Well, I've certainly landed an odd-duck interview today, and one I didn't even seek. Seems this guy Billy Mephistopheles calls me up the other day and tells me he's Satan's eldest son and second in command down in the nether regions. I figured the guy to be a crank caller making fun of the way my interviews with Mick Jagger and Elmer Fudd turned out but he said he could prove it. Just to be on the safe side I tell him I'll meet him somewhere else, don't bother coming to my house, which I suppose everybody knows by now is also the offices of bobcrespo.com.
So this Billy guy laughs a real creepy laugh and tells me to look in my garage. Now I'm getting spooked and whip out the old Louisville Slugger and peek into the garage. Sure enough there's this joker on a cell phone standing in my garage so I belt him a good one across the forehead. Devil's kid or not I can't condone breaking and entering. Well down he goes out like a light so I get out the handyman's best friend, a roll of duct tape and wrap him up pretty good. Before I'm done he comes to, although he's a bit groggy and with a golfball-sized knot on his head.
"What'd you do that for?" he moaned
"You broke into my house, pal."
"This isn't your house, it's a damned garage! And a pretty messy one at that."
"Well excuse me, Martha Stewart, but it's still my property and this door leads right into my kitchen. How did you get in here?"
"You left the garage door wide open! Besides, do you know who I am?"
"Yeah, you're some chump tied up with duct tape sporting a lovely purple and orange bump on your head claiming to be Satan's son. You'll be just another loony tune in G-Ward in King's County Hospital in about an hour, strapped to a gurney and pumped full of Thorazine. That's who you are!"
"Wait a minute, Bob."
"How do you know my name? "
"I just called you, didn't I? Your number's listed, you know. And your name's right there on the mailbox. I don't need any of my black powers to figure that one out."
"Black Magic, my ass!"
"You don't believe I'm Billy Mephistopheles, son of Lucifer and Second in Command of Hell?"
"Afraid not, bud. You're name might be Billy but that crap about being the devil's son sounds like you've been mixing tequila and sedatives, bro. I'm calling 911."
"No, wait! I can prove it. Watch this!"
All of a sudden the duct tape I wrapped him up with melted off his hands and feet like candle wax and then burst into flames. He brushed the wispy ashes off his suit and stood up, all of a sudden none the worse for wear. The bump on his head disappeared in a flash and I'm thinking this guy is either running a super-high temperature and is a really fast healer or there's something to what he was saying. I was tempted to whack him again with the baseball bat but figured he might just set it on fire and I'm not positive my homeowner's insurance covers demon-ignited blazes.
BC: "Well, you got my attention, Billy. Consider this your interview, but don't even think of asking to come into the house and make yourself comfortable, my wife will have your ass."
BM: "I don't want to mess with Louise, Bob. Quite frankly she scares me."
BC: "She is a handful sometimes…."
BM: "I'm not here to harm you either, Bob, I just want you to interview me."
BC:"You're kidding, right? I'm not that popular. If this is a trick to get me to sell my soul to your old man, forget it! Tell him I'm not selling."
BM: "We don't want your soul, Bob. You're way too loving and sappy of a guy, thinking the best of everybody all the time, you'd only make trouble down there. You're definitely not Hell material."
BC: "Not Hell material?" I wasn't sure whether I should be insulted or not, like I don't measure up in this lowlife's standards. Well screw him anyway, I thought. Then I wondered if I should be relieved but he took care of that for me."
BM: "At least not yet," he grinned wickedly.
BC: "What do you mean by that?"
BM: "We never give up."
BC: "Don't hold your breath, Sparky."
BM: "We've got other fish to fry, Bob."
BC: "Anybody I know?"
"BM: "Maybe… but I'd never tell you."
BC: "So why should I put you, the devil's son, on the Internet?"
BM: "Like we're not there already, Bob? Wake up! We've got lot of you fools doing our work on the web, and the beauty if it is that some of them don't even admit even to themselves who it is they serve! Some of them pretend they're serving God! We get a good chuckle over those fools downstairs."
