I was working on it at the moment and nodded. “Yeah. It’s going really well. The ideas are just flowing, and I’m doing my best to keep up with them. Maybe you can read it when I’m done.”
“I already had a look at it while you were on your run,” Lucifer replied nonchalantly and went back to reading about Governor LePage’s latest outburst.
Needless to say, I was taken aback. He’d read what I’d written of my e-book? No one was supposed to see it until I was done. I was extremely superstitious about such things.
Then again, if I couldn’t keep him out of The House on the Hill, how could I be expected to keep him out of my laptop?
“What did you think?” I asked as I swallowed my anger and chased it with some Snapple.
“I don’t know if I’m qualified to be a critic,” he said without looking away from the paper.
I rolled my eyes. Typical Satanic behavior. “You wouldn’t have brought it up and risked my blowing up at you for snooping if you didn’t have something on your mind.”
The Prince of Darkness abandoned the newspaper and turned to me before I even had the entire sentence out of my mouth.
“I’m not a big fan of how I’m portrayed in the story,” The Devil told me with a look of serious dissatisfaction on his handsome face.
“What don’t you like about it?” I’d already opened the door, so I might as well let all of the horses out of the barn.
I chuckled. “I thought you’d like that. It’s a work of fiction, and I need to bend the truth a little to make it more exciting.”
“How is making me sound like some soccer loving, wrong side of the street driving wanker more exciting than the real me?” The Prince of Darkness demanded.
I shrugged. “I wanted to disguise you from the readers, so they don’t realize who you are at first, and I thought the accent would help with the deceit.”
“I don’t like it,” he declared emphatically as he adjusted his tie. “Plus, you make me very dodgy. The other characters clearly don’t like me, and warn you away from me. I don’t like where that’s headed.”
I grabbed a Snapple out of the cooler and handed it to him. “I promise you that you aren’t the bad guy. When you first showed up here, you weren’t exactly loved by the rest of the Otherworldly Beings.”
He nodded and sipped his Snapple. “I know you plan on this being a series, and I really don’t want to be an outsider for it entirety.”
“That’s not going to happen,” I assured him.
I hope that was the end of the criticism, but apparently, it was not.
“I don’t seem to have much of a role,” Lucifer continued, “but your beautiful Guardian Angel, who has abandoned you in real life, is on pretty much every page.”
Now we were getting somewhere. It came down to wanting more screen time (or whatever you called it in a novel), and being jealous about an enemy getting the spotlight.
“Rachel was a very important part of my life during the period depicted in the book,” I pointed out to him. “I can’t fudge the facts to boost your ego.”
“You just said you could bend the truth to make things more exciting,” he countered like a bratty child who wasn’t getting his way. “You’re only perpetuating stereotypes. Once again, the Angel is the good guy and The Devil, well he’s just one evil SOB. Better not take any apples from him, or you’ll be cast out of Paradise!”
“Since you’re British, it would probably be fish and chips rather than an apple.”
My attempt at humor failed miserably. Satan looked like he wanted to skewer me on his pitchfork and roast me over Hellfire.
“Come on, how can you sit there and accuse me of playing into stereotypes?” I asked aggressively because I wanted to raise a little Hell for once. “If anything, I’ve totally smashed the stereotypes. Rachel has been all but banished from the blog, and whenever she is mentioned, it is in a negative manner.”
“On the other hand, you have a regular weekly feature,” I reminded him. “My Sundays With Satan Short Story Series is extremely popular, and people looked forward to Sundays so that they can read about our further adventures. I’ve made you charming, funny, likeable, and dare I say…friend material. You can’t tell me that hasn’t helped you in your quest to swindle people out of their eternal souls.”
The Devil sat there in silence and pretended to be utterly fascinated by the fact under his Snapple cap. Finally, he put down his drink and nodded. “You’re right, Austin. You have done a lot for me. People approach me often and want to talk about our short story adventures, which has made my job much simpler.”
Lucifer smiled. “I guess I got jealous,” he confessed. “Your Guardian Angel is very heroic and well written, and I come across as a buffoon in a nice suit.”
“Well, you kind of are,” I pointed out. “If you keep reading my story without my permission, I’m going to give your character horrible teeth, and change his wardrobe to one of soccer jerseys and track suits.”
A look of horror crossed The Devil’s face. “I look forward to reading the published version. Keep up the good work.”
And that, Modern Philosophers, is how you deal with the Editor From Hell!