Good, Better, Best


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    "Just drink it."

    Sam stared at the concoction. What was promised by the Demon had cost him a fortune, but there was plenty more money waiting for Sam on the other side of this glass.  He was worried, though, that the situation might be a cruel trick, designed to make the Demon's life, instead of his own, better.

    "It's for you," the Demon assured, clearly reading Sam's thoughts.

    "The clock is ticking.  You have only thirty more seconds."

    Sam gulped.  He tipped his head back, recalled his frat party days, and downed the foul-smelling, but surprisingly sweet, liquid.  He tasted his life getting better already.

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    Sam stepped into the sunshine.  He didn't feel any different.  The sound in his head was new, but he recognized it as the Demon's voice. Sam followed the voice's direction to return to the office and complete some pending trades.  They would make Sam's life much better, the voice promised.

    As Sam paced quickly through the city blocks between him and his new fortune, he almost sneered at the idea that life could be better.  He lived in a penthouse with a commanding view of the city and his supermodel girlfriend was gone frequently, allowing him to entertain--or, really, be entertained by--the never-ending stream of models and actresses working as cocktail waitresses just until their big break came.  His bank account barely kept pace, but there was always just enough to make everyone think there was more.

    The Demon changed that, leaving a stark zero balance.  That was OK, thought Sam.  A few clicks on the computer this afternoon would solve that problem, assured the Demon's voice.  The voice was soothing, speaking Sam's language of how money would never again be a worry.

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    The Demon's job was obvious and simple.  He was to use those keystrokes to destroy Sam and his firm.  After all, anyone greedy enough to be unsatisfied with all that Sam had deserved to be punished.  And, Sam's executives were no better.  Didn't all of them deserve to be the homeless people they passed without seeing, or the minimum-wage workers they thought should be happy to shine shoes and serve coffee?

    It was simple enough to direct keystrokes to create a day full of bad trades and, even better, insider trading. The latter was what the Demon's boss had directed, which would assure Sam being hustled off to prison.  No more fancy penthouse, swanky country club, or beautiful dating scene.

    The Demon, oddly, found no delight in any of these outcomes.  

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