I suffered through a long day at work, Modern Philosophers, dealing with this Winter Malady that has its claws firmly in me. When I wasn’t coughing or sneezing, I was blowing my nose or clearing my throat. It made for a long, loud, miserable day.
As a result, I was looking forward to a quiet night at The House on the Hill. When I pulled into the driveway and saw the lights on in the living room, however, I knew that my wish would not be granted. An old INXS song began to play in my head: “Devil inside, Devil inside, every single one of us has the Devil inside his house…”
I might have added some words to the original tune, but that was what I was hearing. Satan is my most frequent house guest even though I never actually invite him to visit. He simply makes himself at home, leading friends to refer to my home as “North Hell”.
The surprise was that he had brought a friend. The gentleman seated next to The Prince of Darkness looked to be about 70, had a pipe in his mouth (which thankfully was not lit), and was also drinking a Snapple. He had kind eyes and actually stood up to greet me when I entered my living room.
He held out a gloved hand (the glove was a bit odd since Satan had the heat cranked) and smiled at me as I shook it.
“Austin, this is Mort,” The Devil explained. “He’s an old friend, and actually also a friend of your girlfriend…”
I gave The Devil an odd look as Mort sat down again. “Not The Girl Who Lives In A Different Time Zone,” he continued upon noticing my confusion. “I was referring to the Archangel with whom you are hopelessly smitten.”
The mere mention of the beautiful Archangel Rachel caused my heart to beat faster. I quickly scanned the room hoping to find her lurking in the shadows.
Lucifer saw me looking and chuckled. “Relax, Casanova. Rachel is not here.” He took a long sip of his Snapple and continued to work the remote control.
I studied the elderly stranger on my couch. I was curious to know what linked him to an Archangel and a Fallen Angel.
Satan must have sensed what I was thinking. “Mort is an Angel, too,” he explained. “I don’t know why I never thought to introduce you before because he would make a really excellent character for your blog. The stories he could tell you…”
I looked to Mort hoping to hear one of those stories, but the old gent just smiled at me, put his pipe into his jacket pocket, and took a sip of Snapple.
The Devil rolled his eyes. “He’ll open up once he gets to know you. And believe me, it will be worth the wait. Mort is an Angel of Death.”
Angel of Death? I recoiled in terror and looked down at my hand. Didn’t the touch of this particular Angel signal the end of your life?
Mort chose a good time to talk. “No need to worry,” he said in a soft, grandfatherly voice. “Only the touch of my skin to yours will lead you down the path towards the bright light. That’s why I always wear gloves when I’m off the clock.”
He held up his gloved hands and smiled. Lucifer smiled, too, but in a mocking manner because he knew he had just scared the life out of me (almost literally!).
“See why I thought you might enjoy meeting Mort?” Satan casually asked as if he’d just introduced me to his second cousin. “He’ll really fit in with the unique menagerie of Otherworldly Beings in your entourage. Think of the posts you could write…”
It certainly would be interesting to share some Deep Thoughts with an Angel of Death, especially since he didn’t look at all like I’d expected.
“I keep my scythe and the hooded black robe in the car,” Mort told me with a huge smile on his kind face. “I find the Santa Claus look puts people a little more at ease. It is fun to go full Reaper at times, though. That really gets my blood pumping!”
The Devil punched the Angel of Death playfully in the shoulder. I just had to laugh, and then I trudged off towards the kitchen so I could blow my nose and grab a Snapple. Life was certainly never boring at The House on the Hill…