The Devil Went Down to Court   Leave a comment


In Hell, a group of damned souls are sitting around a shared worktable. One chair is empty. A really bad Top 40s song is playing quietly. One of the humans keeps clearing their throat. Another one is frowning at their computer, clicking their pen absent-mindedly. A third is touch-typing, very slowly.

Xarlach enters with a recently-damned soul named James.

Xarlach: You must be the new guy Demonic Relations told me about. James Campbell?
James: The third.
Xarlach: Great, do you mind if I call you Jimmy?
James: That’s not my name, my name is-
Xarlach: Great, Jimmy, welcome to fourth level of Hell. I’m your boss, Xarlach Geamahr. But you can call me Xarlach. How do you like it so far?
James: A lot less warm than I imagined.
Xarlach: Fantastic. Now, we do things a little differently here on the fourth level of Hell. We don’t do the traditional closed spaces. We’re more informal, and down to earth. Or down below earth, am I right?

He waits for James to laugh. After a moment, James forces a small chuckle.

Xarlach: What’s so funny? This isn’t funny. You’re a terrible person, Jimmy, and you’re here to be punished. You’re going to be tortured for all eternity. Hah! Look at your face! Now here in Hell we used to have lots of closed doors and individual punishments, but we had a restructuring a century or so ago, so we do things differently. We thought, we have all these terrible people here already, why don’t we just let them do the torture themselves? We’re very egalitarian. We think outside the box, by getting rid of the box. Here is your chair. This open-space system – sit down – this open-space system allows for better flow of communication and ideas. How do you like your seat?
James: It’s pretty comfortable actually.
Xarlach: That’s great, Jimmy.
James: James.
Xarlach: You’re going to be sitting here forever.

Xarlach walks away.

James: So wait, what do I do?

He looks at each of his fellow damned. A moment while the sounds continues. James sniffs, loudly.

James: Where is that music coming from? Who’s playing that music? Is it you? You, you with the throat, are you playing that racket?

Throat-clearer shakes their head.

James: Hey, with the pen, are you playing that music? Could you turn it down?

Pen-clicker shakes their head.

James: Hey, (sniff) hey, sorry to interrupt, but are you playing that music?

Slow-typer shakes their head.

James: Oh. Okay. Maybe the person who was here before? (checks his computer) No? Where is that (sniff) where is that music coming from?

A beat. The pen-clicking, throat-clearing, and slow typing continue. James stares at the slow typer.

James: You have two hands you know. You could use both hands. (sniff) Both hands. Twice as fast.

Another beat. The pen-clicking, throat-clearing, and slow-typing continue. James sniffs, and then sniffs again. The Top 40s song ends.

James: Oh thank goodness.

The same Top 40s song begins again.

James: Nooooooooo!

He buries his head in his hands.

Pen-clicker: Hey, shut up.

Lilith, a representative from Demonic Relations, enters.

Lilith: Have any of you seen Mr. Geamahr?
Throat-clearer: He just dropped off Mr. Sniffles here.
Lilith: We don’t call people names here, Chuckie. His name is Jimmy.
James: It’s James!
Pen-clicker (points): He went that way.

But Xarlach re-enters.

Lilith: Ah, Mr. Geamahr. My name is Lilith, from Demonic Relations. Do you mind if we have a conversation?
Xarlach: Not at all. What is this about?
Lilith: I just wanted to talk about your performance on your latest initiative.

Xarlach sighs dramatically.

Lilith: First I want to hear it in your words. What happened?
Xarlach: She sold the anti-Christ.
Lilith: Who sold the anti-Christ? Start from the beginning. Where did you two meet?
Xarlach: We met on Yahoo Answers. She was looking for advice on where to donate her eggs. I messaged her asking her what she was looking for, I told her I could give her something worth more than money, all she had to do was bear my child. She was selfish and greedy from the very beginning. I liked that about her. But there was something else about her. A certain lack of desperation.
Lilith: Go on.
Xarlach: So she signed the contract, we consummated under the full moon on the day of her ovulation, and that was that.
Lilith: Did you follow up with her?
Xarlach: No.
Lilith: Why not?
Xarlach: I didn’t want to seem like I cared.
Lilith: But did you care?
Xarlach: No.
Lilith: Why not? This was entrusted to you. Only one demon a century gets a chance to create an anti-Christ.
Xarlach: I thought I wasn’t supposed to.
Lilith: Every anti-Christ is different. You have to treat it as you think best. Now, who did she sell your anti-Christ to?
Xarlach: A witch.
Lilith: Rowan Babaya?

She takes out a thick folder with Rowan’s name on it and hands it to Xarlach.

Xarlach: She works for us?
Lilith: She did some sub-contract work a while ago. She created thalidomide to poison unborn children for us.
Xarlach: So she’s killed children?
Lilith: No. Just horribly deformed them. It helped inspire our Zika Virus mutation.
Xarlach: And that’s who that human sold my child to?
Lilith: Your child?
Xarlach: Yes.
Lilith: Who exactly do you think you are, Mr. Greamahr? Do you think that just because we allowed you to step with a living soul that you are somehow special to us? This child is nothing more than a bloody stool in a consumption of the earth. You bought a woman on Yahoo Answers and somehow that makes you the owner of this child? How shall I put this on your record? Is this lust or greed? I think you’ve done enough Mr. Greamahr. Let the lawyers handle the rest.


