Finding his summer job at the bar more like hard labour than a quick fix, and the souls less easy to snare after that first easy trapping of Miss LaChaise, Harold the Demon turned his attentions to the lurid world of the jazz musician. He quit his job and, trumpet in hand, set off to try his luck busking outside Baron Samedi’s on Fletcher Street.
Now, in those days, Baron Samedi’s was the premier jazz club. All the jazz greats of the age began their career there, all of them, without exception. Harold figured if he could get invited to play at the club and become famous – as everyone who played there inevitably did – he'd be in a much better position to snare souls, after all, women love musicians, right?
Well Harold got himself all set up and started in with some seriously demonic improvisation, we’re talking exotic modes, blisteringly fast chromatic runs, daring interpretations and who-all knows what else. The dollars soon started plopping into his hat, making a sizeable contribution to his personal wealth and things were looking good for our boy.
After a couple of hours of this, Harold suddenly felt a heavy hand fall onto his shoulder. He broke off from a nice re-working of something or other by Thelonious Monk to look up, up, up into the face of the Baron’s chief enforcer, Mr Teeth.
“The Baron wants to see you, boy” rumbled Mr Teeth, wrapping a meaty paw around Harold’s skinny arm and propelling him towards the ornate doors of the club. Harold, although a demon, was one of the weedier sort and could not resist being pushed along by the gigantic henchman.
This is it, he thought, I'm in.
The Baron was waiting for them in a tastefully-lit room at the back of the club. The walls were lined with photos of all the greats who'd played there. There was a faint smell of cigars, expensive aftershave and something familiar that Harold could not quite put his finger on.
The Baron himself had his back to them as they entered the room.
“I brung ‘im, Boss” announced Mr Teeth, somewhat unnecessarily.
The Baron turned around. He was immaculately dressed and groomed but above his perfect smile, his eyes were as cold as gravestones.
"So," he drawled, "Another young hopeful wanting to make it big in my club."
"Yes, sir," replied Harold.
"And just how much are you prepared to give to obtain your dream?" He slid a piece of paper across the polished top of his desk towards Harold.
Harold looked at the paper and his heart sank. It was the standard Contract for Infernal Services.
"Er, I think there's something you should know about me." he said.
A few minutes later, Harold landed with a crunch on the sidewalk outside the club and his trumpet clattered out onto the street behind him. Mr Teeth paused in the doorway for a moment.
"Boss says to tell you this here's his turf. Be out of the city by sunset or there'll be trouble."
The club door slammed shut.
Harold picked himself up, dusted himself off and began walking.