I made my morning mug of coffee at six fifty am. As I reach across my destroyed desk to finish the cooled sludge at twelve noon I realize two things; Yes, it has been one of "those" days and at least my trusty mug's spill proof lid kept the faith. I sip my cold bitter metaphor and reflect upon the day's events so far.
I never knew how many events could take place in five hours and ten minutes before today. And if you knew me, each and every event would have had to be life threatening to keep me from my morning cup of joe. Unfortunately for me, today these events were life threatening. Threatening the most important life of all, my own.
The day started normal enough. No ominous storms, no lightning bolts, and no calls from ex-wives. There weren't even any of those late alimony letters that greet me many mornings as I step through the office door. That should have been my first sign that Armageddon had finally arrived, how astute of me. I noticed the lack of harassing letters only because I am usually stepping over a pile where the letters spill forth on to the floor. Where they drop as the inconsiderate mail slot indiscriminately distributes them. Old habits die hard.
After I took a moment to appreciate my clean floor, I headed over to the black, small four shot espresso machine that resides in the corner furthest from the door, behind my desk, stage left. This may seem happenstance, but being a detective I see my own motives. There is a long, poorly hidden extension cord winding it's way around half the room to provide power to the espresso machine. At the end of the tattered cord there is the espresso machine and the only other items in this office that are truly clean and taken care of. "Including the detective", I mumbled aloud to no one.
The small espresso machine, a stainless steel coffee mug with spill proof lid, and the coffee grinder sat atop the corner table like the chalice, wine, and Eucharist at Sunday morning mass. With my Monday morning sigh I started the ritual by retrieving the high quality Hetch Hetchy water that flows like the blood of Christ through the veins of San Franciscan water mains. After grinding my beans I lade them bare and blessed them with a spot of the holy Jamison whiskey from my pocket flask. As always, I packed the sacred grounds in the little metal basket of the filter in the portafilter so tight that only holy spirit himself would be able to pass. I couldn't help but notice the resemblance the black circle had to a burnt Eucharist.
I attached the portafilter to the god head of the espresso machine on my corner alter and let loose the blessed steam. Minutes later I was drinking what most people call an "Americano". I call it really fresh coffee.
That's when it started, when the chaos trickled in to my day. Without a knock, the purposely dry doorknob creaked loudly as it turned. I creaked loudly in response turning to see who was entering my shrine as I was sipping my heavenly brew. She opened the door.
Standing in my shrine's portal was the most beautifully flawed creature I had ever laid eyes upon. She swayed in with her smoky sultry eyes, beautiful despite the bags they carried. Her red summer dress hugged each curve of her person and moved in perfect unison with the complex motion only a woman's body can successfully create. The fringe was knee high, dirty, and tattered. Her black stockings were torn at the calf of her right leg. The curve of that calf and her limp led the eye to the broken heel of her black Bottega Veneta's. That broken heel probably hurt her more than the ankle that must be twisted.
"Please say you are Detective Jake Calvo?", said the swaying beauty in my doorway.
Right then a scream pierced the air. Not too far away a detective closed his eyes. The woman in his office shuddered with fear of the unknown. I, Jake Calvo, shuddered with the kind of fear that comes with knowing. Knowing that wasn't one scream but two simultaneous screams. One from the baby at the time of its death and on from the daemon at the time of its birth.
The trouble in my door asked me in a soft, startled voice, "What was that?"
I answered in an all too calm, knowing voice of certitude, "That was another kind of trouble, one worse than that which broke your shoes. A trouble not of this world, A trouble that just pulled of a dangerous trick to gain unnatural entry to our world. That was scream of life's death and death's life."
I paused, gulped down my cold Americano, black as my near future and just as bitter. I continued, "A new born babe has just been sacrificed to allow a demon to be born. Not many things can truly kill a demon. Death during childbirth is one of them. During the birth they are mortal and all the things that kill millions of babies around the world can kill them, too. This demon was desperate to be wholly in our world. That isn't good for any of us."
The legs in my doorway gave way as the woman fainted, sad for her that the mail usually piled on the floor wasn't there to break her fall. There was no cushioning of her head as it hit the floor with a foul thud. If I was a gentleman I would have rushed to her aid. The gentleman in me died the day I learned my last love was a succubus feeding off my life force. But, that wasn't why I didn't rush to her aid.
I spoke aloud to no one, "What are the chances of a woman like this, in this state, coming through my door, a demon being born, and Armagedon all occuring at the same time? I need some really fresh coffee."
I slowly rose from my desk grabbed my cup, pulled another from a shelf, and headed to my alter to pray for my salvation.