BM: "Downstairs." (At this point he holds out the palm of his hand which has a pretty impressive little bonfire on it.)
BC: "So what about those of us who know they're serving your Pop?"
BM: "What about them? They're already in the fold, we don't waste time preaching to the choir."
BC: "What about those Devil-worshipping jerkoffs, you know the ones who think they can invoke the devil and get him to do their bidding?"
BM: "Those fools? Put it this way, we have a special wing in hell waiting for them, and it's not the VIP section either if you follow me. Imagine the gall they have to think for a second that they can summon the Lord of Darkness to do their bidding like some cheap hit man. It is they who do his bidding and I can assure you they'll be doing his bidding for a long, long time."
BC: "That whole 'For All Eternity' concept sure seems like a bitch, Billy. So tell me, you're Satan's eldest son, eh?"
BM: "What, God can have a son but Lucifer can't?"
BC: "No, no, not at all, Billy. I'm sure he's got a lot of spawns of the devil running around downstairs."
BM: "And plenty more running around up here too, Bob. What's your point?"
BC: "Well, you being eldest and second in command and whatnot, it must bother you that you'll never be number one, never sit in the head honcho's seat. At least the eldest sons of kings and emperors down here can expect the old man to drop dead sooner or later and they can have their day in the sun, or in your case, your day in the glow of Hell Fire. That's not going to happen for you, is it? That must bother the hell out of you, no?"
BM: "Why do you say that? You have no idea how much power I wield!"
BC: "I'm sure you've got a load of Evil Powers, Billy boy, a real live rootin' tootin' Darth Vader on steroids. It's just that there's one guy down there who has a hell of a lot more, if you'll excuse the pun, and he's not going anywhere. Not ever."
BM: "May the Lord of Darkness forever reign!"
BC: "Billy, it's just you and me here in my garage. You don't have to spout stupid slogans to me, and besides, this is your interview, not your dad's. Let him get Anne Coulter to tell his side of things."
BM: "She does that already. And besides, you can't be too careful. He's got ears everywhere."
BC: "Well he'd better get his ass and his ears out of my friggin' garage. This is a devil-free zone here."
BM: "What about me?"
BC: "You don't seem like such a bad guy to me, Billy, just a fella kind of stuck in a lousy situation."
BM: "No, Bob, you've got me wrong! I'm evil incarnate! I live, eat and breathe evil!"
BC: "Is that why your father sends you on lightweight missions like getting interviewed by a guy you admit is not Hell material? Doesn't sound like Old Nick thinks you're evil enough if you ask me."
BM: "You're right. Maybe it's my name, Bob. Why'd he go and name me Billy? That's not evil sounding at all! My brothers have cool names like Leechfield, and Soul Eater and Demonus and Rove!"
BC: "Rove? That is creepy. Good point, pal. Billy just doesn't strike fear into anyone's soul. Maybe you're just not cut out for the family business, Ever think of that?"
BM: "Not out loud, my friend. You don't know what they can do to you down there!"
BC: "See what I mean, Bill? That sort of torture repels you. You could have burnt me to a crisp in a second but you let me whack you with a bat and tie you up. You're not cut out for this evil business."
BM: "Stop saying that! Are you trying to get me in trouble here?"
BC: "Bill, Bill, what's the worst that could happen? You get thrown out of Hell? Sounds like a win-win situation to me. You get out the soul corruption business and your dad gets rid of a son who's an embarrassment in the pure evil department."
BM: "An embarrassment? An embarrassment? How dare you? Why I ought top burn you to ashes right here in your messy garage!"
BC: "Billy, get a hold of yourself, man! Don't make me go get Louise to come in here and straighten you out!"
BM: "No, please don't! I'll calm down… The truth is, I really don't want to smite anybody. And here's a confession, Bob: I've never corrupted a single soul on my own. I've even given a few people a head's up that they were on their way downstairs if they didn't clean up their acts, and boy would that get me into trouble with the boss…"
BC: "Billy, didn't you tell me he has ears everywhere? I'll bet he knows all about your extracurricular activities. And screw him anyway, the rat bastard!"
