By Alexandra Erin
“You didn’t hold up your end of the bargain,” I said.
“Of coure I didn’t,” the tiny, winged figure in the circle said. “You made a dea with the devil. Well, a devil. Well, a devilish being. What did you expect to get? Fair dealing and four star customer service?”
“No, but I thought you would be, you know, tricky about it,” I said. “Double meanings, overly literal or figurative interpretations, loopholes… something like that.”
“That sounds like a lot of work when I can get what I want with straight-up dishonesty,” it said.
“But if you don’t have a reputation for honesty, how can you expect people to make deals with you?”
“I had a good enough reputation to pull you in,” it said. “Probably because people would rather tell stories where they were outsmarted with clever wording than ones where they just straight up gave away all their marbles for nothing. That’s how you get stories about magic beans, I’m sure. Anyway, I’m not sure why I need a reputation for honesty. I mean, you expected I would cheat you, and you still agreed.”
“Because I thought I would have a chance to outsmart you!” I said.
“Well, you got one,” it said. “That part where I asked you if you wanted to make a deal. That was your chance to outsmart me. You could have said no and walked away.”
“You told me that you were a creature of honor and that your word was all you had.”
“Yeah, funny story,” it said. “It turns out liars can say that, too.”