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Goodbye Jesus

God Helps Those...


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From the vantage point of the altar, the congregation wasn’t composed of individual people; it instead resembled a giant, amoebic organism made of money that fed on charisma. The swelling sounds of worship were loudest at the pulpit and it was all the good Reverend Robert Wainwright “Bobby Wayne” Robertson could do not to clamp his hands over his ears to shut out the cacophony of the choir-leader’s new song, Satan Can’t Hold Me Down; but the good reverend just ground the teeth of his winning smile and waved his hands in the air like an idiot. The good Reverend Bobby Wayne was six feet, three and a half inches tall, with his dirty blond hair cut into a conservative mullet framing a neck like a bull. Bobby Wayne had shoulders like a linebacker, a barrel chest, lean hips, and despite his consistent workout schedule, legs like an underfed chicken. His features were the pinnacle of symmetrical Aryan perfection with blue eyes, a straight, perfectly-proportioned nose, and thin, yet expressive lips. He was never seen in public without being garbed in a custom-fitted suit, a white-collared French blue shirt and tasteful tie, but he was never seen in front of his congregation without a god-awful, outdated, poorly-fitted pastel suit, black shirt and white tie.


He hated his ‘uniform,’ but the idiots who paid his bills ate it up. They obviously figured anyone with terrible taste in suits was probably holy.


As the song wound down to long-anticipated silence, Bobby Wayne gripped the sides of the pulpit with each hand and began threatening, asking, and downright begging for money. This went on for almost an hour while the ushers circulated through the thousands of faithful who had shown up for the three o’clock televised service and collected cash and cheques made out to Reverend Bobby Wayne Robertson and the Church of Christ Triumphant Assemblies. Finally, it was time for closing prayers. Bobby Wayne closed his eyes and opened his arms to the sky before speaking,


“Lord God, who, through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ, has saved us, sinners all,” the congregation broke in with spontaneous outcry of “Amen!” Bobby Wayne paused for a moment in his prayer to let them get it out of their systems and once they had quieted down, continued,


“We come to you today filled with vice and evil and ask for Your Presence and Blessed Guidance in our lives filled with the despair brought by the Enemy. We come to You today to beg Your Holy Forgiveness for our terrible sins, that are abominable in Your Holy and Loving Sight. We come to You today to BE HEALED,”




“...of our maladies, to BE HEALED,”




“…of our depression, to BE HEALED,”


“AMEN! HALLELUJAH!” Bobby almost lost his place, but years of practice did indeed, make perfect,


“…of our ignorance, and to BE HEALED” he paused and knew what was coming,




He smirked beneath his expression of holiness… it looked almost beatific on his face,


“…of the illness of the Spirit forced on us by Satan…”


Bobby paused and wrinkled his brow in what looked like pain for dramatic effect, mildly annoyed that he was getting sporadic calls of, “Praise Jesus!” instead of the “Amen!” that he was expecting,


“God is speaking to me! The Lord Jesus Christ has spoken to me, His humble servant! He is telling me of a man here tonight plagued by the devil of arthritis in his hips! He speaks of a Brother George Schlobohm!”


Bobby Wayne waited for the Amen’s to die down before he saw the man speaking to ushers, doubtlessly with questions about why he was chosen. Bobby Wayne was relieved to see that this time it was a man in his mid sixties confined to a wheelchair; last time it had been a college basketball player who, while he believed as strongly as anyone in the congregation, didn’t necessarily want the viral infection of his bladder mentioned in front of an auditorium full of people.


It had been kind of an ugly scene once backstage.


Bobby Wayne had one of the ushers wheel George Schlobohm to the altar where he was given a close-up by the stage cameraman. Bobby Wayne leaned down to the man in the wheelchair and said into his lapel microphone,


“George Schlobohm! Are you ready to receive the healing power of Christ, Our Lord?”


George looked like he didn’t buy a moment of this crap. He had probably come because his wife wanted him to,


“I, uh… guess so.”


Bobby Wayne wasn’t daunted by the skepticism at all. In fact, he worked better this way,


“Brother Schlobohm, Jesus is ready to change your life for the better and all you can manage is, ‘I guess so’?” Bobby Wayne turned to the congregation with a wink before continuing, “Do you believe in the healing powers of Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is your own, Personal Savior? Do you believe that I am but the humble instrument of the Healing Power of the Holy Blood of the Lamb?”


Bobby sounded anything but humble.


“AMEN!” the congregation shouted between each question. They held off on Hallelujahs until the end, though, for which Bobby Wayne was grateful. The poor old guy looked faintly embarrassed by his impassioned speech and the shouting of what he could now see was an audience, rather than a congregation.


This was what Bobby Wayne had intended. He waited for it… waited for it… and finally, George looked to be steeling his nerve to do something that he found personally ridiculous. Bobby cracked a smile when the querulous, “Amen.” finally got through the social conditioning of George Matthew Schlobohm. Bobby pounced,


“Louder, Brother George!”




