Originally published on ArchiveOfOurOwn until I learned that there IS a category on this site.
So, I needed a break from "Villainous." And since the "Hazbin Hotel" pilot came out, I've had this idea in my head. I love Alastor, and appreciate that he is canonically asexual, as we aces don't get much representation in the media (and by not much, I mean not at all). Although I only recently found out he was also aromantic, yet the creators don't mind fans shipping him with other characters, so he WILL be romantic in this fic (mainly because I'm a biromantic asexual myself).
I just wanted to get this idea out, so I've set up the prologue I had in mind, which will total to two chapters. But once I'm done with my other fics, I might expand this story more.
Title based off a song sung by Frank Sinatra.
It wasn't easy getting through the day when one was in Hell. But Tina tried her best, especially when she was about to go onstage.
Like always, she leaned against her vanity and faced her reflection in the dimly lit mirror. It was cracked across the top, and three of the bulbs were out, but the club owner didn't have the budget to have it replaced.
Of all the demon forms Tina could've ended up in, she still wondered why a bat. It wasn't that she minded it. Other than the black leathery wings she often kept folded on her back, and the ears resembling open peapods sticking out the top of her head, her body was relatively humanoid, though lightly covered in golden brown fur. Still, her nose was normal, and she'd been regranted the full figure she'd maintained in her twenties. And her eyes could be classified as human-like, although violet was an unusual color.
Running her hands through her shoulder-length black hair, she fluffed out the ends before pinning the sides with edelweiss hairclips. They matched her pearl choker, and complimented her black, 1920's-style flapper dress. Her lack of sleeves was made up for with her black gloves. With two fingers, she smoothed out her right spaghetti strap and snapped it back into place.
"Okay," she said to her reflection in that fading Alabama accent. "Saturday night. Big crowd. Make 'em laugh themselves silly. Make 'em wish ya were comin' home with 'em. And if they try grabbin' your tits again," her wings fanned out, large enough to wrap around her body, "give 'em Hell."
A knock came at the door. "Sugar, ya decent?"
Folding her wings back up, Tina answered, "Yeah! Come in, Mimzy!"
A short, plump, blonde demoness peered in through the door. She also wore a flapper dress, this one purple, a darker shade than her own skin, with gloves to match. Her headband had a single pink feather in it. Her eyes, which were black with pinkish pupils, appeared nervous as she glanced over Tina's apparel.
"Is it the hairclips?" Tina said, thinking the look was one of disapproval. "I can take 'em out."
"No, no, ya look stunning, Sugar!" Mimzy said, coming fully into the dressing room as she shut the door. "I just, erm, though you should know who just walked into the club."
"If ya mean Lucifer," Tina said, readjusting her hairclips in the mirror, "he comes here every other Saturday. I ain't scared of him."
"Well, yes, he's here too, but…he's not alone."
"His wife?" The bat demoness leaned forward as she applied her mascara. "I'll be sure to avoid their table then. No use givin' the Queen of Hell a reason to be jealous."
"It's not Lilith, it's…Alastor."
Tina blinked a few times, letting the mascara set in. "Who now?"
Mimzy clasped her hands together, looking as if she were explaining sex to a child. "You haven't been down here for very long. And Alastor has been pretty…elusive the past few decades, so I wouldn't be surprised if you've never heard of him. He…he used to come in here a lot, but…this'll be the first time you'll be performing in front of him."
"Stop soundin' so cryptic," Tina said as she began applying her black lipstick. "Get to the point."
"Right, right. Well, to many sinners down here, he's known as the Radio Demon."
Tina was about half-way done with her mouth when she dropped her lipstick.
"So you've heard that name then."
"A little." She picked up the lipstick. "He's one of Hell's most powerful Overlords, is that right?"
Mimzy nodded. "He and I are old friends, but…well, he doesn't know you, so…I wouldn't recommend doing anything to tick him off." She narrowed her eyes seriously. "Meaning don't talk about him in your act!"
"Lucifer doesn't mind it," Tina said simply as she finished her lips.
"That's different. Lucifer loves it when demons poke fun at him. And he's used to your style of humor by now. But Al, he…he doesn't take kindly to demons who insult him point-blank. And you really don't wanna see him when he's angry."
"Alright, I'll play nice." Tina puckered her lips as she set down her lipstick. "He was that serial killer from the 30's, right? The cannibal radio host from New Orleans?"
"Good," Mimzy said firmly. "You know why he's down here, and why he is not a being to mess with." Taking the bat demoness by the arms, she turned her to face her. "But relax, Sugar. He's also a fan of jazz music. And with that voice of yours, he's sure to be entertained."
"1930's, you say…" Tina pondered for a moment. "Suppose that means we should do the 'Ain't We Got Fun' number, right?"
"Exactly what I was thinking!" She patted her shoulder. "I'll let Charles know!" She headed for the door. "Remember, you're on in ten!"
"Thank ya, ten!" Tina called as her boss shut the door.
Turning back to her reflection as she got started on her vocal warm-ups, Tina debated on whether or not to follow Mimzy's advice. If this Radio Demon was as dangerous as everyone made him out to be, pissing him off certainly wouldn't be smart. She really should play it safe in her act tonight.
