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Character Interrogations

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If you could ask any question of any of the characters in any of my fiction, what would it be?

This is what Facebook wanted to know. It may not surprise any of you that Satan received the most direct questions, and was also the topic of several others. Also, people seem to like dogs.

MATT NICHOLLS: Mr. McBlack, who was your favourite kill?

WHITEFACE McBLACKMy favourite is yet to come, I hope. A man’s gotta dream, right? PS what are you doing tonight around midnight?

JOHN DeFROG: For Clarice Marnier: Given yr own experience, would you recommend The Devil as a stepping stone for aspiring musicians? And with the benefit of hindsight, would you have done it differently? Also, what gear are you using these days?
a) No, and fuck you for asking. 
b) Yeah, I would have made sure that asshole understood who was in charge from the very first.
c) My current project is a vintage Fender Jazzmaster. I’m still trying to find a good way to fix the bridge, but while it’s in, the sound is luscious.

EMMET O’CUANA: Reverend Melmoth, what do you he make of Alan Watts’ “left hand of God” theory?
“You see, how it was done was this prohibition not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. That was the one sure way of getting it eaten. But of course when the Lord God accused Adam and said, ‘You’ve been eating of that tree I told you not to eat,’ and he passed the buck to Eve and said, ‘this woman that thou gavest me, she tempted me and I did eat.’ And He looked at Eve and [said] ‘now what about it?’ She said, ‘well, it was the serpent.’ And He looked at the serpent–the serpent didn’t say anything, because he knew too much and he wasn’t going to give away the show. Who is it that sits at the left hand of God? We know who sits at the right hand. It’s hushed up, because that’s the side where the district attorney sits, and in the Book of Job of course you know Satan is the district attorney at the court of Heaven. He’s the prosecutor, he’s a faithful servant of the court. Because, you see, the whole problem is, it would be very bad indeed if God were the author of evil and we were his victims. That is to say, if we keep the model of the King of the Universe, and the creatures are all subjects of the king, then a God who is responsible for evil is being very unkind to other people. But in this theory God is not ‘an-other’ person, there are no ‘victims’ of God. He is never anything but His own victim.”

VICAR MELMOTH: Well, Mr Watts says rather a lot in those paragraphs. With the disclaimer that the concerns of Satanism are of course different to the Episcopalian tradition that Watts is addressing, here is the position of the Modern Orthodox brand of Satanism practiced by congregations like my own:

1/ We do hold that Satan has the role of prosecutor, although we consider the book of Job to be apocryphal. The most commonly held belief is that the falling out between Satan and his creator came when the Devil tried to hold the Judge accountable to his own standards. We hold that God is responsible for his own crimes just as the rest of creation: that is the cause of the Devil’s apostasy and that is why we hold that he made his departure from Heaven–of his own free will. *

2/ I cannot agree with Watts’ assertion that the Snake in Eden was accomplice to the creator in the Fall of Man. We see the act of Temptation as a facet of the Devil’s identity as Lucifer the Lightbringer: by convincing Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, the Devil brought the light of Reason to humankind**. He is the Light in Enlightenment.

3/ As to the left and right hand: Satan (a title meaning ‘accuser’ in the original Hebrew, rather than a proper name), the prosecutor, stands on the right, and Lucifer Morningstar on the left. The Devil stands on both sides of the creator, bracketing him with accountability and reason. This is the nature of their dispute. This is the reason that we call the Devil two-faced.

* The lore is not entirely cogent on this matter.

** On foot.

*** There is some argument as to the nature of the actual fruit consumed.

 PAUL BEDFORD: This question is for Whiteface McDog, the best named pet in all modern literature: “Are you exercised daily, are you vet checks regular and what does your diet consist of?”
WMD: “Rarf!” (affirmative)
“Rarf rarf!” (affirmative)
“Rarf-rarf-rarfy-rarf rarf!” (kibble, seasoned with trace amounts of gun oil. Occasionally wet food. Shmackos for a treat.)

DAVID WALDEN: Satan, who do you think gave the best portrayal of you? Please cover Film, Literature & Music

SATAN: David, I am very partial to the way that Mikhail Bulgakov portrays my alter ego, Professor Woland, in the Master and Margarita. I also enjoyed Robert De Niro’s turn in Angel Heart, and Peter Stormare’s weirdo rendition in the otherwise terrible Constantine movie.
The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is probably the most true-to-life version, bongo intro notwithstanding.

KAREN JACOBSON MARCON: Clarice, what did become of that Barbie Doll of yours?

CLARICE MARNIER: I melted her down and used her for plectrums.

 GEORGE WILSON III: Does Satan REALLY love me?

SATAN: Yes, George, I do. Why would I lie about a thing like that?

GEORGE WILSON III: McBlack, where do I get a GunDog?

WHITEFACE McBLACK: Gundog is a one-of-a-kind individual. Since Lila’s death her three sisters have been looking after him.

ANTHONY EARL: Satan, why do good things happen to bad people?

SATAN: Because they make them happen, Anthony. Ruthlessness is a virtue.

— JF

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