Suggested Audio Candy:
 INXS “Devil Inside”
 Jerry Goldsmith “The Omen Suite”
Nobody ever spares a thought for Satan. People seem to be under the mistaken illusion that hell runs itself; that it doesn’t require an ambassador. This couldn’t be farther from the truth; it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the hard work and perseverance of one person. They call him the Prince of Darkness but he comes under many guises. He works his fingers to their bones 24/7/365 in an attempt to keep the hell fires burning and barely has a moment to focus on his own interests. Many folk aren’t aware that he is a keen gardener and likes nothing more than to tend to his weeds. However, he is barely afforded chance for green fingers and instead ploughs any spare time into keeping the fire burning and offering an alternative to the disillusioned do-gooders who clamor for their spot in heaven. It’s a thankless task but he does so because he cares. Yet Satan is regarded as an irritant for his troubles and vilified by the church for his lack of scruples and unorthodox methods. He has hopes and dreams just like the next man…but none of them seem to matter.
There are millions upon millions of minions on his books and somebody has to ensure that they are provided for. The buck stops with him and responsibility lands squarely on his shoulders. That’s some ask; we’re not talking about your average work force here after all. They are tasked with achieving one simple goal; to break the spirit of anyone who dares to apply for citizenship and torment them for eternity. That may appear to be quite a gargantuan undertaking but it’s hardly rocket science. All this would be well and good if he had a dozen or so understudies to train but when you consider the bloated numbers it becomes a full-time job. It’s too easy to judge a man on limited knowledge but what these charlatans conveniently overlook is that he barely sleeps a wink through the constant worry that running an evil empire entails. Behind dancing flames; he sits in his study into the night with his head in his hands, frantically attempting to balance the books in case of an unforeseen audit. Yet it is easier to judge than to comprehend and his reputation precedes him every time.
Another factor which the uneducated choose to ignore is his involvement in the events industry. Natural disasters don’t run themselves; and it is a requirement that he lay on at least three in every calendar year. These take meticulous planning and vast commitment on his part; but he does so without a second thought. He provides this service from the blackness of his own heart and always endeavors to exceed expectations regardless of how he is feeling at the time. It is too easy to assume this is a fundamental part of his job description but that’s because nobody sees a hitch. This is down to his dedication and constant elbow grease. Yet, he rarely receives plaudits; seldom does is he granted a simple letter of thanks and instead he does it all out of a sense of duty. You see, we’re all ultimately taking this fellow for granted. Should he vacate his position then the sinners will soon be up in arms; you can’t leave the minions to continue his work as they’re too busy flapping about with impish grins and trying to fathom how to work the kiln. Not a single one of them could run an army of any real magnitude. It would invariably all end in tears.
He has to deal with a countless amount of daily admissions; every last one of them staking their claim to become his next associate. This requires manpower but also the ability to read between the lines. If he allows one kindly soul to cross the border then he is accountable and the buck stops there every time. It’s okay if the candidate is OJ Simpson; his appointment has been set way in advance. But what of the last-minute hopefuls; still keeping their options open and believing the choice should be theirs to take? He must see through their ruse and this entails making some tough decisions. It’s as thankless as working on an off-shore call center; nobody gives you the credit you deserve or pats you on the back. You’re always the bad guy. He takes it all in his stride and runs a tight ship the only way he knows how, despite any habitual bad press. It’s a human failing of ours that we always believe we know best but what becomes of the broken-hearted in such instances? They get shafted is what.
It’s all coming to a head. Recently he has had his cholesterol levels checked and the results were far less than encouraging. Now it looks like he will be popping pills for the remainder of eternity just to keep his blood pressure from soaring. That’s two tablets, four times a day, for an infinite time. Complaining wouldn’t do him any good and would likely damage morale so he bottles his frustration and keeps up appearances. He has a punch bag in his chamber and this provides him with an outlet for any self-contained thought dervishes swirling his fiery cranium. Keeping fit allows him to maintain a clear mind at all times and, without it, he would have spat his dummy from the pram years back. Once a day he visits his numerous flaming outposts just to apply a degree of personal service; stir a few cauldrons and prod the meat to ensure it is tenderizing adequately. This all amounts to time which he barely has on his hands at the best of times. He even recruited Damien Thorne as his ambassador in an attempt to spread the workload but it is never advisable to entrust the running of your empire to one of such tender years and it all ended with the bitter taste of defeat.