But it just wasn't her style.
Alastor could feel the uneasiness from the other club patrons. It was expected when the King of Hell and the Radio Demon were seated at the same booth. Some had dashed out the minute they had walked in, not wanting to be on the receiving end of their wraths. But many of them stayed, either too drunk to care or didn't want to give up their seats for the evening show. But they still glanced at the powerful pair warily, keeping their heads and voices down whenever either of them looked their way.
It caused the corners of Alastor's mouth to turn up even further.
"So, how have you been, Al?" asked the ever-chipper King of Hell sitting across from him. "Any delicious killings as of late?"
"Let's skip the small talk, Luci," Alastor said in his perpetually enthusiastic tone. "I know how busy you can get with your royal duties, so let's just cut to the chase and discuss why you invited me down here on such short notice!" He glanced around. "Not that I mind the venue. I used to frequent here in my heyday."
"You presume so little of me, Al," Lucifer said, placing his claw over his nonexistent heart. "Did it ever occur to you I might have simply wanted to catch up with an old friend?"
"Ha-ha-ha!" He squinted. "You know as well as I do the Devil doesn't have any friends! Only allies!"
"Good evening, gentlemen!" Mimzy exclaimed, trying not to look nervous as she approached their table. "Your majesty! Al!"
"Mimzy!" Alastor said, straightening up in his seat. "Long time, no see, sweetheart! You look as lovely as ever!"
"Why thank you, sir," Mimzy said with a slight blush.
"My apologies for being away so long, but I had much business to take care of!" He glanced at the stage when he noticed the band setting up. "What's the entertainment tonight?"
"One of my newer acts. Tina's her name."
"Oh? A singer?"
Mimzy forced a laugh. "Of a sorts."
"Oh, you'll love her, Al!" Lucifer said, leaning onto his apple staff. "She's quite the charmer!"
"Will it be the usual for you gentlemen?" They both nodded. "One appletini, and one liquor, neat!"
"Ah, you remembered!" Alastor said, patting her head. "Don't bother in hurrying, darling! His majesty and I have some business to discuss!"
Flashing a friendly smile, Mimzy skittered off, glad to be out of Lucifer's presence.
"As I was saying," Alastor said, folding his hands onto the table, "you've never invited me anywhere, unless there was some business involved."
"You've caught me!" Lucifer said, holding up his hands and making his staff disappear. "I'll get right to the point." He too folded his hands. "You haven't been very…active, as of late. Myself and a few of my associates find it…concerning."
Alastor tilted his head. "I hardly think the King of Hell would be concerned about the wellbeing of his subjects."
"Oh, we are not concerned about that, but rather…" His shoulders bounced as he chuckled. "To put it bluntly, Al, there are rumors that you're planning something. Something…disruptive."
It took a few seconds for Alastor to catch his meaning. "As I have said before, your majesty, I have no interest in dethroning you! And even if I did, I wouldn't be so careless as to challenge a mighty being such as yourself!"
"That's good to hear," Lucifer said, his grin growing wider. "I would like to know why I hear less of you these days."
Alastor clenched his claws together. "What can I say? I needed a break! As much fun as it is mutilating other demons," his eyes glowed as his voice lowered, "stripping off their skin, drinking their blood and gnawing on their bones…" He shook his head before he could get lost in his fantasy. "It's all become oh, so dreadfully dull! Nothing new has come from it in decades! I've merely taken some time off searching for a new form of entertainment!"
"Here you are, gentlemen!" Mimzy said as she set their drinks on the table. "On the house!"
"You're too kind, Mimzy!" Alastor said, snapping his fingers. "But please, dear, don't trouble yourself! It's on me!"
A wad of cash appeared on Mimzy's tray. Her cheeks glowed at the sight.
"Nice to see you haven't changed, Al." She sent him a wink. "Let me know if you need anything else, doll."
"Will do!" Alastor said, waving at her with his fingers.
Lucifer glanced between him and the club owner thoughtfully. Despite Alastor's voiced disinterest in the throne of Hell, Lucifer was still uneasy about the Radio Demon's power. Although he'd been rather dormant in the recent years, his influence was everywhere. Posters and graffiti all over Pentagram City warned sinners to fear the Radio Demon. And he was feared. Almost as feared as Lucifer.
And the King of Hell didn't like that.
He was thrilled to hear how detached Alastor had become in his work. If he stayed that way, he'd become less of a threat. Unless that new form of entertainment he was searching for ended up being the throne of Hell! Lucifer had to think of a way to keep the Radio Demon distracted, and the appearance of Mimzy had given him an idea.
"You know that woman well?"
Alastor circled his claw in the air. "We were acquainted in life, and have been in contact for several decades. This part of town is my territory, you see, and Mimzy and I have an agreement."
"I see." Lucifer narrowed his eyes cheekily. "She's quite alluring, don't you think?"
"Hmm." Alastor glanced back at Mimzy. "I suppose she is. As alluring as any woman would be."
"So, the two of you are not…" He cleared his throat. "Romantically involved?"
Alastor was silent for a moment. "Now, whatever gave you that idea, Luci?"
