The Devil’s Fruit

“So, are these terms agreeable?”

I kept my host’s stare through my aviator sunglasses as I thought about the question. It was true, it was a good deal, but there was the question of ethics to answer. Dealing with an arms dealer, even if it would be for the “greater good” in the end, it wasn’t exactly something I wanted to do. But orders were orders.

“Come on, Raphael, you must make a decision sometime. It is a good offer,” he said when I still hadn’t answered, his Indian accent thick with every word.

“You know what the alternative is. You either deal with me, or you die.” It was true, I did know. Of course, according to the Powers That Be, this was all part of the plan. He picked a fruit from the bowl in front of him; a red one covered in spikes. He squeezed it until it opened, and using that small hole, pulled apart the rest of the skin until the inside was completely revealed, taking out the white sphere and taking a bite out of it. “Rambutan. Such an amazing fruit, isn’t it? How can something that looks like that, still be good to eat? You may not like what you see when you deal with me, but the outcome is what counts. Don’t make me waste such a valuable asset.” A provider, that’s what I was – or going to be, rather. I had spent the last six months creating a good reputation.

“I’ll tell you what,” I said at last. “Raise the price by another hundred and you have yourself a deal.” He didn’t like it. The fire started to burn in his eyes again – the fury like the one that had overcome him just the day before, when one of his workers had disobeyed his orders. Without hesitating he began to beat the man with his bare fists until his face became a bloodied, scarred mess. But even that wasn’t enough for him. He continued to pound away until the worker’s heart stopped beating.

But he “needed” me. And as soon as he realized that, the fire in his eyes began to die down again. “All right. One hundred more, that’s it. But your service better be impeccable.”

“It will be.” I stood up from my chair, and turned to leave before stopping myself and turning back toward him. “Just make sure you keep your end of the deal, Rambutan.”

“Of course,” he answered, offering his hand.

I walked away.


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