He placed a brightly colored Christmas tin on the table in front of me, and then took his normal place at the other end of the couch.
There were so many Deep Thoughts sledding through my head at that moment. Secret Santa in Hell? What’s in the tin? And what the Hell was the deal with my guest’s impeccably tailored suit?
Lucifer, the sharpest dresser I know, was wearing a forest green suit with red pinstripes. That was accessorized with a Tabasco Christmas tie uglier than anything in my collection.
“Did your stylist die?” was the first question to escape my mouth.
The Prince of Darkness snickered and removed a Snapple from the cooler in front of the couch. “Is that your witty way of saying that you’re not a fan of the suit I’m wearing for the Christmas Edition of our Sunday With Satan Short Story Series?”
“It looks like what Santa Claus would wear if he decided to become a pimp,” I replied. “And did Hell freeze over? I ask because I’m pretty sure I heard you say that you did a Secret Santa down here.”
Satan rolled his eyes and chuckled. Then he reached over and opened the Christmas tin to reveal that it was stuffed with delicious Christmas cookies. He helped himself to one and motioned for me to do the same.
“Slip of the tongue,” The Devil answered after taking a bite of his cookie. “We do a Secret Satan. It’s inspired by the Christmas gift exchanges done in offices up here, but with a Devilish twist since I don’t actually celebrate that guy’s birthday.”
So Jesus was being referred to as “that guy” today. I suppose that was an improvement over how he has referred to his former boss’ son in the past.
“And what is that twist?” I asked as I reached for a cookie because I knew the story wouldn’t move forward unless I asked.
“In Secret Satan, everyone in Hell is tasked with giving me a gift,” Lucifer explained with a Devilish grin. “All the participants know that I will move them to a new ring in Hell based on what I think of the present. So the Damned really work hard on this.”
“Of course, the joke’s on them,” he continued, “because every ring of Hell is equally horrible. So they riddle themselves with anxiety over my present for no reason. It truly benefits no one but me, and that’s why I love it so much. I’m so filled with the Secret Satan spirit right now!”
“That isn’t at all what Christmas is about,” I scolded him as I enjoyed my cookie.
“I thought your precious holiday was all about giving, and Secret Satan is all about giving me gifts and a reason the smile,” Satan quipped and sipped his Snapple. “And before you say anything, remember that all my tenants are on your God’s permanent Naughty List.”
He had a point, and it wasn’t my place to comment on how he chose to run his kingdom.
“Did you ever meet Santa Claus in your previous capacity as an Angel?” I asked as I grabbed myself a Snapple and another Christmas cookie.
“Sure,” The Devil answered quickly. “Nick is a great guy, we never had any sort of beef, and we’re a lot more alike than people realize.”
“Do you say that because you’re both famously depicted as wearing red?” I queried.
“We’re both immortal beings who have been given our own realms to run as we see fit,” The Prince of Darkness enlightened me. “Our kingdoms are known for having extreme weather conditions, and are populated by beings who will never leave. Best of all, humans are willing to do almost anything in return for the gifts Nick and I can offer them.”
I had never realized that Santa and Satan had so much in common.
“You’re totally blowing my mind right now,” I confessed.
“Then have another cookie from your Secret Satan and stop thinking so much,” Satan recommended with a laugh as he handed the cookie tin back to me.
I realized then that the cookie tin would be empty before The Devil left. Stuffing my face was really the only way to dull the pain of the Deep Thoughts he’d just put in my head…