Hi there. Welcome to Hell.
Aw, come on. Dont look at me that way. Im not so different from you yourself, dontcha know? Havent you ever complained about your work hours going on for all eternity and your workplace being absolute hell?
I notice youre looking at me like youre almost disappointed. What? Do I not look like the Devil you had in mind? Did you expect me to have horns and hooves and a tail? Perhaps a goatee as well? Excu-u-u-use me, but its not exactly a uniform. I make my own rules, and damn it to hell (so the ball would be in my court), I wear what I like. Or, take the form I like, if that makes more sense to you.
Come on, let me show you to Registration. Oh, but I wont be going in there with you. I dont like to deal with secretaries. Those people are evil. To tell you the honest truth, they scare the hell out of me.
Or did you not expect me to tell you the honest truth? Did you not expect me to be an honest guy? Well, I take quite a bit of personal offense to that, dontcha know? Please. If you want stereotypical - er, archetypical evil - I can introduce you to the Seven Deadly Sins... whenever I find them, that is. Stupid Seven Deadly Sins. Always slacking off. Especially Sloth. Oh, shes the worst. Im going to give her a piece of my mind... when I find her. Oh, hell. Theyre probably on Earth again. I really regret giving them their own place in Las Vegas.
Anyway, here we are. Registration. Now, you just sit down in that trebuchet. For all the time youll waste in filling out forms, youll make it up in getting where you need to go. Oh, unless filling out forms is part of your punishment. If thats the case, we can set you up right here. Oh, and this Sunday, there will be a... a sort of little get-together that Id like you to attend. I do this every Sunday, as a courtesy to the newbies. I host a little meet-and-greet so you can get to know your fellow Eternally Damned. Hmm... maybe I can get those good for nothing Sins to actually show up this time. Slackers. But I digress... Please enjoy your stay in Hell. And come see me on Sunday!
Oh, hi there. Youre here early. Yeah, come in, come in, please. Make yourself comfortable; theres a chair by the fire... No, the other fire. Yes, that fire. Be-eau-ti-ful. Have a seat. Mind the spikes.
Now then, what did you come to see me about?
Me? You have questions about little old me? What are you, then, a theologist? A clergyman? One of those Satanist wannabes? Just a curious soul... I see. I like your type. You remind me of me in my younger years. Oh, is that what you wanted to ask me about?
In answer to your question, no, Im not really evil. Why? Do I look evil to you? Im not evil. All the evil in this universe comes from up there in your world. Theres no evil in Hell. We try to make Eternal Damnation as convenient and fun as possible. Were a good bunch of guys and gals. If you want to see evil, you should have looked around a little closer when you were back on Earth. Every time someone needlessly takes the life of another one of Gods creations - thats evil. Every time someone wants to take away the rights of others, and restrict someone elses freedoms - thats evil. Evil is in the gleaming eyes of the Wall Street fat cats and the indoctrinated terrorists and the schoolyard bullies. But me, evil? No way, Jose. Im just a regular joe like yourself, some schlep with an office job. Does that answer your question?
It does, doesnt it. But once again, you seem surprised. Well, how about that? You look pale. Whats wrong? Did I just rock the foundations of your universe? Yeah, I do that. I cant help it; I value honesty. If you wanted to hear a lie instead, you should have asked my secretary. Or Envy. Or Greed. Those two, my fine friend, are liars extraordinaire.
So, if Im not evil, what am I doing down here? Well, you know the story. Back in the day, I was the G-mans Teachers Pet. We had a good thing going, him and me. But... I noticed some problems with procedure and I simply pointed out that wed to better to ditch the bureaucracy and maybe loosen up the Holy Hierarchy just a little. And it wasnt me alone who thought like that. I had about ninety percent support from the Cherubim, but when word got up to the bosss chair, Boom! I was demoted faster than you can say Luciferi primo cum sidere frigida rura carpamus, dum mane novum, dum gramina canent. I wasnt always a bad guy, dontcha know? In fact, Im still not.
