“The Devil You Know & The Devil You Don’t”
by Satan (with Dan Rozier)
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW has an elaborate orchestra with instruments made entirely out of the bones of sinners. Skull organ, fibula flutes, ribcage xylophone are commonplace as the music of the immoral echoes throughout Hell’s caverns.
THE DEVIL YOU DON’T plays in a Damn Yankees cover band (Dammed Yankees) with Mark Twain, Ulysses S. Grant, and George Steinbrenner. They play every Thursday night at the Gristle Pit and are opening for Jackyl this upcoming Saturday. Five dollar cover, ladies drink for free. It’s shaping up to be pretty badass. People are already talking about their rad new light set up that goes behind the drums and creates this silhouette effect. If you can’t make it, no big deal, he’ll see you around.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW nabs sinner’s souls upon their final breath in the mortal world, puts it in a jar and laughs all the way back to the depths of hell where he will release his/her soul and torture him/her for the rest of eternity.
THE DEVIL YOU DON’T is the one stealing your wireless Internet. But it’s not like he wants to do it, your connection just happens to reach him and it’s not feasible to have wireless set up in Hell. Do you know how people on Earth would take that news? Do you? Thirty-five percent of the United States still uses dial-up for god’s sake. He’s probably sorry and I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t even use it during peak hours.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW everything, and I mean everything, is red. His skin, his eyes, the floor and the ceiling are all an identical, piercing color. Everything is covered in fire and miscreant blood, and all of the residents are sunburned beyond recognition.
THE DEVIL YOU DON’T loves color. Actually, in his spare time he’s a freelance crayon creation specialist. His big break was the precise dye combination that became what we now know as, “Burnt Sienna.” He was inspired by the brownish matter caked on the inside of his unbaptized baby oven. But he says it was nothing, really. He took a few Chemistry courses at the local JC and was one of the top students, but he felt it came naturally. Crayola was holding their annual “Create a New Color” contest and he just went for it. You know, sometimes you just have to believe in yourself and do your best. And I think if he had the chance he’d thank all of those unbaptized babies for doing the legwork.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW creates natural disasters when the mood strikes him. He loves nothing more than to watch man squirm as humanity is convinced the end of the world is near. Such natural disasters include but are not limited to: earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, flash floods, and regular-speed floods.
THE DEVIL YOU DON’T accidently created the Bubonic Plague during a botched attempt to make banana nut bread (one cup of vanilla, not two). In hellspeak, “vanilla” translates to “filthy rats” and “cup” is “dump truck.” Worse things have happened.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW patiently sits and watches we destroy our own lives without his interference, thrilled that the day we die is the day we will join him in eternal damnation. The advent of meth and Internet pornography addiction has made his job infinitely easier.
THE DEVIL YOU DON’T is anxiously waiting for the Wonder Years to be released on DVD. He understands the problem with the music rights, but it’s getting ridiculous. Shouldn’t there be some sort of exclusion clause if you used literally every song written between 1968-1973? Let’s get a deal worked out, it’s not like his Winnie Cooper poster can talk.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is 12′ 6″, 400 lbs. Give or take.
THE DEVIL YOU DON’T has submitted his Bowflex video testimony dozens of times to no avail. Even though he totally did everything right and completely transformed his chest, arms, abs, and back. He just wants to say thanks and show people that Bowflex really does work. He’s four and a half billion years old and he is in the best shape of his life, why wouldn’t they jump all over that? He even ordered that expensive camera from Best Buy. You know, the one with the accuracy laser? And it came with a tripod so it’s not like the video was shaky. The only problem was finding a good spot to film, but come on, give him a break. So there were a few frames that had people taking tar baths while getting their fingernails pulled off. It was in the background and you could barely even see it. Lighten up, Bowflex.
“The Public Access Episode”
by Rob Robison
The Denton Public Access TV studio is like most local cable access studios, bare and cheaply equipped. Tonight it’s dressed up like your poor relations at a family funeral. The backdrop is a purple curtain of crushed velvet rescued from the trash of the high school drama building. The two video cameras are fifteen years old and impossibly large, like products out of communist East Germany, and the microphones are persnickity, some nights working and some not. But it all comes together and lurches onward, and through the magic of television a presentable if not professional show results. Tonight the miracle to be produced is the Tommy Torque Show.
Added to tonight’s set are two tables set up at stage left and stage right and covered with green tablecloths. At stage left’s table sit three high school boys, each with his own microphone on a small stand. The first boy is chubby with a thick mass of hair that’s shaped like a crooked heptagon. The second wears the High School Holy Trinity of glasses, braces and acne, and the last boy’s straight brown hair is oily but his thin mustache neat, the hairs evenly spaced. They talk animatedly among themselves, excited about the upcoming debate.
At the table across from them is an old man with bushy, thinning hair sprouting from his head, ears and nose, the latter resembling an angrily wadded ball of different colored Playdo. He wears a white collar showing from under his black short sleeved shirt and stares at the boys with an open mouth, caused by age or wonder or both, but the lines on his face show that his usual expression is a concentrated frown.
