In what is believed to be a first for the blogosphere, if not the legacy press, I was recently granted an exclusive audience with Satan. In a wide ranging interview The Prince Of Darkness spoke with me on a number of topics, focusing primarily on his difficulty in preparing enough "special places" for Bush administration members.
At precisely the appointed time a large door behind the receptionist's desk burst open and a beaming Satan strode towards me extending a well manicured claw.
"Please allow me to introduce myself," he said, enthusiastically pumping my arm. "Let's do this in my office, but you'll have to excuse the mess."
He ushered me into a richly paneled office strewn with what appeared to be rolled up blueprints. A tray of dark chocolate cake, elaborately prepared hard boiled eggs, and overly salty minced ham spread was offered. The Devil must have sensed my surprise at seeing a PC on his desk. "Yeah, we all have to use Windows ME down here," he sighed. "It really is Hell."
JM: Before we begin, how would you like me to address you? Satan? The Devil? Beelzebub? Old Scratch?
Satan: My name is legion. Call me anything you want; just don't call me late for the last supper! (laughs) No, call me Satan, Satan's fine.
JM: If you'll forgive my saying so, your office is a bit of a mess. Business must be good, huh?
Satan: Well you know, we're getting our usual allotment, nothing more. It's upstairs that's getting swamped. A hundred thousand or so innocent Iraqis, plus all those poor young men and women dying for their president's lies.
JM: So you have some problems with the Bush administration?
Satan: Oh, don't get me wrong. In some ways they've been very good to us. We've even hopped on the outsourcing bandwagon. You know all those America Online CDs you see everywhere? We do that. And those little cards that fall out when you open a magazine; that's us too. We undercut everybody on price. Believe me, we bring a new definition to the term sweatshop!
But it's the special places; having to design them and getting them built that's driving me nuts.
JM: Special places?
Satan: Yeah. You see, first of all I don't get nearly as many customers down here as most folks think. The man upstairs? Well you wouldn't believe the forgiveness being doled out up there. I mean you mortals try to grasp it but it's beyond your ability. It's like a fruit fly trying to comprehend the cosmos. Or Jessica Simpson trying to understand Buffalo wings.
But I still get plenty of business; I'm not complaining. It's mostly routine, but when a really, really evil person dies I have to make sure that there's a special place in Hell for them. The ordinary lake of fire stuff just won't cut it. And we're backed up on being ready for the Bushies.
JM: Are you telling me that there are members of the Bush administration who are going to die soon?
Satan: Oh, Hell no. I don't get that information down here. (Looking upward and speaking loudly) I don't know why that is! Really, you wouldn't believe how much I've tried to get God to the bargaining table, you know, merge Heaven and Hell. The savings would be phenomenal. Real synergy and redemption. Bastard won't even return my calls.
So you see, since I don't know when anybody's going to die I have to be prepared ahead of time. Fortunately I've been doing this long enough to be able to recognize who's going through the pearly gates and who's gonna be checkin' into Motel Styx. Oh yeah, we'll leave the light on for you; you bet your ass! And the anticipated influx from the Bushies is just overwhelming me.
JM: So you're afraid you're going to run out of room?
Satan: No, not at all. Space is nearly infinite down here. Hell is just a vast, ugly plane. Sort of like that Airbus they rolled out a few weeks ago. Hey, I just made that up! Write it down!
JM: Got it.
Satan: Like I said, it's thinking up the special places, and then getting them built. I'm intimately involved in every aspect no matter how small. You know, The Devil is in the details.
We're way behind schedule. My contractor's bleeding me dry with shoddy work and cost overruns. I'd fire them if I could, but we've only got one contractor down here: Helliburton.
Satan: Yeah, and I know what you're thinking and you're right. They're a subsidiary. Cheney set it up when he was incorporating all those shell companies so he could do business with Iraq and Iran. Pack of fucking thieves is what they are!
JM: So give me an idea of what sort of things you have in store for these folks.
Satan: Well, some of them are pretty easy. Ashcroft? We've got a simple room set up for him. But instead of wallpaper he'll see women's breasts everywhere he looks! Damn I'm looking forward to seeing the horror on his face when he sees that! Then we'll just play a soundtrack of the screams of the 9/11 victims, you know, the ones he might have been able to save if he hadn't decided to focus on drugs and porn instead of national security.
And his replacement, Gonzales? That's almost too easy: All torture all the time! Down here we also consider the Geneva Conventions (makes quotation marks in the air with his talons) quaint. And in Hell, organ failure isn't fatal! (laughs)
JM: How about Colin Powell?
Satan: Well, he's one of the more difficult cases. A once honorable man who embraced the dark side, so to speak. Hey, I think there's a movie in that! Anyway, I was thinking of going with a Steppin' Fetchitt theme, maybe make him dress up like a lawn jockey or something. But I've settled on Goethe; a continuous performance of Faust. Just 24/7 of reminding him what happens to a man when he sells his soul.
JM: How about people who aren't actually members of the Bush administration, but support its agenda? Like Senator Santorum?
Satan: Oh I'm especially proud of his special place. The Sanctum Santorum I'm calling it. First, I'm going to see to it that there's always a few hounds of Hell sniffing around his ass, if you catch my drift. He seems to have a real preoccupation with that sort of thing. Then, he's going to be bombarded around the clock with people performing Broadway shows.
JM: That's a punishment? I'm not sure that I follow.
Satan: You didn't let me finish. Broadway shows written, performed, and directed only by straight people. No Cole Porter. No Noel Coward. No Oscar Wilde. Nothin' but straight people tryin' to dance! Trust me; it'll be brutal.
JM: Perhaps in the same vein, how about Alan Keyes?
Satan: That's another easy one. People get all worried about the fire and brimstone. The flame that burns yet does not consume yada yada yada.
But they're wrong. The worst damnation is isolation from those who love you; the knowledge that you'll never see them again, never get to put things right. So Alan Keyes will simply spend eternity surrounded by photos of his daughter. The one he disowned, not because of who she hated, but because of who she loved! Listen, I take pride in my work; I can dish out some mean shit. But the worst Hells are often the ones we make for ourselves.
JM: I guess that leaves us with the man himself. What sort of special Hell are you preparing for George W. Bush?
Satan: (Pauses for several seconds, looks down.) You know, that's the one that's keeping me up nights. Ever since that White House Correspondent's Dinner. I was there, seated next to Brit Hume.
(Looks up with moist eyes.) There he was. Only a few months before he had sent hundreds of his nation's finest to their deaths. It was obvious that more would follow. Thousands more were horribly maimed. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians dead. He had said there was a reason for it. A reason why it had to be done.
And the reason had been proven wrong. It had all been for a falsehood. Every bit of it.
And he stood up there in front of the world and he joked about it! He stood up there in front of a big photo of him peering under his desk and he said "Nope, no weapons of mass destruction there!" Then they showed another picture of him lifting up some pieces of paper on his desk and he said "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be around here somewhere!" He fucking joked about it! (visibly trembling.)
I realized then that creating a special enough place in Hell for him was the least of my worries.
JM: How do you mean?
Satan: Listen, I have been doing this for, well...forever. And I know I turned on the charm for you here today; I can do that. Hell, I'm the guy who invented PR. But make no mistake; I am one nasty, mean- ass, evil motherfucker. Since the beginning of time I've had no equal! But when that son of a bitch gets down here....I'm out of a fucking job.