The Engineer in Hell

A Parody by Dennis Melancon

            When the Devil walked into his main office in Hell, he immediately knew something was different, but he couldn’t identify it right away.  He sat down behind his desk and took a moment to look around; then he started noticing things.

            To start off with, the room was noticeably brighter.  The Devil could see that the windows were clear, without the usual film of dirt and smudges.  Someone had cleaned them, letting in more light from the glow of the Eternal Flames of Hell.  And the top of his desk was neat, with papers and pens organized in easy to reach piles, not like his everyday mess that he liked so well.  And was that a day planner in the middle?  What was going on here?

            A slight breeze from a slowly turning overhead fan caught his attention just as he realized that the room was cooler than the normal stifling heat from the Eternal Flames.  He rather enjoyed the cool winds during his times on Earth, but to find it here, in his inner sanctum, instead of the normal blistering heat, was un-Hellish, to say the least.  Then he realized that the usual, almost overpowering smell of burning sulfur was gone, leaving a fresh, almost Earth-like scent.  He sniffed the air and could just barely detect a faint sulfur odor.  Another deep sniff confirmed a slight sulfur, almost as a residue.  And there was something else: was that ….cinnamon?

            “Beelzebub!” he screamed his favorite curse, “what’s going on?”

            “Azazel!” he shouted, calling his main assistant.  “Come in here!  Now!”

            A door opened and a smaller version of the Devil ran in, practically stumbling over himself in his haste to answer the call.  “Here I am, Your Evilness!”  he whimpered, as he cowed to his master.

            “I’ve only been gone a few days!” the Devil practically shouted, “tell me what’s changed!”

            “Well, Sir,” Azazel started, “it’s one of the new souls sent down to be punished.  During the initial questioning, he told us that he was an engineer and that his main jobs were fixing broken systems and solving problems.  As you know, Sir, we have had our hands full with problems of our own, like the Eternal Flame has been going out, and needs to be constantly re-lit; the smoke and ash from the burning sulfur pits have been getting into every nook and cranny and coating everything; our filing system is a mess, almost impossible to keep up.  So, we thought that as part of his Eternal Misery, we would put him to work on things that don’t work right down here.  Little did we know that he would be so efficient!  He got the Flame working again, using the heat to power some things he built, like the fan systems.  He came out with some filters for the sulfur pools, and he is straightening out our filing system, even as we speak!  He is actually enjoying himself.  And you can see the results.”

            The Devil dismissed his assistant, accepting the report, and got started on his own work load.  After a few days, he realized that he was enjoying the new changes.  He liked the cooler office and could almost forget the smell of sulfur.  The new filing system was making paperwork easier and faster, so he had a little free time to himself.  Yes Sir, the new engineer was doing a great job!

            Then the Almighty found out about the changes and decided to investigate.

            “Evil One!” boomed down the voice from above.  “Everything is shiny and clean, and I see smiles on faces that always had frowns on them before.  What has happened?”

            In a few words, the Devil proudly explained the work of the new soul, the engineer from Earth.  After listening, the Almighty spoke down, “If he is that good, I can use him up here.  Send him up.”

            “No!” stated the Devil, “he is mine, and he stays here!”

            “I said Send Him Up!” demanded the voice from above.

            “No!” answered the Devil.  “What are you going to do if I don’t?”

            “I will sue!” came the booming voice.

            “How can you?  I have all the lawyers!”

            Then silence.

            And the moral of this story is:

            If you do too good a job, you will never be promoted.          

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