This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Thursday, 11 October 2012


So you want to work for me?” asked the Devil.

I looked at him. He did not look like the Devil. He looked like a large black man with dreadlocks and a fetish for bling. “I saw the advert in the paper,” I said. “It was unique.”

He nodded. “Tell me,” he replied, “why you want this job.”

“Well,” I began, “I believe I meet the qualifications you require.”

“Anyone with a law degree is qualified,” the Devil informed me gravely. “What about your other attributes? Just what are you offering?”

“I’m an experienced pettifogger,” I said quickly. “And I’ve been repeatedly accused of being a cheap shyster with no morals at all.”

“That’s good to hear.” For the first time the Devil smiled, though very slightly. His yellow teeth were large and even. “Are you a sadist?”

“Are you kidding?” I exclaimed. “I can make a grown man cry. I’ve proved it over and over again.” I reached in my file. “Here are testimonials from some of my victims, in the form of death threats and curses. One even tried a black magic ritual on me. He hired a witch to conduct the ceremony, and all.”

“Ah? And what happened?”

“Nothing,” I told him. “He tried to turn me into a heartless scumbag with a head full of dung, and it didn’t work, of course.”

“Quite right,” the Devil said. “He ought to have picked different criteria.” His cell-phone rang, and he spoke briefly into it. The conversation, from his side, consisted mostly of “Uh huh,” and “Yes,” and ended with, “Go ahead and sue, Peter. I’ll see you in Hell!” He put down the phone and turned to me. “You didn’t really answer my question, though. Why do you want this job?”

“I thought it would be fun,” I said frankly. “Assistant to the Devil? It sounds like the kind of job where I can inflict maximum pain.”

He relaxed then, for the first time, and grinned. “Now that’s the kind of answer I like,” he said. “It’s direct and to the point. You can’t imagine how bored I am with people saying how they wanted a challenging job. All right, you’re hired as a trainee. Your salary details are as mentioned in the advertisement.”

“I have some questions about that,” I said.

“Meet the head of my finance department,” the Devil said. “We have some hotshot in charge now, fresh from a stint with some financial institution, I forget which. Naturally, it went belly up. I only hire the worst. You discuss your salary with him.”

“What shall I have to do?” I asked.

“For a start, we’ll be sending you on a course of Advanced Torture Techniques,” the Devil said. “The CIA will see to that. We have an arrangement with them. You’ll be taught all there is to know about waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and so on. That part of your training takes three months.”

“And then I take up my position?” I asked.

“Are you kidding?” he said. “That’s only the beginning. Then you take up a year’s internship with Fox News and associated channels, for instruction on lying, slander, and flagrant shamelessness. And after that, you go to India.”

“Huh? India? What for?”

“You’ll be given a position as observer to the Indian government,” he told me. “Everything you ever wanted to know about corruption, nepotism, sheer bloody-mindedness, it’s all there. After that you’re ready to begin.”

“Begin as what?” I asked. “What will my duties be?”

“Instructor,” he said without blinking. “We aren’t evil enough these days. People are beginning to say they find it a rest cure after life.

“Yeah,” he added sadly, “Hell just isn’t what it used to be, any more.”

Copyright B Purkayastha 2009

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