Screwtape The Third: Comfort, Be Damned

“Well, Wormsap, I’d have to say that, in the little matter of your saintly intrusion, we got off better than we expected.”

“Indeed, sir. I hardly expected the Adversary to allow his spy to leave the Hadean Estates without even so much as a press release. But your negotiating tactic – reminding the Enemy’s representatives that they’re having a hard enough time topside managing all the messiahs that they’ve got, without adding any more to the mix – it was a stroke of pure deviltry!

Thank you, Wormsap. Grandfather thought so too. Not least because he’s the one who thought of it. But so curse me, if you breathe a word of that to anybody …

“No, sir. I have no wish to be sentenced to the daffodil fields. Those blessed flowers burn my fetlocks and give me hives. The itching is (ptui) redemptive.”

“Watch your mouth, demon. Better still, watch your quotas. This episode didn’t cost us what we feared, but it wasn’t cheap either. Pure deviltry’s still left us with a lot of unanticipated vacancies, and word’s come up from Lucifer Himself that we’d better recover the revenues PDQ, or all hell’s …”

“Yes, sir.”

“You are taking steps, then?”

“Certainly, sir.”


“Targeting the youth market in particular. Big increases projected in both the number and value of early down payments on our properties. And because, unwittingly, the principal agents for this sales drive are the Enemy’s own mouthpieces, our costs relative to returns are very low.”

“I hope this doesn’t mean that we’re putting associates out of work. You know, idle hands are the dev …”

“And this worries us how? But there’s no need for concern, we’ll need all the goblinry we can assemble to keep up with the projected case load, ensure that the new recruits follow up on their initial investments.”

“By ‘Enemy’s mouthpieces’, I presume you mean priests, preachers, and similar pissants. How are you working this?”

“Well, sir, it’s complicated. Devilishly so. Naturally. But the Twitter version is this. A young person goes to one of the Enemy’s temples. Inside, the preacher and his people, mostly old, say ‘You are welcome here! But to stay welcome, you’ve got to do two things:

     ‘1. Follow all our rules and regulations. They worked for us, they’ll work for you.
     ‘2. Be comfortable with your lot in life. We are.’

“Now an old person has no problem with this. They’ve already been there, done that. Any dreams and aspirations that they’ve not fulfilled, they’ve given up on. They’ve made a place for themselves, and that’s where they’ll stay, thank you very much. They’re comfortable.

“But young people? What do they see? A bunch of arbitrary rules and regulations that keep them from getting anywhere in life, from fulfilling their dreams and aspirations sometime this millennium. Mostly because those rules are there precisely to protect the comfortable old folks from the dreams and aspirations of those young whippersnappers, who might otherwise (blessings!) question their status and authority. And ….”


“I did mention they were old folks, did I not, sir? And, as I was saying, these young people hear an admonition to be comfortable with what they are when they don’t know what that is yet!

“Bottom line: the only way the young folk see to figure out who they are and what their possibilities are, sometime before they die, is by going around the Enemy’s comfortable people or by simply ignoring them. And this is where we step in – we show them how, by investing in Hadean Estates Luxurious Living, they can actually get where they’re going in something approaching the speed of business. ka-CHING!

“Well, Wormsap, your projections look promising. Fulfillment of that promise is all that will really matter, to Lucifer, to Grandfather, or to me. But I suppose this is how come we have city-sized complexes now, all filled with new arrivals who are wearing clothes that are six sizes too big and are listening to hip-hop?”

“That would follow, yes.”

“I suggest, then, that you start introducing these rookies to our rules and regulations.”

“Yes, sir.”

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1 Response to Screwtape The Third: Comfort, Be Damned

  1. Doug says:

    Very well done. I’m enjoying this series.

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