"Well, she's a woman," he said as he gestured between them, "you're a man…unless…" He tapped his chin. "Come to think of it, Alastor, I don't think I've ever seen you with a partner. Woman or man."
"I haven't the time for such nonsense!" Alastor said loudly as he sipped his glass of liquor.
"Oh, but you said you were craving a new form of entertainment." Lucifer leaned back as he picked up his appletini. "Haven't you considered finding a mate? Eternal damnation can get awfully lonely, after all."
"Ha-ha!" He practically slammed down his glass. "I have many loyal underlings and shadow minions I can summon at any time I yearn for company! I am anything but lonely!"
"Ah, but underlings can only do so much." Lucifer wagged his finger. "A partner, on the other hand, can keep you entertained for eons! Take me and Lilith, for example. They all said the Devil couldn't love, but look at me now! Married for six thousand years with a beautiful daughter!" He traced the rim of his glass with his finger. "Although, Charlotte has yet to find a suitable mate."
"And have you for a father-in-law?" Alastor laughed as he held up his hand. "No, thank you! And as I've said, marriage doesn't interest me in the slightest!"
"As the kids are saying these days, don't knock it until you've tried it. Come on, now." He glanced around the room. "Surely one of these demons would be enough to capture your interest."
Humoring the Devil, Alastor followed his gaze. "They all look like a bunch of drunken fools to me!"
"At least narrow it down for me. Males? Females? Hermaphrodites?"
"Ha-ha! Nice of you to be open-minded, but no to all!" The lights dimmed as Alastor growled through his teeth. "If playing matchmaker is all you dragged me here for, I think we're finished here."
"Oh, but the floor show is about to start!" Lucifer said, gesturing to the stage as a spotlight came on, illuminating a microphone stand and stool.
Holding back a sigh, Alastor rolled his eyes to the stage. "Alright, but I'm heading out the moment it ends!"
Mimzy came onstage and spoke into the microphone. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! It's that time again! This girl has the voice of a canary, but the savage wit of a vampire! Give it up for the singing comic, Tina Twinkle!"
There was an eruption of applause as a bat demoness took Mimzy's place onstage. Glancing at Lucifer, Alastor saw that he was clapping lightly.
"This should be entertaining for you," the Devil whispered.
While waiting for the applause to die down, Tina eyed the booth where the two powerful demons sat. The first thing about the Radio Demon that struck her was his smile. It was wide. Wider than Lucifer's. His yellow teeth were razor sharp, almost glowing in the dim light. His red eyes were focused on her, raking up and down her figure. She couldn't tell if he was admiring her looks, or thinking of how she would taste.
Swallowing her nerves, Tina put up a big smile as she pulled the mic off its stand.
"Hello, ya sinnin' bastards!" she said in a half-chipper, half-blunt tone. "How y'all doin' tonight? Shitty, right? What else is new?"
While a few demons chuckled, Alastor cocked his head at the performer. He'd never seen a female comedian before. Not that he didn't think a woman could crack a joke, he'd just never seen one do it in front of an audience.
"For those of ya who just kicked the bucket, welcome to Hell, bitches! It ain't gonna get any better than this, so enjoy this shitty afterlife while you can! Maybe you'll get lucky and survive the next Extermination. Oh!" She feigned surprise. "Did no one tell ya bout the Extermination? Ooh, my. Really thought ya would've had that talk with your parents by now!"
Lucifer chuckled at that remark.
"Well, I'll sum it up for ya," Tina continued as she carried the mic across the stage. "Because so many people are assholes, it gets real crowded down here. So, every year, the Big Guy," she pointed upwards, "sends down a bunch of angels to do half of us in! An army of crazy-eyed angels in death masks, wieldin' scythes like somethin' out of Children of the Corn! Ya don't see those paintings in chapels, do ya?" She paused for laughter. "Let me tell ya," she said, snapping her bat wings open, "those wings ain't so fluffy!"
There were a few wolf whistles in response to her wings.
"Oh, ya like 'em?" she said, running a hand over her left wing's bony edge. "Yeah, gimme these over some lame-ass angel wings any day. Who wants to spend the rest of their afterlife preening their feathers?"
Alastor could understand why Lucifer found this girl entertaining. Speaking out against Heaven was something all the damned souls down here could relate to. This comedienne was turning everyone's situation into something humorous.
"Bet you're down here for killin' your husband," Tina said, eyeing a table of demonesses. "Not cuz ya hated him or anything, but, you know, he fucked his secretary or some shit. Here's a question, why isn't he down here?!"
Several demonesses shouted in agreement.
"I mean isn't adultery as much a sin as murder? They're both fuckin' commandments!" She held up her hand apologetically. "Not that I'm judgin'. I broke a commandment myself. I mean I would've had to, or I wouldn't be a fuckin' bat now. Though…it's a little different." She sat back on the stool in the middle of the stage as her tone became serious. "I broke this one at least a hundred times a day."
She paused, glancing around to make sure the crowd was listening. "I used the Lord's name in vain."
That one got a chuckle out of Alastor.
"But let me tell ya," she said as she stood, "every 'goddamn it' and 'sweet Jesus fuck' was worth it, cuz I went to church every fuckin' Sunday," she spread her arm out dramatically, "and still wound up here!" Demons roared at the injustice. "Or maybe it's cuz I slept with my boss, but what broad hasn't done that?