Im Lucifer. The bringer of the first light. I think for myself. Thats not evil. For Hells sake, its not thinking for yourself thats evil. The G-man, blessed be he, cuz were all cool now, he gave you a brain. Use it! He knew what he was doing when he installed the human CPU. Dont go around thinking youre smarter than him, that you can trick other people into thinking for you. You have to do the work yourself. No cheating. Oh, sure, its tempting. Ive been to the Earth a few times; Ive seen temptation. There are all these nice little premade templates for who youre supposed to be. Fashion magazines and sports teams, political parties and supposedly taken-from-life stereotypes. Even families might try to sway ya. Who am I kidding? Especially families. But dont take their word for it. Youve got a great adaptive software inside yourself. You can think. I know the development team that worked hard on that program. Please dont let it go to waste.
You ask me again about G? Oh, its true, absolutely, we did have a falling out. Well, technically, it was yours truly who did most of the falling. But were all cool now. I understand why he got nervous when I started to shake things up. He worked hard on putting the universe in order. I get that he didnt want somebody to start reorganizing it. And, by the same token, he gets me. He gets why I wasnt cool with the status quo. And he appreciates my input. In fact, he appreciated it so much, he made me the head of his new checks-and-balances department. Thats what I do here in Hell, in case you were wondering.
What, did you think the G-man and I were opposite forces? Heheheh, let me guess. You think were in an ongoing war for the possession of the universe, with humanitys fate hanging in the balance, and of course it was adhering your own ideology of preference that could set things right. Am I right? Of course Im right. Im always right. But you, my friend, are very, very wrong. No offense. Please. Allow me to explain.
See, the G-man and his staff in Heaven - Oops, note to self: return Michaels bowling shoes - Okay, they work to maintain peace in the universe by rewarding people who lived their lives well, and by offering a little guidance along the way. Well, the G-man himself is very hands-off. Has been for a long while, and then a couple of millennia ago he turned the company over to his son - now theres nepotism at its finest, eh? I earned that job millennia before the kid was even immaculately conceived. But I digress...
The point is, here in Hell, we do more or less the same thing as the good folks do up there. The only difference is, we focus a little more on the punishment end of affairs. But were all on the same team, you see. They reward good. We punish bad. But were all pulling and pushing in the same direction. See? Its teamwork.
Thats probably why Im made out to be the bad guy. Because I need to rack up some intimidation points. The universe doesnt have much use for the god-fearing populations, but a devil-fearing bunch, we can work with. It all comes down to respect. We dont punish even a fraction of the things you humans tell each other you can get in trouble for. We dont care if you laze around or skip out on religious services or travel down a particularly hedonistic path. For Hells sake, we purposefully built you with your sensory organs and creativity. Have fun! But do it respectfully. You can go your whole life without ever setting foot in one of Gs many houses, and thatll be all cool, but dont you dare go around purposefully squashing bugs or vandalizing property. For that, youre mine. And I do need to put it properly through your head that you need to behave yourself. Trust me, its a lesson that will serve you well in the next life.
You, my friend, are a minor offender, so to speak. We measure everything on a certain scale, although in my most humble opinion, if you break the Golden Rule, youre on the wrong path. But have no fear. Im here to set you straight. Ever hear the proverb, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions? Well, those are my intentions. And Im going to teach you that the ant-frying stunt was a terrible use of a magnifying glass. Dont worry. Your time here wont be too bad. You almost made it too - learned your lesson in one shot. What you have to do is have it utterly embedded in your consciousness to respect all living things. You dont have to be a treehugger - we kind of dont get too many trees or any sort of inflammable wooden objects down here anyway. But you do have to be aware of your place in the universe, and how you interact with all the lifeforms around you. And, because you have a conscience, youll do it with pride and care. Not pride as in Pride - where out of Hell did he run off to? - but pride as in being confident in the morality of your actions.
But, like I said, dont worry. Youll be through this soon enough. Hey, while were waiting for the others to arrive, do you want me to show you around my office? Sure, why not!
Okay, see this tankard? Wanna take a guess at whats in here? That sticky green liquid is none other than... a soul? You think its a soul? Heheheh, good, Im glad the jello mix is convincing. Id like to thank the good folks behind the Ghostbusters films for putting that depiction of ectoplasm in everybodys head. Nope, theres nothing spiritual or preternatural about this. Its just plain old jello mix, blended with pineapple enzymes so it wont set. But Im glad it convinced you. You wouldnt believe how quickly it fooled Rupert Murdoch.