So you’re likely wondering where this is all headed by now. Well allow me to enlighten you as to my cunning plan. Lucifer and I may not be exactly bosom buddies but I do believe in a fair hearing, thus he has agreed to an exclusive interview with Keeper. This is potentially my largest scoop yet; the one and only Prince of Darkness right here on an adjacent sofa with no holds-barred questioning and filmed before a live studio audience, something which isn’t customary to Beelzebub. By the close I aim for us to have learned a little more about what makes him tick; be able to identify with each of his many quirks and, who knows, he may come out of it with bolstered reputation and that spring in his stride which has eluded him for too long. So, without further ado, I present to you… Satan.
KoTCQ: Hello sir, I have to say thank you for agreeing to this interview.
PoD: The pleasure is all mine dear fellow. It occurred to me that I may have been somewhat misrepresented by the media and, while ordinarily, journalists make me desire only to wretch black sludge through my nostrils, you never struck me as the judgmental type. Long story short, here I am.
KoTCQ: And thank you kindly for your participation. The one thing I can guarantee is a fair hearing. I won’t be twisting your words to satisfy my own need for gutter coverage.
PoD: Pleased to hear it son.
KoTCQ: So enlighten me. Who is Satan? Is that how you would prefer to be referred?
PoD: Doesn’t bother me, although my real name is Cedric Frampton. I used to live in an old dilapidated shack on the outskirts of Jerusalem, that was until the sex scandal.
KoTCQ: Pray tell.
PoD: I was charged with indecent exposure and three counts of ABH after a hootenanny down at the Grover’s ended in Sandra Worthington and I getting familiar with one another in the back of her father’s pick-up truck. How was I to know she was only fifteen? I thought “stop you bastard” meant “a little to the left” and it promptly ended in tears. Rather than offer me a fair trial, the baying townsfolk hunted me down like a boar and made my life a living hell. I was burned at the stake for my lapse in virtue and remember thinking this is a bit of me you know. I bottled all that entrepreneurial spirit and six months later an opening came up in hell. The rest, as they say, is history.
KoTCQ: And I have to say what a fine job you do.
PoD: Your kindness is being duly noted Keeper. I try my level best for sure; it’s not always easy but I always try and ensure any holiday-goers receive a warm reception. I run rigorous quality control to make damned sure no driftwood breaches my hellfire. I haven’t taken annual leave since buying tickets for the premiere of Irreversible so I have been nothing if not committed. What a delightful rom-com that was; far better than Along Came Polly.
KoTCQ: Yes it certainly packed it in. Is film a regular de-stresser for you Cedric? If so, what movies really make your flesh burn.
PoD: The Exorcist was novel. Didn’t care much for the sequel but it did make me snort with laughter on a couple of occasions. Another favorite of mine on a rainy day is A Serbian Film; when you think about it, it’s a classic love story. You know, the usual light-hearted fare.
KoTCQ: And is there a Mrs Satan we don’t know about?
PoD: I’m happily married yes. Sandra Worthington would you believe? I always believed in fate and when she stole that apple from Mr Crabtree’s market stall, I knew I had her bang to rights. We have our ups and downs like any couple but she was my first and I never forgot my roots.
KoTCQ: Is she here in the audience?
PoD: Heavens no you silly chap. She’s on the tail-end of a split-shift right now. Who else do you think keeps things shipshape while I’m away gallivanting? Behind every great man is a great woman or is it the other way round? Anyhoots, you get my gist. I may be a wicked bastard but I know what’s good for me.
KoTCQ: Would you say she wears the trousers in the relationship then?
PoD: She likes to think that’s the case but I know better. I compliment her regularly and tow the line on any stag nights out, but I always sleep with one eye firmly ajar. You think I got to where I am now by trusting? Pfft. I’m sorry, I don’t wish to be rude. There’s just a few subjects which ruffle my feathers. Plus I’m not here to talk about my relationship with Sandra. Why not just cut to the chase Keeper. Why is it that I am such a source of fascination to you?
KoTCQ: I like your work ethic. You don’t bitch and gripe, instead you simply get on with it. You don’t make a promise you can’t break; you punish the insincere, I’d say that all in all you’re a stand up guy. That and I don’t believe in casting judgement; I leave that shit to you. I accept the sprinkles of evil in others and even have a few of my own. Had I mentioned my penchant for black comedy?
PoD: You may of but I can’t say I would’ve been listening.