“Louder, Brother George! Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!”


George Schlobohm was so caught up in the moment that he stood up from his wheelchair without even realizing it. He thrust both hands high into the air and shouted, “AMEN! PRAISE JESUS!”


Bobby Wayne stood back from the newly-healed man and lifted both palms to heaven in fake thanksgiving, “Jesus Christ has truly healed you, Brother! Give thanks to Him who loves you in spite of your sins!”


George looked around suddenly as he realized that he wasn’t sitting down. His expression changed instantly from ecstasy to fear and Bobby Wayne had to move quickly to intercept him as he fell. George leaned on the Reverend and then took a few tentative steps across the stage with the support,


“It’s… gone. The arthritis is gone!”


Bobby Wayne smiled at him from where he stood, silhouetted against the stage lights. He reached up to turn off his lapel mike and said to George, unheard by the screaming, praising masses,


”And it will never come back so long as you remember your tithe.”




“That was amazing, Rob. You’re good at this shit.”


Bobby Wayne looked at the demon as he disrobed in his dressing room backstage,


“Gee… do you really think so?” he snorted through his nose.


The demon was crouched on the top tube of the clothes rack, his yellow skin hanging in greasy folds from a skeletal body, looking for all the world like a bright yellow toad on a very unhealthy diet… but with wings, of course,


“Eat my steaming shit, goat fucker. I was just trying to pay you a fucking compliment.”


“I don’t think compliments from you count, actually.”


“Really? Why wouldn’t they?”


“You said a whole sentence without cursing at all… congratulations.” Bobby hung his coat and tie on the rack and began to unbutton his shirt, “Compliments from you don’t count because you’re so ugly.”


“Suck my pointy cock, you fleshbag.”


Bobby hung up his shirt, “I knew it couldn’t last.” He started to undo his belt, “Want to compare sizes, Cat?” He winked at the demon as he unzipped, “Pointy or not, I bet you’re still hung like a toad.”


The demon didn’t respond except to waggle the tiny genitalia in Bobby’s direction.


Bobby finished undressing and started looking for the suit he came in with, “Have you seen my suit, Cat?”


“I hate it when you call me that, cumdrinker. My name is Catagolgrothor Dyspexia, Devourer of Souls and Duke of the Labyrinth, you retarded monkey… not, ‘Cat.’” The demon began pissing in the direction of the requested suit, but the superheated urine evaporated before it touched anything. Bobby looked faintly ill as the smell of rotten eggs permeated the room,


“You are a filthy little pig.”






“Borgimal the Rancid is a pig.” the demon sniffed, “I’m built like a toad.”






Bobby Wayne and the demon made their way out of the auditorium after everyone else had left. Bobby Wayne sat in the driver’s seat of his giant, white Cadillac and revved it up. After putting on his seatbelt, he pulled the demon out of his coat pocket and tossed him on the dashboard where he landed in a flutter of wings and tiny droplets of grease,


“Hey Spermguzzler! You can’t throw around a Duke of the Labyrinth like that!”


Bobby Wayne started the Caddy and slammed it into drive without saying a word. The demon, while itching for an argument, seemed unable to avoid turning around and looking through the windshield. The Duke of the Labyrinth began slobbering all over the dashboard as they passed The Clock on the right. Bobby Wayne was hungry too, but he knew better than to take the demon into a sit-down restaurant… that it was a bad idea had been proven time and again during the three months that they had been acquainted. Bobby passed all of the eateries on Palatka’s main road and made a left onto Highway 17 to start the long drive north from Palatka to Jacksonville. They would drive through the McDonald’s in Green Cove Springs later, the hour wait would make the burgers almost palatable.


Bobby Wayne addressed the demon,


“I still don’t get it.”


Catagolgrothor didn’t even turn around, “Retard.”


“I haven’t even told you what I don’t get!”


“It doesn’t matter what it is, you’re still a fucking cretin.”


Bobby Wayne ignored the jab this time, persisting in his question,


“I heal people in the name of Jesus, but somehow, they end up in Hell. That just doesn’t make any sense.”


“This again? I can’t believe how fucking dense you are.” the demon let loose a long-suffering sigh, “Fine… one more time I’ll explain this, okay?”


Catagolgrothor turned around and hopped into the passenger seat,


“Alright, nutsack-nuzzler, are you healing people with the power of Gah… the Creator?”




“Then where does your power come from.”


“Well… you. Right?”


The demon made the buzzing sound from Family Feud, “Wrong, shithead. Try again.”


“I don’t need this attitude from you, Cat.”


The demon mumbled under his breath for a moment, Bobby Wayne catching only,


fucking Duke… Labyrinth… feed… own fucking testicles…


The demon drew in his breath,


“Fine. I’ll be nice… where does my power come from, O He of the Mighty Intellect?”




“More specifically?” the demon waved his hands to indicate that they had gone over this before and it wasn’t a complete answer. Bobby drew a complete blank,


“Uh… Satan?”