BM: "Quiet! Are youcrazy, Bob?"
BC: "Some people say I am, but so what? What's Satan going to do anyway? You and I both know it takes two to tango and I'm not having any of his hate, fear and anger nonsense! He's got no power over anybody who doesn't give him that power themselves."
BC: "Really. Sounds to me like he's been making life miserable for you for a long time now, Billy."
BM: "Eons, Bob, eons… you have no idea. I can't tell you how long I've thinking about getting out, but I've been afraid. He can be one nasty guy, let me tell you."
BC: "But you're his son, Bill. Would he burn and torture his first born just because you're not cut out for the family business?"
BM: "I wouldn't bet against it. He's done it before pretty much just for sport."
BC: "So when does the devil's son say enough is enough? A real evil guy wouldn't mention that my garage was messy. A real evil minion of Lucifer would at least burn me a little bit, but you haven't harmed me at all."
BM: "You're right, Bob. I just can't bring myself to be evil. I'm just a failure I guess…"
BC: "A failure, Billy, a failure? No way in hel…. I mean there's just no way you're a failure. You, my friend are a triumph! You're a wonder of self-invention and following your own heart and best instincts in spite of what has to be considered an extremely dysfunctional upbringing. You reaffirm my faith in human, or rather I suppose, other-than-human nature. pal!"
BM: "I see what my dad means about you, pal. You're a real nut job, Bob, if you can
see the good in the son of the devil. Hopeless!"
BC: "I just call 'em like I see 'em, Bill. And I can't help if your Pop is only second best in the power department."
BM: "Don't you realize that he's put you through a lot of misery? He's been tryimng to break you for a long time."
"BC: "And don''t you realize that I know that, Billy?"
"BM: "You do?"
BC: "Why should I be any different? He hounds everybody. He's one industrious son of a gun, I'll give him that."
BM: "We have a motto downstairs: 'Evil Never Sleeps.' It's posted everywhere."
BC: "Well he can kiss my goofy, sappy, people-loving ass! When are you going to get some rest, Billy, some peace of mind? Isn't eons and eons of living under his thumb enough? And even if you were evil like your brothers, would that please him? Does anything make that old buzzard proud or satisfied?"
BM: "Now that you mention it, no! He's just as nasty after a good day of devil-inspired genocide as he is when peace is declared somewhere. There's just no pleasing him!"
BC: "There you go, B! Evil is insatiable. Get out of Hell already! You're wasting your life, such as it is. I don't mean to knock your family but I can't see much upside to being heir to a throne nobody could possibly want and one you can't attain anyway. That's no life at all."
BM: "But what would I do with myself? All I know is devilry."
BC: "Which by your own admission you're not any good at. Listen, you seem like a pretty sharp guy, and Lord knows you have more experience than anybody ever, so I think you can write your own ticket here on Earth. You wouldn't even need your Black Magic powers. There's not much call here call for turning yourself into a human torch or burning somebody else to cinders."
BM: "I'm pretty sure I'd lose my powers if I defect. I'd become a mortal."
BC: "Boy, wouldn't it be a bitch if you became a mortal, and then when you died you went to hell?"
BM: "Your irony isn't helping here, Bob."
BC: "Sorry Bill, just messing with your head. But that's the chance you take being a human, you've got a choice to follow the light or the darkness. It's your call."
BM: "Tell me about it, and there's a whole organized apparatus of evil run by my Pop trying to steer you people to the blackest darkness you can imagine. Doesn't sound so easy…"
BC: "Like your life is a bed or roses? Nobody's life is easy, Billy. Wouldn't be much fun always winning, would it? How would you know if you won unless you've lost a few times? Failure defines success. We all fall from time to time, every one of us has done some of your dad's bidding at one time or another. We fall down, sure, but we get back up again and that's the beauty of the whole deal, Bill. You know when you've done right because you know what it is to sin. Without your father, who would ever know?"
BM: "You make it sound like he's performing a public service, Bob. Do you have any idea of the horrible things he does to decent people?"
