Time: October 3, 2000
Shax reclined on the bed, sipping the cabernet he'd ordered from room service. Not bad. Verin sat at the desk by the window, rewiring a timer that they would need for the bank job the next day as they both watched some human power struggle play out on television.
Two gentlemen in suits, Shax hadn't bothered to learn their names, stood on stage and pontificated when a third human asked them questions. "What do you think of all this, Ver?"
"All what?" Verin grunted on a cloud of steam and put the timer aside. "We got any more roast beef or did you scarf it like a fucking troll pup?"
"Plenty more under the cover, Ver. Though I did finish the cheese. Very good cheese." Shax sipped and watched as the darker haired man threw serious shade at the lighter haired one. "This election business. What do you make of it?"
"I dunno. Humans are weird." Verin squinted at the screen. "They're supposed to pick one of those rat bastards? I could take both of them together."
"I don't think they're supposed to engage in battle, Ver. It's not like picking a captain of the guard back home."
"Oh, fuck you. You know what I mean. They're supposed to pick one. I guess by what they say." Verin got up and pointed a claw at the dark one on screen. "That one looks like he's all full of himself. Throwing shit cans of shade at the other guy." The claw moved to the light one. "That one looks like he doesn't have two brain halves to rub together."
"Surely it can't be as bad as all that. They must have some qualities humans like, don't you think?"
Verin took the entire plate of roast beef back to the desk and began devouring slices in rapid succession. He still ate as if someone would take the food away at any moment. "Maybe. They both got nice suits. Guess they have money. I just don't get the whole fucking thing."
"Hmm?" Shax took another sip and decided he was still hungry. "Toss me a roll, would you?" He snagged the roll that Verin whipped at him, a bit too hard he thought. "What part of the whole thing?"
"Well, look. I don't think either one of those guys would eat his opponent. Hell's gates, they're probably too soft for even getting minions to do it. I bet there's no torture involved in getting where they are. No threatening opponents with being thrown into tooth worm pits. If they're not gonna fight each other and they don't claw their way up to power, why would the humans wanna pick between them?"
"Humans have different priorities. They'll want the most charismatic one, I'd expect."
"What's the point if they can't respect and fear the one they choose? I wouldn't follow someone I didn't respect."
That gave Shax pause. They'd certainly been together long enough to know each other well. Very well. They bantered, snarked, and fought sometimes. Hurled insults at each other and occasionally lied to each other. But… "Ver? Are you saying you respect me?"
"What? Mother of demons, no." Verin chewed thoughtfully a moment. "Maybe. Kinda. You are a hell of a lot smarter than most demon royalty. I mean, I don't respect respect you, but… you know." Verin waved his fork around in a vague way.
Shax hid a smile in a sip of wine, watching the lighter candidate smile and look as affable and harmless as possible as he answered a question. That one will win. He's not smarter but he will. "Thanks, Ver. Our sort-of-mutual-almost respect works, I think."
"Just don't get cocky, bonehead, and we'll be all right."
Silence settled between them as Verin devoured and Shax got down to serious drinking. He really didn't care about the outcome of any election. Humans didn't understand real power. They never would. But as long as humans had pretties to steal, they could play whatever games they pleased. Shax had an eternity on Earth to watch and be amused by them.