A man walks into a White Castle burger joint in Newark, New Jersey. He is young with slicked back hair and a thin moustache. He looks out of place in a black fedora, trendy designer suit, and expensive shoes. Slowly and subtly his hair darkens and shortens. His nose widens and flattens as his skin seems to brown. A guy in a workman’s uniform and hardhat does a double take, but quickly shrugs and continues toward the door. The man picks out a booth in the back and sits down as though waiting for someone.
An elderly man dressed in ragged clothing moves from the counter carrying a bag of food. He walks to the back table and slides in across from the first man, who is now removing his hat, which is now red, with a black band and a wider brim.
GOD: Seriously? I caught your little transformation at the entrance. And now, with the hat, too? Somebody’s been listening to too much of his own rhetoric.
Satan: You’re the one that picked this godforsaken shithole. And what’s with the wino getup? Are you having some money trouble up there? I can possibly help you out with a loan.
GOD: Hey, you called this meeting. First, some ground rules. Number one, watch the language. Regardless of what I look like, I am still GOD. Second, did you actually use the term godforsaken? These are hardworking people here. Well, maybe not so much that guy.
Satan: Alright, alright, I’ll try to be…um…good. I just don’t know why you didn’t pick a nicer place.
GOD: It is a nice place. It’s you who brings the racism, paranoia, and judgment. Besides, I like the food.
GOD picks up a small box, but instead of pulling out a burger, he pulls out a lobster tail that is considerably larger than the box itself.
Satan: Neat trick, but I thought you liked the food here.
GOD: Actually, I just like the fries. One of the advantages of being omniscient is knowing what will happen later if I eat fried onions.
Satan: Okay, whatever. I asked you here because I have a problem.
GOD: Wow, stop the presses. Satan has a problem. Is this like when you give me a problem? Injustice, self-importance, cancer. These are problems.
Satan: Look, are you gonna listen, or are you gonna needle? This is a problem for both of us.
GOD: Okay. Tell me OUR problem…like I have nothing better to do.
Satan: It’s Bob.
Satan: Yes, Bob. Remember? You denied him entrance.
GOD: Of course I remember. It was a no brainer. Quite frankly, I was sure that you’d be happy to have him.
Satan: At first I was, but now, I think I’d like you to reconsider.
GOD: What? Reconsider? That’s not how it works. People get cast out of heaven for a reason. And this guy, he has reasons in spades.
Satan: Sure, I get it, but this guy, he’s wrecking my place.
GOD: So how is this my problem?
Satan: I want…no, I need to cast him out.
GOD: Are you insane? You know that’s not how it works.
Satan: I know that, but I’ve been doing some research. According to my legal team, there is no specific rule against it. It’s more of an understood practice than a written rule, they tell me. You are aware that we have a pretty formidable legal department down below.
GOD: Formidable? You have all of them. The last thing I want to do is to end up in court with you. Why do you think I took the meeting? Let’s get back to this Bob. How bad can it be? You’ve got Hitler down there for My sake. Put him in management if he’s so bad.
Satan: Don’t get cute. You think I didn’t try that? He completely undermined my authority. He’s got no work ethic. He’s got no ambition. But arrogance? Oy Vey! I tried promoting him. He convinced everyone it was because he outsmarted me. I demoted him. He convinced everyone that I thought he was a threat to me. I am the Prince of Darkness. He wore a nametag that said, “Hello. My name is Beelzebob!”
GOD: Wait a minute. This is no lawyer. What did this guy do for a living.
Satan: What happened to all-knowing?
GOD: Do you see a terminal here?
Satan: Wait, you’re not still using COBOL, are you?
GOD: It’s just a few remaining systems, okay? We get a lot fewer programmers these days, especially since you created the internet.
Satan: Fine, and no, he wasn’t a lawyer or a programmer. Something much worse.
GOD: Worse? How so? Dictator? Pedophile? Congressman?
GOD: Oh…that is bad. Poetry?
Satan: Worse. This one thinks he’s funny.
GOD: I’m sure you have tried this, but why not just punish him? Why have a lake of fire if you’re not going to use it.
Satan: That’s just it. He doesn’t care…about anything! Every vice, he’s all in. A glutton like you’ve never seen, so I feed him only the most vile entrails. He eats it like it’s Haagen Dazs. So I take the food away. He eats brimstone. BRIMSTONE! Could you imagine? All static on the cable, and he’ll still watch for hours! Vanilla Ice 24/7 and he whistles it. Now it’s stuck in my head!
GOD: Okay, while I find this all amusing, we have no provision for you exiling someone from Hell. It just isn’t done. Do you have a proposal?
Satan: I was hoping that you would take him. You know that your standards are not what they used to be.
GOD: Hey! Keep your voice down. I’d prefer that we kept that between us, if you don’t mind. Besides, it’s not that bad. We still have a pretty high standard.
Satan: Really? Rumor has it that you brought in a guy last week who shouted “Jesus Christ! It’s Jesus Christ!” when he met your boy.
GOD: To be fair, my genius Son had no business greeting people before they went through Orientation.
Satan: Well, I’m desperate. You have to help me out. You can’t take him, and I don’t want him. What about Purgatory?
GOD: Are you kidding me? That’s supposed to be temporary. From what you described, if he goes in, no one will ever get out. Eventually he’ll put us both out of business.
Satan: Wait, I have an idea. It’s pretty radical.
GOD: Go on.
Satan: What if we put him back.
GOD: Back? Back where?
Satan: On earth.
GOD: How? He’s dead, already. You mean reincarnation? Immortality?
Satan: No, no. Nothing so extreme. Look, I’ve got the World Cup to deal with and you clearly have your hands full with your software upgrade. I’ve got Dick Cheney on the fritz and you’re dealing with that kooky new Pope. Let’s just buy ourselves some time and just put him back.
GOD: Well, we’d have to keep it between us, and we certainly don’t want to make a habit out of this sort of thing.
Satan: No, of course not. We just need to find a place to put him. How about Haiti?
GOD: You really are the Devil. Don’t you think they’ve suffered enough? What about North Korea? I’ll bet they won’t think he’s so funny.
Satan: Yeah, but we don’t need any more instability. We need a place devoid of morality, but so politically insignificant, that nobody cares that the rules don’t apply.
GOD: I got it…Florida!
Satan: Of course! Duh! Why didn’t I see it before?
GOD: Maybe it’s because you’re not GOD?
Satan: Har-de-har-har. Do you want me to take care of the paperwork?
GOD: Yeah, if you don’t mind. Our printers are down again.
Satan: We should do this more often.
GOD: I’ll have my people call your people.
© Copyright 2014 – Robert O’Connell. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.