Vanity Is Hell

short story, The Devil, flash fiction, Sundays With Satan Short Story Series, vanity, humor, Modern PhilosopherHave you ever felt like the Devil was watching every move you make?

As a Catholic School survivor, I know this feeling well.  The Nuns taught us all about it for eight years.  The Devil is always watching.  One slip up, and he’ll be after you to lay claim to your soul.  The Devil knows every time you commit a sin…

Yeah, yeah, whatever, Sister Mary Ignatius of the Tabernacle.  I’m asking if you know what it is like to literally have Lucifer watching your every move.

I was working on the rewrite of my new screenplay, but I could feel his eyes glaring at me from the other end of the couch.  It’s an unsettling and annoying feeling, so I finally caved, closed my laptop, and turned to face my tormentor.

“What is it that you want?” I growled.

The Prince of Darkness flashed his most charming smile.  As always, he was dressed in an impeccably tailored suit and looked like he had just stepped off the cover of a men’s fashion magazine.

“I was just reading your blog post from the other night,” he began to explain.  “Great title by the way (Mirror, Mirror…WTF? in case you want to read it) and it made me wonder why you’ve never shown me your magic mirror.”

I rolled my eyes.  More at my stupidity for ever mentioning the mirror on the blog, than for his request, but I was still annoyed by his asking.

short story, The Devil, Sundays With Satan Short Story Series, vanity, humor, Modern Philosopher“I’m not a fan of the mirror, which is why I keep it covered and hidden in the attic, the one part of the house I rarely visit,” I explained with a little venom in my tone.

“But your favorite witches gave it to you,” Satan countered.  “You absolutely adore the three magic amigos, so why would you not love their gift?”

I shrugged.  My magic mirror was a touchy subject.  I knew Waltzing Matilda, Volcanica Ivy, and Ti-Diana had given it to me out of love, but something about it made me think there was an ulterior motive to the present.

“The reflection speaks to me in a Brooklyn accent, and I can’t help but think the witches did that on purpose to teach me a lesson,” I confessed.

Clearly, this intrigued the Devil because he raised one eyebrow, and then reached into the cooler for two bottles of Snapple.  He slid mine to me across the table.

“This ought to be good,” he finally spoke.  “I just wanted to have a delicious beverage in hand while you explain it.”

Lucifer made a big play out of taking a huge gulp of iced tea.  Once his little performance was done, I begrudgingly gave in to his wish for an explanation.

“I don’t like my Brooklyn accent, and I spent a long time learning how to hide it so well,” I admitted.  “Something about it makes me feel uneducated, and I always think people don’t take me seriously when they hear it.  So when I look in the magic mirror, and it answers me in that voice, I think the witches are trying to teach me a lesson about vanity.”

short story, The Devil, Sundays With Satan Short Story Series, vanity, humor, Modern Philosopher“Ah,” The Prince of Darkness said mockingly after he had taken yet another huge gulp of Snapple.  “You think they whipped up a spell that would make you see the version of you that you least want to see.”

“Something like that,” I replied defensively.

“That’s a very subtle lesson,” he admitted.  “Much easier to swallow than what the movie Seven taught us about vanity…”

“These are good witches, not evil ones who channel the serial killer side of Kevin Spacey,” I quipped and reached for my Snapple.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, you drive me to drink if I recall…

“What if the Three Stooges of Witchcraft were merely playing a joke on you, Mr. Sensitive?” Satan tossed at me as a follow up question.

I was not prepared for that.  I took another hit of Snapple as I pondered the query.

“How do you mean?” I finally asked.

short story, The Devil, Sundays With Satan Short Story Series, vanity, humor, Modern Philosopher“We all get a good laugh when your Brooklyn accent slips out, and a bigger laugh at your appalled reaction to the sound of your own voice,” The Devil informed me.  “So maybe your buddies added that wrinkle to poke a little fun at you.  To make you realize that your Brooklyn accent makes you somewhat unique in these parts, and that hiding it means you are keeping a part of yourself hidden from your friends.”

“Wow.  That’s pretty deep coming from the dude in the expensive suit,” I teased.

“I do have my moments, Modern Philosopher,” Lucifer pointed out with a devilish grin.  “Did you know that I have an entire ring of Hell that’s a hall of mirrors?”

“I was not aware of that,” I replied.  “What’s the catch?”

“Rather than seeing their reflections, the Damned see their dearest loved ones,” The Prince of Darkness revealed.  “I came up with that during one of my truly evil periods.  I try not to send too many of my residents to that ring, because even I realize it’s unusually cruel.”

“I guess it could be worse,” I tried to comfort him.  “Their loved ones could speak to them in a ridiculous Brooklyn accent…”

We both had a good laugh at that one, and I somehow managed to get out of having to show him the mirror.

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About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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