Beat me out of me

“I like your coat.” said Satan.

“Thanks, I just got it. My old one got stolen. There’s some evil fucks in this town.” I said.

“Don’t I know it.”

“Was half off, at least. My mom told me about a sale.”

We were eating pizza, pepperoni and sausage. Satan was picking the meat off. He’s a vegetarian.

“So let’s make a deal here, Satan.”

“Pffft not gonna happen man.”

“What? You can’t just refuse me outright, we haven’t even talked terms yet. Isn’t there some sort of Better Business Bureau that keeps you demons in line as far as equal opportunity soul exchange?”

“Not really. Besides, you don’t have anything to trade me.”

“What about my soul?”

“You have no soul. You don’t believe in the soul, remember? You don’t believe in God or ghosts or Santa or the government.”

“You are a conniving bastard, aren’t you. How’d you find all that out?”

Satan smiled, and began plucking more bits of meat from his pizza, tossing them onto his plate.

“Same way as everyone else. I read your blog.”

“Ah. My favorite albatross. I hate people that do their research.”

Truly metropolitan places in America have a staggering ability to desensitize and distort one’s view of “regular”. For instance, I could not have a conversation with the Morning Star over pizza in, say, Des Moines. People see the horns, the red skin, the nice suit, they ask questions. San Francisco? I could have lunch with Jesus, the Devil, Robin Williams and a cyborg who speaks nothing but Mandarin at any restaurant in this city without getting a second glance. That’s why I love it here.

“Ok, so no deal.”

“No deal.”

“What should we talk about then?”

“I dunno.” He mumbled. He talked with his mouth full.

The place was nearly empty. A cold Monday in a cold town. Most people don’t know this, but Monday is the Devil’s day. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, a day of rest. Nothing gets done, except for Our Father On High once again displaying his absolute disdain for the Forty Niners. Monday rolls around and people sink a little lower, back into their regular lives. Nobody gets to go out and have fun, and people are generally unhappy. That’s why the Devil got stuck with it. Of course God wouldn’t give away one of the good days.

“Let’s talk about power.”

“You mortals are so predictable. One track minds, I swear. You’ve got no sense of originality.”

“You know Satan, you’re really critical. Being negative like that all the time, it brings people down.”

“I know kettle, I’m sorry. I’ll stop calling you black.” He said, smirking.

“So what is it that makes people powerful? What separates them from the rest?”

“Well, you see it used to be very simple. Power was just strength. He who could lift the biggest stick and swing it the hardest was the most powerful. Now things are all gummed up, complicated.”

“Because now there are all these different kinds of power? Religious, political, economic, etc?”

“No. God, where do you people come up with this crap. There are no ‘kinds’ of power. Power is power is power. The route might differ, but the destination is always the same. I mean, in the end it always manifests itself the same way, but nowadays humans have all these different… options, I guess, is the word I’m looking for.”

“Well I guess it’s the method that matters, then, if the result is always the same.” I concluded.

“Waitress, bring the boy a cookie.”

“Funny. So let’s talk possibilities. What’s the score, here.”

“You said it yourself, kid, the method is what matters. So you just have to assess your skill sets and your goals, and figure out your path of least resistance.”

“You sound like a consultant.”

“I sort of am.”

Satan got up and pumped a buck fifty into the jukebox next to the crappy salad bar. Somebody had spilled the beets into the ranch, and there were baby corns strewn about the entire enclosure. A real mess, the whole thing. A Chris Isaac song started to play.

“Satan you’re gay. Chris Isaac? Come on.”

“I’m androgynous, you fuck, I can’t be gay. I can’t be anything. I just like Chris Isaac.”

“No Sabbath?”

“No Sabbath.”

“Maybe they should call you the Prince of Lite Rock. Spelled L-I-T-E.”

“Maybe they should call you the Prince of Shut The Hell Up.”

We stared at each other for a moment, sternly. He reached for the last piece. He would.

“So what was your ‘method'”?

“You went to Catholic school, you should know all this already.”

“We both know I slept through high school, Satan. Stop stonewalling me.”

“Alright, well you know the standard issue ‘jealous angel’ crap. But you know, I wasn’t the first, or the last, angel to ever tell Him off. Baal, Beelzebub, Steve Buschemi, all those fools. They went off on him just like I did. But none of them run the Underworld, do they?”

“They certainly do not.”

“Nope. But my method? And I’m not saying it’ll work for you. You gotta work out your own… thing. But for me…”

“For you…”

“For me… Charisma. I’ve got more stage presence than any angel, fallen or otherwise, you’ve ever met. Most ethereal beings can’t manifest themselves tangibly enough to even be seen by humans. They try their darnedest and still end up looking like a glowing fart. Me? I’m a god damn miracle of tactile presence and physical density. Look at these guns. I can talk, dress myself, click my heels. Hell, I can even eat.

“That’s why you run Hell?”

“The main reason, yeah. First chair in the Evil Orchestra, because I can project.”

“You’re useless to me. I’m not charismatic. This gets me nowhere.”

“I told you, that was just my way. You’ve got a lot of other options too.”

We talked for a while after that. The waitress brought the check, and had accidentally added it up wrong. Satan cursed her with syphilis, and sent locusts to devour the seven pot plants growing in her boyfriend’s closet in a condo in Daly City. He’s very unforgiving, for an angel.

I don’t know why this topic has been rattling around my brain so remorselessly as of late. Maybe it’s some sort of latent adulthood thing manifesting itself. Perhaps my recent change in scene, with the inherent loss in rank and credibility associated with moving to a new locale, is affecting me in ways I hadn’t expected. I don’t know. I look out on the eerie splendor of my new city and wonder what I can do to get where I want to be. A big enough lever could lift the world.

What levers, then, are at my disposal.

Let’s all go on and marinate on that for a minute.



One Response to “Beat me out of me”

  1. anonymous Says:

    Only, only you could have a conversation of that caliber with, as you say, the “Morning Star”, and not be:
    A) Terrified
    B) Satisfied
    C) Phased

    I like it…I like it a lot.

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