The demon closed his eyes and cradled his forehead in one tiny claw,


“You fucking imbecile…” the demon suddenly started gesticulating wildly with his arms, “My power comes from human sin and the hatred of the Creator that it represents, okay? Do you get it now?”


Bobby Wayne must have still looked confused because the demon continued,


“Every time someone willingly sins, they remove themselves a little more from the Creator’s grace, right? Do you understand that?”




“Okay, so every time that someone moves away from the Creator they move closer to… where?”




“Ding! Ding! Ding! You get the shiny gold star! Good for you!”


Bobby Wayne just shook his head,


“But I’m still healing them in the name of Christ!”


The demon stopped his impromptu dance and stared wide-eyed at Bobby Wayne,


”You still don’t get it? Seriously?”


“No, I really don’t.”


“Oh, for the love of… you fucking moron! Are you Yeshua?” the demon was raising his voice now.


Bobby couldn’t stop himself, he asked before he even thought about it,


“Who’s Yeshua?”


The demon’s eyes narrowed alarmingly,


“Jesus! ‘Yeshua’ was the actual name of the little Jewish faggot that you call ‘Jesus!’” the demon paused incredulously before screaming at Bobby Wayne, “You really didn’t know that?”


“Nope.” Bobby Wayne was smiling at the demon’s antics. He was pacing back and forth on the passenger’s seat, gesturing obscenely at the ground… it was like shaking a fist at heaven, but in reverse. He let the demon get himself under control, his ragged breathing the only sign that he was still very, very upset. In a quiet voice, the demon said,


“Okay, Jesus Christ’s real name was Joshua, Son of Joseph. ‘Jesus’ comes from Greek. ‘Yeshua’ was his name in Aramaic.”


“How come you can say ‘Jesus,’ but you can’t say ‘God?’”


The demon shook his head violently, splattering drops of grease all over the rich, maroon leather, “Uh-uh. Not a chance, spoogebrains. I’ll only explain one metaphysical concept beyond the ken of your intellect at a time, so shut up and listen.”




The demon made sure he wasn’t going to be interrupted again, but Bobby Wayne was signaling a lane change and looked preoccupied. Catagolgrothor continued,


“Okay… so you heal people in the name of Jesus, but it’s not Jesus healing them, it’s Hell. That’s what makes you what we like to call a ‘false prophet.’”


Bobby perked up. He had never heard this part before. The demon didn’t notice his interest and kept talking,


“By your very nature, you’re the antithesis of worthy belief. People who attend your services aren’t there to praise Jesus… no matter what they may think they’re doing… they’re praising you. That means that by accepting you as the source of the ‘miracles’ they witness and experiencing, they’re rejecting the miracles that the Creator may have had in store for them. Not a single person in your congregation is smart enough to seek the Creator on their own, so they put their faith in you to find Him for them.”


The demon took a deep breath,


“So, when they mistakenly put their faith in you, what they’re actually doing is putting their faith in me because I’m the source of your power. This means that they’re putting their faith in Hell because that’s the source of my power; and by extension, their own sin, which damns them.” the demon glanced at Bobby, “Do you get it now?”


Bobby Wayne checked his rearview with interest and asked,


“So I’m a false prophet?”


“Yep. You’re a particularly stupid one, but a false prophet nonetheless.”


Bobby took a deep breath,


“When does it happen then?”


It was the demon’s turn to look confused,


“When does what happen?”


Bobby glanced over at the demon and met his red-tinged eyes,


“The end of the world, retard.”


The demon stared at Bobby Wayne in shocked disbelief, mouth and eyes opened wide.


Bobby chuckled,


“You’ve got a big mouth, little toad.”


“Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck! Fucking damnable hell!” the demon began throwing a tantrum, by beating his tiny fists against the leather of the seat.


“Something wrong, Cat?”


The demon immediately stopped the tantrum and stared at Bobby with hatred gleaming in his fiery eyes. He jumped from the seat to Bobby’s shoulder in one fluid motion and then grabbed Bobby’s right ear with both hands,


“You can’t tell anyone! Do you hear me? NO ONE CAN KNOW!”


”Ow! Damn it! Get off me!” Bobby began swatting at the angry demon in an effort to dislodge him.


“Hell no! I need you to pact it, or I swear by all that’s unholy, you’ll live just long enough to regret your damnable insight.”


“Damn it! I’m trying to drive!”


The demon released one hand from Bobby’s ear and gestured distractedly at the front of the car. The engine immediately slowed and the steering wheel jerked its way out of Bobby’s grip as the Caddy bee-lined for the shoulder of the road,


“Not anymore, you’re not.” said Catagolgrothor as the Caddy skidded to a complete stop.


The hazard lights were already flashing, Bobby noted.


“Pact your silence with me.” the demon hissed into Bobby’s ear.


“You little son of a bitch! Let go of my fucking ear!”