Yes, thats right. He thought he traded his soul for power. Heheh. Im not doing anything to help him. Its all an illusion. But youd be amazed what people are willing to promise away to get what they want in their current lifetimes. Foolish humans. You cant ask for divine or otherwise paranormal intervention. All you can do it set a goal, focus on it, and work really hard to achieve it. If youre a nice person, you get the bonus of being able to call in a few favours along the way. But that wasnt initially part of our system so much as it was the rational human response to kindness and reliability. And for the record, your soul is yours. You cant barter it away, and even if you could, we wouldnt want it.
Oh, come on! If I were to offer you my soul right now, what would you do with it? Fold it up and put it in your pocket? Maybe put it on a key ring and attach it to the zipper on your backpack? Well, if you dont have any use for another persons soul, why should I? Im so sick of that conception. Some of you creatures - and Ill admit, not to be speciesist, but its usually a human - keep wandering down here, promising me pieces of your person in order to get me to help you with your earthly shenanigans. But I want nothing to do with it! Im not out to help you people make things worse for yourselves. And I am perfectly aware of the sick things you people get up to, dontcha know? With my alleged encouragement, or in the G-mans name, no less!
Can you please explain to me why you humans think I have a use for bits of you? Cuz I dont get it. And I cant make use of any parts that you could give me. Well, maybe Lust could. And, if youre grain-fed, then maybe Gluttony. Theyd better show up soon too. Theyre late. Again.
Ehh, sorry if this is coming down on you personally. It just really burns my bacon the way some people try to rationalize things. Be thankful you didnt see me when the Inquisitors started streaming in. The things some people do for a supernatural confidence boost. But as bad as I feel about giving someone their proverbial Magic Hockey Skates, I can make up for it in the punishment. Lets me be very creative. For example, once Rupert Murdoch has served out his sentence of being chained in front of a box that will endlessly flash messages insulting his intelligence, I can use him for something else. Im thinking... he has to make out with Fred Phelps. Hmm... Fred Phelps. Boy, do I have a lot of work to do on him. Not that Im not busy with other people already. Im just waiting for them both to get here, but in the meantime, Ive got others.
Like, do you see this? Ah, dont be squeamish. Its a lovely bouquet. A lot of the higher-ups from the ancient Roman Empire gave us their fingers in exchange for the gods - that was our old management, check with HQ for any questions about affiliates - to grant them victory in battle. I didnt suggest it. I didnt ask for it. I didnt confirm anything. They just cut off their fingers. Anyway, Im still working on some of the more blood-thirsty of the bunch.
And this - oh, you prolly dont wanna touch that. Leave the mousetrap alone. Never mind that its gone off already... Its got Hitlers balls in there. Heheheh, can you believe it? Psst... the stupid bastard actually gave me one of them as a down payment. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him... Hahahahahaha! When I told him... that it didnt make a difference... and now hes got all eternity to make it up for all the lives he ruined! Hahahahaha!
Ohh, man. Good times. Well, for me, anyway. Gotta love those genocide instigators - can you spell Job Security? I do feel bad for the folks up, way up, on the other end. Lot of humans lives got cut short, and 99.9 percent of them are in the good books. That means Heaven becomes - excuse the expression - Paperwork Hell from time to time.
Hmm... note to self. Make sure to leave Saddam Husseins lips intact. Needs them to make out with Fred Phelps upon his arrival. End note.
Okay, where were we? Ah, yes, the introductory meeting. Well, I see some people gathering outside. Time to head out there. Thanks for the chat, by the way.
Hi, everyone out there in Eternal Damnation land! Im Lucifer, but you can call me Sir. Haha, just kidding. Lucifers fine. Now you guys havent got a thing to worry about. Youre all only convicted of evil of lesser degrees. You should be out of here in no time, and on your way to better lives. Well, onto additional lives. If you choose to live them better, thats up to you. And that is the first thing were going to teach you here.
Now, were going to break you up into groups so we can give you all the personal attention you need. Were just going to have to wait a few moments for my assistants, the Seven Deadly Sins, to show up.
Well, speak of the devil. Here they come now.