A Prez Prado tune announces the start of the show and through the break in the drapes saunters the star and emcee of the show, Tommy Torque. He is the epitome of ’60’s Las Vegas cool with a tuxedo suit, white shirt open at the collar and a bow tie undone. A lit cigarette rests between the fore and middle fingers of his right hand and a tumbler of ice and amber liquid in his left. His eyes were heavily lidded and half shut and despite the hour being 7:05 p.m. he looks as though he just finished his 2:00 a.m. set and is ready to introduce the band and call it a night.
“Good evening ladies and germs and welcome to the Tommy Torque show, the classiest thing this burg has to offer. Tonight I’m going the egghead route and presenting a debate for all the braniacs to dig. It’s about a subject that’s got this whole country wigging out. I’m talking about the question, “was Jesus the Son of God or the world’s first zombie.”
Representing the “pro” side to my left are some geeks I found in the Denton High “Dungeons and Dragons” club. The kid with the square hair is Mike, the four-eyed, metal-mouthed zit farmer is Gabe, and Mr. Pre-pubescent is Ralphie. Let’s hear it for these budding geniuses … genui? Whatever, clap for ’em.”
Canned applause sounded in the obviously audience free studio as the boys cast deer-in-the-headlight stares into the camera. The earlier excitement was replaced by the combination of being on live TV and having been insulted on live TV. Tommy took a drag off his cigarette then pointed to the old man with the fingers of the same hand.
“And to my right, looking the epitome of bitterness and bad aging, representing the cons, and probably one himself, retired rector of St. Mary’s Home of Repentance, we have Father Scratch Dabney,” Tommy slurred. His introduction prompted a reaction of campy laughter from the machine.
“This is the most ridiculous, shameful thing I’ve ever been associated with,” the Father said. “I am only here to refute the offensive chicken-poop I’m expecting to hear.”
“Father, I am shocked at your language, but more surprised that you can put two sentences together at your age,” Tommy answered with a smirk into the camera. “By the way, Padre, if a rector speaks from a rostrum, does that make him a rectum.” A rim shot played as the priest look dumbfounded. “Alright, we’ve wasted enough time with introductions, let’s make it happen. Start us off, box top.”
Mike had settled down by then and was ready with his team’s opening salvo. He leaned into the microphone and said, “Let’s start with the obvious. Jesus rose from the dead after three days in a tomb. In my book, the only people rising from the dead are zombies.”
His close proximity to the mic caused his voice to distort through his entire presentation, but that didn’t bother him and he looked over and smiled at his two companions, who grinned and nodded along with him. A smattering of applause greeted his response and Tommy cast his heavy lidded gaze in the boy’s direction.
“Impressive, Mikey. That was a concise answer in a confident tone of voice. A tone of voice that I’m sure you’ll never be able to muster when talking to a babe.” Tommy swiveled to face Father Dabney.
“Uh, Tommy? One more thing,” Mike’s distorted voice said.
Tommy swiveled back and cocked an eyebrow.
“You’re a dick!” Mike yelled, causing even more feedback. Gabe and Ralphie snickered behind cupped hands.
“Whoa. Which of my ex-wives have you been talking to?” Tommy replied coolly. “Doesn’t matter; they all say that.” One more swivel and he was facing the old priest again. “Father, if you’re still awake, kindly respond.”
“That was egregious,” he huffed angrily. “But what do you expect these days when parents no longer know how to raise their children. It takes discipline! Spare the rod and spoil the child! Let me tell you, I took that canon seriously, as all people should who are responsible for children, and I had mine hanging on the wall for all to see. When those boys under me saw my rod hanging they knew what it would do to their rumps.”
Father Dabney sat back in his chair and crossed his arms with a sharp sniff while Tommy stood looking at him. Finally the emcee said, “A stinging rebuttal to say the least. I score it one point for the pious.”
A chorus of “No way!” came from the boy’s table as applause sounded and Tommy sipped. He waited until the din died out and put on his trademark smirk.
“Ring a ding ding, we’re starting to swing. Let’s go back to the boy blunders for their second swing at the lollipop,” he mumbled and nodded toward the high school scholars.
“Well, we all know of the times Jesus tells his followers to eat his body and drink his blood,” Gabe says through dirty braces and pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose with a fore finger. “But what I find more interesting comes from The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 4, verse 32, where he says ‘I have meat to eat that ye know not of,’ an obvious reference of having his followers eat infected zombie meat to turn them into zombies as well.”
“OK, there it is, point number two. And memo to the producer: vacuum out all of the spit he spewed into our mic so we can use it again,” Tommy retorted. “And how will our white collar criminal answer?”
“Real cute, funny boy,” Father Dabney growled. “You called these punks ‘experts,’ but all I see are examples of youth allowed to run rampant. Not one of them have had their jaws boxed when they needed it, and believe me, I know all boys are just begging for it.
“Now, when I was in charge, I had a nice, wooden paddle for smart-alecs just like these three. I named it “Woody,” painted the name right along its business end, and you better believe that those ruffians new to duck and cover when my Woody was swinging.”
Tommy had been watching the man of the cloth speak and upon the end of his answer anger flashed across his face at lightning speed and was gone just as quickly.