“Pact… Right. Fucking. Now.”


“Fuck you! Let go of my ear!”


Tiny claws dug deeply into the skin of Bobby’s ear, tearing through cartilage and dripping blood on Bobby’s freshly-laundered shirt,


“I’m serious, Robert.” the claws tightened their hold, “This isn’t my only form, you know.”


Bobby Wayne had a sudden nightmarish memory of the first time he had seen the demon; twelve feet of gleaming black scales topped with a tarnished silver crown, bat wings, a jaw distended enough to swallow a cow whole, and a yard-long sword made of green fire. He did not ever want to see that again… visions of the demon’s true visage still woke him screaming from a sound sleep at least once a week. Bobby stopped struggling to pull the vise away from his ear,


“I didn’t know pacts were valid if coerced.”


”Well. Now I guess you know.”


Bobby Wayne sighed, “Fine. Let me go and I’ll sign it.”


“If I let you go and you refuse to sign it, you’re going to get two feet of hellfire in your gut.” The demon spat at Bobby nastily, “Just an FYI.”


Bobby held up his hands in surrender, “No need, give me the fucking pact.”


“Who has the dirty mouth now?” The grip was released and two pieces of parchment fluttered down into Bobby’s lap from a tiny explosion of green light. He grabbed them and began reading.


Bobby paused after about an hour. He was midway through the two page document,


“What the hell is this?” he jabbed a finger at the fine print, but as with all of Hell’s documents, the fine print took up more than ninety percent of the page, so it took him a moment to find the passage again, “’…the Signer of the Pact shall henceforth be stripped of any previously held Infernal Powers and required to Sign a new Pact to regain any such Powers, as delineated in Appendix forty-six, Line twelve…’ What the hell does that mean?”


The demon immediately started flipping through a small tome that he produced from the air,


“Um… okay, here it is… appendix forty-six, line twelve, ‘Should the Infernal Familiar’ that’s me, okay?” Bobby nodded briskly. The demon cleared his throat and continued, “Okay… uh, ‘Should the Infernal Familiar require the Signer of a previous Pact to Sign the Pact entitled, The Infernal War Effort for Earth Non-Disclosure Pact for Existing Infernal Servants, Revision three ninety-four, it shall require a Supervisory’… I'm a supervisor, no problem there…’a Supervisory re-negotiation of the existing Infernal Gifts, Powers, Abilities, or other Infernally-originated Supernatural Provisions of the Signer. Should the Signer refuse to re-negotiate the original Pact, the Infernal Familiar shall be held responsible for the immediate procurement of the Signer’s Soul, as noted in the existing Pact.”


The demon finished with a flourish and slammed the book shut and out of existence,


“There you go. Happy?”


Bobby shook his head,


“Uh… no?”


“What’s wrong? You wanted to know, I told you… what else do you fucking want?”


“Let me get this straight… immediately upon signing this new pact, I lose my existing powers of healing and would have to sign another pact with you to get them back?”


“Theoretically… no, they’re just gone and you’re screwed. In actuality, you have the option to renegotiate a pact with me for a new set of Infernal powers, which may or may not include healing.”


“Or you ‘procure’ my soul?”




“Which means what?”


“I kill you by ripping out your intestines with my teeth and claws while my pointy tail violates your every orifice.” The demon grinned at Bobby Wayne, “Then I get to drag your screaming soul to my home in the Labyrinth where you’ll be my little go-bitch for eternity.”


Bobby began reading again and then pointed to another of the many Terms and Conditions of the Pact incredulously,


“If I try to talk to anyone other than you about my role in the upcoming war, my tongue turns black, shrivels up, and pulls itself out of my mouth by the roots while screaming, ‘Accursed liar’? Is this for real?”


The demon shrugged,


“What? That’s standard operating procedure.”


Bobby just shook his head in wonder,


“That’s just fucking great.”


The demon winked at Bobby Wayne, the sarcasm completely lost on him,


“I know, huh? There’s nothing like Hell’s legal department!”


Bobby Wayne sighed and started shaking his head dejectedly. Catagolgrothor blinked several times in confusion and then asked,


“What? I thought it was a pretty good clause. We’ve been using it since the fourteenth century.”


”It’s not that, you little...” Bobby paused, figuring it would hurt his renegotiation if he kept insulting the little demon, “I just can’t believe the shit I get myself into. Why did I ever sign that first pact?”


Catagolgrothor, in a perfect imitation of Bobby Wayne’s voice said,


“’I’d sell my soul to the devil to be able to walk again.’” the demon started snickering and continued on in his normal, gravelly voice, “You wanted me to heal your busted back, so I healed your back. Then you had the balls… even with me in my real form… to ask me for riches and fame. So, I’m making you rich and famous. I don’t see the fucking problem, Rob. You negotiated three pacts for one with me… actually, it’s four if you count the healing power, but that was kind of a freebie. I don’t understand why you’re bitching about a new one.”


