I enthusiastically held out a bag of apples, but The Devil didn’t even bother to look up from his newspaper.
Prop comedy works much better when you have your audience’s full attention.
“That’s marvelous,” he mumbled and continued to read about Governor LePage’s latest act of buffoonery.
“I just thought you might want an apple,” I said in disappointment and lowered the bag of fruit to my side.
I must have said the magic word because Lucifer almost jumped out of his thousand dollar suit. He sprang up off the couch, and in full Jedi mode, summoned his pitchfork from the corner of the room simply by holding out his hand.
“Did you say apples?” he asked with a mix of anger and fear in his voice.
I held up the bag and nodded. “They’re MacIntosh,” I explained. “Hannaford was having a sale, so I bought a bag. Thought it would help with my healthy diet.”
“What the Hell has gotten into you?” I asked in confusion as I slowly lowered the bag, lest any sudden movements cause him to impale me on his weapon.
“Didn’t twelve years of Catholic School tip you off to the fact that I have a very adversarial relationship with the fruit you were just waving wildly in my face like a red cape in front of an angry bull?” Satan asked as his horns made an appearance.
His horns never came out when he was in human form unless he was really upset or wanted to scare the crap out of me.
Both things were happening in concert at the moment.
“Are you talking about the story of Creation?” I asked without ever taking my eyes off of the pitchfork, which was still pointed at my midsection.
“Of course I’m talking about Creation!” The Devil yelled in exasperation as he lowered his weapon. “You realize that The Bible is just a propaganda tool? The Nuns don’t want you to know that, but I’m sure the Jesuits at least hinted at it while they had access to your teenage brain in high school.”
“But everyone knows that it was the serpent, aka you, who made Eve tempt Adam with the apple,” I responded.
Lucifer slammed the butt of his pitchfork angrily against the living room’s hardwood floor.
“Lies!” he fumed. “Just part of my former employer’s campaign to blacklist me. Turning me into a slithering serpent was quite the act of vengeance. They could’ve written me into the story as something cool like a wolf or a tiger, but I’ve got to be a snake. No limbs. No cool roar. Just sliding around on the garden floor like an enchanted piece of rope.”
I stared at him in confusion. I wanted to ask so many questions, but I also didn’t want to get the sharp end of the stick thrust into my small intestines.
“The Jesuits might have mentioned that not everything in The Bible should be taken so literally,” I finally admitted in a low, non-threatening tone.
“Bully for them!” The Prince of Darkness punctuated with a mock round of applause.
“The Nuns taught us that women go through the pain of childbirth as punishment for Eve tempting Adam with the apple,” I informed him as that horrifying third grade lesson suddenly popped into my brain.
Satan let loose with an evil laugh, and then plucked a Snapple out of the cooler in front of the couch. He chugged down half the bottle before he replied.
“Those old crones finally got something right,” he quipped. “For the record, I wasn’t in the Garden of Eden that day. I wasn’t exactly welcome anywhere near God’s precious little experiments. The Archangels had orders to kill me on sight if I ever tried to get near Adam, Eve, or their beautiful little paradise.”
“It was all Eve, but I’m sure Adam was in on it, too,” The Devil continued as he sat down on the couch, careful of his pitchfork. “If you really want to point fingers, though, it was all the Big Kahuna’s fault.”
“What did He think was going to happen when He singled out one tree in the entire garden, and told them they couldn’t eat its fruit? I know that Adam and Eve were just prototypes, and still in their experimental stage, but He had to know that saying those apples were off limits was going to make them crave those bad boys more than anything else in existence.”
“Maybe He was just testing them,” I mumbled.
“What was that?” The Devil asked. “Why are you mumbling and standing all the way over there? Put down those evil red orbs and come over here. Have a Snapple.”
He fished a bottle out of the cooler and extended it to me.
I put down my apples and walked over, with mild trepidation, to accept his offering.
“I said that maybe God was just testing them,” I told him once I’d had that first sweet sip of Snapple to calm my nerves. “He knew it would tempt them, so maybe He wanted to see if they could follow instructions and obey His authority.”
“What really pisses me off, though, is why I had to be put into the story,” he grumbled and took a sip of his Snapple.
I noticed that his horns were gone, so that helped me to relax and encouraged me to be a little more philosophical in my next comment.
“The story needed an antagonist,” I theorized in full screenwriter mode. “There was already some conflict, but there needed to be an instigating event to trigger to action and propel the narrative forward. Clearly, mankind got booted out of paradise at some point, and we needed to know why. If Eve was set up as the bad guy, it would be considered sexist, lead to women never being trusted, and causing a rift between the sexes for all eternity. That would be a really bad move.”
“So I got inserted as the Super Villain, the Arch Enemy, and the Boogeyman whose goal was to trip up Mankind and steal as many souls as possible?” The Prince of Darkness asked as a devilish grin crept across his handsome face.
“That seems to be the case,” I said with a shrug.
“I love it!” he bellowed so loudly that the windows shook. “I still don’t like being depicted as a serpent, and I’ll never like apples, but I can handle the logic behind it.”
“Bake a pie,” The Devil suggested. “Chicks dig a guy who can bake, and you know the naughtier girls are big fans of apples.”
And that, Modern Philosophers, is why I’m baking on a sweltering Summer night…