It caught me so by surprise that I almost dropped my spoon, which held my first taste of the chili I had spent all afternoon cooking.
I had painstakingly prepared it, and then methodically checked on it and stirred it for hours as it simmered over a very low flame.
I was desperate to finally try it, but how could I with that question hanging over my head?
“When would I have met the Angel of Death?” I asked as I returned my spoon to the bowl. “I’m not dead, am I?”
Lucifer rolled his big green eyes at me. “How naive, Modern Philosopher. You hang out with me every week, and yet you don’t turn over your soul to eternal damnation, do you?”
Maybe not, but I do feel like I’m in Hell. That was a good comeback, but I wasn’t going to say it aloud. Not when his pitchfork was just over in the corner, and he could impale me on it at any time.
“He’s a wonderful guy,” The Prince of Darkness assured me with a charming smile. “One of the few Angels who will still talk to me and treat me with civility. I think you’d like him.”
I looked at my chili longingly, and then over at my guest, who had managed to devour half his bowl without spilling any on his thousand dollar suit.
“I picture him as being all creepy in that black hooded cloak and carrying that bad ass scythe,” I replied dubiously. “That doesn’t sound wonderful at all.”
“That is just misinformation sent out by Heaven’s PR Department to make people fear Death,” The Devil scoffed as he adjusted his silk tie. “My former boss stupidly gave you all free will, and now he’s worried that you’re going to use it to end your lives so you can go directly to Heaven. He’d never be able to handle the overcrowding, so he needs you all to fear Death and want to stay alive for as long as humanly possible.”
I had to raise an eyebrow at that one. Lucifer never failed to catch me by surprise, and his insight into the inner workings of Heaven were always way beyond what the Nuns had taught me in grammar school.
“So what does the Angel of Death really look like?” I asked because I was now totally intrigued and had forgotten about my chili.
The Prince of Darkness actually giggled.
“Sorry,” he replied. “It’s just that when I think of the form he’s taken, it cracks me up. As you know, Angels can look however they want. While I choose to look this awesome, Mort decided to look like one of the most famous Angels of all time.”
“Wait,” I had to interrupt. “The Angel of Death goes by ‘Mort’?”
Satan tried to fight back a Devilish grin, but he eventually lost the battle.
“Yes, Mort as in French for Death,” he chuckled. “He has a crazy sense of humor.”
So curious now!
“You said Mort looks like a famous Angel. Which one?”
I’d never seen Lucifer act this zany before, and I didn’t mind it one bit. It was kind of cool to see him let his guard down and just laugh like a maniac.
“Is he a big fan of the movie?” I finally asked in hopes of getting The Prince of Darkness to settle down and regain his composure.
“I guess,” he responded with a shrug. “He told me that he did it as a gag one Christmas a few decades ago, and people went with him a lot more willingly than usual. So he just stuck with it because it cut back on his hours and stress.”
“I never would have thought that the Angel of Death was stressed,” I admitted.
“Do you really think people go quietly into the great unknown?” Satan queried. “Why do you think there are so many near death experiences? People freak out when they start towards the light, and they fight their way back to the ranks of the living.”
“Make sense,” I admitted. “Bring him by some time. I’d like to meet him.”
“Will do,” The Devil answered as he handed me a Snapple.
“It was this chili,” he answered without hesitation. “I thought you were trying to poison me, and expected Mort to show up any minute to lead me towards the light.”
I shot Lucifer the coldest, nastiest look I could conjure up on such short notice. Then I snatched up my bowl of chili and headed out to the kitchen to eat in silence.
Even though I could still hear him laughing hysterically in the living room…