Wednesday, 24 October 2012
So am I going to hell for blasphemy?
Right so I start working on this new short story and read it back and think...
OH NO, IS THIS A LITTLE TOO MUCH
So how do i find out?
Simple, I'm gonna ask you lot.
So here follows the part of JOHN THE BARMAN i'm unsure about. Is it light hearted comedy of am I going to hell for blasphemy.
you decide then.
And before you jump all over me for grammer and stuff it hasn't been proofread or anything as it's still a work in progress.
HELL ON A BUDGET.
The bar was small, dark and twenty years the wrong side of needing decorating. It consisted of a single long room with one side dominated by the wooden bar while on the other side threadbare bench seats made up three horseshoe snugs. As usual behind the bar John was working, well he was reading a newspaper as he waited the day’s customers to turn up but he was classed as working. Working the mid-week dayshift was never what you could call difficult, unless you forgot something to read. You just had a handful of regulars with nowhere better to go or avoiding going where they had to go for a while. The bar was officially one step above a dive but that was the way the regulars liked it to be. It was a bar you could relax in that had a lived-in feeling and a friendly face to serve you drinks and bags of crisps. He kept the toilets relatively clean and there was usually toilet paper in the cubicles and the smell from the gents wasn’t too overpowering. On the other side of the stairs that led up to the entrance was an open space dominated by a pool table, the only item in the place that was kept in good condition. The windows on the far side of the table were large and dirty and let in just enough light to keep the place dingy. This suited the bar and hid much of the years of grime and also made the television picture on the projection screen, above the toilet doors at the opposite end of the room visible. The television was just used as background ambience when he turned it on, always tuned into one of the music channels that played mindless songs so it had the volume on mute almost constantly.
John heard the first of his customers come stamping up the stairs and didn’t need to look up to know who it was. As his first customer sat down on a barstool before him John absently leaned over and grabbed a bottle of brown ale from the shelf next to his chair and flicked off the lid on the bar mounted bottle opener without looking.
“Good night at the nut house?” John enquired placing the bottle on the bar, still not looking up from his newspaper.
“I so hate my job, we had a load of new arrivals during the night and had a hell of a job finding accommodation for them all. I’m sure Peter is getting more choosey on who he lets in so sends them over to me as he can’t be bothered to do proper background checks.” The customer replied in a weary voice before taking a long drink from the bottle before him.
“Anyone I would have heard of?” John asked finally looking up.
“Just a few lawyers, a minor politician and some old television presenter on an emergency transfer. He was a top security case, had my top people lining up to take that one and start working on the vile little man.” The customer said with disgust. “Why I always get the scumbags I don’t know.”
“Could it be because you run Hell Lucifer, kind of goes with the job having to deal with the scumbags down there.” John answered picking up a DVD case. “Let me put this on for you, cheer you up a bit before any other customers turn up and disturb you.”
“What is it?” Lucifer asked with interest.
“Riverdance, and before you ask yes it’s Michael Flatley dancing the lead.” John said with a grin that was returned by Lucifer.
“You’re a star, I loved this when it came out, cried my eyes out first time I saw it live.” Lucifer spun around on the stool to face the screen. John always spent time looking for anything to do with dancing if he went to a car boot sale or charity shop as he knew Lucifer loved dance. He had wanted to go to dance school but his Father had forbidden it. He had heard there had been a big fight that ended with Lucifer finally being forced to go and run hell. He was a nice guy but so misunderstood because of his job as head jailer for his Father. Finding a few DVDs was the least John could do to try and cheer the unhappy ex-angel up. Even now after all this time he was still upset at being forced to go into the family business.
“Is your Father popping in later do you know?” John asked as he put the disc in the battered DVD player.
“He should be, I think he wants to go over the budget. How he expects me to keep running things if I can’t employ more staff I don’t know.” Lucifer drained his drink and indicated with a shake of the empty bottle he wanted a fresh one.
“So the trial on promoting some of the inmates to overseers didn’t work then?” John asked as he pressed play.
“A disaster, the evil little bastards wouldn’t stop torturing the other inmates, those mime artists are real sickos once they start a performance.” Lucifer said as he turned his attention to the screen. “In the end the only way we could stop them was to throw them into the nearest pool of burning oil. Lilith was closest to them and she saw the expressions on their face and heard their silent screams. She was so traumatised she needed a month off work to get over the nightmares. Those mime artists are seriously under-rated as performers of pure evil.”
John grabbed another bottle and after opening it placed in on the bar next to Lucifer who sat now bobbing his head with the start of the music. Grabbing himself a double whisky to banish the image of the burning mime artists he sat back down on his stool behind the bar and returned his attention to the paper.
Riverdance was reaching its conclusion and Lucifer stood in the middle of the floor dancing along in perfect time as a couple of new customers walked up the stairs. John looked up as the first of two old men came into view. He put his arm out against the wall breathing heavily as he reached the top step.
“Two beers John and whatever the old fart behind me wants.” He gasped then looked over at Lucifer and shook his head in disgust before continuing over to the bar. The second old man reached the top of the stairs and headed for a bar stool next to him also breathing heavily.
