The Devil and Samuel T. Johnsonby The Finn
Samuel T. Johnson was rather surprised when the devil appeared in his office one Tuesday afternoon. Samuel T. Johnson was an accountant, and, somehow, a happy one. The last thing he needed was the Prince of Darkness standing in his office, dealing souls like some used-car salesman from hell.
"Satan, I presume?" Samuel T. Johnson raised an eyebrow and looked the Father of Lies up and down. He was a decent looking chap. A snappy dresser, to. If it weren't for the short, sharp horns jutting from his forehead and the gucci's, custom-tailor for cloven hooves, Samuel would have mistaken the devil for Bob, the guy he commuted with. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Oh, just thought I'd drop by. I was in the neighbourhood, checking up on old friends, collecting on a few debts." Satan gave a little laugh at this. "Actually, some broker on 42nd owed me 50 bucks."
"Oh, come now, Sam. Don't you remember? We had a deal..."
"I made a deal with you?"
Satan looked at him. Suddenly, he became jovial again. "OK, Sam. It was a long time ago. You were 8. You wanted a puppy..."
A frown creased Samuel T. Johnson's brow. He had wondered why that dog had three heads...
"Ahh. Now I see I've jogged your memory."
"Can I see that contract?"
"Certainly." Satan raised his arms and began speaking in tongues. Fire emanated from his finger tips and grew, swirling, engulfing Samuel T. Johnson's office, turning the mahogany decor into a whirlpool of hellfire. A pit opened in the floor, and the screams of the damned emanated from it. A file cabinet rose from the pit and floated in front of Beelzebub. He opened the middle draw. "Let's see, Johnson, Samuel T. Ah-ha! Here you are." He pulled a folder from the cabinet, and it sunk back into the depths from which it came. He opened the folder, and in a burst of pure blue flame, the hellfire expired with a snuff, leaving only a whiff of brimstone.
"That was needlessly dramatic," said Samuel T. Johnson dryly.
"What can I say? I still haven't lost my touch. But, I digress. Here is the contract. As you can see, there is your signature, in blood. And, if I remember correct, you called it Eskimo."
Samuel skimmed the smouldering contract. "This isn't binding," he said.
"Well, besides that fact that eight years old is far to young to be signing legal documents, that dog bit my mother's head off. This is in violation of Section 15, Paragraph 9, and I quote, "...this contract will be considered null and void if the party of the third part (the dog) bites the head off of the party of the fourth part (my mother)."
"OK, what about this."
The devil handed over a second contract. This time, Samuel T. Johnson immortal soul for a date with the prom queen. Samuel remember ejaculating prematurely in the back of his car...
"As you can see, I pretty much own your soul, lock, stock and barrel. Which is why I've come here. I like you, Sam. You've got soul. And I hate to see you waste your life away like this. I mean, you're mine now, no matter what you do, and here you are living the life of a saint. An accountant? C'mon, man! Live life! Go out there and get a bottle of gin, a couple of whores, a key of coke, and enjoy yourself! If you're going to hell, you may as well live a life of sin."
"No thanks. I like it here."
"OK, OK. God knows I tried. I've got an appointment, so, I'll see you later. If you need me, just blow on this." He handed over a silver gym-coach's whistle. "And here," he flipped a fifty on the table. "Get a blow job. For me."
Samuel considered the prospect of eternal damnation. He found that he didn't like it. I mean, even if the rumours turned out to be untrue, even if hell was a big hedonistic pagan celebration, there's only so much of that sort of thing a person can take. On the other hand, if the stories turned out to be true...
Samuel considered the problem and sucked air through his teeth. Not many people had cheated the devil. Could he do it? He contemplated the whistle the devil had given him as he mused. It had the words "HELL, INC." embossed on it, with the company logo: a pair of short, curving horns.
Suddenly, Samuel T. Johnson had a revelation. He strided to his filing cabinet, opened the "D-H" drawer, and pulled a file labelled "HELL, INC." He spent a few minutes glancing it over, and laughed.
Samuel T. Johnson was going to audit the devil.
Samuel looked over his team of auditors before departing for the underworld. He had chosen the scariest, most officious and beurocractic tax officials he could find. They were a scary sight, with their conservative suits and hardened, soulless eyes. Perfect.
He blew the hellwhistle, and the prince of darkness appeared with a flash of blue fire and a whiff of brimstone.
"Sam, how's things? Hey! What's with the suits?"
"I'll be frank with you, Beeze. You're going to be audited."
Satan's face fell. "Oh, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam. After all I've done for you. I want my fifty bucks back."
Samuel blushed. "I already spent it. And besides, you can write it off. Now, take us to hell. And pray you kept your receipts."
"Oh, who the hell am I going to pray to?" Baal considered his situation for a moment. "Let's go," he said.
Hell hadn't been audited. Ever. When Satan opened the door to the bookkeeping room, a pile of paper spilled out. Samuel T. Johnson saw a glimmer of fear in his auditor's eyes as they began to sort through the enormous pile of receipts. Samuel T. Johnson took Satan aside for a talk.
"I could crucify you."
"If your team of suits can dig through my wall of paper, perhaps."
"I don't think that will be a problem. I'm willing to strike a bargain."
"OK, OK. Look, let me take you on a guided tour of the place. If you don't like what you see, I'll rip up the contracts, and you call off your team of numbercrunchers."
Hell wasn't at all what Samuel T. Johnson expected. Oh, there was fire and brimstone a' plenty, and everyone was naked. But there was no torture or screaming going on. Their first stop was the Recreation Centre, where the souls of the damned could play squash, racquetball, tennis, or they could swim, and they had a darn good snackbar, according to Beelzebub. A billboard beside the centre read "This Saturday: The 3513th annual Dionysian Extravaganza! Come naked and BYOB!" Some of the letters were backwards.
Next was Hell's brothel, where the screams of the damned emanated. They were actually screams of intense orgasm. Satan would have invited Samuel in for a sample of the seccubi's delights, but it was for residents' use only.
Baal took Samuel T. Johnson to check out Hell's apartment buildings. Samuel had to admit that the flats were very nice indeed. Each room was fully outfitted with a kitchen, a big screen TV, and all the pleasures of home, including glasses which constantly filled themselves with wine (or the liquid beverage of your choice) no matter how much you drink.
"Well, Sam, what do you think?"
"I must admit, I like it a lot. It looks like a nice place to spend eternity. I guess you win. I'm yours."
"Not yet, Samuel, my boy. You've got to die first. C'mon, I'll take you back to the upper-world and we'll let nature take it's course."
When they got back to the file room, they found Samuel's auditing team had been pushed beyond their limits. Apparently, Hell's receipts had been just too much for them. One or two were just sitting there, drooling. The rest were babbling to themselves and eating Hell's receipts.
"Don't worry, Sam. I'll take care of 'em. C'mon boys. Let's go have us some fun."
Samuel T. Johnson waved to the devil as he was transported back to Earth. He looked forward to spending some quality time in hell... FOR ALL ETERNITY!