It’s getting late. You’ve had fun at your company’s after work drinks (which turned out to be a pretty chill time all things considered). Heck, you even got to know the assistant HR rep Devin a little better. You two now have an inside joke - “Don’t touch those hamburgers!”. Devin knows what it means. It’s good fun.
But, alas, it’s time to head home. A bit late for the subway, and you’re not about to walk an hour home. That’s a lot of time, and like we said, it’s late! So, you check the city’s favorite ride sharing app: Uber, baby.
Prices are a little steep, so you decide to cut the cost by ordering up an Uber Pool. You see the name of the person you’ll be sharing the Uber with - Razlakon. Hmm, must be foreign. The Uber pulls up. You get in the back, greet the driver accordingly, and turn to look at your poolmate. Wha-wha-what’s this?!
Uh oh, it’s THE Razlakon - Harbinger of Jewels. You knew this day might come, but didn’t think it would happen so soon (especially not directly following your company’s after work drinks, which turned out to be a pretty chill time all things considered).
You were planning on sitting quietly in the back, scrolling through Facebook, maybe listening to to whichever radio station the driver has decided to put on. But now you have to be wary of the horrid snarls the beast hath emitted, a grotesque heat filling the car and thinning the air more with every breath. Give me a break!
Some people can be so inconsiderate - but do not be fooled, Razlakon is not a person. Far from it. He does not want to merely make you uncomfortable, he wants to make you small. Weak, willful - so that you’ll do anything for his jewels. Look at them, he’s practically flaunting the hardened crystals in your mortal face. Oh, come on already!
You can barely even check Twitter, for the glare from his cursed rubies shines so bright. The driver is in a trance - you soon realize that Razlakon hath already bewitched him - placed under an ancient spell to do his bidding. Looks like you won’t be getting out of those surge prices so easily after all!
You remember your inside joke with Devin - “Don’t touch those hamburgers” (he gets it). You begin to smirk - all things considered, the after work drinks turned out to be a pretty chill time. But Razlakon soon notices and lets out a sub-aural bay. Your driver begins repeating the phrase “no joy amongst the wicked” over and over in a voice that is definitely NOT that of a human. Jeez Louise, can’t you just get a cheap ride home?
The entire ride, Razlakon is eating the bones of an animal you surely have never seen before. It’s either the world’s smallest goat or the world’s largest ant. But also there are some feathers?
The streets around you are empty, all lights are off - it’s as if everyone felt Razlakon’s presence approaching. How were you not prepared for this? You shouldn’t have had that third beer at the after work drinks - but I don’t blame you, it sounds like a pretty chill time, all things considered.
Finally, after several streets of Razlakon polishing an emerald with only the juice from your driver’s eye (can you say 1 star rating?), you arrive outside your home. You reach for the car door, but before you can open and finally leave this macabre display of wealth and power, you notice what Razalakon had wanted you to notice all along: The Black Diamond. He grunts in a hushed tone, but you know exactly what he is saying.
“Do you like it?”.
“Would you like to hold it?”. Now, you know you’re not supposed to. You learned this YEARS ago. But there just something about it - perhaps it is the screaming faces attempting to burst through the surface, perhaps it is just the way it sits tauntingly in Razlakon’s furry hand - but you want to hold it. You’re going to hold it.
You reach out, sweat dripping from your hands. The driver is smiling and laughing, but the sound coming out is that of a young girl crying. Razlakon hands you The Black Diamond, and as soon as it hits your puny hand, you see your entire life flash before your eyes. All of it. Your precious summers at Camp Lagaloo, your college graduation, even your conversation with Devin from earlier that night - “Don’t touch those hamburgers!” (Devin gets it). You drop The Black Diamond onto the seat.
Razlakon laughs with an unearthly glee. You slowly back out of the Uber Pool, feeling the most exhausted, yet most free you ever have. You return to your apartment with more questions than answers. You’re terrified to close your eyes - even to blink - yet you feel an important chapter in your life has been completed.
You go to sleep and awaken 9 years later, married with 2 children. You’re renewing your wedding vows, with everyone you’ve ever loved in attendance. Mom, Dad, heck - even Devin is here! “Don’t touch those hamburgers!” (it’s an inside joke between you and Devin, from the after work drinks, which turned out to be a pretty chill time all things considered).
You begin to smile - maybe this all worked out.You are happy. You feel joy, trust, comfort. You take your beloved’s hand, and just as you are about to exclaim “I do”, you look down and notice it, there, on their finger: The Black Diamond.
From the cavernous halls of the reception house you hear it, a sound familiar yet mysterious. Razlakon’s laugh. Horrid. Menacing. Thrilling. You should have never taken hold of The Black Diamond. It is all a ruse. Everything you love is fake. None of this would have happened if you had not entered that Uber Pool.
So, next time, choose Lyft.
*This piece commissioned by Lyft, Inc. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.