Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Devil You Say

A short story

The Devil You Say
The clubhouse was rapidly filling, and perhaps becoming noisy. For the old greybeard at a corner table it was simply part of the great continuum.
He existed in a secure bubble, fairly impervious to the vagaries of his rowdy surroundings. He kept glancing at the door as he sipped slowly on his tall glass of ambrosia.
Suddenly the activity stopped as his voice boomed through the  universe; "Gabriel, Michael! Here, now!" The two angels were already on their way to his table, and simply continued their journey without concern.
As they sat a waiter, with eight arms, placed a bubbling black storm in a shot glass before the greybeard, along with another ambrosia, it just served the other pair with the latter.
They sat and watched as the old one threw back the stormy shot, then sipped his cooling chaser. 
Then Gabriel said, "we were on our way, why the impatience?"
"I have a problem. I need your help", he said stiffly. "But where have you pair been?"
Gabriel looked at his associate then took the lead, "Out on the links God, not here but an even better course."
"What are you taking about? I created golf as a punishing pastime for stupid mortals and you have become besotted with it. Even after I created the clubhouse for the likes of us you have still been drawn to this punishment?"
"You said you have a problem Lord, what is it we might help with?" Michael asked, hoping to divert the boss. 
The greybeard indicated back over his shoulder with his thumb. 
The pair needed to look past, around or through the freaks at the bar. Multi limbed, headed or simply slimy blocks, they all blocked an easy view of the target.
It didn't matter, in fact, because the target known to them, since the beginning of time. They had watched as the former angelic visage of this one time Special Prosecutor For God; indeed officially he still was. 
But everyone knew the ravages of idleness, abundant ambrosia and unrestrained anger at the old man had devastating consequences.
The svelte charm of the angel had turned dark and musty. The white robes had faded to near black and eruptions on his skin from an excess of ambrosia, and too little manna, gave off effects like the horn looking lumps on his brow. 
"He just sits their sucking ambrosia, day and night. The bar staff are constantly complaining about it. I need to do something about it or I'll have no peace for eternity."
"Satan?" Gabriel asked. "He's been there since the last task you set for him. You were happy about him then, maybe you should just give him another task. That was a few millennia ago after all."
"Satan? I mean Ha Shaitan," the old guy looked at them quizzically.
"That is what people have called him for ages Lord. Satan, the old Hebrew name isn't very popular now but for that one old job, no pun intended, his reputation has been working overtime for you."
"Whatever," the old one blasted, "What are we going to do about him now?"
The two archangels sipped quietly on their ambrosia as long as they dared, then Gabriel said; "Lord, there is a descendent of old Job who is causing us a bit of bother. Declares, even shows his devotion to you. 
"But all along he's just a bleeding heart lawyer who is screwing up many of our, errr your, better plans to have fun with mortals."
"Job? Haven't thought about him for eons. Is this fellow as devout as the forebear?"
"God Almighty, if anything he is worse." Michael winced. "As hard as we try to sow despair among your god fearing Christians Job busily works at undoing our efforts, all in the name of God it seems.
"Of course, he can't possibly stop everything we do, and he does constantly go on about Satan, which helps us a little."
"Soooo," God mused to himself, then out loud, well no universe loud!
 "Do you think this Job can hold out like the last one? Might be a bit more fun for us all, sent Satan as you call him, down for another run. 
" I'm sure he is still capable of ruining, destroying anything he comes in contact with. Perhaps your lawyerly friend might be partial to a little personal destruction; or better perhaps he won't be." It was here the universe had a good dose of God, or at least his manic laugh.
The three sat and talked for a bit, not so much hatching a plan as simply putting the pieces in place. 
"So take him off now, get this thing started. You know well just how quickly an infinity can pass."
As they sauntered off to collect Satan each was rueing how long an infinity really is. They felt an hour with God was like six infinities rolled into one. At least they knew how to handle Satan, it was a topic they had planned and discussed often.
The effects of the Ambrosia were short lived, took an age to develop and a day or two to wear off. They'd both been through the routine in their various efforts to emulate the fellow angel for the sake of humans.
The wretched gown was another thing. Science had not yet discovered a material which might just withstand contact with the sulphurous, indestructible fabric.  Nothing would destroy it of course, that would be impossible. But after they badly fitted Satan with a cheap suit, sort of lawyer suit, one of them would carefully transport the terrible outfit to a volcano which was threatening to erupt. It wouldn't destroy the robe, but no one would find it for several eons.
It didn't take infinities, just several Earth days to have Satin, ensconced at a bar stool where Job's lawyer friends liked to relax. 
They thought it might take a while for their god fearing target to appear, but to their amazement he showed up within minutes.
To their further amazement he walked straight over to Satan. 
"There you are," the effervescent character greeted. "Where have you been? I've been waiting forever for you to get out of his clutches."
From the bewildered and bemused look on Satan's face the Archangels knew this wasn't about to go as they planned. 
They could hear Job offering Satan a way out and they could hear that devil wanting out but finding excuses. He surely wouldn't. But Ha Shaitan didn't last long in the hands of a trained evangelist. They winced as the final block fell:
"Of course you aren't an Ambosiaholic Satan, can't possibly be. You don't have the genetic disposition. In fact you don't have genes.
"Look, I'm not asking you to be a double agent, make a clean break. I want to pay the old bastard back too, and I need more help defending against human rights abuses. You'd be great at it..."

We can't tell how long it was before our fearless archangels sat before God Almighty again; minutes, days, years, eons or infinities were all a blur.
"So report!" He demanded.
"the good news or the bad news?" Michael asked.
Just tell me about Ha Shaitan and that Job."
"Oh that, Gabriel passed off airily, he's out of your hair now, sort of." Michael winced at the sort of and added;
"Well that's the bad news. He's an associate with Job Legal. Joined the other side you might say."
"I thought Job was devoted to me!" God roared.
"Ummm perhaps we misunderstood the nature of the devotion Lord. You know how you keep making enemies."
God Almighty stared at them with fury in his eyes, then said;
"You will go straight back, fetch Satan out of there and kill Job!"
"No can do,"  Michael said, without any hint of apology. I'm going right back, but I have a room full of gorgeous women to visit."
God simply glared the question at Gabriel.
"I'm on the pro golf circuit now God, too busy to worry about that stuff. But you are fine here. You never go anywhere or do anything, and no one really cares much for you anyway. Just enjoy existence." He could not keep a nervous giggle from bubbling out.
"GOLF" roared God, you know I hate that game.
As they started to leave a slightly petulant Michael turned back;
"You see God, we have found out a resurrected golf champion is far more loved than a resurrected god. Lots more gorgeous women too. Seeya!"