Submitted Date 08/27/2020

Breaking News. In this two-part, all-access series, The Dark Lord sits down and spills all on his exit from the Gates of Hell.

For years rumors had been circulating that Satan had not been happy in Hell, and all of that came to a head this week with Satan posting on Twitter: "I quit. For real this time. Working here every day is literally Hell."

I had a relatively healthy relationship with the Devil for years, especially in my twenties, but did have a falling out in July of 1996 when I started going back to church. He and I hadn't spoken for many years, but this week when I reached out to him for the interview, he was more than happy to talk and was at times even jovial. Satan cited our special past relationship as one of the main reasons for talking this week.

Before we get into the main details of the interview, I must say this: he is not the same Overlord that I knew thirty-five years ago. He's mellowed a lot. He forgave me for choosing a different path and genuinely seemed happy for me in my life's journey. Also in his countenance and his constantly fidgeting hands, there seemed an air of regret or perhaps something lost. Several times during the interview, he needed to take a break and compose himself. Lastly, as you may guess having read about him in literature, not only can The Dark Lord be sweet and silver-tongued, he can also be at times coarse in his language, so interested young readers may need their parent's guidance reading this article with their children.

Last Tuesday, my agent called me and told me the interview was set for 3:00 AM, the witching hour, of course. I thought that quite appropriate.

We meet in Room 237 of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which many readers may recognize from the film, The Shining.

As I arrive with the recording crew, two half-naked young ladies hurriedly giggle and dress. The room is stuffy, hot, the bedsheets roiled and unkempt from the Archfiend's unrest. The subtle scent of sulfur and stale cigarettes permeate the room. The drapes had been slashed open and the high late-night moon glowing above the Colorado mountains sends fingers of pale light delicately filtering through the window.

From inside the bathroom, the shower roars a waterfall, and a sweet trilling emanates from the closed door, Snow White's, "Whistle While You Work."

The young ladies notice the recording crew and immediately grab their cell phones and paw open their Instagram and Snapchat accounts and wonder if they are going to be stars. They introduced themselves. Haven Reynolds, a flirtatious brunette, is here for a real estate conference, and Hope Lawson, a sumptuous blonde, is a waitress at The Stanley Lounge. I tell them they will not be in the interview, and both seem disappointed and they plead.

I relent and ask them the question that's probably on everyone's mind right now. "How was he? You know, in the sack?"

Both girls look at each other and giggle mockingly. Haven is the first to speak. "For all the buildup," then she winks and wiggles her pinky finger. "There really isn't much to talk about."

Hope agrees. "It was like one of those California environment-saving paper straws. Seems like a great idea at the start, then it just disintegrated as it got wet. Whatever, though. Am I going to be on TV?"

The door to the bathroom flushes open and Satan wipes himself down with a towel. Physically he is the same being that I knew so many years ago, well over seven feet tall, imposing, muscular, crimson-skinned, and horns sharply tipped like daggers. He gives the women a shoulder hug and tenderly pecks each one on the forehead and then escorts them out the door.

The recording crew sets up as Satan pulls on a pair of Hanes briefs, black socks, and gray dockers. Around his shoulders he drapes a University of Colorado hoodie over his broad figure. He points to the buffalo and taps a stitched emblem on the sweatshirt. "It's Raplhie the mascot. What do you think? I got it down in the gift shop."

He looks good in clothes. "I like it. Shall we sit down and talk?"

Two chairs face each other and the mics are tested and ready. The sound crew pins mics to my lapel and then pinch the fabric of his hoodie. Satan seems uncomfortable at first as he fidgets and twiddles the string of his sweatshirt, but he seems almost gregarious and ready to talk. I decided to forgo my original opening and just talk to him.

Satan. How are you, man? I haven't seen you in a while.

I'm good. Good. I'm healthy. Cholesterol is in check, blood pressure is a little high but I've been hitting the treadmill, and damned if they didn't find a few polyps up my ass. But all is well. And you can call me by my given name. I go by Don now. Don McPhail. Before you even say something, I know, I know. What a dumb name. But He [God] gave it to me. Who am I to, you know? He is the Master of the Universe, after all. Can you imagine if everyone knew my real name when I ran Hell? I'd be a laughing stock. McPhail, really? The kid [Jesus] knew but he never told anyone. That book [the Bible] would be a helluva lot different, don't you think? "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, Don McPhail, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." There's no ring to it.

Well, Don. Do you remember when we first met?

How could I forget? You were a slim sixteen-year-old kid with a masturbation fixation wondering about drugs and sex - two of my favorite topics - and all I had to do was nudge that stupid senior, Freddie, over to you after school. You have an addictive personality, and it really wasn't that hard. I assume all that's in the past now. When people choose a different path, I can't always see what they're up to; it's clouded, misty, and you become protected to some extent. Anyway, How are you?

I'm doing well. I'm doing this thing now where I write, and I'm enjoying it. I've had moderate success. But let's get back to you. From the Tweet, you sounded done, exhausted, fed up. But it wasn't always like that for you was it? Take me back, would you?

