March 9th – Pandemonium of a new kind
mid 17th century: modern Latin (denoting the place of all demons, in Milton’s Paradise Lost ), from pan-‘all’ + Greek daimōn ‘demon’.
With the Miltonian version a little outmoded now, the demons were on the lookout for somewhere new. They’d tried a few places, on short term rentals, with the option to buy, but nothing was quite right.
The road bar in Nebraska had potential, at first, even if on the initial inspection it was a little small: there were quite a few of them, after all. The owner had assured them, however, that the outbuildings (a couple of barns and a sort-of shed) would be more than adequate for their purposes, and apart from actually knocking them down, they were free to do whatever they liked with them.
And so they’d moved in, all of them together, hiring a couple of trucks and a professional removals company to deal with the big stuff. Mastema and the Nephilim had put up some curtains in the bar, and re-clothed the pool tables with the dreams of the unworthy, which, they had to admit, was a particularly smooth move, and made putting swerve and screw on the ball a lot easier. A couple of the fallen angels manned the bar, working in shifts, and the rest of them strung up the fairy lights.
Pandemonium, they called it, and they opened on a Thursday afternoon, ahead of the weekend. They’d secured a supply deal with a local brewery, and even tapped into the emerging craft beer market, with a couple of rotating guest ales and some quirky IPAs. It was all looking good. Or as good as a demon-run establishment can look.
And it all would have gone swimmingly, if it wasn’t for the people. Ironic, really, that in a bar full of demons, it was the people that were the problem.
The bikers were fine. The first to arrive, they took in the new surroundings, slapped some coins down on the pool table and commandeered the impressively stocked jukebox which proved, once and for all, that the Devil does indeed have all the best tunes. Yes, the bikers were fine. They sparked up conversations with the resident demons, who were eager to share their knowledge, and the bikers regaled them with stories of life on the road: two gangs of outcasts who found something in each other worth holding on to.
It seemed like, finally, the demons had found somewhere that was actually going to work.
Then the others started coming in.
People passing by, with nothing to say for themselves, expecting food. They were just about tolerable. And then the locals came.
Drawn by the new bar in the neighbourhood, they came in their denim and their pick-ups, ready for trouble. And beer. Because trouble and beer are fine companions.
The demons didn’t want trouble. They could handle themselves, of course, but they weren’t actually looking for it. All they wanted was to get on with running the bar, and to see if they could really make a go of it. But when it all kicked off that first Saturday night, they just couldn’t help themselves. The bikers, who had offered to help, could only sit back, awestruck, as the Nephilim ripped off heads and threw them out into the car park. The locals weren’t trouble for long.
But the authorities were. It seems that you can’t rip off heads from the shoulders of troublesome customers and be expected to keep your licence.
And so, less than a week after taking possession of the property, the demons were on the move again, looking for another Pandemonium, of a new kind.
Inspired by a prompt from here
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