Here's the next bit following Satan's Ministers Await Satan's Arrival:
(SATAN enters. The MINISTERS immediately fall into a customary posture of subservience.)
SATAN: Up. (They rise.) How gratifying to have you all here at once. How integrated I feel, when we are all together this way. I trust each of you is feeling nasty and diabolical today?
(The MINISTERS signal they are.)
SATAN: Good. Well, before beginning our discussion about the very important reason for which I have called this meeting, let’s start with a quick all-around status update, shall we? Just to get a sense of where we are. War?
WAR: Your Eminence?
SATAN: Tell me something of your very good works.
WAR: I can tell you about a lot of it in two words: The Middle East.
EDUCATION: That’s three words.
WAR: I’ll kill you.
SATAN: Yes, things are boiling there again, aren't they?
WAR: You know it.
SATAN: Excellent, War! Religion!
RELIGION: I, too, as ever, point to the Middle East.
SATAN: Thank God for that place! Politics!
POLITICS: I hate to be redundant, but …
SATAN: The Middle East?
POLITICS: What a beast.
SATAN: Such a feast! Education!
EDUCATION: Our latest reports show that nine out of ten people are incapable of spelling Middle East.
SATAN: And can they find it on a map?
EDUCATION: Please. These days finding water on a map will get you tenure.
WAR (snorts): That is good.
FINANCE: What can I say? Thanks in large part to the Middle East, in about fifteen minutes ninety percent of the world’s money will be in the hands about fourteen people.
SATAN (deadpan): You’re exaggerating.
SATAN (enthusiastically): I know! I love it! Disease!
DISEASE: I kill more people in fifteen seconds than die in the Middle East in a month. (The other MINISTERS gasp, and then applaud.) That’s right, that’s right. As far as I’m concerned, AIDS stands for Ain’t. I. Da. Shizznit!
SATAN: You are the shizznit! You really are! Of course, such adulatory terms are relative.
DISEASE: Of course, your Excellence.
SATAN: Well, I am deeply pleased by you all; you have exceeded my wildest expectations. Give yourselves a big round of applause.
(The MINISTERS clap, and then begin another rhythm-fest. SATAN, overcome by their beat, dances to it. Their playing and his dancing cease at once.)
SATAN: Ah. Lovely. (He composes himself. Then … ) One more time! (The MINISTERS joyfully resume their drumming, SATAN his dancing.) And we’re done. (The drumming ceases.) Marvelous. What fun. (Indicating heaven.) Do you think they enjoy themselves up there the way we do down here?
SATAN: Do you think they feel pleasure such as ours?
SATAN: No, they do not. Lord Bigwig up there would no sooner let rhythm move his bodily form than he would dress it up in five-inch [deleted] pumps and let me escort it to one of our fabulous underground dance clubs. All earthly pleasures are beneath His Pristineness---for the earth is dirty, and whatever’s dirty cannot be clean, and what isn’t clean cannot be of God. For him and his heavenly host, everything must be perfect. In the vast imperium over which His Delicateness reigns, only the “positive” is possible. He knows nothing but his peace, nothing beyond what in his ignorance he imagines is joy. Only the lovely; never the lonely. Always elation; never frustration. Always exultation; never exasperation. All bless; no mess. Delight with no bite. Cheer gets “hear, hear!” while dear beer, I fear, rates naught but a sneer. Glee is key; there’s no “Gee, I gotta [deleted].” None in heaven are glad to be bad, happy to be crappy, thrilled to be [deleted]. Heaven is a perfect vacuum in which no one ever screams at all. Pity. Screaming, sometimes, can be so wonderfully apropos. But for them, no, no: they don’t scream; they only sing, to the ping, ping, ping of that … thing … with the strings? What’s it called? What is that instrument all his angels so rapturously stoke away at?
EDUCATION: I believe it’s the lute.
WAR: The lute? You would say that, you fruit. Hey! I rhymed! Not as well, of course.
EDUCATION: Okay, Mother Moose. You tell us what they play up there in the heavenly …
EDUCATION: … abode.
SATAN: I prefer commode.
EDUCATION: I meant to say commode.
(More later if anyone wants to see it. Thanks for reading.)
Read More John ShoreThe Books on My Bedside Table Friday, January 16, 2009