03. Tails of Sins

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Once upon a time, the Devil grew depressed and went to his psychiatrist.

"There's nothing left for me to do!" he complained miserably, lying on a soft leather couch, eyes closed, and fanning himself with the bushy end of his tail. "Humanity is already so utterly depraved, evil, and rotten to the core that they don't need my help with committing sins! Not even the tiniest little bit!"

The doctor made a note on his scratchpad. "How sad."

"The other day, I appeared to a bank robber and offered to help him crack Fort Knox in exchange for his immortal soul. And do you know what he said?"

"No. What did he say?"

"No thanks, buddy, I've got it covered! That's what he said! Got it covered! Ha! I hope they catch him and he's thrown into a high security prison with deviant inmates!"

"What about the younger generation?" the doctor asked, making another note on his scratchpad. "That used to be a real talent of yours, Mr. Lucifer—enticing the young, leading them off the path of righteousness..."

"Off it?" The Devil snorted. "That would require them ever having been on it in the first place! But nowadays, with all that crap TV they're watching all the time, with serial killers and witches and bloodsucking, mass-murdering vampires as role models, it's hardly a wonder they learn how to be nasty before they learn how to say 'Mama'!"

"True. So true."

"Have you ever been in a kindergarten playground, doctor?"

"I don't think so, Mr. Lucifer, no."

"Well, don't try! I went there the other day, just for a harmless little visit, trying to entice some children into blasphemy and apostasy—and do you know what they did?"

"No, Mr. Lucifer."

"They jumped on me and tried to misuse me as a horse! Several of them pulled on my tail! And when I threatened them with the eternal fires of hell, they threatened to drag me to the nearest police station and report me for child abuse if I didn't start to whinny!"

"Shocking!"

"The next day," the Devil continued, apparently on a roll, "I approached a young maiden. What people nowadays would call a 'teenager.' Blonde, blue-eyed, pure as the driven snow! She was gazing at a shirtless boy washing a car on the other side of the street. Taking the form of a whispering wind, I slipped into her ear and whispered, 'He could be yours! Just leave the path of righteousness, and he will fulfill your most wicked dreams and deepest desires!' And do you know what she said?"

"No, Mr. Lucifer. What?"

"She said, I know. But I'm out of condoms right now!"

"Deplorable."

"A hundred years ago, I would have had to delicately seduce her into evil! Damn hard work it would have been, but at least I would have had something to do! Nowadays, half of the time I want to run away from children; the little buggers are so scary!"

The psychiatrist looked over at a picture of his three little nieces on the wall. He swallowed, hard. "Indeed they are," he said. "I feel your pain."

Lifting his head a few inches off the couch, the Devil looked over at the doctor, his eyes bloodshot. "And do you know what's worst of all?"

"No. What?"

A three-clawed fist slammed down on the couch. Sulphurous smoke drifted up, filling the room with the smell of rotten eggs. "The people who say I don't exist! The people who drag my name through the mud and attribute all my past accomplishments to humanity!"

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