Bonus Finalist

Author: Koko Brown
Category: Paranormal

“So…what’s your prognosis?”

Gideon looked under the crook of his arm to gauge Harry Goldstein’s expression. But as usual, his psychiatrist of the past three years wore a bland look.

Oh, how he wished he could reveal his true identity just to wring some other type of emotion out of the old codger. But Gideon knew he couldn’t. The quack would commit him for sure. For who in their right mind would believe one of the devil’s own visited a shrink on a weekly basis. Humans still believed in heaven and hell, but very few believed angels and demons walked amongst them.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re overworked. You need to put your work on the back burner and enjoy yourself.”

Gideon snorted. Of course he was overworked! His main function in hell was to punish those condemned to an eternity atoning for their sins. And as a high Duke, he was accountable for millions. So, how could he, one of the most trusted captains of his father’s army, ‘loosen up’ in order to have fun? The idea seemed too preposterous at best.

“I know what I’m suggesting may seem objectionable, especially to a person with such a controlling nature as yourself. But you’re practically imploding Gideon and if you don’t do something about what’s going on it may cause an irreversible effect on your psyche.”

A shiver of fear ran through Gideon’s body. Unlike humans, a demon losing his mind was doomed to a world of solitude because their threat to the natural order of things was deadly. And despite his status, he knew his father would have no other choice, but to destroy him or even worse banish him to the farthest reaches of the nethers.

The doctor’s monotone voice distracted him from his anxious thoughts. “Since your father owns the corporation you work for, I’m sure you can turn over some of your obligations?”

Gideon nodded his head. Of course, he had others who he could hand over some of his responsibilities. But he was loathe to, since he’d spent the better part of a millennium fighting tooth and nail to be accepted by others, which wasn’t easy since he was half human – he being the product of a dalliance between Satan himself and a Persian warlord’s daughter. Never knowing the comforting arms of a mother’s love, he’d been plucked from his mother’s arms soon after birth and trained up to lead thirty-six legions in his father’s army.

“Good, then you should start divvying out some of your daily duties to your subordinates and then I want you to pick up a hobby!”

“What in the hell…excuse me. What is a hobby?” Gideon asked oblivious to the concept.

“A hobby is something you like to do during your down time. You know a fun pastime that’s so enjoyable it doesn’t feel like work.”

Gideon’s brow creased in consternation. Then his face brightened.

“I like to fornicate. In fact…I’ve planned an orgy or two in my day,” he declared with pride. However, Dr. Goldstein’s disapproving cough stopped him from expounding.

“I’m sorry, but engaging in sexual promiscuity is not a valid recreation! When I spoke of a hobby, I was thinking along the lines of photography, pottery, or fishing.”

“None of those are enjoyable,” Gideon grunted as he raked his hands through his shoulder length hair. “Dr. Goldstein this is useless,” he sighed. “I have no life other than my work. How am I to know what I like and don’t like to do?”

“Hasn’t something ever caught your curiosity?”

Disgruntled, Gideon leaned back into the stiff leather of the couch upon which he sat. He remained quiet as his mind drifted over quite a few possibilities, but one thing kept drifting back to him although he tried to push it out of his consciousness.

“Well…” Dr. Goldstein prompted.

Although he knew his doctor was sworn to the Hippocratic Oath, Gideon felt uneasy about disclosing his secret, which developed after witnessing an episode while collecting a soul over a year ago.

Finally deciding to come clean, he sighed, “There’s this show on television called “So You Want to Dance with a Celebrity” and for some reason, I can’t bring myself to miss an episode. I’m so totally hooked that I’ve even tinkered about the idea of taking a dance lesson or two.”

Gideon was sure another man would laugh in his face at such a feminine confession. Therefore, he was stunned when Dr. Goldstein nodded his head vigorously. “Yes…yes! I know what show you’re talking about. My household comes to a standstill on Thursday nights as well. In fact, we were totally crushed when that blind girl was knocked out of the running last season.”

Dr. Goldstein jumped up from his arm chair and walked over to his desk.

“My wife and I visited a couple of local dance schools and we settled upon a really reputable one in the Quarter but, as luck would have it life interfered and we’re both too busy to actually enroll. Ahh, yes! I still have the card.”

Dr. Goldstein rounded the desk again and held out his hand, a business card perched between his long pale fingers. Gideon took the glossy, black business card from the other man’s hand and looked down at the elegantly scrolled gold lettering.

Madame Veliko’s Dance Academy
700 Saint Peters Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

An urge to throw the card down and run for the hills seized him. He would be the laughingstock of all purgatory and the thirty-six legions of demons under his command, if he were found out.

Yet still…Gideon couldn’t deny the thrill of excitement that swept down his spine and settled into the souls of his feet when Dr. Goldstein handed him the card. Despite his initial misgivings, he swallowed his pride and slid the business card into his pocket.


8 responses

20 11 2007

Koko – I just had to choose your entry as a finalist, too, as I just love the angle of a demon going to a therapist. Lots of laugh outloud moments here, too — like Gideon’s ‘hobby,’ the stress of of his ‘job,’ his trouble with his father, just to name a few. And what a hoot to learn of Gideon’s ‘secret’ interest. I’d definitely read on to see if Gideon gets to dance with a star. 🙂


20 11 2007
Marcia James

This is a very funny concept, and since I’m addicted to Dancing With the Stars, I would love to see how this plot plays out!
— Marcia James 😉

20 11 2007

What an original idea! Very funny–congratulations.

21 11 2007

The most unusual romantic comedy premise I’ve seen in ages. The hero’s humor overcomes his unfortunate family background! Ha! Congrats!


21 11 2007

Thanks everyone for the kind words! And thank you Rachelle for seeing something in my story to include it as a finalist!!!!

I really had a fun time writing it:)

Koko Brown

4 12 2007
Paula Eykelhof and Megan Long (editors, Harlequin)

We both enjoyed this a lot. Genuinely funny and original. Not quite sure where to suggest submitting it, but we hope it finds a home!

5 12 2007
Elaine English (agent)

Great, fresh premise for a story. I love the hero already and I can’t imagine any reader not wanting to know how he makes out in dance class. Your writing is good and clear.

13 12 2007
Cheryl Ferguson

The opening is very well done and with a natural humor that is very appealing. The premise is so fresh, I can only imagine the places the author can go with the plot–which could be a great reading experience.

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