“Does he have a name?” Her eyes shot open when she felt sharp snap on her forehead. “Did you just hit me?”
“I tapped you gently, but you deserve it a hell of a lot harder. Have you been listening to me at all?”
“Yeah, I got it. He’s evil and might charm my pants off or make me think they are off or I might not know they are off. I just wanted to know his name.”
“You haven’t even asked for MY name.”
Oh. She hadn’t. Not even once. “Well… you didn’t ask for mine either.”
“I didn’t have to, Sarah. See? Now ask my name.”
“What? There’s no way you know my name without me telling you.” Then she remembered her name tag from the conference was still plastered to her shirt. “You cheated!”
“It’s not cheating to use all the resources made readily available to me, it’s just smart.”
“Fine. What’s your name?”
“Ash.” The way he said it was so short and matter of fact, it was awkwardly anticlimactic.
“Seriously? All that over a one word name? That can’t be all. Is that your real name?” Even though she asked, she hadn’t meant it to be as serious as it sounded and the closed look on his face made her regret it.
“Probably not.” He said hesitantly, moving to sit on an ottoman right across from her and setting the now empty bag on the coffee table.
“So you don’t know? Is that… normal around here?”
“It depends. Normally if you’re just some poor sinner shmuck that dies and ends up here, you still know who you are for a while. I imagine that knowledge just…dries up or dissolves after a while. When you’re faced with your punishment every day, you stop thinking about things that don’t matter. “
“But you’re not...” She starts to argue.
“But I’m not just some poor sinner shmuck.” He continues for her. “I’m a demon of sorts. Hell is like a business, you know. Just like a business. There are quotas and promotions, demotions and very pissy human resource directors. Anyway, there are recruiters that search for people with the aptitude for evil. A recruiter found me. Where he recruited me from, I have no idea. I don’t remember anything after waking up here in a burned down building with ash and soot all over me.”
“So they just named you Ash?”
“Yup. When you’re recruited, everything you were before is gone. You start new and frankly, I’d rather be Ash than some of the twisted shit they might come up with for a name. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some guy roam around named Shithead.”
Sarah couldn’t help but grin. “Yeah, I guess it could be worse. So how did you get from the recruiter to the mural? Is that like a rite of passage?”
“Nah, I was pretty out of it for a while so I stayed and trained with my recruiter for a few hundred years at least. Turns out there is a difference between aptitude and wantitude. I am by no means an Angel.” He stopped and smirked at his own joke before continuing. “But I’m not fond of leading anyone else into this shithole either. If someone recruited me to the dark side, they should have left my memories intact because the me right now…even after a few hundred years of being trained, has no interested in this sociopolitical religious bullshit.”
“Wow.” While he had been talking, he’d been staring off at the moon like she had earlier.
At her response, he looked at her with a raised brow. “Wow? What is that supposed to mean.”
Sarah smiled and looked away to the TV, which was too quiet to hear, but provided a good distraction from looking at him directly. “I know you didn’t mean to, but you sounded kind of cool. I just had a My Hero moment is all.”