"I dunno, I wasn't read my charges when I died! No trial, no bail, no one phone call to ma. I can't tell ya who invented due process, but it sure wasn't that fuckin' bastard!" She pointed upward. "Don't tell me that bullshit bout Jesus forgivin' our sins, cuz look where we are!"
As she gestured to the room, the audience applauded while Lucifer slapped his knee.
"What did I tell you? This woman's a riot!"
"She's certainly," Alastor said, not taking his gaze off her, "amusing."
"And why do we have to be reaped every year, hmm?" Tina said, bringing the mic back to her mouth. "Are there not enough saints upstairs to cause an overpopulation problem? Bet ya the Big Guy wouldn't knock them off if there were too many of 'em! It's no wonder Lucifer rebelled against Heaven!" She turned her attention to the powerful pair's booth. "Speak of the Devil—wow, never thought I'd say that literally—let's give it up for the King of Hell, everyone!"
Demons applauded, mostly out of fear of getting obliterated if they didn't. Lucifer stood up briefly and bowed.
"Yeah, yeah, he's a frequent guest," Tina said, placing a hand over her chest. "Comes in here every other Saturday. Apple a day keeps the doctor away, but not the Devil, am I right?"
Chuckling, Lucifer sat back down and returned to his drink.
"Oh, and he ordered an appletini," Tina said, rolling her eyes. "How totally unpredictable!"
Alastor eyed Lucifer, seeing how he'd react to such a stab. But the King of Hell merely sipped his drink contently.
"Why did it have to be an apple that doomed humanity, anyway? Couldn't it have been a peach? A banana?" She cringed visibly. "Oh, if I had been Eve, that certainly would've been tempting!" She curled her pointer as she whispered seductively. "Here, Eve, come and try my banana."
Those with dirty enough minds to understand the joke whistled and hooted.
"Now that's how ya tempt a girl! Hope ya didn't try that apple thing on Lilith!" She cupped her breast. "She's already got two of those!"
There were several "oohs," and several squeaks of fear. Everyone, including Alastor, expected Lucifer to fry the woman right where she stood. But he merely kept up his grin and drank his appletini as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
Tina's gaze fell upon the Radio Demon. His smile remained intact, but she'd yet to see a laugh out of him. It was hard to tell if he was actually enjoying himself. He was probably bored out of his mind with the way he was looking at his fingers.
Despite Mimzy's warnings, Tina felt the need to get his attention. He just looked so smug. She enjoyed taking smug bastards like him down a peg.
"But his majesty's not the only powerful being to grace us with his presence today," Tina said with a smirk. "Y'all've heard of the Radio Demon, right?"
The crowd went quiet, glancing nervously at Alastor, who had looked up at the mention of his name.
"They say he was a serial killer in his time. Didn't just kill people, he," she whispered, "ate 'em." She placed a hand on her hip. "I get my protein through bacon and eggs. He gets it through human flesh."
There were a few nervous chuckles as Alastor squinted at Tina. There was no way for her to tell if this was annoying him. But she didn't care.
She kept going. "Good thing ya never married, eh, Al? Can't imagine ya tearin' someone apart with those big teeth of yours and then come home an hour later and kiss your wife with that same mouth!"
Lucifer nearly spat out his drink, laughing in Alastor's direction.
"Just look at that smile, folks! They say he never stops smilin'!" She locked gaze with the Radio Demon. "You really must tell me where you get your Botox injections, sir! This Barbie act ain't easy to keep up!" She pressed her finger against her cheek while waiting for the laughs. "Oh, right. You're probably too old to get those jokes! Tell me, Mr. Alastor," she said, sashaying to the edge of the stage, "do you smile like that when you're angry?"
Summoning his microphone staff, Alastor replied in voice so low, yet loud enough for everyone to hear, "Would you like to come over here and find out?"
The laughter stopped as the sound of static filled the room. Backstage, Mimzy slapped her forehead. Tina stood frozen as she watched Alastor's glowing red eyes turn into radio dials, strange symbols floating around him.
She'd been warned not to anger him. But she hadn't listened. Honestly, she didn't care if the Radio Demon killed her right then and there. But it just wouldn't do for it to happen before she could finish her set.
Keeping up her smile, Tina moved the mic closer to her lips and said, "Well, if you're offering…" She teasingly lowered one of her dress straps over her shoulder. "Meet me out back after the show, you can punish me all ya want."
The static ceased immediately and the floating symbols disappeared. Alastor's eyes widened as they returned to normal. Tina smirked, knowing she had totally thrown him off-guard.
"Oh," she said, snapping her dress strap back into place, "but that's Lucifer's job, isn't it?"
That got the audience laughing again. Some were pointing to the Radio Demon's stunned expression. Giving him a wink, Tina finally tore her attention away from him.
"But seriously, though, Hell isn't so bad. I mean, it's Hell, but at least ya can get a home here. A job. Maybe a family. No different from up top. Except down here, you can do whatever the fuck you want, with no beef from the law!" She listed the items off her fingers. "You can do drugs without dyin', you can have sex all ya want without worryin' bout STDs, if you're low on cash, you can steal it from whatever sucker comes by! Christians call that punishment, I call that freedom!"