Bobby turned to the demon and said through clenched teeth,


”You made me into a televangelist, you little turd.”


“So? That’s the easiest way to get rich and famous in this society. It’s not like the fourteen-hundreds when I could just give somebody a sack of gold and a fake title or something. I had to work with your ‘nascent potential.’” The demon chuckled, “Do you know what ‘nascent’ means, kiddies?”


In a terrible imitation of the demon’s voice, Bobby replied,


“Yes, I know what ‘nascent’ means, you little cocksucker.”


Catagolgrothor stared at Bobby for a minute, then started laughing uproariously. Bobby watched him for a bit, not smiling at all until the demon said, between guffaws,


“Shit! I missed it… you could’ve been a fucking comedian! That would’ve gotten you riches and fame aplenty with your impression abilities!”


The demon kept laughing, even as Bobby re-started the car and put it in gear. Eventually, Bobby got tired of it and turned on the radio as he drove. When the demon started snorting through his nose, Bobby said,


“Will you please shut the fuck up?”


The demon stopped for half a second and said,


“Wow! They just keep on coming folks! This guy is fucking hilarious!”


Bobby Wayne gritted his teeth and drove back to Jacksonville, accompanied by the demon’s laughter the entire way.




Bobby Wayne and the demon haggled all night about the phrasing of the new pact once they had arrived at home. Just a few minutes before dawn, after more than three hours of full-volume screaming at each other, they finally had the details hammered out: Bobby Wayne would continue to employ his healing powers as they were, but had to perform one act of debasement to the demon each day at dawn. This could take the form of a prayer while prostrate before him, or the ritual sacrifice of a chicken while chanting the demon’s name and full title. Bobby Wayne had also held out for the ability to sing like an angel so he would be able to fire the choir leader and sing his own songs, and for this, he chose kissing the demon’s little yellow feet during his debasement over the alternate proposed by Catagolgrothor… the demon had argued fruitlessly for possession of Bobby Wayne’s body during waste excretion for over an hour,




”What’s so terrible about it?”




“Why not?”


“It’s just nasty… I’d rather kiss your little yellow feet!”




When the haggling was over and the pact was signed, Bobby Wayne looked over at the gloating demon where he sat stroking his miniscule genitalia and said,


“This is such bullshit.”


“Nah. You’ll learn to love it!”


Catagolgrothor broke into a wide grin full of saw-edged teeth and pointed to the window where the rising sun was just starting to clear the horizon.


Bobby Wayne groaned; Catagolgrothor was fairly beaming,


“Unless you have a live chicken hidden somewhere in here that I don’t know about, I believe the proper position for you right now is on the floor.”


“I hate you.”


The tiny toad known as Catagolgrothor Dyspexia, Devourer of Souls and Duke of the Labyrinth, patted Bobby’s hand condescendingly and said,


“Aw… that’s so sweet! I hate you too, sweetheart!”




“My Brothers and Sisters in Christ… I come to you tonight with a very heavy heart.”


Over three thousand people were attending this latest televised service, three weeks after his new pact with the demon. Bobby Wayne, in his guise as the Good Reverend, was in rare form. He had already performed three genuine healings, two fake exorcisms, and had sung the audience to tears during his rendition of Old, Rugged Cross with his dearly-purchased angelic voice. He could do no wrong tonight and he knew it,


“A heavy heart indeed, my Brothers and Sisters… for this very morning, I received a vision of things to come.”


Sporadic calls of “Amen.” Bobby wondered if they knew that it meant, “I believe.”


“The things to come are dark indeed, my Brothers and Sisters. The bible has foretold this time of darkness, but now I believe that the time of Tribulation is growing nigh.”


No outcry this time… he had their undivided attention. Every sermon about the Apocalypse was seriously regarded by this type of crowd.


“The Spirit of God came upon me,” In actuality, it was Catagolgrothor rather than God who had masturbated into his hair while he was debasing himself at dawn, but he didn’t really want to explain that to his flock, “and showed me a vision of the terrible atrocities of the End Times.”


Catagolgrothor had touched upon the salient portions of the final war from his perch on the shower rod and explained what Hell’s plan for the war was while Bobby showered the stinking, green ejaculate out of his hair. It was a terrible vision. About this, Bobby was not exaggerating. He continued, starting with what he knew best… his part in the war,


“The War between Heaven and Hell will start, not with the bang of an Antichrist taking control of the world, but with the slow, sibilant hissing of logic from hundreds of false prophets. These messages of hatred and violence towards God and Jesus Christ, His Son will spread like wildfire among the believers, clouding their minds and misdirecting their thoughts from belief in the One, True God.” Bobby Wayne could feel the pinprick of a tiny claw poking him in the scrotum from where Catagolgrothor rested in his front pocket, reminding him of when to stop talking, “After the false prophets have addled your mind, Brothers and Sisters, it will be time for a political move by the Antichrist, who… mark my words, Brothers and Sisters… has already been born!”


