Two devils make plans for holiday season

Lorraine Murray

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Lorraine Murray

In 1942 C.S. Lewis published his satirical work called “The Screwtape Letters” about a senior devil named Screwtape and a junior devil, Wormwood. In the fictional letters, they discussed their attempts to win over a man’s soul, referring to God as “The Enemy” and Lucifer as “Our Father Below.”

It’s one of my favorite books, so I imagined myself overhearing a conversation between two contemporary demons — Wartface, the senior fellow, and Hornwobble, his student.

“It was thrilling to see the humans battling over Thanksgiving invitations,” Wartface said.

“Plenty of them refused to invite anyone with a different political opinion. I heard about a young man who won’t talk to his own grandmother, because he doesn’t like the way she voted.”

Hornwobble chimed in: “Isn’t it wonderful how folks seem to fight over everything nowadays? One remark on Twitter leads to a verbal war that crushes the offenders. We have protests over masks, jury verdicts, gas prices — even Christmas nativities!”

Wartface shot the junior demon a vicious look. “Stop trying to educate me, you nitwit. Keep in mind I got my gold badge for leading souls to hell, when you were just a toddler, learning your first curse words.

“Besides, the holiday season is starting, so we have to get moving. Soon, people will be fighting in stores over big-screen TVs and computer games. We have to encourage them to be as greedy as possible.

“It’s such a victory for Our Father Below, when humans go into debt buying overpriced stuff as a way to celebrate the birth of a baby born in poverty.”

“And it’s marvelous that people get upset when someone says ‘holidays’ instead of ‘Christmas,’” Hornwobble chimed in. “They even fight over that!”

“But, remember,” warned Snoutface, “the big danger of the season is when people who normally avoid church, attend services on Christmas. Once they hear the Enemy loves them, they start going to church regularly, which makes Our Father Below furious. We must remind them about the pleasures of sleeping in.

“I hate this season, frankly. Families trimming trees, stringing lights and singing carols about peace, joy and love.”

Hornwobble suddenly looked wistful. “Yeah, and cookies and cakes and presents. Sometimes I wish we had stuff like that.”

Snoutface gestured threateningly with his pitchfork. “Watch it, or you’ll get thrown into boiling oil, like the time you botched our campaign to win the soul of that married man.

“He was tempted to cheat on his wife, as I’m sure you recall, and you were supposed to lull him into believing it wasn’t a big deal. Instead, he ended up in church, promising the Enemy he’d never consider straying again.”

Hornwobble looked nervous. “I’m turning over a rotten leaf. From now on, I’m going to be the most vicious devil you ever saw. Before I’m done, hell will have a sign that says ‘Standing room only.’”

“Shut up and get your pitchfork,” Snoutface ordered. “I just heard some kid say he’d be especially good this year. We have work to do!”

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