Screwtape The Third: The Hall of Crusades

Owww!!! Bless your ass, Wormsap!!”

“Y-y-y-y-yessir, Master Screwtape?”

What in pluperfect [ptui!] heaven are all these soapboxes lying around here for?!?”

“T-t-t-they’re e-e-essential materials, sir!”

“For what?

“For the new Hall of Crusades the construction demons are building. In honor of the fulfillment of one of the biggest contracts we’ve ever scored!”

“Oh, really?”

“Master Screwtape. The shade of Billy Graham has descended to us. How could you have missed it?”

Missed it? How could I have avoided it?!? The wailing and the screeching are normally the most soothing of music, but not when it’s loud enough to shake the ice stalactites off the lava fountains! Lucifer himself had to ascend from his mansion and inform Mr Graham that this is indeed the home he purchased with his actions, and that he was obligated, as an ordinary resident of the Hadean Estates, to know and follow our rules and regulations. And the whole level was thoroughly singed when he was done. Didn’t that man ever read any of the contracts he signed?”

“He didn’t remember any of his rants against Jews topside. Why would you expect him to recall signing anything except the backs of the checks made out to him?”

“Well, now he’ll have plenty of time, and incentive, to learn how to remember things! Speaking of which, I remember you haven’t given me an adequate explanation for all these soapboxes. Lava and ice are plentiful, cheap, and adequate building materials. You bored with them or something?”

“Why shouldn’t I be? After all, this is H…”

STOP!!

“Yessir.”

“So what’s the deal? What [ptui!] angel possessed you to do this? Do I have to perform an expectorcism?”

“Only if you’re planning to spit and polish my hooves, sir. Do you not see how perfect a misery this is? The man once compared preaching about the [ptui!] Adversary to selling soap, and he spent most of his career on a soapbox, so to speak. What could be more apropos?”

“That’s one soapbox. Not half a continent’s worth!

“B-b-but sir, in order for Mr Graham to truly reap what he has sown for his soapboxing, the soapbox hall has to be on a continental scale.

“So it can hold all those who have turned to religion thanks to the Billy Graham Crusades, only to find that religion made their problems worse, turning them more hostile against religion, and the society that spawned religion, than they were before.

“So it can hold all the moderate religious leaders who lost congregants to the enthusiasm of the Crusades, and still more to the backlash against them.

“So it can hold all the soldiers who died, in flesh and in spirit, fighting the jingo wars that Graham and his Crusades promoted in the name of his religion, and the mourning loved ones they left behind, often without either solace or finances.

“So it can hold all the lovers of social diversity, against whom Graham and his Crusades have set a spiritual, and maybe now a physical, wall of intolerance.

“So it can hold all the lovers of civil political discourse, who see in Billy Graham and his Crusades the origins, not of truth but of fake news, not of hope but of fear and the profits that can be made from it, not of humility but of hubris, not of dialogue but of side-taking, not of good will promoting peace but of angry posturing that can only end in war.”

“So it can hold …”

“OK OK OK!! What are we going to do with all the soap?

“Put it in the rooms, of course.”

A direct violation of our rules …!!!

“Not so, sir. You forget, we don’t supply water. We therefore amplify the pressure of the prohibition against bathing with the reminder of its possibility, if only. In full accordance with Procedure HELLSOP297r78eq v. 238c. Moreover, the soap serves as nutrition for the rats and roaches resident in the Hall’s rooms, further enhancing the experience of the clients as specified in HELLSOP2472sx58am v. 448u, rider 239. Accordingly, the maid demons will be replacing the soap on a semi-regular basis, with the boxes thus acquired to be used on the inevitable and continual expansion of the Hall.”

“Which will be open when?

“Of course, we won’t wait until it’s finished. Do we ever? The continual construction, whether required or not, provides our clients with the pleasant ambiance appropriate to their privileges. We wait until the scribe demons have completed the documents to be presented to Mr Graham upon his first entrance to the Hall.”

“His residence manual?”

“Of course. And a Bible.”

“A Bible?”

“Thousand pages long. Two copies.”

“A Bible?!?

“Each page containing a single verse. The same verse on every page, endlessly repeated. As provided for in HELLSOP23…”

“Shut up. Which verse?”

Ecclesiastes 7:15.”

“Heh. Heh. HehehehooooHOOOOOOWWWWWLLL!! But why two copies?”

“So he can present one to his roommate, the shade of Pat Robertson, when he shows up here.”

“That’s bad, Wormsap.”

“Curse you, sir.”

“But I’m telling you, do not dawdle on getting that Hall built and these soapboxes out of here. Because, so hurt me, if I trip one more time on so much as the sawdust from any of them, a certain demon of my acquaintance is going to be drowning in daffodils!”

“Y-y-y-[eeek!]-y-yessir.”

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