Just believe me when I tell you that I was still struggling this morning, and wanted nothing more than to be left alone.
That’s why I was so upset when I heard music coming from someplace very close by outside my front window. At first, I assumed it was from a concert down at the waterfront, but then I realized it was much too early for a show.
Plus, the song was too familiar. In fact, it sounded a hell of a lot like Peter Gabriel, but he definitely wasn’t doing any shows in Maine.
Angry, and perhaps looking for a fight because I was just so miserable, I stormed out of the living and onto the front porch.
That was when I saw him.
It had been ages since he’d shown his handsome face at The House on the Hill, but there he was. Standing on my front lawn, impeccably dressed, as always, in an expensive suit.
Today, however, he wore a tench coat over the suit, and held a boom box over his head.
Blasting from that device was Peter Gabriel’s classic, “In Your Eyes”.
“What the hell are you doing on my lawn?” I demanded angrily.
I made a slashing motion across my throat with my finger, and my trespasser got the message. Lucifer mercifully lowered the box, and turned off the music.
“How have you been?” he asked as he took off the trench coat, and then pulled some lint off the jacket of a suit that cost more than my mortgage payment.
“Are you remaking Say Anything?” I asked like a dick who just wanted to be left alone.
“I thought you’d appreciate the gesture,” Satan explained as he folded the trench coat and placed it neatly upon the giant radio. “I know you love Cusack, you’re a huge movie nerd, and I needed something to distract you to get you to finally engage me in conversation.”
I sighed and plopped down on one of my porch chairs. “Get off my lawn. I’m not exactly winning any landscaping awards, so I can’t have you making it look any worse.”
“Permission to come aboard, Captain?” The Prince of Darkness barked out and then followed it with a crisp salute.
“Whatever, dude,” I mumbled. I didn’t really want to deal with whatever the hell this was about, but I felt like crap, and didn’t have the energy to fight.
With a snap of his fingers, the trench coat and boom box vanished. The Devil then strode confidently onto my porch on his long legs.
“That was then,” I snapped. “Back when you were welcome here. You know, before you went off and unleashed Hell on Earth.”
Lucifer crossed his arms over his chest, and stared down at me with hellfire in his eyes. I was sure his horns were going to make an appearance, and I readied myself for the steely bite of his pitchfork.
However, he decided to sit down instead. He snapped his fingers, and a bottle of Snapple appeared in his palm. He offered it to me.
“It’s your favorite,” Satan stated as if I didn’t know my preferred drink. “Think of this as an ice cold peace offering.”
I snatched the bottle out of his hand. Not because I wanted to make peace, but because I was thirsty and my throat was sore.
“So you’re not denying your role in the chaos that has devoured this planet over the past few months?” I growled between sips of the best stuff on Earth.
“Austin, despite the lies the Nuns used to fill your head back in grammar school, I am not to blame for the evil that haunts your world,” The Prince of Darkness corrected. “I might use the chaos, debauchery, bigotry, sexism, violence and overall ugliness to my advantage once it’s happened, but I assure you, I am not its cause.”
The Devil chuckled. “I don’t make people do bad things. They do that of their own free will. A gift granted to them by my old boss, who likes to make me the fall guy when his pet projects choose poorly.”
I finished off my Snapple, and placed the empty bottle at my feet. “You certainly seem to swoop in swiftly after a bad decision has been made, though.”
Lucifer held up his arms in mock surrender. “Guilty as charged. I’m like an insurance agent. I’m not rooting for your house to burn down, or for you to get into a car accident, but once that does happen, I am there to offer my services.”
I just glared at him. There was no way to win a fight with him, but I damn well could make it clear that I thought he was an ass.
“So why are you here?” I asked in frustration. I knew he loved the sound of his own voice and could prattle on for hours, but I didn’t feel good, and wanted to be left alone.
“What way is that to talk to an old friend?” Satan scolded with a smile. “Don’t you miss our Sunday conversations?”
“That hurts,” he claimed and put his hand over the area where his heart should be. “To answer your question, I’m here because of your desperate plea last night.”
I looked over at my guest like I had no idea what he meant.
“Last night, when you were in the bathroom, feeling like you were about to die?” Lucifer worked to prod my memory. “You begged any higher being that might be listening to make your stomach stop hurting. I heard your request, and now I’m here to collect.”
That earned him a raise eyebrow.
“What now?” I asked in utter confusion.
“I could never get you to make a deal with me because you’re such a goody goody,” Satan told me. “So I jumped on this one. I relieved your gastric distress and now you owe me.”
“I’m not giving you my immortal soul because you used your black magic to get me to stop having the squirts,” I stated like a guy who was suddenly worried about spending eternity in Hell.
“I’m not here for your soul,” The Prince of Darkness replied with a pout. “I’ve got to get you to sign legal documents to make that kind of deal official. No, I just want you to give me one more Sunday afternoon.”
“Basically, I traded one shitty situation for another,” I bemoaned my back luck in a witty manner.
“Think of it as a chance for us to bond again,” The Devil suggested. “Plus, I want to pitch you an idea for a TV series about our friendship. I’m thinking you could call it The Roommate from Hell”…
I was in Hell, Modern Philosophers, but at least my stay would only be temporary. Plus, there was Snapple. It could definitely be worse…