Kevin was sure he had done everything right. He had watched his parents carefully, hidden inside the old closet in the basement where no one ever put their things. The probably thought that he was asleep when they put on their long black robes and lit this funny stuff which smelled strange when burning. He later took a little bit from the tupperware where his mother stored it, and the label read "olibanum".
There had been other persons besides his parents. He knew some of them - the old couple living next door, the postman and even his teacher, Miss Summers. What a surprise! Through a knothole in the wooden doors he had watched everything carefully. Lighting torches, drawing the circle, chanting funny words that made no sense to him. Then Miss Summers had taken off her robe and there had been a bit of confusion, lots of smoke and a strange smell, like last summer when Dad set the lawnmower on fire. He had seen strange shapes moving, Miss Summers in the middle, moaning while the others kept chanting, surrounding what seemed like a strange dance. At some point Kevin had fallen asleep, so he did not exactly remember what came at the end, but he figured he would know what to do once he was there.
The big day had finally come when his parents went to the Museum of Modern Art - in every day life of course they did not wear black robes and act funny, they simply were his parents, with flowery dresses (Mom) and embarrassing shorts (Dad) and their walks to church on Sundays, where he knew his mother read her magazines instead of listening - and left him at home with his grandmother. Grandma had fallen asleep in front of the TV, as usual, and Kevin had gotten all his stuff and retreated to the garage. It was dusty in here and smelled of gasoline and of the old paint cans Dad kept in here although he never painted anything. He would have at least two hours until his parents came back.
Now, where to begin? Kevin stood for a moment, with a finger in his nose. Ah, the circle! His parents had used white limestone, but Kevin had found a red piece of chalk which was so much prettier! He drew a nearly perfect circle, with the ends meeting exactly (of which he was intensely proud). Of course he had no wooden torches, but through the small windows right beneath the garage's roof honey-colored beams of sunlight came inside and painted the concrete floor.
The incense wouldn't burn. Kevin stared at it, disbelieving. How had his parents done it? There had been something else, he recalled... one of those round little black things, maybe some kind of charcoal? He ran back into the house, climbed upon a kitchen chair and found them right behind the box with "olibanum" on it. How could he have forgotten! He took it, ran back into the garage - Grandma was snoring gently, and he put a blanket over her so she wouldn't get cold - and held the lighter to the charcoal. There were some sparks, and it worked. Soon the smell of incense filled the garage. He would have to remember to open the windows afterwards!
The chanting was easy. Kevin didn't remember all the words, but he figured it was not important what exactly you sang, as long as there was some chanting. He stood outside the circle and let the syllables pour through his mouth. And indeed, there was a tiny whirl of smoke in the middle of the circle...
... growing larger and larger...
... getting darker...
... the smell of burning plastic...
... and a huge figure appeared in front of him, part human, part lizard.
Kevin's heart beat fast. He had done it! Just like the grown-ups! Wow.
"Master, what is your command?"
"What do you mean? Can I tell you to do whatever I want, and you have to do it?"
The demon nodded solemnly.
"Cool!" Kevin thought for a moment. "Go stand on your head!"
The demon hesitated. Obviously this was not really what he had expected. "Wait, human, aren't you a little too young to be doing this? Where are your parents?"
"Out, to the museum. And I said, go stand on your head!"
"Oh, well..." And the demon turned around. He did not make a handstand, like normal people would. Instead, his head seemed to float downward, dragging his feet up to the top at the same time, like a snake curling up around itself.
Kevin's eyes stood open in wonder. "Wow! How did you do this?"
The demon looked at the child with impassive eyes and only the slightest hint of resignation. "Do you have any other commands, Master?"
"Yes!" Kevin smiled. "I want ice cream!"
The demon sighed and rolled his eyes. "I really have to talk to your parents one of these days. Now, what flavor do you want?"