"Ray, there's this new fade that's sweeping the nation. It's called 'sleep'. The catch is, you're supposed to do it when it's dark outside."

Peter hated coming down to the kitchen in the dead of night and finding Ray at another one of his "experiments". Thankfully, or luckily, this time there didn't seem to be any ectoplasm or chemicals involved.

Instead, Ray was sitting at the table they used for dining on, surrounded by books. Musty tomes and crumbling leather covers, the glare from the desk lamp temporarily blinding Peter as he crossed the open space towards the small refrigerator.

"Yeah, right, sleep," Ray muttered, his eyes never leaving the yellowed page as his fingers traced the line of text. The room lapsed into silence. Opening the fridge, Peter found it pretty much empty; this "ghost busting" business had yet to receive a single phone call. Well, a phone call for an actual ghost problem.

This was New York City, you know. There were plenty of believers but actual ghosts? Still on the down low.

His stomach rumbled. Peter sighed and removed one of the very last cans of Pepsi from the bottom shelf before shutting the fridge door. The light winked off, leaving only the desk lamp to illuminate the large space. Walking the few short steps towards the table, Peter pulled the ring tab and opened the can. The noise sounded like a gunshot in the cavernous space.

Ray's head came up in a blink, his eyes widening. Soon his mouth fell open and he began to point at the can in Peter's hands.

Peter stopped short, leaving some distance between him and Ray. "...what?"

"That's it! I knew I'd seen that sigil before!"


Ray pushed the chair back hurriedly, rounding the table in seconds, grabbing Peter's forearm and holding it up so the Pepsi can was visible in the light. "This! This is the sign of Astaroth!"

"It's a Pepsi logo, Ray."

"No, no!" Ray shook his head. Peter could see the stubble on his friends jaw, the dark circles under his eyes, the smell of his breath. Dude needed to brush his teeth. "If you chop down the letters into basic lines, and converge the two circles together, you will form the seal that matches the one found in The Lesser Key of Solomon!"

Peter raised a brow, regarding his business partner and friend. Usually by now, someone else would have blinked, maybe even a dozen times. But Ray's eyes were dry, and red. Slowly, Peter raised the can to his lips, then drank, making a large slurping sound that echoed off the walls.

"Why would a demon hold stock in a soda company?"

"Laziness! He tempts people into being lazy! Lazy is like sloth, right? And sloth is, uh, help me here, sloth is... well, it's being lazy. Being lazy means you don't exercise, you probably eat too much, and everyone knows soda is bad for you! What better way to make people lazy then to get them to drink tons of sugary cola, bringing about health problems, making it difficult if not nigh impossible to exercise! It makes perfect sense!"

A long silence followed.

"Good night, Ray." Peter set the empty can down on the table and disappeared back towards the sleeping quarters.