Hospital ER desk. Joshua Josephson is sitting behind the desk. He has a yamulke on, but is now wearing scrubs. Angie rolls in on her wheelchair, still with the baby in the handbasket.

Angie: Hi, I’d like to drop this baby off.
Joshua: What’s wrong with the baby?
Angie: Nothing, I just don’t want it.
Joshua: Well you have to give a reason.
Angie: I thought that you couldn’t ask under the Safe Haven law. If within 48 hours of birth, you decided you didn’t want the kid, you could just hand it over. Well it’s been 3 hours and I definitely don’t want the kid so just take it. Take the baby.

She puts the handbasket on the desk.

Joshua: Alright, I suppose you gave birth here in the hospital. Did you fill out a birth certificate?
Angie: No.
Joshua: Well let’s fill one out real quick.
Angie: No.
Joshua: I’ll even do all the writing for you. What’s the baby’s name?

Angie begins wheeling away.

Joshua: It will make the child’s life easier in the long run!
Angie: I don’t care! I just want to get out of here! I fulfilled my end of the bargain, it’s not my fault no one else will do their part!

Angie exits completely.

A beat. Joshua bows his head, feeling the pain of failure.

Lilith enters.

Joshua: So what happens now?
Lilith: By human law, the child enters a temporary home until a suitable permanent one is found. It is preferred that the temporary home – and the permanent home – be with the child’s biological family. Otherwise…well an infant will get swept up within days of entering foster care. Humans want babies.
Joshua: So you win then.
Lilith: Yes. We have. (She takes the handbasket) This isn’t what we wanted, Son of Man. But it is how things have turned out. Funny, how your king’s providence turns out in the end.
Joshua: Why wouldn’t this be what you want? The child’s soul is yours without any work.

The Witches all enter at once.

Rowan: There he is! The child is mine!
Hermione: But he’s a boy!
Lilith: Oh dammit.
Joshua: Who are you?
Rowan: I’m his mother! The little sausage is mine!
Joshua: No you’re not. His mother is Angie Davis.
Rowan: And she signed a doctrine (produces the document) and signed it in her own blood saying that upon the child’s birth he is mine, for whatever purpose I need of him! I had been planning on raising an apprentice, but since he’s a boy…
Joshua: It’s solid. Clear intent that the child was never meant to go with you.
Lilith: Unfortunately no. Both parents of the child have to be present and sign, in the presence of a notary, in order for the document to be legal. I am the only one with a document signed by both parents.
Willow: Incorrect, you foolish minion. In the case of an unknown father, the mother has sole legal right over the child.
Lilith: But we all know the child’s father is Xarlach Greamahr of the fourth level of Hell.
Willow: Exactly, of Hell. He has no legal rights on this plane of existence. He might as well not exist at all by the laws of this land.
Joshua: The only way Xarlach could claim the boy is if Angie Davis signs a paper listing him as the father of her child, and she’s already left. She’s not coming back.
Lilith: Why are you on their side? They’re not on your side.
Joshua: They’re of the Earth. I love the Earth, and so I love them.
Lilith: Why do you want this child? Human children are stolen every day by the likes of you.
Rowan: He’s a demonspawn. Most children don’t become hellions until they’re two.
Lilith: So he was advertised as a demon’s child. The fact that he is Xarlach Greamahr’s child is the reason why you want him. And, mind you, this sale was made without his consent.
Joshua: Kind of funny that your kind would be stuck on consent.
Lilith: Our kind is built on consent. Xarlach Greamahr was never consulted on the ultimate fate of his child. According to him, and according to this document signed by the mother, the intent of both parties was that the child would be brought up by Angela Davis.
Willow: Brought up?
Lilith: Yes. Raised as her child. Because he is her child.
Rowan: No!
Rose: Shh!
Willow: But it could be argued that “brought up” simply meant giving birth to.
Lilith: That’s not the colloquial definition of “brought up.”
Willow: It’s one of them.
Lilith: No it’s not.
Willow: Yes it is.
Lilith: No it’s not.
Willow: Yes it is!
Lilith: No it is not.
Willow: Yes it is! To summon. Bring up. Spawn.
Joshua: Ladies, ladies. You both have excellent cases and you’re ruining it all by getting caught up in semantics. Let the courts decide.
Lilith: Oh no.
Willow: The courts?
Rowan: What courts?
Lilith: No no no no no.
Joshua: The heavenly courts, of course. Presided over by St. Peter himself.
Lilith: That place is biased against our kind. Of course the witches will win!
Rowan: I like this plan!
Joshua: We’ll hold court in a neutral territory halfway between heaven and hell.
Hermione: Detroit?

Posted September 7, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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