Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Anne and her daughters are toddling around doing errands and shopping for Halloween costumes. And I just happened to be in the neighborhood. And she left her computer running.
Bad girl, Anne! Wasting energy!
I am best known as Satan, Prince of Darkness, Lucifer the fallen Angel, Beelzebub, and about another dozen atrocious monikers. All of them embarrassing to someone trying to pad his resume for work as a deity. So please, will you call me "Mr. Applegate?" Thank you ever so much.
There's a considerable amount of confusion over the upcoming holiday, Halloween. More and more Christians out on the fringe are teaching their tots that this night of enjoyment and imagination is all about me, and nothing but me.
These are the same kind of Christians who arrive at my gates wailing and gnashing their teeth because once, just once, in their lives they got drunk and cheated on the old spouse, and then were too embarrassed to tell anyone and they died before they could spill it out and get it forgiven.
See what I have to put up with? Talk about a thankless job.
So today, I, Mr. Applegate, will explain to you how I got drawn into this Halloween business. It's not a pretty story.
It starts when I signed a contract to work for a small-time deity working a lightly-populated planet. This deity's praise and worship team at the time consisted mostly of a group of sheep-herding people in the Middle East, related to each other through tribe and clan. The gig seemed to have a nice enough deity, and a nice enough praise and worship team.
I signed without reading the fine print.
Big mistake. I had been hired to be the bad guy, the enforcer, the evil dude that kept all the people toeing the line. I got sent to the satellite office, charged with torturing dead folks for eternity.
That's when I sent the contract to my cousin who's a Fire Spirit for a pretty little planet in the Crab Nebula. He showed me a clause that gets me out of the job after a 10,000-year stint. I can either shutter the contract or negotiate better terms. And you can best bet what I'm gonna do. I'm outta here, even if I have to become mortal!
The deity I signed with turned out to be very ambitious. He set out on a course of world domination, sending the conflicting messages that such deities tend to do when they work the monotheism pathway. He became even more successful than he expected. But some places he met with resistance. Inevitably.
One of these places was the British Isles, where for thousands of years the praise and worship teams had practiced a faith that considered October 31 the last day of the year because it marked the end of the harvest. The October 31 harvest holiday included equal measures of serious worship and frivolous play and was so ingrained in the people that they simply would not give it up. It became a divisive issue between the priests of my boss's religion and the priests of the older religions (which, I might add, have some lovely deities in them).
The boss called me to the corporate headquarters and told me he planned to have his priests link me to the harvest holiday. He said emphatically that he wanted me to put on my formal attire and stroll around visibly during that period of time. He said further that he wanted me to urge all my followers to use that night for evil mischief. (Yeah, go figure, I've got followers. And yes indeed, they are rank morons.)
I've got a contract, I've got a supervisor. If I get fired ... there's that damn word again, fire ... I'll be considered insubordinate. It's a short gig, 10,000 years. So I went with the program.
Out comes the red devil duds, and off I go, inciting troubled youths to murder kittens and paint 666 on the sides of churches. All on a Halloween night. All in the name of a matching 401K plan.
Please don't tell my mother about this, she'll be too humiliated to attend her rainbow-painting classes -- and she loves to make rainbows!
One of the lowest moments in this job for me was the day the ancient deities who were really responsible for Halloween came to me and asked me kindly to cease and desist. I had to pull out my contract and show it to them. I had to admit I'd signed it before reading the fine print. I could see Their opinion of me go plummeting into the pit of .... oh hell.
Can I be completely candid? I have nothing to do with Halloween. I got grafted onto it to make it evil in the sight of my boss's praise and worship team.
I've only got a little less than 4,000 years to go on this contract, and I'm a free agent again. What makes me think that by that time, educated folks will call my boss a "myth," and he'll be losing at shuffleboard to some of the very deities he displaced?
Have a truly happy Halloween!