I've listened a bit, and from what I hear, if we are paving the road to Hell with a willingness to burn everything in some sort of Potlatch for some nasty lamb-god, and calling it the 'good life', then such a game of life is advertised as the province of the Devil. Ah; there's a fellow; King of Lawyers or Lies, depending on your credit rating. Father of Machines, The Witherer, the Cheater, The Unholy Devourer. the First Son; the Last Perfection. Many names, indeed. If moving forward is a trick of the old soul-stealer, than such things like comfort, like progress, like the path of least resistance,and as cliche as it is,Best Intentions. are delusions worthy of Houdini. Consume, trade, sale, buy, sell, Kill Kill, Kill. Evil, evil, evil. Forking fingers and the number three. Falling children and the men and women of Infection. And perhaps once we've erected straw thatch huts and truly don't kill our brother because murder is much harder when you get near Death's Door, then maybe we'll have met a righteous End. Or: we'll be 'mean' continuing to grow and expectorate and shit up the the old World, annoying it in a general fashion until it finally shakes us off its back like a few swollen ticks. either way we CAN dance if we want to as the Devil's six billion idling fingers.
I find any fancy hard to stomach long-term (no surprise); so I thought I ought to search for this horned fellow. because, you know, they'll argue God right up to the foot of Heaven's throne. The Devil, on the other hand, he's a symapthetic character, a damnable cult hero. I figured if neglect and commercial appeal were involved, I might get more out of it if I got the goods right from the man himself.
I went the usual routes; having a city at hand already; with subway and subhuman abound. I rode through the 'hood; no Devil there; survival folk; Last Chance Avenue, perhaps; war zones, post-traumatics stitting on stoops marking time; no escape. Their Devil hadn't sold them any dream; no they had been abandoned by some Well-To-Do (and the Whoop-De-Doo, ultimately); put under a rug as one does dust when cleaning up for that first meet-and-greet that one hopes to turn into sweaty copulation a few weeks down the road. Those Corporate fellows love old Mammon; Science is a fucking narcissist (maybe its own Devil). Either of those folks wouldn't have bargained; no. they would have underbid and overrationalized Old Scratch. outsourced him to more effective folk; recruited jihadi; displaced a despot, or hell, just elected an official; and cut the sonofabitch into smaller and smaller pieces. (downsized, is it?) until a weak sneeze made laughter of him. I puzzled the politicos; having discovered they were after a thing called Power. I could barely resist the guffaw. Why the chuckle, they asked. I said, you fight and twist, and write all sorts of fantastic loopy fictions and create focus groups and masturbate yourself all over every media you could contaminate. I think youbeg of reality a thing that might have been given to you free and clear. How's that, they said? And I thought, Am I now said Devil? No, no; and in my first act of charity in this celestial sphere I told them simply master two words: Fear and Easy, and save a few billion dollars and horsepower. I tried commiserating with folks I've had personal dealings with, the drunks, who weren't interested in trade, only escape. After a beer too many (which is its natural function, to have one arrive at too many) I finally wised down enough to head toward the most logical place I figured to find him; his womb of sorts, that being the Church. They liked him there; he packed the pews; invited the right amount of Tremble; ordained the necessary Sacrament; kept things moving 'smoothly' as any proper Lord of such a title ought to.
And Why didn't I know that in the end the Devil, most human of them all, was a betting man? A fellow after souls; after dominion; why wouldn't he be banking for this creature, Human, to survive? (this alleged Final Judgment that resembles a cosmic pink slip) Against that he had mortgaged the mathematical purity of the cosmos. Folks taking the old Great Unknowable and twisting it into sitcoms and self-help books. Precious things, perhaps. All the lessons he had to impart to me he laid bare right there. These dice, he said, they tumble as you do into oblivion. These cards; you have given them face, and name, and celebrity. You have written them into a pretty little song you call History; to which you dance to tunes of Pain and waltz with imaginary queens of Love. Here, your skill-o wheel; your executioner; when will the ball bounce on the last day you spend alive? Green double zeros are the same shade of grass upon your grave. I knew my fate to meet cheap felt at the end of my time; I had hoped to be drunker (I still hadn't forgotten the bar). He continued: There's a God for you; Slots; pull a lever blindly, for no reason other than you have an arm and it has a gear. You'll rub all sorts of magical foci and snake oil all over yourself and hope to come up Jack Pot. Books and words and shows, and songs; film and rule and rod and law; bullet and brother; all will work, all can get you the all-important Win. Who's the loser, you ask? Why, he who does not Play.
there I grinned, fool that I am. the Devil glints like all mirrors; must be the regality of his reputation. I thought he'd have been easier to find; I figured if I asked after him enough, why he'd pop around the corner. I figured he'd wear my face, even as I wondered whether I'd believe myself of all things? (oh, I might have, but still). I thought there'd be a deal for me in particular; again he said, a focus group has already nailed the twenty-seven or so basic human demands. one only need study a little Sociology. Child labor (and maybe child-induced labor) outproduces any manufacturing of his. He did much better as a figurehead, hands seemingly on the strings, keeping the pews clean and staffed. Figuring at the very least. I could get a pass on judgement, or at least, five dollars (gas). I inquired after a deal. No, no, he said, that only works when you ask for something, well, humane. You're going to go ahead and ask for something ridiculous, like Truth, and then hold me to it afterward. People follow enough ridiculousness as it is as I play man's boogie woogie motherfucker.
So I asked him what was a true evil might be, then, if nothing else and I thought I heard him answer: Autonomy. But you know, that time, that voice sounded quite a bit like mine.
Maybe it was time to go back to the bar.