Demons cheered as she raised her hand in the air. "Yeah, yeah, you all agree! It may be shit down here, but we still have fun!" She snapped her fingers towards the band director. "Hit it, Charles!"
The band struck up a jazzy tune Alastor recognized from his time period. He watched curiously as Tina bounced her hips to the beat. Then she sang in an energetic, soulful voice:
Ain't we got fun?"
Carrying the wireless mic, she walked down the stage steps.
"We're dead, honey," she sang, making a slashing motion across her throat.
"That ain't funny."
She shrugged, the sarcasm dripping in her voice. "But we have fun."
As she continued the song, she sauntered over to the tables, sending the demons teasing glances.
"We're here in Hell, dear,
We're down on our luck."
She sat down on one of the tables, crossing her legs.
"No need to yell, dear,
Though we've clearly been," she lowered her voice as she spoke, "had."
Demons laughed as she purposely avoided the obvious rhyme.
"Even if our drugs are stolen," she sang as she swiped a cigarette out of a lizard demon's mouth.
He seemed more amused than angry as she hopped away and tossed it over her shoulder.
"Don't we have fun?
Exterminators," she opened her wings, earning a few catcalls, "come a callin'."
She picked up a patron's knife. "Still we have fun!"
Singling out a wolf demon, she ran a finger under his chin, causing him to salivate.
"There's nothing surer:
The rich get richer and
The poor get murdered!"
Growling the last word, she stabbed the knife into the table, capturing the wolf's tie. His friends laughed as he attempted to pull himself free, howling. Tina sent him a pitying pout as she walked away.
"In the meantime,
In between time,
Ain't we got fun?"
As she hummed, someone grabbed at her skirt. Without even batting an eye, Tina kicked back her foot, piercing the sleazebag's arm with her stiletto heel, which had been sharpened to the point.
"Don't we have fun?" she sang, visibly rolling her eyes.
While others leered at her behind, she fanned out her wings, blocking their view.
"Don't we have fun?"
She daringly sashayed over to Lucifer and Alastor's booth. She sent the latter a wink.
"There's nothing surer:
The rich get richer and
The poor get murdered."
As she turned her back to them, she flung a small dagger she had swiped from one of the patrons in their direction. It narrowly missed Alastor's head, hitting the wall.
"In the meantime," she sang as she skipped back onto the stage.
"In between time,
Ain't we got fuuuuuun?"
As she held that last note, the demons cheered and whistled. While doing a rather unladylike bow, Tina heard the applause suddenly grow louder. She didn't realize it was coming from a certain demon's microphone.
"Thank y'all kindly!" she said once the noise had died down somewhat. "I'd say y'all were a wonderful audience, but let's get real, y'all are horrible! That's why you're down here! Have a lousy night, bitches!"
After sliding the mic back onto the stand, she gave one last dramatic bow. Alastor's hands were still clapping slowly as he watched her disappear backstage.
"So, what do you think?" Lucifer inquired.
"Hmm." Alastor took a moment to come up with the right words. "Amusing dame. Lovely voice." He circled his staff in his claw. "Certainly bold in her jokes. I'm surprised you didn't incinerate her on the spot, Luci."
"Oh, I don't mind a little harmless roasting now and then," Lucifer said, waving his hand. "And she does it so well, I almost laugh at myself." He noticed Alastor's eyes had not left the stage. "Rather pretty too, don't you think?"
"Was she?" He traced his finger along his mic. "Wasn't paying attention."
"Enjoy the show, gentlemen?" Mimzy asked, coming up to their booth. "I, erm, hope Miss Twinkle didn't offend you too much."
"Oh, not at all!" Lucifer circled his hand in the air. "As always, Miss Twinkle was an absolute delight! In fact," he gestured across the table, "Al here was just telling me he was thinking of buying her a congratulatory drink for such a splendid performance!"
Alastor's wide eyes snapped towards him as he said in a clipped voice, "What?"
"That is, if Miss Twinkle doesn't mind joining two old geezers like us!"
Mimzy smiled brightly. "Oh, I'm sure it'll be no trouble at all! I'll go get her!"
"Now wait one moment here!" Alastor called.
But the club owner was out of there before he could catch her. The Radio Demon glared at Lucifer, his eyes glowing faintly.
"And just what was the purpose of that?"
"Oh, come on, old chap!" Lucifer said, widening his grin. "You just said you enjoyed her performance!"
He slammed his microphone staff on the floor. "Doesn't mean I have any desire to get acquainted with her!"
"Why ever not? You're a man, she's a woman. As far as I know, neither of you are homosexual. You're both entertainers with a sense of humor." He pointed to the knife in the wall. "And she seemed to take a particular interest in you."
Grunting, Alastor pulled the dagger out and pointed it at the Devil. "I don't need you playing matchmaker for me, Luci. If I wanted to court a lady, I could very well do so without assistance!"
"At least give it a whirl! She seems like your type."
Alastor's smile became more strained. "I don't have a type!"
Lucifer shrugged. "I'm not saying you have to marry the girl right away! Just sit down, have a conversation with her, see where it leads! If it doesn't work out, you can always eat her!"