“Your usual?” John asked him as he placed the first pint on the bar and started pulling the second pint, the old man just nodded as he regained his breath. Both men had been heavily muscled in their youth but age had robbed them of their strength. John placed the second pint on the bar before grabbing a wine glass from a shelf above the bar and turning to the wine bottles he filled it with a cheap house red wine.
“When you’re done pouring the girly drink can we have the pool cues, gonna teach this old fart a lesson in pool again.” The first old man said with a grin. John placed the wineglass down and turned to grab the cues from the corner where they were kept.
“You never taught me nothing in your life, your eyesight’s that bad you can’t even see the end of the cue never mind the balls on the table.” The second man snapped and picking up the glass walked off to the pool table. “I’ll rack ‘em.”
With the DVD finishing Lucifer walked back to the bar and picked up his bottle, he gave the old man with the beers a nod. “Morning Thor, how’s your Father?”
“Daft old coot thinks he’s back in Midgard, if he’s got two brain cells working he’s having a good day.” Thor replied and finished off the first pint before accepting the pool cues that John passed over the bar to him.
“Thor, hurry up it’s your break.” Shouted the other old man from up by the pool table. “Morning Lucifer.” He added more cheerfully.
“Morning Hercules, how’s your back holding up?” Inquired Lucifer.
“Sore as buggery, dam damp weather always makes it play up.” Hercules replied giving the small of his back a rub to illustrate his discomfort.
“No catching the balls you two, how am I supposed to make any money if you only pay for one rack a day.” John warned them with a smile as Thor walked over to the table.
“As if we would ever do that.” Hercules answered smiling. “We’re the honest hero guys remember.”
John gave a look that showed that heroes or not he knew they always caught the balls and grabbed another bottle off the shelf for Lucifer.
“It’s a shame about Odin.” Lucifer said as he accepted the bottle.
“Age catches up with everyone eventually.” John replied sitting back down.
“Except you.” Lucifer said with a smile.
“Don’t know I felt my age this morning. Got talked into a lock-in by a couple of your lads last night, was as rough as a badgers arse this morning.” John replied with a grimace.
“You shouldn’t let them talk you into lock-ins John, they’d keep you open round the clock if they had their way.” Lucifer answered.
Lucifer sat watching the music channel that now played as he supped at another bottle. The sound for the television was muted as Thor had selected a string of rock tracks from the jukebox so some kid called Justin was presently appearing to sing ‘Enter Sandman’. All things considered with how just seeing him prance about on stage Lucifer was thankful the sound to the music video was switched off. Suddenly he felt a vibration in his pocket and reaching in and pulled out his mobile phone, pressing the screen he read the text message and groaned.
“Can you get me a double whisky and a lager top, Fathers on his way and Gabriel is tagging along.”
John nodded and got up. “Are you still not talking to your brother Gabriel?”
Lucifer pulled a face. “The guy’s a dick, he delivers one message, gets a bit of fame and thinks he’s the big I am. If it wasn’t for the fact he always hides behind Father I would kick his ass.”
John nodded in a non-committal sort of way as he placed the glass of whiskey on the bar and grabbed a glass for the lager top.
By the time he had poured the drink they heard footsteps on the stairs and Gabriel walked in. He was wearing a postman’s uniform and dropped his bag by a stool.
“Father will be up in a minute, he stopped to catch up with some tramp with a dog.” Gabriel picked up the larger top and took a sip. “So Lucifer, how’s work, keeping you busy?” He asked smugly.
“Sod off delivery boy before I take that bag and ram it up where the sun doesn’t shine.” Lucifer replied angrily.
“Lucifer! Be nice to your brother.” A voice said from the top of the stair, Lucifer sat up a little straighter on his stool but didn’t turn around.
“That was me being nice Father, I gave him a warning rather than just showing him what I plan to do.” Lucifer replied sullenly. “So who were you talking to?”
“Jack, he keeps getting drunk and disturbing his neighbours, waking up their baby.” God answered walking into the room. “Then the mother starts praying for him to be quiet and she really believes so it’s like someone shouting in my ear. It always puts me off doing the suduko in the paper”
“So what did you tell him?” Lucifer asked.
“I gave him a severe throat infection and told him if he has another drink it will fry his liver, then I gave him a few visions.” God said sitting down.
“You think it will work?” Lucifer asked. “Will he stop waking the baby?”
“Sure it will, he ran off and got hit by a bus.” God replied.
“Wasn’t that a little extreme, I’ve seen you leave here some nights singing at the top of your voice.” John asked aghast, Lucifer and Gabriel both nodded their agreement.
“Well maybe the visions were a little too much, but how was I supposed to know he would run like that.” God answered looking at the whisky glass in front of him. “I did make sure the dog went to a new home and ordered Peter to fast track him through the Pearly Gates.”
“Well that’s something, who took the dog in?” John asked.
“Angelo, the guy from the kebab shop down the street.” God answered. “He seemed happy to look after it.”
“Well if I was you I wouldn’t be calling into Angelo’s for a kebab for a few weeks.” John warned them. “He does have a reputation around here.”
