End Evil

The Devil

By Angela Scanes

Danny was sitting on the battered bench in the secluded corner of the park behind the library. It was mid-night, and he was drinking a fizzy drink and smoking a large joint.

When the Devil came stepping crisply down the frosted gravel in his slightly pointed but gleaming black shoes, Danny looked at him, showed very little surprise and continued to smoke his joint.

When the Devil stopped in front of him, Danny flicked the butt away without watching its flight and looked the Devil up and down.

He was a thin, middle-aged man, although broadly spread, giving him a hungry look. This was reinforced by his pinched face with its sharp cheekbones, which was not assisted in aesthetical terms by the pointed black beard which graced the very bottom of his chin. He also had a very thin, very black, oiled moustache; the two emphasising how extraordinarily pale he was.

The Devil had just come from a function and was dressed in a black tuxedo, with a white shirt and black bow tie. He had a flame red handkerchief protruding from his jacket´s top pocket, and a thin silver topped black walking cane. In truth there was very little devilish about him, nonetheless; the plants wilted where he passed, the moonlight refused to enter his eyes, and it was true that he had the vague aroma of sulphur. It was He.

Danny took this all in and took a drink from his can, one leg folded under him, one arm slung across the bench back.

"Evening."

The Devil smiled, showing yellowed but definitely pointed teeth and produced a packet of cigarettes from his pocket. He took one himself, and offered the open pack to Danny, who looked at him blankly for a moment.

"Cheers," he said, suddenly leaning forward and fairly snatching it from his hand, before flopping back down in exactly the same position as before and putting in between his lips.

The Devil stretched his arm out and clicked his fingers, which Danny saw were long and pale with long filthy nails before his cigarette burst into flame at the tip. Although instinct must have demanded he spit it out Danny merely squinted slightly, then held it limply in his mouth while it quickly died down, before removing it from his lips and blowing a ring in the air.

The Devil was delighted.

"Is this a TV show or something?" Said Danny.

"NO." Said the Devil.

His voice made a bird in the branches above Danny drop dead, and the still twitching creature bounced off the bench beside him, rolling to a stop on the floor by his foot.

Danny regarded the Devil again.

"Then what do you want?"

The Devil looked at him for a few seconds and then smiled and laughed, and his laugh killed the moon for a moment or two, but Danny did not flinch from the darkness; he merely rolled his eyes toward the skies and then rolled them back again.

"Excellent," said Satan.

The Devil´s conversational voice was rich and sleazy, and each deep husky syllable seemed lasciviously rolled from his red forked tongue, which slipped between his lips just a little as he spoke.

"I just wanted to talk to you," he bowed a little in Danny´s direction. "I am Beelzebub, Prince of Darkness, Lord of the Underworld, Satan, The Devil: The Bad Guy."

He executed a small and feminine wave, keeping his palm still and quickly flapping his fingers up and down.

"Pleased to meet you, Danny."

Danny continued to look at him evenly, and drew the last of his free smoke. He exhaled and his eyes were unblinking in the fog that he threw up into the darkness.

"No you´re not." He replied, with a straight face. "You´re a nutter."

He continued to hold his gaze for another moment then dropped it shaking his head. "I´m sorry to have to tell you that, if you didn´t know. But you´re a nutter mate, and you want to get yourself locked up before you do some harm."

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a sizeable cone. He lit it, eyeing the Devil warily as the flame flared on the tip, and he tapped it a few times on the bench to even it out before relighting it. After this he looked up again.

"Are you still there? What are you, a pedo or something?" He laughed to himself loudly. "I´m eighteen, mate, too old for you. Get down the playground, or better yet, get yourself locked up before its too late."

Satan cocked his head to one side.

"Why don´t you believe that I am The Devil, Danny?"

"Yeah I caught that the first time," he winked, drawing in deeply, "you knowing my name. No need to bludgeon me with it. I was wondering about that. Is there any point in asking?" This last came out as a controlled croak as he expelled the words and withheld the smoke.

"I know because I am The Devil, Danny, it is my business to know."

"I see. Well although you know my name don´t feel you have to use it in every sentence, it´s kind of irritating, Satan."

"OK, Danny," said the Devil. "Sorry."

"No problem," Danny finally exhaled and for a moment lost sense of the sulphurous air as a plume of smoke engulfed him.

"See the problem is that the Devil doesn´t exist. And you obviously do so you can´t be the Devil; it isn´t a disaster, man, you´re just having an identity crisis." He shrugged, and looked up at the stars.

"I am Beelzebub, mortal, and you would do well to remember it. I was here when this was all there was, when Heaven when was born, when Heaven was cleaved and when Hell was spawned. For all eternity I have been and will be the epitome of all Evil in this world; Master of Lies; Prince of Darkness; I am Satan and I will not be denied."

A crack of thunder in the otherwise clear sky was followed by a bolt of ball lightening fizzing malevolently up a few feet out of the ground mere inches from the Devil´s glinting shoes.

"I´m Sparticus," shouted Danny, then laughed and shook his head. "Sorry, it´s a joke."

"I don´t get it," said the Devil.

"Yes," said Danny, "I can see that." He sighed. "Look, why don´t you tell me why you think you´re the Devil? I mean maybe you´re right, I´m just making an educated guess, after all."

Satan looked at him for a long moment and distractedly blew out his right forefinger, which still had a lick of flame flickering up from the tip.

"I..." Satan closed his mouth again and looked around him for a while, one hand on his hip. Eventually he chuffed in a frustrated manner. "Of course I´m the fucking Devil, that´s why I think I am, because I am, right? I mean what a question - how do you know you´re you?"

"I don´t," Danny replied instantly through a good stinky haze.

Satan stared at Danny for quite some time, then smiled again and shook his angular head, drumming his cane on the path in a quick tattoo. He strolled over - heels clicking - and sat on the other end of the bench.

Although he looked out at the stars and the park, Danny was looking at him, with a deep and thoughtful expression.

"Are you really the Devil then? Source of all evil? Cause of all suffering? Perpetrator of all wrongs?"

Satan turned to look at him and nodded politely.

"Yes."

"Right then." Danny took another toke and reached into his jacket pocket, producing a battered walkman. "You should listen to this."

The Devil regarded it coolly for a moment, then grinned and put the headphones on. He continued to grin as Danny smiled and pressed the play button, whereupon The Devil exploded, becoming a puff of red smoke and the vague impression of distant screaming.

"Cunt," said Danny, and went home.


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