DEVIL DEMANDS REFUND!

Over the years, Weekly World News has encountered the Devil aka “Lucifer,” “Satan” and “Scratch” in stories that have spanned the globe. When this reporter received a call from “Lou Scratch,” he realized that it would be a devil of a tale to report.

And, so, hours later, this reporter found himself sitting in the back seat of a limo across from “Lou.” Looking like a tall, ordinary human, he was dressed in black, sported sunglasses and, was clearly annoyed. He ran a hand through his slick-backed hair. Frowning, he pulled his hand away. It was covered with hair gel. “I might have overdone it with the gel,” he muttered.

“Maybe go with the dry look,” this reporter advised. The Devil nodded. His slick hair evolved into quite a sporty cut, shoulder length yet manageable, casual but dignified.

“And, why not drop the shades and just wear regular glasses” this scribe proffered. “Shades at night send a bad message.”

“Good idea,” Lou nodded. “I have to be accessible and approachable.” His sunglasses quickly morphed into a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, moustache and all. WWN  remained silent.

NIGHT COURT

We were heading towards Manhattan’s Night Court where the devil stood accused of stalking and intimidation. He was countersuing his accuser with charges of fraud and negotiating in bad faith.

Lucifer is grumpy. “I can’t believe, after all these years, I got suckered. People who are down on their luck want to change their lives. Eventually, they wish they could sell their souls to me in order to get a few years of prosperity. These are usually, honest folks. The fun of it is seeing if their newfound riches will corrupt them. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. It’s like watching a Kardashian show. Either way, I have their souls,” Lou explains. “But this guy? How my minions put him on the list is beyond me. A lot of my newbies are lacking in the brain area. Politicians.”

Lucifer is bested by a human!

Lou sighs. “I didn’t check out his file until I was enroute from Hell. He’s calling himself Mickey Malone, these days. Married and divorced three times, three kids plus two on the side. He owes years of both alimony and child support. He’s changed his name three times to avoid paying. His real name is Zane Bubb. I figured, yeah, it’s not the perfect match, but I can still take his soul.

“So, we do the usual blah-blah. I reach into his being, grab it, and put it in my soul box. I get back to Hell and open it up. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Not even an I.O.U. So, I go back to terrify him and he grinned. I told him I wanted his ‘given’ seven years back. He laughed! He had a contract and he got off besting me!

“Then, he enters these ‘stalking and intimidation’ charges. I counter-sued for fraud and larceny. So, here we are.”

NYC’s Night Court is held at 100 Center Street and is a carnival of crimes, often attended by foreign tourists. As Lou and this reporter walked into the courtroom, awaiting our turn at the lectern, a group of Swedish tourists seemed to recognize him. “Djävulen” they muttered. He turned, smiled and gave them a wink.

“HE HAD NO SOUL.”

It was hard to read the faces in the room. Everyone wore masks or those sneeze-guard face coverings. It looked like a bad 1930s sci-fi serial.

“Mickey Malone” addressed the Judge first. An attractive middle-aged woman in spite of her mask, the Judge seemed bored by the pudgy man’s spiel. He depicted Lou Scratch as a deranged man who just won’t leave him alone. Lou countered that Mickey had broken a contract. “All I wanted was his soul,” Lou said. “Then, I discovered that he had no soul. He had destroyed it on his own by taking advantage of people, using and abusing them just because he could. That’s just plain evil.”

The real Lucifer emerges.

The Judge seemed sympathetic. Lou then approached the judge with a folder. They exchanged winks. “What’s with the Groucho glasses?” she asked.

“I want to look approachable,” Lou replied.

The Judge was clearly intrigued. The Judge took the file and browsed through it, frowning. She turned to Malone. “Mr. Malone? Or should I say Mr. Bubb? You owe your ex-wives and children two and a half-million dollars?”

“It’s all lies!” the pudgy man exclaimed, a waterfall of sweat cascading down his face and shooting out of his mask like a drizzle.

The Judge handed the file to a nearby clerk and whispered in his ear. He exited as the pudgy man howled, “He’s a crazy man! If he’s the devil, tell him to prove it! He can’t!”

The Judge shot Lou a sad eyebrow look. “I’m sorry, Mr. Scratch. Mr. Malone or Bubb or whatever is right. I’m going to have to rule in his favor if you can’t prove you are who you say your are.”

Lou nodded. “One of the devil’s nicknames is Lord of the Flies, is it not?”

THE FLIES APPEAR!

Before the Judge could reply, a massive cloud of flies appeared in the room and covered Malone. “So what?,” he yelled, trying to blow them off his mask. “So I attract flies! A lot of people do! It runs in my family!”

The Judge seemed torn. Lou heaved a massive sigh. He smiled at the Judge. “If it’s further proof you need…”

The courtroom began to shimmy and shake as Lou slowly transformed into Lucifer. He grew into a massive red beast, at least ten feet tall. His breath sounded like a locomotive. Two wings erupted from his back with a cracking sound, as a serpent’s tail emerged from the back of his spine. Huge horns burst forth from his head. His Groucho glasses remained in place. Malone/Bubb passed out. The Judge was awestruck. The crowed erupted in cheers. Lucifer turned to me. “You were right about the glasses.”

A verdict is reached!

The Judge waved Lucifer over and the two of them had a whispered conversation. She handed him a piece of paper. He grinned and nodded. The Judge ruled in Lucifer’s favor, the audience applauding. The Judge announced that Malone/Bubb would be arraigned for stiffing his wife and kids. She banged her gavel, signaling for the next case.

Before the next case could be announced, everyone in the room crowded Lucifer, taking selfies and asking for his autograph. Lucifer turned to this reporter. “The limo will take you home and, then, come back for me.”

He flashed the paper that the Judge had handed him. “Judge Nancy gets off at 1 am. I told her I’d take her clubbing in my personal dives. She’ll be the first human to bar-crawl with me.”

We shook hands. Lucifer beamed at this reporter. “You gave me great insight on this case. I’m in your debt. You have a good and caring soul,” he said.

He leaned forward. “Feel like selling it?”

This reporter sprinted out of the courtroom and into the limo in record time.





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