The Radio Demon's eyes narrowed. "If I buy this girl a drink, will you leave me be for the rest of the evening?"
"It's a deal!"
The King of Hell stuck out his claw, which was glowing green. Before the room could break into a whirlwind, Alastor shook it. If this were on a matter less trivial, Alastor wouldn't have bothered touching it. They both ignored the stinging sensation in their palms.
"He asked me to what now?" Tina said after Mimzy had given her the news in her dressing room.
"Apparently, he liked your set," her boss said, "and he wants to buy you a drink."
Patrons had offered to buy her drinks before. She normally refused, as she trusted very few demons. Especially males.
"I know what you're thinking," Mimzy said with a smile. "But I've known Alastor for years. He may be a scoundrel, but he's also a gentleman."
"Five minutes ago," Tina said, "ya warned me not to bother the guy!"
"I warned you not to make him mad." She narrowed her eyes. "Clearly, you didn't listen to me. You're lucky he didn't take what you said onstage to heart. But he will get mad if you refuse him!" Licking her palm, she reached up to smooth out Tina's hair. "When Al doesn't get what he wants, he…well, you don't wanna find out."
Tina folded her arms, not backing down.
"Look, you don't have to go home with him or anything. If he does anything obscene, which I highly doubt given how he is, you just leave him to me." Mimzy gripped her shoulders. "He used to be one of my best customers. I don't want him disappearing for odds-years just because he was snubbed by one former performer of mine!"
Tina sighed in defeat. "Fine. But I'm doin' this for you, boss. Not for him."
The minute Mimzy and Tina were in sight, Lucifer stood from the table. "I just remembered! I promised Charlie I'd help her practice her scales!"
Alastor stood as well. "You're leaving now?"
"Our deal was I leave you alone for the rest of the evening," the Devil whispered with a smug grin. "Have fun, my dears!"
While Lucifer skipped giddily off, Alastor dug his claws into the table, ruining the finish. If he weren't the most powerful being in all of Hell, he would slaughter him!
"Al," Mimzy said, gesturing to her employee, "allow me to introduce you to my latest discovery, Tina Twinkle!"
Closing his eyes, Alastor took a second to compose himself. If he was stuck in this situation, he would make the best of it. He would buy the lady a drink, talk to her for a few minutes, and then politely wave her off. After all, most lesser beings were too skittish to hold a conversation with him, so this shouldn't take long.
Opening his eyes, he put up that insincere, toothy grin as he turned to her with a cheerful greeting. "Alastor! Pleasure to be meeting you, sweetheart!"
Tina stared at his outstretched hand, knowing what usually happened when demons shook his hand. She only looked up at his smiling face with a forced smile of her own.
"Tina Twinkle," she said bluntly. "And I already know who you are."
When it was obvious she wasn't going to be taking his hand anytime soon, Alastor retracted it. Clearly, she was one of the more cautious demons. That was fine. If every demon trusted him immediately, he wouldn't have the enjoyment in earning that trust.
"You must be oh, so confused! I bet you're wondering, 'why would the illustrious Radio Demon invite you over here?' The answer is simple, my dear! I—"
"You wanted to by me a drink to congratulate me," Tina said. "Mimzy told me."
He paused, not used to being interrupted. "You are absolutely right, darling!" He gestured to the seat across from him. "Feel free to go big! It's on me!"
Tina glanced at the seat unsurely. She was uncomfortable with this already, and was beginning to regret all she'd said onstage. What if this strange politeness was meant to only lure her into a false sense of security, so he could later punish her for her insults? Or, what if he'd taken those flirty winks she'd sent his way seriously, and was after…something else?
But Mimzy elbowing her in the ribs reminded her of what was at stake. It would be unwise to refuse. If he got angry, she wouldn't stand a chance.
After a few seconds' hesitation, she moved to the other side of the booth and sat down with her arms crossed. "Liquor. Neat."
Alastor glanced at her in surprise as he sat back down. "I'll have the same!"
"Alright!" Mimzy said, looking between them excitedly. "Be right back, dears!"
As she skittered off, Alastor leaned an elbow onto the table, settling his chin on the back of his hand. "I've never known a woman to drink liquor straight from the bottle."
She shrugged. "What's the point in mixin' it with anything? It's gonna taste like shit anyhow."
"Ha-ha! I figured you to be a woman of excellent taste." He leaned back in his seat. "I could tell from your taste in songs! When did you die, exactly?"
Tina huffed. "Don't ya know it's rude to ask a lady's age?"
"Ha-ha! Quite right! But given I've been down here since 1933, and have been in this club a great number of times, and many other clubs like it, I've never seen you before! So, I can assume you're not from the jazz age, am I correct?"
She hesitated a moment, but knew resisting would only make things worse. If there was one thing Tina had learned from dealing with rich, powerful people like him, it was to act courteous. Until he gave her a reason not to.
"You assume right." She folded her arms onto the table. "1997."
His ears perked in surprise. "My, you're practically a child!"
"Hardly," she said with a snort. "I was in my thirties when I died." Before he could ask, she waved her hand. "Breast cancer. Nothing glamorous. Soul music was all the rage while I was performin' up top, but it wouldn't be what it is without jazz."