KoTCQ: That’s exactly what I’m driving at. You say it how it is and don’t waste time mincing prose for the more delicate amongst us. That takes balls and I would imagine yours to require rather a lot of spaghetti to form a balanced dish.
PoD: The largest in existence. I’ll whip them out for a formal introduction in the green room later. Right now, I can’t allow myself to be sidetracked by talk of testicles.
KoTCQ: Time is money. I understand.
KoTCQ: In which case, I shall press on sir. What about your musical preferences? When you’re settling in for a hard night in the chamber, what’s on your iPod? Cannibal Corpse? Cradle of Filth? Slayer?
PoD: Goodness no. That stuff just brings on a migraine. I’m actually rather fond of contemporary pop and, in particular, that Taylor Swift girl. I know all the words to her ditties you know.
KoTCQ: Oh. Well I suppose her music is catchy. Maybe I’ll give her another listen.
PoD: There’s one little pipsqueak I really cannot stand however. Justin The Beaver I believe his name is. I understand you share my view on that little runt. Such shameful attempts at jumping the queue to hell just to prove he is no longer shy in the pubes department, it disgusts me. He will never gain access to hell on principle alone. Even if it freezes over.
KoTCQ: Glad to hear it. Shall we raise a glass to that one?
PoD: Not for me thanks. I’ve been tee total for seven hundred years and thirty-two days. Not so much as a shandy.
KoTCQ: So how do you unwind then?
PoD: Crystal meth mostly. And occasionally masturbation. My sources inform me that you also like to spank the monkey.
KoTCQ: From time to time yes.
PoD: Come now dear boy. This is me you’re talking to. The all-knowing one remember.
KoTCQ: Okay then. Currently three times a day at least.
PoD: Did your mother never warn you that you’ll go blind?
KoTCQ: Who said that?
PoD: Quite the comic aren’t you?
KoTCQ: I’ve been told that laughter slows down the aging process.
PoD: I’m sorry. I was born without a sense of humor. I may smile at your imbecilic attempts at comedy but I’m just being polite. No, I’m pretty much your average bastard.
KoTCQ: I actually think you’re a little misunderstood. Sure, you are responsible for a billion banished souls perishing on a daily basis but I find you rather amiable.
PoD: Flattery will get you everywhere.
KoTCQ: No I mean it. Heaven isn’t for everyone. Which brings me tidily to my final question. God, The Almighty. What’s your take on him? If he were here right now what would you have to say to God?
PoD: Firstly I would remind him that he owes me forty bucks. Secondly, I would shake him by the hand and tell him what a sterling job he is doing.
PoD: Of course yes. My poor disillusioned child, there cannot be evil without good. I respect his endeavor and wish him every good fortune for his future. I’ve actually got him on speed dial.
KoTCQ: I’m…I’m gobsmacked.
PoD: Your tiny little mind can’t compute that can it? You said yourself I get a bum deal from the press. Would it surprise you to learn that I watch Titanic once a month and always shed a tear at the end?
KoTCQ: When Jack sinks?
PoD: No when Billy Zane sneaks into one of the lifeboats and takes the place of a sobbing six-year-old. I lied about my lack of a sense of humor. What do you expect? I’m the devil.
KoTCQ: Indeed you are sir. On behalf of Rivers of Grue and all our Grueheads I would like to thank you for your time.
PoD: Not at all. It has been my pleasure.
KoTCQ: All the best to you, Sandra and all your minions.
PoD: Likewise. Peace out…homie!
So there you have it Grueheads. The greatest mind in existence or just some cretinous meth head? You decide. The jury’s out as far as Keeper is concerned. Sure, he’s charming enough and I know I have just spent the last half hour telling you how much he has been wronged. But he didn’t once mention The Exorcist III plus I saw his testicles back stage and they’re really nothing to shout about. I guess the time will come when we share communion with Satan and, when it does, I’ll be happy to take the guided tour. But an eternity of Taylor Swift. Come now, I’ve checked her out on YouTube and her songs are admittedly insanely infectious. However, I find that pop gets tired quick and I just don’t know if the pros would outweigh the cons. Whatever I decide, I’ll keep you in the loop. Now, I really must be heading off. Wank #2 of the day and exercise is next to cleanliness. Join us next week when we grill God about his holy syndicate and find out what really happened backstage at the Grammys between him and Rosie O’Donnell. This has been the Keeper of The Crimson Quill. Thank you for reading and a most devilish night to you all.