“That’s easy to forget after you used the Five-Day to broil us.”
“You call this broiling?” I gesture to the hazy streets and withered palm trees. “Where I’m from, we call this jacket-weather. The city’s fine.”
“Fine? Have you looked outside the studio today?”
“I’ve been busy reading obituaries. It’s like a second job.”
She storms over to a news van, yanks the door aside. “Get in. If you’re so honest, take a hard look at the video monitor and tell me this city’s not fried.”
Lana cycles through video feeds on the dashboard monitor, whining about what the heat’s doing to Hanauma Bay and the Pearl Harbor memorial. I can barely concentrate with the van’s arctic A/C fizzing in my face. She points out closed-up snorkeling shops, empty beaches, shriveled palm trees that resemble giant impaled spiders. Tourists collapse along sidewalks. Dehydrated birds drop from the sky. A line of flashing ambulances hits impassable traffic near Leahi Hospital.
“Every hospital’s crammed because of heatstrokes and the elderly. Try to tell me you don’t see a cooked city.”
“I see news stories you’re failing to capitalize on.”
“This isn’t news, it’s chaos.”
“Chaos is bliss. Didn’t they teach you that in journalism school?”
Five more ambulances join the traffic jam. She glares at me. “You deceitful little—”
“Deceitful? I promised high ratings and national exposure. And I delivered.”
“Take your promises back to hell. You’re fired.”
I throw my head back and laugh. “Fire me? Over what?”
“Goddammit, I don’t know—harassment.” She grabs my hand and slaps it over her breasts. They squish and twitch, but, again, I miss the appeal of mortal flesh and its cushioning. She then drags my fingernails down her neck. Her flesh rips. “There. Now there’s DNA evidence. See you in court.”
“Court?” I tumble against the window laughing. “Were you born yesterday? If you’re sick of me tweaking weather patterns, wait till I wrangle some lawyers.”
She swallows hard, her scratched-up throat bobbing. She reaches behind her ear for the pen. In the split instant it takes her to slam it through my throat, a smile hooks across my face.
Black liquid gushes from both neck holes, scorching my tie. Blood eats through my suitcoat like acid and hisses against my skin. Feels awesome. Some drizzles onto my thumb and I touch it to my tongue. Mmm. Thank God for the homicidal types.
I jerk the pen free. “You can’t kill me. Can’t fire me, either.”
Her cheeks wrinkle. She’s ready to cry, but her tear ducts are dried out. “Go away. There’s got to be a way to get rid of you. Can’t I offer my soul or something?”
“Nope. You already guaranteed me your soul—murderous intent, false accusation, the whole checklist. Only way I’m fixing the weather is if you promote me. I want Powdered Sunburn’s gig.”
Her eyes widen. “Wait, what’ll you do if I offer you his job? Be honest.”
“I’ll go where I belong.”
A soothing line of black blood rolls down my chest. I smile. “To the mainstream media.”