“You know, Father, the answers you give could be misconstrued,” he spoke, and for the first time his voice was clear and distinct.
“Well, well, look who has a conscience all of a sudden, Mr. Hotshot himself, Tommy Torque,” Father Dabney sneered while he snapped his fingers. “You try to act like you’ve got it together but I see the real you; a scared little boy looking for guidance.
“Your problem is you didn’t spend enough time praying for deliverance of the word and the truth. You should have been bent in prayer seeking to learn the word of God! If you had been one of my boys, every day I would have had you on your knees while I was forcing it down your throat.”
Rage was now set hard on Tommy’s face. “I’ve heard enough from you, you vile serpent. I don’t need to hear anymore.”
He began scratching roughly at his throat leaving behind harsh red marks as Father Dabney watched in horror.
“Mary and Joseph, the man is having an attack of the D.T.s right in front of us!”
Tommy’s fingers had finally scratched a layer of membrane loose and were peeling it from his face. He pulled upward and it came off in one piece, taking his shock of black, oiled hair with it. In its place was an impossibly aged, wrinkled face and long mane of pure white hair. He then put his hand inside his jacket collar and gave a yank. His jacket, shirt, pants, and his casually undone bowtie all came off in his hand, the one-piece 70s era tuxedo a fake held in place by Velcro. Revealed were cherry red garments with golden piping and a short cape that ended just past his shoulder blades.
The age and anger displayed made Father Dabney look like a smiling baby. The ancient countenance cast a vicious stare and gnarled finger at the man of god, who appeared shocked to the verge of a heart attack.
“I have heard enough of thine depraved speech, lowly blasphemer. You have been a blight upon this earth for too long, and I swear that with the help of my Lord I will banish thee forever!”
The father’s face was a mixture of surprise, fear and incomprehension. Then it began to change, slowly at first, then more rapidly. The shape and structure shifted, the eyes bulged and the skin became rough and red while his body grew until the black shirt burst, revealing a huge body of grotesque, sinewy muscles. He stopped growing at nine feet, standing upon cloven hooves and with shoulders too wide to fit through a door. Goat horns had sprouted from his hairless head yet his waist remained slender so that his pants remained intact above his beer keg thighs, not revealing his unsightly dangling bits. The stench of rotten flesh and sulfur filled the room.
“So, ye dare to reveal yourself, ol’ Scratch,” the age-old, white-haired man said. “Or should I call ye by your formal title, Vomica Diabolous, Angel of the Bottomless Pit.”
“So we finally meet. Tomas de Torquemada, Inquisitor General of the Spanish Inquisition, Hammer of the Heretics and ardent supporter of the Alhambra Decree,” Satan hissed back. “You were personally responsible for the torture and death of over 2,000 innocent souls. You were so zealous in your attempts to erase my influence from the Jews and pagans of your time that you became just like me.
“I have waited a very long time for your arrival. You see, in my house are many mansions as well, and I have arranged a special chamber for thee.”
“Ye will never understand, Wicked One,” Torquemada said, his body tensed in wrath. “My Savior is a generous God. He has allowed me to roam this earth in search of thee and now I have thee trapped. Yea, I will pay for my sins before The Most High, but before I do I will bind and bear thee to heaven and lay ye at the feet of God Almighty, where ye will be judged for your evilness and your profane dreams of ruling the heavens and the earth.”
“I should be God and not him!” Satan thundered and pointed toward the sky. “He is but a weak angel whose reach too far exceeds his grasp, and heaven is not for him.”
Then he relaxed and let go an evil laugh. “And thy proclamation was all the more ridiculous by your boast that ye would bind and bear me. Remember, Senior Torquemada, though ye have lived longer than all save Methuselah, ye are still mortal. Precisely how do ye hope to bring about such a hopeless task?”
“Not alone. Behold,” and with that Torquemada pointed to his left.
The Father of All Lies cast his eyes in that direction and where three high school boys had been now stood the three Arc Angels; Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. A dazzling aura surrounded them, shining even brighter than their brilliant white robes. They each held swords at the ready and instead of eyes they stared at the Devil through red coals, glowing with the righteous anger of the Lord.
Satan paused, and felt fear for the first time since he was banished from Heaven. He had perceived growing power in the room and had foolishly not sought out its source, so rapt was he in his exchange with the foolish priest. He knew that all of his strength was no match for these three angels and accepted that there was but one thing he could do to escape his own eternal damnation. He flexed his muscles and thrust his fist in the direction of the floor.
“I command, open thine gates,” he screamed and at once the floor broke open. The very earth separated and the chasm reached through the depths until it entered Hell itself. The stench of rotting flesh and sounds of inhuman screams filled the studio, and with lightning speed Satan leapt into the abyss.
Torquemada ran to the edge and yelled after him, “I’ll catch you yet, Wicked Beast. And take your damned puns with you.”
He was breathing heavily and staring down into the void when his body relaxed and he looked up into the camera with a broad smile.
“Well, that’s all the time we have tonight. Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for “Knitting with Nancy,” and watch as she tackles that difficult half-stitch. Goodnight.”
The screen went silent as Torquemada walked over to the Arc Angels and engaged them in playful banter as the credits rolled.