“And what do you want for Antichristmas this year?” the Mall Satan asks the boy.
“I want a baseball glove and a chainsaw and I want all my enemies to burn alive in house fires,” the boy chirps.
“That’s a pretty tall order, young man,” the Mall Satan chuckles, running a cloven hoof through the child’s hair. “Let me see what I can do.”
He fishes around in the crotch of his pants and pulls out a pack of matches. And his testicles. He tucks his testicles back into his trousers and hands the boy the matches.
“Make ’em pay, son,” he growls. “Make ’em all suffer.”
“All right kid, look terrified,” a bored-looking demon lazily says. The boy makes a scared face. The Mall Satan does too. The demon snaps a picture. The boy hops off Mall Satan’s lap and runs out of Hell-Land, back into the crowd.
“NEXT!” shouts the demon.
A girl steps up. Freckles. Pigtails. Thick-framed glasses. She has this scowl on her face like she has a pickle-juice soul. She crosses her arms and looks at him skeptically.
“What the fuck is your problem?” the Mall Satan says. “You find out you’re adopted?”
“You’re not the real Satan, are you?” she lisps, spitting milky-frothed saliva like the ellipses on a sentence.
“What makes you think that?” he goes, raising an eyebrow.
“First of all, your goatee is fake.”
“You think so, eh? Why don’t you give it a tug,” he challenges her.
Without apprehension, she yanks on his beard. His face comes off with it, tearing from his skull.
“OW! FUCK! PUT IT BACK PUT IT BACK!” he screams.
The girl yelps and smashes the hairy mass of flesh back onto the Mall Satan’s head. The Mall Satan laughs, recites an ancient incantation, and is restored to health.
The girl only huffs. “It doesn’t mean anything,” she says, “anyone can grow a goatee. The guy at the coffeeshop my mom goes to has a goatee. And he’s not evil. In fact, he seems like a total dork. No, there’s no such thing as Satan. My daddy told me so.”
“Oh? And who’s your daddy? Jesus?”
“It’s pronounced Hey-ZOOS, and he’s a very important man. Look, just because you have a silly moustache and wear red spandex and have a forked tongue, it doesn’t make you the Devil. How could the Devil possibly exist? To cause all that evil in just one night? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Shit, kid. You’re a tenacious little booger, ain’t ya? I bet your a real handful at school. You’re probably why your teacher drinks. Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m not the real Satan.”
“A-ha! I knew it!” she shouts.
“… but I work for him,” he goes, giving her a wink.
“What do you mean you work for him? Does Satan run the mall?”
“Sort of,” the Mall Satan says. “Satan has his hand in a lot of cookie jars. He’s all around us. He’s inside of us. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good…”
“… so be good for goodness sake,” the girl finishes his sentence.
“What?! Hell no! Steal. Cheat. Lie. Harm yourself. Harm other people. Do what you want, when you want. You think your daddy’s gonna let you eat ice cream all night and then glue the cat’s asshole shut? Fuck no, he ain’t! But you want to, don’t you? So do it. If that’s what you want, that’s what Satan wants too. Little girl, listen, if you believe in black magic and you have hate in your heart, anything is possible in this shitty world. It can all be yours. Just take it. And don’t say thank you. Now run along, bitch. You’re annoying the crap out of me.”
The girl smiles and starts walking away, her faith in all that is unholy renewed. But before getting swallowed back into the mall’s shopping horde she pauses and turns back to the Dark Prince.
“Go fuck yourself,” she goes.
“You too, little girl,” the Mall Satan smiles back. “You too.”
“Look terrified,” says the demon. The camera shutter clicks.
DANGER_SLATER is more machine than man. He’s an explosion-bot! Handle your Danger_Slater with extreme care. One false move and KA-BOOM! – you’re nothing but a stain on the pavement and a few cancerous ashes. Danger lives in New Jersey. His work has appeared in Jersey Devil Press, The Drabblecast, and the Seahorse Rodeo Folk Revival. His dirty limericks have appeared in truck stop bathrooms and seldom-used freight elevators nationwide. Here is his website: dangerslater.blogspot.com.