Today’s Challenge: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year? Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.
“I MET THE DEVIL TO KNOW ITS NAME”
Yesterday I met the Devil. It was one of those quiet days at work when no one cares if you take a long lunch…so I took the whole afternoon. Browsing the web at lunchtime last week I had seen an ad, small and discreet at the bottom of a news site: “Meet the Devil” it said, and listed a two hour window when you could drop in. The address wasn’t suspicious, it was a suite at the biggest office block in the city, only minutes walk from my shabby old office. I decided to give it a go. I put the 2 hour window in my diary as “Private Appointment” and forgot all about it.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I started questioning what I was about to do. I wound my scarf tightly around my neck and inhaled one last breath of warm air before stepping outside. It was then the questions came: do I believe in the Devil? Do I believe in God? If I was going to meet the Devil, would this forever change my fundamental belief system and way I live my life? The ad had been next to one for “Madame Fortune: where all your dreams come true” so my confidence level had been low from the start. Chances are I was going to be Punk’d and laughed at by millions. Oh well, we either win or learn.
I had always been under the impression that the Devil was male. Like God. While I would like to think that a woman created the universe, I think it must have been a male because a woman would have done a better job and would be more proactive in fixing the problems.
I got out of the lift on level 6 and found unit 66 (666? How original). I pushed open the heavy oak doors and found a simple reception area, black walls, black shag carpet, marble reception desk, and stark white plastic chairs for visitors.
The receptionist was blonde, too blonde. She was perky and welcomed me and said the Devil wouldn’t be long. I moved over to the white chairs and sat on one. It was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever sat on, ever. It was like sitting on concrete that had never been smoothed. There were stones and other lumpy items bulging into areas that should only be treated nicely. I stood up and turned around to the look at the chair, completely smooth. Was I losing it?
“Is something wrong?” the receptionist asked me.
“Just stretching,” I smiled.
I sat on the horribly uncomfortable chair again and looked around in more detail. It felt more like a brothel than an office space. All that was missing was the leather on the walls and some red tint on the fluorescent lights.
“The Devil will see you now, go straight through,” the receptionist motioned towards a set of heavy oak doors.
Thank God. All I wanted was to be off that chair.
Then I realised that I was about to meet the Devil. Was I about to die? Was I about to be swept to the Underworld and tortured forever?
Meh. Change is as good as a holiday. I pushed through the heavy doors with gusto.
It was like there were no windows, they were floor to ceiling and so clean I could have walked straight through them. The Devil was being melodramatic and facing away from me so I could only see the back of the chair. It must have been expensive and was black leather like every other furniture item in the room.
“Hello?” I said.
And then it turned around. Or should I say He. Or She. Then He again. As the Devil turned to face me it looked nothing as I had imagined. I had thought of red skin, horns and a tail with spikes on the end, stereotypically of course. But in fact the Devil was human, with a face and body shape that changed about every five seconds.
“Hello,” the Devil said to me. “Please sit down.” And He/She gestured me towards the single leather recliner in front of it.
Hesitantly I sat down, waiting to see if it would be the same uncomfortable, trick chair as in reception, though gratefully it was not. The Devil laughed at me.
“I love seeing people do that. Did you enjoy the chair in reception?” it asked. It was looking at me with a bemused look on its face, the ever changing face. The reception chair appeared to be a long running ‘in joke’ that I was not in on.
“So, what can I do for you?”
It was very distracting watching its face change every five seconds. Just as I would get comfortable with one set of eyes looking back at me, they would change into someone else’s – blue, brown, fierce, relaxed – it was very off putting.
“I was simply curious I guess. You see an ad for the Devil and you just want to know. Do you get many people responding to the ad?” I asked.
“More than you would think actually. One gets bored when one is alone all the time so I like to keep myself entertained. Would you like to see how many have visited?” it asked me.
“Of course,” I said, then suddenly thought ‘what if it’s about to kill me and keep my head on a spike in the closet?’ I’d been watching too much Game of Thrones apparently.
It opened a floor to ceiling door that perfectly blended into the wall and the whole back of the door was full of chalk tallies. Apparently hundreds of people had been as curious as me. I was comforted. We walked back and sat down, me making sure I walked behind in case it was going to murder me from behind.
“Do you have any questions for me?” the Devil asked, head cocked to the side.
“Only one. Why do you make so many evil things happen in the world?”
It laughed. A cackle like you hear witches make in movies, but it’s face resembled a small child with brown plaited pigtails to its hips, hardly threatening.
“My dear I am not evil, nor do I create evil or make people do evil things. What I do is watch the truth in people come out. People are born and are not tampered with. I do not prey on them at their weakest moment, nor do I lead them into tempting situations. You humans do all of that by yourselves.”
“But what about people like Hitler? Surely that kind of evil comes from somewhere?” I ask.
“Of course it does. It comes from whatever is inside them. Whether those feelings are created by genetics, how they’re treated as a child or something more, I am not sure. Unfortunately I am not privileged to the secrets of the universe – I just get blamed for them. That’s why I take out an ad and come sit here for an afternoon, to see what you all think of me. It is a lonely existence knowing I will never die and am thought poorly of. Imagine billions of people hating you. It’s a tough gig. I think after me, Judas had the worst deal. But at least he got to die.” I sensed some bitterness.
“I still don’t get it, how are evil people just evil? What drives someone to murder someone else or kill thousands if it’s not you?” I can’t wrap my head around what it’s saying.
It sighs as if it’s been through this a thousand times.
“If God was a loving God, do you not think He would stop all of this. Yes, God is a He, sorry to disappoint your gender. Do you really think a female God would let everyone suffer like this? She would more likely tell you all to play nice and get on with it. You are God’s amusement park and believe me He’s rarely shocked. You’d think of all the civilisations He’s created in all the galaxies He’d try and make at least one run smoothly.
You people are inherently bad – depending on what you classify as bad. If you’re a Christian and believe that sex is bad then you will try to avoid doing it, even though it feels natural. If you’re an atheist and you think murdering people is bad, then you try to avoid doing it. Everything is relative to your own opinions. That’s why people try to take over the world every now and then – they have the strong belief that their opinion is the right one.
I do not bring evil into the world. I give people someone to blame when they are their true selves because your tiny minds cannot cope with the fact that people are just the way they are and that is that. I am not the evil, I am the justification.”
“Am I dead?”
“Why would you be dead?”
“Because you’re the Devil and I’m talking to you..”
“No, you’re not dead. Grim Reaper takes care of that. I think you’d like her actually. I’ll set you up with a coffee date. Totally innocent and no death I promise. Not yours anyway.”
“Grim Reaper is a woman?”
“Of course. If she was a man, the only people left on earth would be his mum, his buddies and the prostitutes. Hardly a productive environment, but sustainable.” Surprise, surprise, the Devil was funny.
We talked into the night and I learnt that the secrets of the universe are not so secret – humanity have decided to create the fantasy of secrecy as a “get out of jail free” card.
I walked away with my view of the world unchanged – I, like all humans, will always choose to believe that there is some negative force somewhere that I can use to justify my bad actions. It’s name is the Devil. We choose to believe in it so our uncomprehending minds do not implode with the gravity of knowing we just are that bad.
The Devil is you, is me, is him, is her. The Devil is us.
P.S. Got a coffee date with Grim Reaper and the Devil next week, I’ve been promised I’ll get out alive. In case I don’t, I thought I’d write this down.