The Daily Hellfire

short story, newspapers, humor, Modern Philosopher“Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!” The Devil shouted like a deranged newsie hopped up on Adderall as he entered the living room.

As always, he was well dressed in an impeccably tailored suit.  Per usual, he was being an annoying pain in the ass.

“What the Hell are you yelling about?” I demanded as I looked up from my laptop.

“I’ve got all your latest headlines!” Lucifer barked loudly to an audience of one, who was seated a mere ten feet away.  “Economy booms to highest point in a decade!  Your favorite sports team wins the championship!  President promises free ice cream to all citizens!”

I dug a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler, and for a moment, thought about throwing it at my guest in hopes of quieting him.  However, common sense took over, and I decided to take a large sip of the iced tea instead.

“Why are you shouting out bizarre, fake headlines?” I asked when he finally went silent and sat down on the opposite end of the couch.

“I’ve decided to start a newspaper,” The Prince of Darkness explained.  “I’m calling it The Daily Hellfire, and everyone at Club Hell will get a free subscription as part of their all inclusive package.”

He let out an evil chuckle that sent shivers down my spine.

“Newspapers are dead,” I declared like a true product of the digital age.

“So’s everyone in Hell, so it’s perfect,” Lucifer countered.  “The Daily Hellfire will be packed with upbeat, positive news about life among the living.  I figure that’s an ingenious way to torture the Damned.  Don’t you agree?”

“It does sound sick and twisted,” I concurred after a long sip of Snapple to wash away the ugly taste of his idea.  “And when they’re done reading it, they can just toss it into the flames to further fuel the actual Hellfire.”

short story, newspapers, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe Devil clapped in glee.  “I love the way you think.  This is why I want you to be my Editor-in-Chief.  What do you say?”

I had no idea what to say.  I didn’t know how to run a newspaper.  Nor did I want to learn.

But you don’t disappoint Lucifer.

“I’m not at all qualified,” was what I came up with as my best option for getting out of this one without feeling the wrath of his pitchfork.

“I disagree,” The Prince of Darkness shot back as a devilish grin spread across his handsome face.  “You are an excellent writer, and I’ll give you everything you need to make this work.  I’ll take care of the actual publication and distribution.  I just need to come up with ideas, oversee the writing staff, and decide what makes it into every edition.  You can work from The House on the Hill, and communicate with your staff via computer.”

Work from home without having to interact with anyone face to face?  Satan really did know a thing or two about temptation.

“The Catholic Guilt from knowing who my boss was would be just too much.”  I tried to play the religion card to get me out of this one.

He was not having it.

“There would be a signing bonus, of course,” The Devil raised an eyebrow as he sweetened the deal and dangled it in front of me like a mouse in front of a starving kitty.

“And how much would that be?” I asked.  You know, just out of curiosity.

short story, newspapers, humor, Modern Philosopher“How much do you still owe on your mortgage?” Lucifer replied without hesitation.  “Whatever amount pays it off is your signing bonus.  You’ll no longer have that hanging over your head, and you’ll be free to write full time.  Just like you’ve always dreamed.”

I chugged the rest of my Snapple.  It really was an awesome offer.

Could I actually pass on a job like this?  Even if it meant being an employee of The Prince of Darkness?

“Let me pray on it,” I finally answered because I’m a wise ass and never know what to say when it comes time to make a crucial decision.

“Take all the time you want,” Satan assured me.  “It’s not like your customers are going anywhere.”

He gave me a knowing wink, and I starting contemplating what could be the biggest decision of my life…

What do you think?  Should I take the job?

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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14 Responses to The Daily Hellfire

  1. kkatch22 says:

    Decisions decisions….

  2. markbialczak says:

    Nah, Austin, he’ll probably order you to run the online edition at the same time.

  3. stomperdad says:

    What if he ends up wanting you do to it in the afterlife, too. Or do you already have a place reserved with the Prince?

  4. cat9984 says:

    You wouldn’t have to drive in the snow every morning

  5. If writing is to you pour out your soul, then the offer (like all of them from The Deceiver) is to sell him your soul.

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