The Ignominy of the Devil

The Ignominy of the Devil


Phillip McCollum

Fergus separated a portion of the venetian blinds and watched the man plod up the stairs to the second-story apartment. Now, Fergus didn’t consider himself a completely impatient person, but good God, it was going to be a struggle to not kill this guy as soon as he walked through the door. The dolt had shown up almost an hour earlier and just sat in his car. Fergus had debated withdrawing and coming back another day before the man finally exhibited signs of life.

It wasn’t as if Fergus didn’t have other things to do. His job may not be nine-to-five behind a desk, as much as he wished it was, but he still stuck to a schedule. Even after the bulk of the work, there was the time required to carefully pull open drawers and toss around furniture to make it appear as if it had not been done carefully. Then he had to go home, clean his tools, and try to scrub out any stains that may have missed his plastic bib and gotten on his clothes.

The whole idea was that by sunset, Fergus would be submerged in his easy chair with a bitter wheatgrass smoothie in one hand and a whodunnit in the other.

But before any of that, he had to actually do the work.

As his father used to say, he had to earn his keep.

If you’d like to finish reading this story, along with many others, I’d be ecstatic if you’d consider purchasing one of my books.

7 thoughts on “The Ignominy of the Devil

  1. Love it. It’s like if Ambrose Bierce wrote an episode of “The Twilight Zone”

    1. Wow, what a compliment! Thank you, Berthold. Appreciate your time and feedback, as always.

  2. […] The Ignominy of the Devil is story number fifteen in the #52ShortStories challenge. […]

  3. Fun story, Phillip! I can definitely see shades of Darwin in Fergus. Darwin would be so pleased. ?

    1. Hah, excellent! I don’t want to make him angry. 🙂 Thanks for reading, Carrie.

  4. Great mixture of tension and humor. Not what I’d normally read (i don’t really do thrillers), but the natural humor kept me interested in where it was going. That plus the usual excellent craftsmanship. Fergus particularly comes across incredibly well formed through just a few sentences. My favorite line ;-D :

    Stewart looked at his shoulders as if they were individuals. He managed to keep them in check.

    1. Hah! That was one of my favorite lines to write.

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