I selected something that looked like a brownie had married a peanut butter bar. There must be some really excellent bakers in Hell.
“How could I ever forget?” I countered as I took a huge bite of the most delicious cookie I’d ever tasted. “You were dressed like Santa Claus going undercover as a pimp.”
Lucifer, who is extremely proud of his wardrobe, flicked a piece of lint off of the jacket of his impeccably tailored suit.
“All insults aside,” The Prince of Darkness remarked bitterly, “I wasn’t always a huge fan of the holiday. In fact, my former hatred of Christmas inspired one of the most famous novels ever written about the big day.”
I eyed my guest suspiciously as I munched on my cookie and tried to:
A. Tell if he was being serious.
B. Figure out what novel he was referencing.
“Okay, I’ll bite,” I surrendered. “What book did you inspire?”
Satan smiled devilishly, knowing that he had me intrigued. He took a sip of his Snapple and made me wait for my answer.
“There might be no more depressing place in history than nineteenth century England,” he informed me once he’d decided I’d waited long enough for the story. “It was so cold and dark, everyone seemed to be dying of something, and the streets were packed with adorable urchins who’d rob you blind if you didn’t pay attention.”
I could tell this was going to be a long one, so I snatched a few more Christmas cookies off the plate and settled in for the duration.
“Everyone was so damn despondent, and life was already such a living Hell, that no one was stupid enough to want to trade away their soul for the opportunity to spend all eternity in a warmer version of England,” The Devil sighed.
I sipped my Snapple and hung on his every word.
“On one particularly frigid and snowy day near Christmas, after once again drumming up no new business whatsoever, I retired to a pub to drown my sorrows,” Lucifer continued. “As luck would have it, the place was packed with merry revelers getting a head start on celebrating Christmas. I fought through the annoying throng for a seat at the bar, and ended up next to some chap who was scribbling his thoughts in a tiny notebook.”
“It’s too late in history for it to be Shakespeare…” I mumbled.
The Prince of Darkness shot me a dirty look for interrupting his narrative. I held up my hands in surrender, and then put another cookie in my mouth to keep me quiet.
“Bah humbug!” I declared once I settled in with my pint. “That caught the attention of the fellow next to me, and he asked me where I’d heard that phrase. I wasn’t much up for talking, but it was either chatting it up with him, or listening to the rest of the fools sing Christmas carols.”
“I explained that I’d picked it up earlier that day from a bitter, old accountant who’d grown angry with me when I tried to make a transaction,” Satan went on to explain. “Of course, I couldn’t tell him I’d tried to get the old geezer to pledge me his soul, but my new friend didn’t seem to care about that. He wrote down the term, asked me if I’d mind his using it in a story, and I half jokingly said I’d trade it to him for a pint.”
“I take it he merrily agreed to the deal?” I asked with a wink as I took another sip of my Snapple and extracted yet another cookie from the plate.
“It was the only successful deal I’d made all day, so I jumped at it,” The Devil quipped as he flashed another of his devilish grins. “We got to talking about my hatred of Christmas, the beers kept coming, and I rambled on about how people are so bitter all year and then suddenly act like they’re possessed by the Spirit of Christmas once December arrives.”
“My new drinking mate, who you should know by now was Charles Dickens, loved the idea of the Christmas Spirit as an actual ghost that could possess a person and make him feel a certain way about the holiday,” Lucifer shared. “He scribbled this all down in that little notebook, and by last call, we toasted every pint with ‘Bah Humbug!'”.
I looked at The Prince of Darkness, studied his eyes, looked for any tell, but could not determine that he was lying. Of course, he had to be an excellent liar to be who he was, but I got the sense that he was telling the truth.
“So how did you leave it?” I asked.
“As we were saying goodnight, he asked me what I disliked the most about Christmas,” Satan replied.
“What did you tell him?” I asked anxiously because I knew it was important.
“Christmas carols. And I said it without a moment’s hesitation. Clearly, it struck a chord with Dickens given the title of the book our night of drinking inspired.”
I don’t know how he kept doing it, but The Devil never ceased to amaze me…
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