Thursday, 2 November 2017

Last Night A DJ Saved My (And Your) Life - Flash Fiction

Satan’s royalties had dried up. Despite Milton giving him a fair shake of the whip and though a bit anthropomorphic, William Blake had etched him a reasonably fair hand. Baudelaire’s litanies had promised much but turned out a complete bust and don’t even get him started on Screwtape. But since then, nothing. While his other nourishment stream of human souls had also become completely debased. What need of an unredeemer when the race had already become utterly irredeemable? Even if it all came straight out of Satan’s own playbook. So much had come to pass from his manifesto, unfortunately just not in his infernal name. He should have created lawyers earlier on in the piece, to sort out copyright.

Trusty Mammon had secured for him a power meeting with an agency to relaunch his moribund career. A reality TV show lay potentially in the wings. “Pro-bono?” Inquired Satan, being down on his uppers. (The fires of Hell were on a timeshare basis to slash running costs). “Nobody is pro-Bono are they? Even God has distanced himself”. “No, I mean gratis, as a Charity account”’ “Charity?” “Well, more a mates’ rates sort of thing. After all did I not create PR and marketing direct from my sulphurous realm?” 

Satan is sitting on a beanbag in Reception, leafing through piles of house clearance auction catalogues. Dreaming of what sort of monarch’s throne he would take possession of.  Something a la mode for the new kingdom of darkness. One that could comfortably cradle his spreading posterior and avoid agitating his accursed haemorrhoids. A dentist’s chair, baby’s bucket carseat, bus station tip-up. Tanning bed recliner, milkmaid’s stool and tuffet, a commode. The Bishop’s cathedra… once profaned with some purgatorial pimping of course. He inquired of the receptionist if he could take the brochure with him for reference. Mammon whispered that it was all online now for his convenience, though Satan murmured that he didn’t get on with the internet what with his bedimmed eyes. Which was why he didn’t have an I-Phone, which Mammon felt a pity, since it could so very easily co-ordinate his revolution to retake Earth at a stroke. 

At last the pair were ushered into the meeting room. The account manager was sat atop a tennis umpire’s chair. “Please, sit down”. “I can do no other” Satan responded, on account of his inflamed lumbago and fiendish sciatica which had condemned him to a sedentary life in the main. Which was probably why you could add piles to his heaps of pathologies. He turned  round to catch sight of a sex harness swing that was the only seating on offer. Mammon dived into the minimal clearance beneath its leather. As Satan scrambled on to the contraption and rocked unsteadily back and forth, Mammon fiddled with the straps and buckles. At least with this particular seat design there was no material chafing his sore plums. What the hell was Mammon doing under the leather beneath him?

“So Mr Lucifer-“ (a nom de guerre), “I’ve been taking a squint at your social media presence. Few followers, even less ‘Likes’, what on earth have you been doing to establish your brand? Even God has a spoof Twitter account”. “I don’t want ‘likes’, I want ‘dislikes’”. “No Master, for your heinous deeds you actually want ‘likes’”. “Gentlemen, perhaps you can save such quodlibets for later, we are on the clock here. Now tell me, what talents can you bring to the table?” “Talents? I was under the impression this was all on someone else’s dime”. “Not those sort of Talents Master, we’re all in your fiendish Eurozone now. He means abilities”. 

“Oh, well I’m gifted down below, tupping, fornicating and all manner of carnal reprehensibilities”. “Well yes, that’s a given for any Reality TV show, the sexual shenanigan subplots for the Tabloids. What else, for example, can you hold a tune… you know sing?” “Only angels sing!” “Weren’t you an angel once? I’m thinking The Voice”. “Alas no, since the accident, he’s gone from contralto to basso profundo. They did call him Snakehips Satan back in the day”. “Which day was that, before The Fall I take it…” “He can still throw some shapes”. “What are you his agent, Mr 15%?” “I handle his business affairs yes, but only to reinvest so as to advance the greater glory of Hell”. “Okay, I’m prepared to get you a shot at Strictly Come Dancing, if you show me your moves on the dance floor. I’ve got comps for Stringfellows so we can-“ “How is Peter the randy old devil?”

Satan dug the optics. The strobes reminded him of the shadows flitting between the licking flames of Gehenna. But the music made his ears bleed, he was supposed to have all the best tunes, no wonder his fortunes were so low if this was what was being churned out in his name. “Let’s get this Ragnarok and Roll started” as Satan commandeered the PA and from the deadened air conjured up the sound of fifes, tabors and Jericho Trumpets. They pounded out their martial sounds, yet not in military rhythms. This sonic assault was not about unison for keeping a marching beat, rather it targeted atomisation. The punishing pulsation located itself inside each dancer’s head, obliterating any sense of  their own heartbeats, their breath or their thought processes. Cutting them off from any other sensation of the world. Mutinous skeletons in thrall to an inhuman reverberation. Many began to convulse uncontrollably, grand mals brought about by the Grandest Malevolence of them all. Satan stomped over to the DJ’s booth, snatched up the mic and bellowed exultantly “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin now pleasure headed sinners?” The DJ, protected by his Beats™ headphones was unaffected by the cacophony and began to sample and splice el Diablo’s rhythms into a catchy breakbeat. He wrangled Satan’s fractured discordance into a danceable tune, so that all the floored casualties were able to slowly raise themselves, before throwing their arms in the air to the tempo. Satan hobbled away, taloned hands over his ears. The PR agent hurriedly bit into his arm so as to draw blood, before chasing after Satan waving the Reality TV production company’s contract in his direction. 

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