This, of course, was totally and patently false. Bobby Wayne had specifically asked about this and the demon had enjoyed a hearty laugh at his expense,


“You believe in the Antichrist? Oh! You’re killing me! That’s rich, Rob… I mean, seriously… you don’t believe everything you read in the Bible, do you?”


The demon looked down at Bobby, where the good reverend paused in the soaping of his crotch for a moment, “Yes. Why wouldn’t I? I’m a false prophet talking to a demon in my shower, what’s so unbelievable about the Antichrist?”


The demon would only laugh.


Bobby Wayne shook his head in an effort to dislodge the memories of the morning, completely unable to stop his hand from running through his so recently sullied hair, and continued the sermon, pausing only for the ever-present calls of “Amen!” and “Praise Jesus!” with the occasional “Hallelujah!” thrown in for good measure. He wanted nothing more than to stop the fire and brimstone-tinged sermon and go home, but he would do no such thing during filming.


False prophets love name recognition as much as the next guy.






Bobby Wayne relaxed in his easy chair in front of the TV, reviewing his sermon from the night before with the demon,


“I look like shit,” he gestured at the screen, “Look at my hair sticking up where you spunked in it!”


“You are such a whiny little bitch, I swear.” The demon mimicked a woman’s voice and snapped his fingers at Bobby.


“You can tell something’s wrong with it, you dirty little asshole.”


The demon made a complicated hand gesture at the TV, which contracted to a pinpoint of mute light immediately, and hopped over from the sofa to the arm of Bobby’s chair. The demon took a deep breath,


“We need to talk, Rob.”


Bobby Wayne pulled the lever to recline and folded his arms,


“About what?”


The demon shuffled his feet and managed to look faintly embarrassed,


“I was going to say something last night on the way home, but I figured I’d let you have one last good night’s sleep.”


Bobby Wayne knew that this didn’t sound good at all. “One ‘last good night’s sleep’?” He unfolded his arms and met Catagolgrothor’s eyes, “What does that mean?”


“Umm… the uh, Administration has decided to give you a bit more power.”


“More power? What kind of power?”


Catagolgrothor produced a parchment document from thin air and cleared his throat before reading it, “Um… okay, here it is, ‘… and by this proclamation, all of those footmen in our glorious effort shall henceforth be known as Those Who Watch…’ uh, yada, yada, yada…’including false prophets’ so on and so forth. Okay, ‘to this end, Those Who Watch shall be relieved of the human requirement for slumber, except during periods previously given as exceptions…’”


Bobby Wayne stopped the demon with an almost ladylike shriek,


“’Relieved of the human requirement for slumber’? You mean I’m not going to have to sleep anymore?”


“Cool, huh? But hold on, there’s more…” Catagolgrothor was beaming, obviously impressed with what he thought was a positive reaction from his charge. He was completely wrong about Bobby’s reaction and didn’t realize that it wasn’t glee that Bobby was exclaiming until he got smacked in the mouth with an airborne remote control. Bobby set the demon straight,


“No way! I don’t want this! I’ll go crazy if I can’t sleep! It’s the only time I can get away from you, you little bastard!”


Catagolgrothor rubbed his injured lips, “I love you too, rectum spelunker… but you don’t really have a choice.” He picked up the remote control and moved it to the coffee table, “And for that matter, neither do I.”


Bobby Wayne didn’t hear the demon at first, ranting about the unfairness of the situation as he was, but eventually it penetrated that the demon was angry also,


“What do you have to do?”


Catagolgrothor produced another piece of parchment and presented it to Bobby,


”Here you are, Anal Princess.”


Bobby unrolled the parchment quickly and scanned the contents written in Hell’s legalese with a practiced eye. The angry confusion on his face faded at first to incredulity, then to glee, and finally to a self-satisfied expression of smug victory. He immediately walked to the bathroom and found a clean razor, drawing it quickly over the flesh of his left palm. He dipped a fountain pen into the cupped crimson ink gathered there, signed his name to the document, sealed the signature with a bloody thumbprint, and handed it back to Catagolgrothor,


“I believe you’ll find everything in order, sir.” Bobby Wayne affected a fake English accent and put forth his stiff upper lip, “Now please, go fuck off back to Hell and let me be about my newly-appointed business.”


Catagolgrothor shook his head slightly and sighed, “When are you going to learn, you fucking imbecile?” He turned the document around, with the signature now away from Bobby, displaying thousands of tiny lines on the reverse of the document…


“You forgot to read the back.”




The new deal wasn’t so bad once Bobby got used to it. He didn’t need to sleep anymore, and with the addition of six to eight hours to each day, he found that he could get almost twice as much work done. He prepared sermons, studied the bible, and of course, pumped the tiny demon for as much information as possible about his new role even though Catagolgrothor was still gloating over Bobby’s oversight a month later. The demon was always willing to give Bobby, “more rope to hang himself.” One of the things Bobby discovered was that he was now not only resistant to fatigue, but could also ignore disease, fire, old age, and most forms of injury. His vision also improved to the point where he could discern the features of even the most distant member of his congregation during sermons, stepping up the pace for nodding or slowing it down for expressions of annoyance.