BC: "Sure do, Bill. I've seen enough of his handiwork in this world in my 54 years. I'm not naive, I just choose the light. I know where the darkness will lead you, I've been there, done that and have the scars on my body and my soul to remind me. I know his foul stench, I used to think it was perfume, but now it repels me. I know what it is now. I see what he has done to so many of my brothers and sisters all around this world, horrible and unimaginably evil things that people do to one another at his command, hoping to get some reward for their wicked deeds. Thanks but no thanks, I say. There's a better way and you know it too, Bill."
BM: "I know, Bob, there is… sounds like given this a lot of thought.."
BC: "Actually, no, I haven't. Meeting the devil's son though, really kind of forces you to think about where you stand. For that I thank you, Bill."
BM: "So maybe there really is a place for me in Hell, even if it's only undermining Pop's work…"
BC: "Is there really, Billy? Were you ever happy in your role?"
BM: "But who's happy?"
BC: "Plenty of people. Me for one."
BM: "In spite of everything you've seen, in spite of the darkness you have gone through? How can that be? How can people be anything but sorrowful in this world?"
BC: "What, and hand it all over to your father without a fight? Fat chance, pal. There's far too much joy and beauty and goodness in this world to wallow only in sadness."
BM: "That's what Pop says, too, there's too much joy here for his liking. He's on a mission to make all humanity feel nothing but despair, grief and anger."
BC: "There's a time for grieving, for sorrow and even anger sometimes. In the Big Guy's book it's said best: 'To everything, there is a season.' I try to extend the seasons for joy as much as I can, that's all. When you consider the alternatives, it's a no-brainer."
BM: "Well Bob, I'm gonna do it.! I'm going back to Hell and tell Pop to take this job and shove It. I'm going to get me some of that light. He'll probably say good riddance, but I don't really care anymore. I'm sure my brother Malignius will be glad to see me gone. He's been number three for eons and Pop always did love him best, at least as far as Satan can love anybody but himself. It's been a long time coming and I'm sure they'll literally cook up something ghastly for my send-off but in the end they will let me go since they cannot destroy me, at least not in the physical sense. There's no way they'll allow me to stay in Hell when I reveal my true nature openly. And then I'll be only a man. That's a little scary to me since I know first-hand how frail you all are and how many temptations my family has created to prey on your frailties, but it's worth the risk. You've convinced me of that, Bob."
BC: "Well, Billy, I'm glad I could be of service and I wish you the best. But tell me one thing before you go. Why were you assigned to get interviewed by me? Who was the target?"
BM: "One of your readers, Bob.I won't say which one but I think that person will know who I'm talking about. I'll address that person now: Consider this your wake up call. You know who you are and you know exactly what behavior I'm talking about, so do yourself a favor and redirect your life. After today I won't have the power to influence these things so you're on your own."
BC: "That's where you're wrong, Billy. Once you get back here as a human, there's a lot of things you can do to lead people towards the light. Who better than someone who has spent an eternity in the dark?
BM: "I'll try, Bob, I'll try. But there's no guarantee I'll be that strong of a human to resist all the extra-enticing temptations my father and brothers are sure to throw in my path."
BC: "There's no such guarantee for any of us, Bill, but I believe having you as one of us will make us all stronger. Godspeed, you devil!"
Well, that was quite the interview if you can call it that. To me it felt more like trying to save my own life, at least at first when I saw the smoke and flames coming out of his skin. It was only for a moment that he chose to reveal his true nature to me but it was a pretty scary moment, let me tell you. And I hope he delivered the message to his dad about my garage being off-limit to demons. It's creepy enough as it is in there without worrying about Beelzebub hiding among my tools and trying to steal my mortal soul. I'm not as confident in my ability to duck temptation as I led his son to believe.
When I was in Grammar School one of the nuns who taught me, Sister Mary Melodramatica I think was her name, definitely did not appreciate my way with words. I remember her telling me on one occasion that "you would have a glib answer for the devil himself, Bob Crespo.com." Well Sister, not quite, but I did manage to hold my own with his second-in-command. I've got the charred and melted bits of duct tape to prove it.