Friday, October 28, 2011

John Milton Interviews Satan For Entertainment Tonight

[Transcript from an interview soon to be broadcast on Entertainment Tonight.]

Milton: Since Halloween falls on a Monday this year, and this is his birthday weekend, I am here talking with Satan, on Skype, from his holiday villa “Pandaemonium” deep in the depths of Hell. Satan, let me be the first fan in England to wish you a big Happy Birthday!

Satan: Gee-wiz, thanks, John. So kind of you to call. I am touched, really, I am. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for you. And may I say you look marvelous for a 400-year-old? What is your secret? Who is your surgeon? You could pass for a teenager. It must be the poetry—Paradise Regained.

Milton: [Blushing.] Such a sweetheart.

Satan: By the way, I enjoyed your pamphlet on free speech. Areopagitica—great title. I can’t wait for the movie.

Milton: [Even redder now.] No wonder Eve fell for you. Satan, I know you are in Hell and everything, but you sound so mellow, so relaxed. Why is that?

Satan: I am not religious, you see. I love where I am in life. I always have. This is my home. Hell is all in the mind. So is Heaven. As long I have high speed internet access, a hibachi, a Ken doll to grill and somewhere to surf, I am in Heaven. Malibu Barbie never had it so good.

Milton: When you say you are not religious, what do you mean? Are you saying that you don’t believe in God?

Satan: No, not exactly. I believe in God. I just wish that he believed in me.

Milton: I heard about your break-up. I didn’t want to ask about it directly. Worse than Jen and Brad’s?

Satan: I wouldn’t say it was as Earth-shattering as that, not by Hollywood standards. But it was certainly all over the tabloids at the time. It was bad enough.

Milton: Are you bitter?

Satan: No, not bitter. Just a little sad. Look, don’t get me wrong. I think God is great. “Akbar” and all that. I wish I could do more to help him—justify his actions, so to speak. Nobody adores God more than I do—even after what he did to the Amalekites in that bar in Seattle. I understand lashing out. I have felt that way about the paparazzi myself. But genocide? Jeez Louise, God, get a grip.

Milton: Are you still friends?

Satan: In the biblical sense, sure. It can get complicated around the holidays. God and I still get together for brunch whenever I am in town.

Milton: I always suspected God was gay.

Satan: He’s not. Not exclusively. I believe God is bisexual. He loves almost everyone. Even the Amalekites, maybe. I am not so sure how he feels about the paparazzi though. He has a hard time with photographers. I wish they would leave him alone.

Milton: [Nodding sympathetically.]

Satan: [Leaning forward, confidentially.] Off the record, John, between you and me, he has this kid and some mysterious woman in Rome he is paying alimony to. Or blackmail. Possibly a transsexual. You know how those Italians are. I never saw the name on the envelope, but he used to cut her a check—10% of his residuals—every month. He is a nice man, a lovely man, but an unholy financial mess.

Milton: Off the record. Sure. [Clearing his throat.] So, when you say you are not religious, you don’t mean to suggest you are an atheist?

Satan: No. Far from it. There is no system of belief more suicidal to happiness than atheism. A pile of dust—what kind of future is that for an ambitious angel to look forward to?

Milton: Not much of one, I suppose.

Satan: Hell, no. Give me Malibu and my hibachi.

Milton: About religion then.

Satan: Oh, yeah. I mean, I hate organized religions. I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I don’t believe in unions—reunions—collectives of any kind—artistic, intellectual, political. Sex is a different matter. I am all for that—consenting individuals. But I would rather stick my head in a wood chipper than be caught in a cheering crowd. I am a small ‘d’ democrat. The ‘d’ stands for ‘devil’.

Milton: [Smiling.] Very funny. Speaking of crowds, what do you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Satan: I honestly feel sorry for the kids. Lied to everywhere, by everyone. No place to poop. But I think their leaders are idiots—they should be pissing on their professors’ lawns instead of in Zuccotti Park—especially the English majors. Who spends $100,000 at a spa studying Foucault for 4 years? Insane.

Milton: It is rather.

Satan: You can buy houses all over America for that much and still have money left over to open a coffee shop, learn HVAC repair, and stage a guerilla theater production of Coriolanus in Washington D.C.—complete with puppets. [Sipping herbal tea.] It’s like I said about Heaven and Hell: you make your own Malibu. There are always dues to pay to some bare-knuckled thug or wild-eyed zany somewhere down the line, if you don’t.

Milton: Can you give us an example?

Satan: [Thinking.] I was going to mention Bush and Obama, but they are more like Laurel and Hardy, aren’t they? The two smiling sides of a counterfeit coin. Nobody takes Republicans and Democrats seriously anymore—not in the real world—not in the world I live in, anyway.

Milton: In Hell?

Satan: In California, John. Ken—wave to the man. I know he can’t see you, I know he is blind, I know he’s a poet, but be a doll, Ken, and wave to Milton anyway. [Ripping off Ken’s left arm and still trying to think of a good example of a thug or a zany.] Ken is waving to you, John.

Milton: Hi, Ken!

Satan: [Using Ken’s severed arm to scratch his back.] See, take the French Revolution. Take the intellectuals. Take the guillotine. They get rid of Schwarzenegger and what is the first thing the smart people do? They anoint Jerry Brown Governor: they install a moonbeam as god and immediately lose their minds. Jesus, you might as well hand over your house keys to the chief lunatic in the asylum. [Rolling his yellow eyes in disbelief.]

Milton: Speaking of Jesus, I have always wondered, do you know him—Jesus—I mean—personally?

Satan: I do. [Tossing Ken’s arm into a river of lava.] He will always have a special place in my heart. A nice boy. Red hair. Constantly climbing trees. A dead ringer for Opie Taylor—the young Ron Howard. Jesus was always being followed home by lost puppies—wherever he went. I think the divorce hit him hard and the puppies sensed that.

Milton: The divorce? Oh, the lady [?] in Rome.

Satan: Yeah. Her. Animals are like that. They know things. They remember things. The other kids are really going to crucify him in high school, of course, if he doesn’t lose those strays. I have half a mind to tell him the puppies can stay down here in Malibu with Ken and me.

Milton: That’s awfully generous.

Satan: It’s nothing. Jesus texts me all the time. God is hopeless with numbers, so I help Jesus with his math homework. He is learning fractions now. He thinks of me as his second father, I guess, Pandaemonium as his second home. God used to bring him down to Malibu from L.A., you know, for long weekends. We made quite a happy family, really. The three of us would play Monopoly together. [Wistfully, as if remembering happier days.] Jesus liked to be the thimble. Being the bank, I preferred the top hat.

Milton: And what was God?

Satan: God? Oh, God. What was God? Let me see if I can remember. Christ was the thimble. I was the hat. [Long pause.] I’ve got it: God was the dog. He was the dog. Of course, what else could God be?

Milton: The dog. Of course.

Together: Happy Halloween!


Richard Epstein said...

I think Satan would say, "between you and I," just to torment us. It's his job, after all.

Eric Norris said...

I believe there may be some torments to which even Satan himself would not stoop...