The Devil and I stood in the driveway of The House on the Hill, and admired the freshly painted garage doors.
I was neither Michelangelo, nor a Do It Yourself expert, but I was proud of the work I’d done. If Lucifer insisted on showing up at my home uninvited, then he was going to get roped into an impromptu Memorial Day Weekend art show.
“I like how you left a chair out as if you thought passersby might be so impressed by your work that they’d actually wander up the driveway, sit down, and really take in your brushstrokes and use of color,” he snapped in a tone dripping with sarcasm.
Truth be told, I’d forgotten I’d left the chair in the driveway.
“Make fun all you want, but this was a big deal for me and I needed a little validation for my effort,” I confessed.
“I’d pat you on the back, but I’m afraid I’d get paint on my suit,” The Prince of Darkness explained as his checked him impeccably tailored suit for any flecks of white.
“Thanks. That means so much to me,” I shot back some sarcasm at him, and didn’t give a damn if any of it ended up on his precious suit.
“So you chose to spend Memorial Day Weekend painting the garage,” he commented in a manner that came across as extremely judgmental. “This is why you’re single. You should be out meeting women or hosting a party to meet women!”
“The painting had to be done. I’ve put it off for eleven years,” I said sheepishly.
“It feels like you’ve put off having a girlfriend for just as long,” Satan huffed and swatted away a bee.
“Do we really need to play Dump on Austin right now?” I whined and immediately realized that was a mistake.
“I’m just concerned about you, buddy,” The Devil said as he looked longingly towards the front porch. “There is a lot of painting that could be done around this huge house, and I don’t want that to become the crutch that prevents you from finding love.”
“Well, I kinda did want to paint the porch,” I replied to prove how thick I was.
Clearly, Lucifer had grown impatient both with me and with looking at my paint job because he risked ruining his suit by putting his arm around my shoulder. He then led me towards the front walkway.
“I think we can help each other,” he informed me as we headed for the front porch, the front door, and the comfort of the living room. “I’ve been getting some heat down in Hell from the Damned. They think they should be allowed some time off for good behavior, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.
“They’re in Hell. For all eternity!” I stated like the good little Catholic School student I had been raised to be. “What are they thinking asking for early parole?”
“Hell is overpopulated with lawyers,” The Prince of Darkness stated with repulsion. “They think they can negotiate and appeal anything. They swamp me with mounds of paperwork demanding better living and working conditions. Why do you think I spend so much time here?”
“For the Snapple and food?” I replied with a shrug as we walked up the porch steps.
“I think I’m ready to try a work release program on a very limited basis. I’d like The House on the Hill to be the lone work site so I can monitor the participants very closely.”
I paused on the front porch to give that one some Deep Thought. “I don’t know if I’d be okay with that.”
“There’s noting to fear, Austin. Trust me,” Satan said with extreme confidence. “I’ll have this place swarming with Demons to keep an eye on them, and I’ll make it clear that if anyone tries to flee, I will immediately claim the souls of three of their loved ones to take their place in Hell.”
My jaw dropped. “Wow. You don’t mess around, do you?”
“That’s what lawyers do to me,” he growled with disdain. “If I could, I’d refuse them entry to Hell, but I’m sure they’d just turn that into a lawsuit that would drag on for eternity.”
“So you really think we can trust parolees from Hell to paint this porch?” I asked as I stared at the peeling paint beneath my feet.
“How about we go inside and discuss this over a Snapple?” The Devil suggested.
Sounded good to me. Happy Memorial Day, Modern Philosophers!