Of course. Of course. When we were kicked out of Heaven, we needed a place to shack up. Of course, I wanted nothing to do with bliss and paradise, so I went all-in on a place completely the opposite. You know some folks think Hell is all hot, some all cold, but the best way to describe it is both ways. Robert Frost had it pretty close in his poem, "Fire and Ice."

What do you mean by that?

Have you ever touched something so cold that it feels like the sensation of heat? That's how it is. I can tell you're curious. Here. Clutch my forearm.

(I reach over and touch his arm, and it is ice cold, but the sensation that permeates up my arm is blistering heat. I let go and the seering cold lingers long after). So that's eternal damnation?

That's damnation. Isolation. The whole nine yards, as they say. In the early days, it was a pretty sweet gig. We could pretty much do what we wanted. Even the Law didn't really hinder us. Loopholes, man, there were always loopholes. I remember this one time, a guy, Nephelium was his name, he had gone hog-nuts on the whole coveting thing. I had an incubus, Draqzic, just go and nudge him a little bit and the guy went ape and killed his neighbor with a slab of limestone the size of a suitcase, and all for a couple of goats. Then this dude goes on a rampage, a veritable killing spree through the village, and I thought to myself, "I think we have something here." Draqzic agreed. And we got this guy pumping semen into every fertile woman in the area, and Kapow! That's how the first race of serial killers were born. We'd have no Albert Fish, Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and that moron and his floppy disk if it weren't for Draqzic's little nudge.

So let me get this straight. You're still evil? Even though you're quitting Hell? Don't you want to change for the better?

(Satan snorts and brimstone puffs a thick hazy cloud out of his nostrils). Evil? Now that's a loaded word, isn't it? Evil? Good? Holy? Better? They all get so confusing in my mind, so let me put it this way. I'm like a retired welder or woodworker who continues to meticulously tinker in his garage on all these minor masterpieces. I'm the over-the-hill CEO who everybody loathes but is now in a consulting role spilling advice from years of experience. Or like Brett Favre. Though I'm done, fini, I'll probably just keep coming back once in a while just to annoy the old crew.

So what changed for you?

The Kid. I never saw such a human. That's some real shit going down there. I tempted him too. Kingdoms, riches, Jezebels. I laid it all before him, and I observed him toiling inside himself. But that S.O.B. never caved. The three days following the Big Event changed me forever. I don't want to talk about that time in my life. And I would encourage you to move on to another question perhaps.

So the millennia following, your interest waned?

Yes and no. There was always a lot to do, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the ancient Popes. But the one that really did me in was the destruction of the mustache. I set that guy up, and he had the world by the nuts, but like all humans, he went a little batty with all that power. I thought for sure the Big Battle was coming with his rise to power. I was ready. My fiends were ready. The fool promised a thousand years and I got twelve. What a gip. That was it after that. Afterward, humanity straightened up for a bit, and with the damn hippies and counterculture, my legion started to get restless, ansty, soft. They started doubting me, disrespecting me.

(Here The Dark Lord sits back deeply in his chair with a long sigh and a few wisps of hazy smoke. His arms are winged out behind his head. He bums a Marlboro Light from Dave, our sound guy. But I decide to press on before our first break, and in between long draws on the cigarette, the end glowing a terrible orange, we continued).

How did they disrespect you?

A lot of it was behind the scenes. I hate being humiliated. I'd really rather not say.

Come on. It's me, man. And the world wants to know. There are a lot of people on your side. There are a lot of people who want to hear your side. You have an adoring public out there, a worshipping public. They are not going to think of you any differently.

Well, let me say this. After The Kid did his thing, I had to go into seclusion for a bit. I'll admit, I got an ass-kicking. When I returned, my legions acted differently around me. They played practical jokes. I'd sit down at the head of the council table and get my ass stabbed; they were always placing little crowns of thorns on my chairs, on the driver's side of my Lexus, on the sauna seats, you know, the whole deal.

So what did you do about it?

They are demons, so I get the impish side of it, actually applaud their ingenuity, but that is as far as my benevolence went. There were plenty of lashings and gnashings when I found out the perpetrators. As far as spiritual beings go, you can really work them over. We can't die, but we sure as hell can be punished. They'd play this joke in my office once in a while too. They'd turn all the crosses right-side up. I didn't care for that too much either.

(Satan leans deeply gack into his chair and puffs out a long sigh.)

It'll be morning soon enough, and I like to show you the grounds a little bit, maybe sit by the lake and talk; I find I'm getting a bit more contemplative as I age. Let's take a break. I need another smoke too. Can the crew do that?

Of course, Don. Of course.

We pack up, and as we do, the early glow of the morning sun sends a cascade of filament light washing through the pines. Part one of the interview ends here, but there is so much more. Please check back soon for part 2. Don takes us through the twentieth century, our current state of affairs, the Millennial generation of demons, the paranormal, and the end times.

I've never told a truth in my life.  And OJ Simpson is a killer.


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