"I thought your style of singing was different!" He spread out his arms. "Refreshing, even! I especially liked your rendition of 'Ain't We Got Fun?' Not to mention the way you commanded the stage, your impeccable comedic timing! You truly have talent, my dear!" He was now looking at her with interest. "By any chance, were you a Negro when you were alive?"
Tina frowned at that. "When I was alive, we preferred the term African American. Or just black."
"Did you?" He bowed his head. "You must forgive me, it's so hard to keep track of etymology up there! I meant no offense, of course! I'm part Creole myself!"
"Given when you died, I'll let that slide. Hang on." She leaned forward. "You're of mixed race, and you were alive in the 1930s?"
"Yes, but I'd taken up residence in New Orleans!" For a moment, there was a wistful look in his eyes. "The general attitude up there was more laissez-faire than any other city in the world!"
Tina was looking at him so curiously now that she almost hadn't noticed Mimzy returning with their drinks.
"Avez-vous parlé français quand vous étiez vivant?"
Both Alastor and Mimzy turned to her in bewilderment. The former's smile had become more genuine.
"Quelle surprise, ma chère!" Alastor said excitedly. "You also from Louisiana?"
She shook her head. "Birmingham, Alabama. But I did a tour in New Orleans, picked up a few things."
"Hmm." Alastor picked up his glass. "You are most certainly not what I was expecting, dear."
Looking him over, Tina picked up her own glass. "No comment."
"Ha-ha!" He raised his glass. "Here's to the start of a possible friendship!"
Her smile twitched as he clinked his glass with hers. Mimzy sent her a thumbs-up as she left the two of them alone, leaving Tina conflicted. She watched as Alastor sipped his drink. She downed hers in one gulp.
"Best not drink it all at once, my dear!" Alastor said, wagging his finger as if he were talking to child. "You might choke!"
Slamming her glass on the table, she said, "I'll risk it, thanks."
Alastor knew his smiles, and could tell the one she'd tried so hard to keep up was faltering. "You're not enjoying yourself, are you?"
"Your reputation proceeds ya," Tina said, looking down as she circled the rim of her glass. "They still talk about ya up top. Of the radio host who would broadcast his victims' screams over the radio waves, and then cut 'em open and cook 'em up and eat 'em like some hunted deer." She looked up at him, still smiling, her eyes daring. "Ya know? These days, when people get hungry for meat, they go to McDonald's."
He tilted his head. "Mc-Who-Now?"
"Right, 1933." She waved her hand. "Just sayin', there are easier ways to get a meal."
"Oh, but not as fun." His voice lowered, breaking through his radio filter for a moment. "Hunting regular game can be so boring. But when the game has nearly as much intelligence as you, it's more of a challenge." He chuckled as he gripped his staff, a soft track of screams accompanying him. "And to hear their screams the moment I separate their souls from their bodies—"
"Stop right there, Sugar!" Tina said, holding up a hand. "Already at risk of losin' my lunch from that liquor!"
Alastor squinted at her. "I don't know if anyone told you, Miss Twinkle, but I rather don't like being interrupted."
"And I don't like rich-ass Overlords tryin' to intimidate me with their murder stories." She leaned back, crossing her arms. "Turns a girl off, ya know?"
Few beings ever spoke to Alastor so boldly. He was used to it from other Overlords and the royal family. But this bat demoness hadn't exhibited any power. By all logic, she should've been cowering in his presence. Shivering, at the very least! But she sat relaxed in her seat, her smile smug, her violet eyes unimpressed. If she was aware of who he was, why was she behaving so brashly?
Trying to keep the mood light, Alastor quipped, "Still in performance mode, I see?"
"What, this?" Tina placed a hand over her chest. "Oh, no, sir! If I were in performance mode, I'd be singin' this shit while sendin' ya some flirty winks!" She looked him over. "Then again, not even then."
"Ho-ho-ho!" Alastor readjusted his monocle. "I must say, my dear, I've never heard of a comedic singer."
"I prefer the term singin' comic. I only learned how to sing to pay the bills. But comedy is what comes naturally."
"Like how I took up radio as a career, but the killings came naturally to me! Ha-ha-ha-ha!" He wiped away a tear. "I do a bit of stand-up myself, you know?"
"Oh?" Tina leaned her elbow onto the table. "Then tell me a joke before I stand you up from this shitty date."
Ignoring her stab, Alastor spoke into his microphone. "Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock-knock joke?"
Rolling her eyes, Tina asked, "No, what about him?"
"He won the No-Bell Prize! Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha!"
He accompanied by a laugh track. Tina only stared at him blankly.
"What do you get from a pampered cow?" When he didn't hear an answer, he exclaimed, "Spoiled milk!"
He waited for her reaction, but she seemed to be more interested in her fingernails. His eyes narrowed, not ready to give up.
"Alright, here's a question!" The corners of his mouth turned up further. "Can February March?"
"No, but April May," she grumbled as she looked back up at him. "By any chance were you a dad when you were alive?"
Alastor cocked his head at the question. "None of my own, but I did foster a few orphans for a short while."
"So, basically a dad then."
