It was a cruel twist of fate that landed me in the classifieds section, searching through the “roommate wanted” ads in hopes of finding someone that I could tolerate living with for at least a few months while I got my feet back under me. I’m not going to lie, in my heart I cursed God through the entire process.
I couldn’t say what it was about that ad in particular that drew my attention. The wording was the exact same as all the others, but it gave me a good feeling in my gut, so I went ahead and made the call. Given the urgency of my situation, I hurried through all the preliminaries over the phone, and settled on the move-in date for the next Saturday. I met my roommates for the very first time after I pulled up in my truck, loaded with the most precious of my possessions that I could salvage.
The first to greet me was a heavyset woman who introduced herself as Gabriel. She was warm and friendly, though a little more eager for physical contact than I was personally comfortable with, so I pulled my hands away and stepped back. She smelled strongly of brownies, and there was no doubt that baked desserts were a major part of her life. I wondered how I, myself, would fare if there was an endless supply of cakes and cookies around the kitchen.
She led me inside the house and showed me to my room, followed by the standard tour that ended with signing the lease on the living room coffee table. It was then that he appeared, taking me by surprise.
When Gabriel had pointed to his door, she had simply said, “This is Bub’s room,” which had inspired the mental image of a man built similarly to her, perhaps with a few tattoos to cover up a teddy bear personality, but my supposition had been wildly off base.
Bub was lean and muscular, as if he ate nothing but raw eggs for breakfast every single morning. He was clean cut, austere, and never once smiled, even when I called out hello and told him my name.
“I expect you to follow the rules,” he said sharply. “I won’t hesitate to evict you if you don’t, and I won’t feel bad about it after.”
I kind of liked him. He wasn’t the sort that would party as the trash piled up, and as long as I didn’t get in his way, he would leave me to my own devices.
“Oh, don’t mind him.” Gabriel laughed. “We like to be relaxed around here, as a ‘no judgment’ zone where everyone can feel safe.”
Bub’s eyes flashed angrily, and as he advanced on Gabriel I grew worried that I would soon be calling the police for domestic violence. His fists clenched, but his voice was quiet and calm as he said, “I don’t like to be undermined. I will continue to tolerate a great many vices from you, but I will not be dismissed and undermined. Rules are rules, and they will be followed.”
Gabriel was cowed. She giggled to cover it up, then asked if I needed help moving in. After I declined, she went straight for the kitchen. Bub, on the other hand, followed me out to my truck and began unloading boxes, his muscles flexing as he moved with ease.
“It’s disgusting,” Bub said. “Gabriel can’t say ‘no’ to anything, no matter what it is. She’s going to wind up dead with the way she’s going.”
“She seems like a nice person,” I said, not wanting to get in the middle of anything. My plan was to keep entirely to myself until the day I could return to living alone.
“All angels *seem* nice, until you actually get to know them. They have no self control at all.” He spat on the ground to emphasize his dislike.
“I’m sorry, what?” I wasn’t sure if I had heard Bub correctly. “Did you say angels?”
“Yes. Angels. Didn’t you know that Gabriel is one?”
“No!” I sputtered. “I didn’t know they existed.”
Bub’s smile grew wicked. “Did Gabriel tell you my full name?”
“She called you ‘Bub,’” I replied, feeling uncertain.
“It’s Beelzebub,” he said with glee. “*The* Beelzebub. Welcome to our home.”
He left me alone then, and for awhile I sat in the driver’s seat of my truck, thinking about what I had gotten myself into. I wondered if I should put the boxes back in the bed, turn the key in the ignition, and drive away to fight against fate in different location. However, as the sun began to turn the deep orange of late afternoon, I opened the door and continued moving into my room. I decided that maybe I wasn’t going to keep to myself over the next few months after all. Maybe fate had big plans for me, and I might as well see them through.
The original writing prompt on Reddit was:
You just met your new roommates Gabriel, an obese, glutoneous [sic] angel; and Beelzebub, a muscular, athletic demon. Turns out that angels who have never faced temptation are terrible at resisting it. On the other hand, demons who know nothing but temptation are masters of discipline.
I chose this particular prompt because I like angels and demons and it’s been a long time since I’ve written about them, even though the prompt is basically the plot to an anime called ‘Gabriel Dropout’. Since I have seen that anime, I was mindful to not rewrite it.
At the time I wrote this, the other responses defaulted to using college dorms as the setting. However, when I lived in California, the cost of living was so freakin’ high that all of us normal folk had to pool together just to afford rent, so I became acquainted with a number of people who still had roommates well outside of college (myself included). I decided to use this arrangement as my main premise, thus saving me from reliving the drudgery of school.
First person, because I like Lovecraft and copying his style allows me be vague about a number of things, thus saving me real life time. Seriously deep thinking behind that decision.
The question about whether Gabriel is a man or a woman depends on which spiritual circles you run with, since they go both ways. I like the stereotype of the cheerful, padded woman who’s always baking, so I went with that. Demons, on the other hand, never have any controversy about which sex they are, so Beelzebub is a man. I made him a bit scary, to keep with the common image of demons.
For the prompt, I wrote a basic set up with an open ending, and truthfully didn’t edit it past a second read-through. I’m currently working on a For Realz novel, so I want to devote most of my free time to that, rather than to the internet. This was just a bit of brain candy for the fun of it.
Thank you for sharing my work!