Bobby did have one problem with the terms of the pact, though… Catagolgrothor was not only still around, but was no longer permitted to leave him for any reason at all,


“Even when I’m taking a shit?”


"Especially when you’re taking a shit, fuckmeister.”


This meant that not only was Bobby awake for twenty-four hours a day, but that he was awake for twenty-four hours a day and being accompanied by a bright-yellow, foulmouthed, caustic, chronically-masturbating, demonic toad. They were walking along the boardwalk at the Jacksonville Landing, watching the boats rock in their moorings to waste away the wee hours until dawn. Bobby hadn’t felt like working on anything since he had discovered that tiredness and exhaustion are completely different things. Bobby felt like his soul had been run over by a truck,


“This sucks.”


“You should be glorying in your noble service to the war effort, not whining.”


“I’m not whining.”


”Right, sorry. You’re bitching like a grade school girl.”


“Shut your pie-hole, Cat. I’m so sick of you I could fucking die.”


The demon chuckled,


“Well, if you’re that sick of me, then dying is the last thing you should do.” He leapt up on the handrail by the river and smacked Bobby Wayne on the rump, “If you think you see a lot of me now, just wait until you have to groom my ass hair for all eternity.”


Bobby stopped walking and rested his forearms on the railing and faced the river,


“So, are you really going to make me your slave in Hell?”


Catagolgrothor began smirking, “Well, duh.”


“What’s Hell really like?”


“Don’t you want to know about my ass hair? That’s most of what you’ll be seeing while you’re there.”


“I can imagine your ass hair just fine, but I can’t imagine Hell except in the classical sense… you know, fire, brimstone, lakes of fire, etcetera, etcetera. Is it really like that?”


The demon seemed to droop a bit and didn’t meet Bobby’s gaze,


“Not even close, Rob.”


“So, what’s it like then?”


The tiny body seemed to deflate as Catagolgrothor sat on the railing and joined Bobby in staring at the river. He sagged into an almost defeated posture,


“It’s worse than anything you could possibly imagine.”


Bobby, no longer looking at the demon, said,


“Well, that doesn’t tell me much.”


The demon glanced over at Bobby Wayne to see if he was smiling. Bobby had such a bland expression on his face that the demon sighed and continued,


“There’s really not much to tell, Rob.” Miniature feet kicked at the railing, “How do you think Guh… the Creator, feels about you right now?”


The question was so unexpected that Bobby couldn’t stop himself from asking, “What?”


The demon looked up into Bobby’s eyes,


“The Big Man, the Lord, the Creator… what do you think He thinks of you and the choices you’ve made?”


Bobby thought for a moment,


“I don’t know… He hates me, I guess.”


“Not even close, Rob. He’s disappointed in you and probably very angry at you, but He doesn’t hate you.” Catagolgrothor stopped for a minute and let Bobby digest this information, “If you were to somehow pass out of my purview and supervision and carry yourself to a church, where you confessed your sins and rededicated yourself to the Creator, would He forgive you?”


Bobby was confused, “I don’t know.”


The toadlike demon waved his hand at Bobby in a negating gesture, “Think about your Catechism, man. You used to be Catholic, right?”




”So, are there any unforgivable sins?”


Bobby automatically replied, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”


“And what am I guilty of?”


Bobby thought for a moment, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?”


“Right… and what are your sins, Rob?”


Bobby Wayne had been cataloguing them judiciously since the first pact, “Avarice, Pride, Anger, Lust, Envy, Sloth, blasphemy, bearing false witness, consorting with demons, betraying the trust of my flock, deceit, fornication, and if we’re using the classical definitions, impure thoughts, adultery, spilling my seed, and heresy.”


“And any one of those could send you to Hell, right?”


“Well, technically yes.”


”And if you were to go to confession and do your penance, by the classical definitions, what would then happen upon your death?”


“I’d go to Purgatory and eventually to Heaven.”


“So the Creator would forgive you, wouldn’t He? You’d be taken into His bosom after your expiation, right?”


“Yeah, I guess.”


“So, what you’re saying is that the Creator has hope for your redemption, even as nasty and rotten as you are?”


“I suppose… if it really works like that.”


”It does.”


Bobby grunted. Catagolgrothor continued,


“Hell is when the Creator not only gives up hope for your redemption, but actively prevents it.”


Bobby’s eyes opened wide, “’Actively prevents it’?”


The demon winked at him, “You got it.”


“What the hell are you talking about? Why would God actively prevent my redemption?”


