Sometimes, Mephistopheles (Mephisto for short) reflected, souls arrived down at the Gates of Hell claiming that they could talk their way out of things, that this was all just one big misunderstanding. These people were known to have “silver tongues.”
But if these mere mortals had silver tongues, Mephisto’s boss, Lucifer, possessed the singular golden tongue.
Mephisto had seen his boss charm them all. He could talk a priest into becoming a killer, could convince the most selfless saint to turn his back on his fellow man. Once, Mephisto swore, he’d seen his boss charm the very wings off of a butterfly.
And yet, right now, Lucifer was speechless…
It was obvious. Mephisto slowly edged backwards as he watched the fallen archangel, the Master of Hell, open and close his mouth without any sound coming out.
Briefly, Mephisto wondered what could be considered a “minimum safe distance.” Technically, his boss’s wrath knew no bounds, but usually the flames didn’t make it more than a dozen feet or so before dissipating. Still, the trusted devil lieutenant didn’t want to lose an eyebrow.
“Wha – what in the name of Hell did He do!?” Lucifer finally roared out, his bellow shaking the very foundations of the infernal plane. “This can’t be!”
Lucifer turned and glared with twin black holes at Mephisto, who shuffled uncertainly forward a step. The other lieutenants were hanging back, waiting for someone else to step up and take the fall.
“Boss, we really didn’t have much of a choice or anything,” Mephisto commented, already half-tensed to dodge Lucifer’s impending wrath. “I mean, it’s Him. What are we going to do, say no?”
For a moment, Lucifer kept up the million-watt glare, and Mephisto prepared himself for the worst. Reforming this body was going to be a royal pain. But just as he was resigning himself to atomization, the anger went out of Lucifer’s shoulders, and he slumped down.
“Man, that guy really just bugs me, you know?” he said, his voice more despairing than raging. Kicking off his sandals, the fallen archangel padded out onto the grassy, frolicking meadows that now covered Hell. He bent down and ripped a dandelion out of the ground, but three more wildflowers sprung up in its place.
“I mean, just look at this,” he went on, spreading an arm out. “What in the world was He even thinking?”
Interested by the motion, a fluffy lamb ambled over, nibbling hopefully at the Master of Hell’s robe in hopes that it tasted like grass. Lucifer fired a massive bolt of lightning into the lamb, but it just briefly made the creature’s wool stand on end before it decided that the robe wasn’t as tasty as the green grass underfoot.
Again, none of the other lieutenants spoke up, so Mephisto was left to fill the silence. “He said that even the worst souls could be saved through peace and tranquility,” he offered, again cringing back from any outrage.
“Peace?? Tranquility?? That’s not what souls want! They need to be burned in Hellfire and flayed by imps with pitchforks!” Lucifer shouted back, glaring at the whole pastoral scene around him. “Has He not read any of their recent literature? When did He go so soft?”
“Some time around the New Testament, I think,” Satan’s lieutenant offered, stepping forward, carefully lifting his foot to crush a daisy and grimacing with distaste.
Lucifer suddenly straightened up, frowning. “What did he do with the imps, anyway?”
“Er… you just tried to electrify one of them, sir,” Mephisto informed him.
The Lord of Hell’s eyes went wide. “He turned my demons and imps… into SHEEP?”
“Not just sheep, lord,” grunted Ba’al from behind Mephisto, oozing forward. “Ducks, piglets, little frolicking puppies-“
Mephisto managed to just duck the fireball, but the giant slug form of Ba’al wasn’t so fast, and the grass was covered in a layer of slime. “How dare he??” howled the Eternal Ruler of Damnation up at the black sky.
Time to steer the Master back to a more pleasant topic, Mephisto decided, reaching up and gingerly feeling the top of his head to make sure it hadn’t been burned away. “Sir, at least you did something to Heaven, didn’t you?” he asked.
The devil lieutenant knew his master well. Lucifer already had another fireball glowing in his hands, but the question made him stop and smile, the orb of energy dissipating. “Oh, you bet,” he grinned, suddenly happy. “That should at least put a bee in His bonnet!”
WHAT IN THE NAME OF ME HAS HE DONE?
“Lord, he said that it was allowed, since it’s a version of Heaven-“
A VERSION OF HEAVEN TO WHO? BABIES?
“Erm, let me see…” The cherub ran a shaking chubby hand down his clipboard until he found the entry. “Um, rednecks, Lord.”
THIS IS WHAT REDNECKS THINK THAT HEAVEN IS LIKE? ALL OF THEM?
“Enough for him to make it stick, Lord. Some of us argued-“
I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND HOW THEY STAY ON THOSE HIGH HEELS. THEY’RE ALL SO… TOP-HEAVY.
“He filled… them… with helium, Lord. Said it would make them more ‘perky’.”
AND THEY ARE ABLE TO BREATHE IN THOSE TIGHT SHIRTS?
“More or less. Lucifer said that the breathing was the best part, rising and falling. I’m not quite sure what he meant, Lord.”
UGH. THAT DAMN ANGEL ALWAYS KNEW HOW TO MAKE ME ANNOYED. AND THEY JUST SERVE THESE MEATS ALL DAY LONG?
“Chicken wings, sir. And beer. That’s right.”
QUITE TASTY, THOUGH. IS THAT AN OWL ON THEIR SHIRTS, UNDER THE… CURVATURE?
“The slogan, sir. Most people’s eyes don’t make it down that far.”