“He wouldn’t… would he?” Gabriel said the colour draining from his face.
“He is on the list of borderline possible inmates for my place,” Lucifer said with a smile. “and dogs do go missing a lot round here. We have special accommodation for those who are cruel to animals.”
“Enough Lucifer, stop winding your brother up, Angelo does not use pet dogs to make his kebabs. “ God said sternly and then took a sip from his glass before continuing. “So John, a little quiet in here this morning isn’t it?”
“It’s the rain.” John explained, happy at the changer in subject as he shut out the image of the tramp getting hit by the bus. God was a nice bloke and could be really thoughtful but at times the old Testament thinking would take over. “Only the hard-core oldies pop in when the weathers bad.”
God looked over at Thor and Hercules, Thor had a hand in a pocket on the pool table and as Hercules took the shot the red ball fell into his palm. Taking the ball he put it into the holding area for the balls on one end of the table. “Lucky shot.” He grumbled.
“You should stop them doing that.” God observed.
John put down the paper with a shrug. “They’re doing no harm and there’s nobody waiting to play.”
“Well it’s your business I suppose.” God replied reaching out and spinning around the paper to look at the head line on the front page. “X Factor Judge shame.” God read out loud, “Is there no real news?”
“I love X Factor, who is it?” Gabriel asked leaning forward.
“Angels should not listen to tabloid gossip.” God said sternly as he read the story. “And getting rat-arsed and falling down outside a club is hardly shameful, let’s face it we’ve all done it. So what proper news is there John?”
“Not much.” John answered with a shrug. “Some preacher of yours in America has announced that you told him personally that same sex marriages are a sin and whoever performs them will burn in hell as well.”
“As well as who?” God asked confused.
“The gays I think.” Lucifer offered as he reached over and opened the paper to page three.
“What? You get all the gay people Lucifer, I didn’t know that.” God asked looking confused. “When did that rule get made?”
“Not sure, it’s not something we ever consider when people arrive?” Lucifer answered. “When they first arrive we just torture them until they work out and admit why they are down there, until they know what they’ve done we can’t get down to the real work of making them suffer. Their sexuality though never comes up, it’s not on my list of sins you sent down.”
“Humans get some strange ideas, Gabriel ask Michael to find out who came up with this stupid idea about being gay being a sin.” God demanded. “And get onto Jesus and tell him to stop playing happy families and sort out his bloody church.”
“He’s trying Father but every time he turns around a wife has another D.I.Y. project or needs something from the shops.” Gabriel said defending Jesus.
“Why how many wives does he have?” John asked.
“Well imagine all the nuns for the last two thousand years and then remember that they are all the brides of Christ and you understand the lads suffering. The crucifixion was just the start of him suffering for humanities sins.” Lucifer replied hiding a smirk.
“All right Lucifer, just because we didn’t notice that line you slipped into the contract. No need to be so smug, now let’s go sit down and talk about this budget request of yours.”
“It was a joke, I didn’t realise it would be binding.” Lucifer replied trying to look innocent.
Standing up with his drink in his hand God walked over to one of the snugs. Lucifer gave one last admiring look at the page three girl then followed god to sit down. Gabriel stayed at the bar sipping at his larger.
“Gabriel, don’t be all day with that drink, I don’t want them letters delivering late.” God said over his shoulder.
God and Lucifer talked for about twenty minutes before God left with a wave to John and the two old men still playing pool.
“Sorry all but got to run, I’ve a mountain of prayers to answer. I got a prayer from a little girl last night that almost had me in tears, her dad is away with the army and he hasn’t seen her new baby brother yet so I need to put an angel to watch over him till he gets home.” God apologised as he headed for the stairs. “And Lucifer, pull your demons off the politicians in America, I’m getting a little sick of them whispering in their ears and causing trouble.”
“Nothing to do with me, not influenced any of that lot since the Nixon thing in the early seventies. It was a waste of resources as they are doing better without my help.” Lucifer answered shrugging his shoulders.
“You mean they come up with that stuff on their own? Now that’s scary.” God said with a shake of his head and then headed down the stairs.
Lucifer came up to the bar, a smile on his face as he ordered another drink.
“You managed to get the extra funding then?” John asked.
“Most of it, I threatened a zombie apocalypse by refusing to take any new inmates and when I pointed out the upcoming disaster at the international Morris Dancer festival he caved in. Seems a host of zombie Morris Dancers is more than he could bare.”
John paused as the mental image flashed across his mind, with a shudder he grabbed himself a glass and poured himself another double whisky.
“That was a real low blow even for you.” John said. “Zombie Morris Dancers is inspired, but still a low blow.”
Lucifer gave a grin. “Well I’m supposed to be evil aren’t I? Now I need to get off, got seats to go and see ‘strictly come dancing’ being filmed tonight and need to get ready. Have you been watching it? That fat old guy is hilarious.”
“I thought you wasn’t supposed to call people fat anymore?” John asked.
Lucifer stopped and grinning pointed to himself. “Hello, Lucifer here, the Prince of Darkness. Political correctness may be something I invented but it doesn’t mean I have to use it.”