“See, Hell really shouldn’t be forever. It’s built on the same framework as Purgatory, actually.” The demon ticked off points on his fingers, “Purgatory is intense spiritual suffering and pain, loss of your individual identity… except your own personal guilt… and removal from the Creator’s notice; but, all the while, you know that it’s going to end and you’ll eventually be with the Creator in Paradise.”


Bobby waited for the demon to continue. After a sigh, he did,


“Hell is exactly the same thing except for one very significant point. You’ll still ‘know’ that it’s going to end and you’ll be with the Creator in Paradise… but century after century, millennium after millennium, you stay. You suffer. Surely it’s your turn next, right? You see the Purgatorial souls disappear one after another in shafts of brilliant white light after they expiate their sins and you wait for your turn. You suffer just as much as the worst of them for just as long and then what happens?” The demon’s hands balled into tiny fists that turned his yellow knuckles white, “You stay. You suffer. You keep waiting for the Creator to release you, but does He? No! You stay. You suffer. Is it your time yet? No! You stay! You suffer! And one day, a thousand billion years after the last soul has left Purgatory, you’ll suddenly realize that your turn is never going to come.”


Catagolgrothor’s voice had been rising in pitch and volume during the speech, but now it dropped to the barest whisper, “That’s when you’ll realize that your Creator has abandoned you.”


The demon took a deep breath and glanced up at Bobby Wayne again, “That’s Hell, Rob. It’s not fire and brimstone, it’s not servitude to demons, and it’s not the darkest imaginings of a serial killer’s dreams. Hell is when you finally realize that the Perfect Being who made you has discarded you forever.”


Bobby’s eyes had been filling up during the explanation and now, he couldn’t stop the hot tears from rolling down his face. The demon stared across the river again and said,


“So, the answer to your original question is ‘No.’ You’re not going to be my slave in Hell. I’ll be the same as you if our side doesn’t win the War. A broken, discarded soul, damned to namelessness, pain, and guilt for an eternity of eternities. In fact, the only difference between us will be that I will have seen the Creator once… you won’t even have that.”


Bobby was weeping freely now, sorrow and anguish causing his breath to catch in his throat in choking sobs,


“Does that answer your question, Rob?”


The Good Reverend nodded weakly.


Catagolgrothor hoisted himself up and began walking away from Bobby,


“Good. Now quit crying, you fucking pansy. We’ve got work to do.”



Jose G. Valdes


June 5, 2003

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VERY disturbing story to me, Jose! I had a bad feeling in my stomache while reading it because I had no idea where it was going to go or how bad it was going to get for the Rev. Bobby. It sort of reminded me of one of those Chick tracts, where the hideous demons are hovering over the "bad guys" or around "sinful" acts, talking and laughing. So what happens next, or is there going to be another part?

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I thought it was funny lol

Make another one soon.

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You're an extremely talented creative person Jose'


Let me know if you have any books out or any on the way. I'd love to read it/them.

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VERY disturbing story to me, Jose! I had a bad feeling in my stomache while reading it because I had no idea where it was going to go or how bad it was going to get for the Rev. Bobby. It sort of reminded me of one of those Chick tracts, where the hideous demons are hovering over the "bad guys" or around "sinful" acts, talking and laughing. So what happens next, or is there going to be another part?


You know, almost everyone who has read it has asked me that question... and to be truthful, I don't know what happens next. I guess if it makes you feel better to imagine something happening next, Hell's legal department wins the war for the Earth through a poorly-worded concession treaty sent from Heaven's vastly inferior legal department (all the good lawyers are in Hell), the Tyrant God is vanquished by a technicality, and Bobby Wayne gets to groom Cat's ass-hair for all eternity instead of being damned. :HaHa:


To be truthful, this story was more pre-disbelief venting than anything else. I had always believed in God, I wanted to believe in God, and I couldn't imagine my life without my belief in God, but I was having serious problems with the idea of the Afterlife in general and Hell specifically. I wrote this primarily to sort out, in my own mind, what I truly believed about Hell and damnation. It was kind of like I was trying to comfort myself with the idea that no matter what, I would still exist after death, even if I was just, "A broken, discarded soul, damned to namelessness, pain, and guilt for an eternity of eternities."


I still haven't sorted out how to get over the love affair I have with my own consciousness (I want to think forever!), but at least now I don't need fairy tales to comfort me.



willybilly30 Posted Nov 23 2005, 10:49 PM

I thought it was funny lol

Make another one soon.


That's what I was going for with the banter between Cat and Bobby. Thanks!


Vigile_del_fuoco1 Posted Nov 24 2005, 06:10 AM

You're an extremely talented creative person Jose'


Let me know if you have any books out or any on the way. I'd love to read it/them.


Thanks for the compliments! I wish I took them better, but I'm very critical of my work so just by re-reading it tonight, I want to go back and edit a bunch of stuff...


I'll post stuff in here pretty much at random as I find and/ or edit it. I just found a circa 2003 floppy with a bunch of my stuff on it. I go through those and see what I can find for you guys.

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