He made a so-so sign. "In a way, yes."
She smirked. "And here I thought you were spoutin' these lame-ass dad jokes on purpose."
Alastor's eyes glowed slightly as he squinted. "You certainly aren't afraid to insult your superiors, are you, my dear?"
"Especially my superiors. At least," she said, crossing her legs, "those who think they're superior."
He gripped his staff. "This may be Mimzy's club, chérie, but don't forget who owns this territory."
"If it's a problem," Tina said, leaning forward, "tell me another one of those B.S. dad jokes." She tilted her head as she smiled sweetly. "That'll be torture enough."
She knew she was treading on thin ice by the way the radio static was ringing in her sensitive bat ears. But after losing her father in the Birmingham Campaign, and walking alongside her mother in later marches, fighting for the rights of her fellow blacks, she just couldn't stand it when others acted like they were better than her just because they had power, half-Creole or not. And it wasn't like she was afraid of annihilation. Anything would be a step up from Hell.
For a full minute, she and the Radio Demon were locked in an intense staring contest. She could feel the distorted audio prickling on her skin, but she did not back down, nor did she blink. Even though looking into his glowing red eyes was making her vision fuzzy.
In this silent power struggle, Alastor finally started taking notice in her appearance. She was small for a demon, though taller than Mimzy. By his calculations, her head should come up to his chin. She wasn't exactly thin either. She had a full figure, which made him understand why the other demons had been catcalling her. And though her shoulders were exposed, her black flapper dress was relatively modest, covering her cleavage.
For a demon, she had a rather sweet face, although her tiny fangs were showing. Her violet eyes gave the illusion that she was innocent. One had to be extremely focused on them, like now, to see the annoyance veiled behind them.
Perhaps Lucifer had been onto something after all.
Just as Tina's eyes were getting weary, Alastor leaned back and cheerfully said, "I think I'm going to like you!"
Not having expected that, she blinked. "I wasn't askin' for your approval."
"But you have it anyway!" He twirled his cane in his claw. "Let me treat you to dinner sometime! You can insult me some more!"
The invitation threw her for a loop. Usually, men were put off by her brash insults. Although she'd been mistaken to be flirting before, after what Mimzy had said, Tina hadn't expected the Radio Demon to be taking it like that.
She was careful to mask her surprise.
"You wanna take me to dinner?" She raised an eyebrow coyly. "Or to be dinner?"
Smart girl, Alastor thought with a chuckle. "Another drink, then?"
"Of my blood?" She pointed to her neck. "Don't mistake me for a vampire bat."
"I never eat people I like, sweetheart."
"Unless ya like how they taste, right?"
He scoffed. "My, my, you're just full of those, aren't you?"
"Unlike you," she said, pointing, "I don't try to be funny." She circled her finger on the table. "Course, I can't help it when you're an easy target."
No one had ever called the Radio Demon an "easy target" before. His leg twitched at the term.
Somehow, it made him like her even more.
"Well, if you won't dine with me," he said, leaning forward, "how about I take you dancing? We'll be in public, so you needn't worry about me chopping you into little bits."
"This is Hell," she said bluntly. "Murder is like blinkin' here."
He took note of her mouth struggling not to frown. "What if we made a deal that I wouldn't kill you?"
"You mean one of those demon deals? Oh, very romantic!" She slumped back with her arms crossed. "If my displeasure wasn't obvious before, I'll have to decline."
Alastor tilted his head with a sickening crack. "Might I ask why?"
"You mean other than the fact that you're a cannibal and mass murderer no sane person would go out with? Hmm, let's see." She pretended to think a moment, before slamming her hands on the table as she stood. "You're pompous, egotistical, none of what you say is even remotely interesting or funny, and frankly," she was practically crawling onto the table as she scowled at him, no longer grinning, "that big-ass Cheshire Cat smile of yours creeps the fuck outta me!"
She waited for him to explode. To take on his demonic form. To slash her chest open. To bite off her head. Anything.
Not for him to burst out laughing. She watched in bewilderment as he slapped his knee.
"Ha-ha! When you stick the knife in, you really give it a twist, don't you?" Adjusting his monocle, he straightened up. "Very well, my dear. I can accept when a woman's uninterested."
Tina blinked. "R-Really?"
Placing his hand to his chest, he bowed slightly. "I am a gentleman."
Her body relaxed as she slid off the table. "You're not mad that I flat-out roasted you?"
"Darling," he said, his voice sounding eerily normal for a moment, "I hear insults from my colleagues all the time. Yours are at least original, bold, savage, and I admire that about you! Oh, well!"
Shrugging, he stood up, and Tina finally got to see just how tall he was. It took all her willpower not to flinch.
"Thank you for an entertaining evening, Miss Twinkle!" He flashed his razor-sharp teeth at her. "I'll be looking forward to your next show!"
"What?" Tina said sharply.
"I own the territory, darling!" His tone lowered. "I'm basically your boss."
Just to be clear, I only used the term "hermaphrodite" because 1. Lucifer is ancient, and that was the term used in ancient times. 2. This takes place in the 90's, when political correctness was not exactly at its best.
I had to take a few guesses in how Lucifer and Mimzy talk, as their voices have yet to be cast.