You wouldn’t have thought it was possible but here’s the cosmic news. One day people turned over a whole new forest of leaves, and the fact of the matter is there are no more bad people alive; or dead for that matter.
Over time, after the world got sick of wars and tyrannies: people looked destiny in the eye, or in the mirror, or in something anyway, and saw the bad boys or girls they could become and said, “No madam, no sir, no to that future,” and before you could say “Mashed potatoes with a touch of garlic in a parsley and butter dressing” they had turned their back on the dark side and gone out to mow some old ladies lawn before settling down to their homework or job and telling their new partner that, “Sorry, I have no wish to disappoint but I couldn’t even consider kissing you until at least three years into our marriage, that is if you accept me, and a good person never applies pressure:” You get the picture.
The world was now a blessèd place, and everyone was having one hell of a good time except for the Devil of course. OK, he’d got some of the remaining worst offenders skulking round the boiler room but, by and large, no one went there anymore, and the eternal fires for which his place of work was famous had pretty much gone out because there was nothing left worth burning.
“Anything left to drink?” said Stalin, and a lesser known figure who had been a mass murderer sometime in the Middle Ages just shook his head. Fact was, the thing which had made Hell buzz was the initiation ceremonies: the “Welcome to your worst by nightmare” parties, when souls freshly through the death frenzy could be traumatised so badly that the veteran inmates fell about laughing. In the end, if you keep trying the same tricks and tortures over an eternity on those already exposed to them the magic goes out of the ceremony. Even the Devil was at a loss and just sat by what was now a pile of embers pocking at his diminishing supply of coals.
“Where’s the fun gone Devoloskovitch” said Stalin, tugging at his eternal moustache and sucking on his alcohol-free bottle of vodka. Everyone just smiles at everyone, and loves their neighbour regardless of their orientation, sex, creed, race or background”
“Sssh” said the devil, and there was a strange quality of depression about him; a listlessness possibly, and he turned to look at his acolyte and said, “Even the Hell’s angels use peddle bikes now and make sandwiches for old people.”
They hugged each other and then pulled away. Perhaps it was old school, but sympathy had no place in Hell. Even their craggy pitted faces were starting to look less disturbing and, staring at this most infamous of tyrants, the devil felt his nature crumbling as emotions stirred inside him. “A friendship blossoming in Hell” he thought, “This is worse than I realised.”