Naomi Elana Zener is the author of the novel Deathbed Dimes as well as satire fiction posted on her blog, Satirical Mama. Her vociferous blogging has been read and appreciated by industry bigwigs such as Giller Prize winner Dr. Vincent Lam and New York Times best-selling author and journalist Paula Froelich. Naomi’s blogs and articles have also been published by Kveller, Absrd Comedy, and Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club. She’s currently working on her sophomore novel.
Naomi kindly offered up this satirical story ahead of her March 9 BWS visit.
Hell Hath No Fury
“These unscheduled emergency sessions have to stop. If you want to continue to be my patient, you must make an appointment,” Dr. Freud advised.
Sigmund Freud’s office in Purgatory was an exact replica of the one he’d occupied on Earth. Photographs and his university degrees lined the walls, hanging above the Cabernet red velvet sofa on which his analysis patients would lie, which sat atop a brightly hued Persian rug. A rich, deep mocha desk sat in front of Dr. Freud’s high-backed, elegantly curved and well-worn leather armchair where he was sitting, jotting down notes from his previous patient session prior to the unwelcome interruption.
“Alright, lie down and we’ll begin in a moment.”
“Fine, but hurry it up. My time is precious,” Satan advised, flopping down on the Persian rug covered sofa. “Didn’t I tell you to get rid of this rag of a rug? It chafes my skin.”
“Did you come here to waste your precious time telling me that?” Dr. Freud queried, peering down condescendingly over his wire-rimmed round spectacles. “My time is equally important. I thought we covered that last time.”
Disgruntled at being reprimanded like a small child, Satan huffed a fireball in the direction of a small pile of books sitting on the floor next to Dr. Freud, setting them ablaze.
“Passive-aggressive behavior will only result in my referring you to another psychiatrist for analysis.” Putting out the fire, Dr. Freud smiled. “Oh, those were only Nietzsche’s books. No big deal.”
Having no jurisdiction over Freud because he resided in Purgatory, Satan was incapable of coercing Freud to see him whenever the mood struck. All he could do was blow off steam by setting fires in his office, which never made an impact since God always replaced the damaged items.
“So what’s your crisis du jour?”
“Everything seems to be exploding all around me. Hell is overcrowded so we need to renovate to make more space. I hate dealing with trades. God is giving me grief that Heaven is on the light side these days. Can I help it that my followers are more loyal to me than his are to him? I can’t help the fact that Americans love their guns and join stupid political parties like the Tea Party. Blame Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and the NRA. And, to top it all off, my IBS is flaring up. It’s like the time Montezuma took his revenge on me in Mexico – it’s a runny colon: morning, noon and night.”
“Do you ever stop to think about why your body is reacting so negatively to stress? I’ve told you a million times, until you accept your emotional issues at play, you’ll keep having bowel trouble. Come on, Beelzebub. You’re the ruler of the scariest place known to man. You’re telling me that you’re scared to confront your inner demons?”
Satan took a vow of silence for an eternity. With Purgatory being devoid of a clock or the concept of time, time literally stood still. Gone were the days of the forty-five minute session, Dr. Freud thought wistfully to himself.
“I think I’m having an identity crisis,” Satan admitted.
“Okay, we’re making progress. Tell me what you mean by that.”
Satan pursed his lips, sitting in his chair quieter than a monk.
“Come on, my little devil. You can do it. You’ve been working on this since I arrived here.”
Dr. Freud nodded his head encouragingly.
“I, uh, I want…”
“I want to be…”
“For Chrissakes, will you just spit it out already?”
“I WANT TO BE GOOD!” Satan confessed. “I’m so tired of being bad all the time. I hate living amongst murderers, priests, dictators, Charles Manson followers, politicians, investment bankers, Hitler, porn stars and strippers.”
Freud raised a skeptical brow.
“Okay, I don’t mind some of the porn stars and strippers.” Satan chuckled. “I like the ones who don’t have VD. But, truth be told, I’m a bit bored with our hourly orgies. I feel like a gynecologist: once you’ve seen one vagina, you’ve seen them all. And I’ve seen trillions.”
“So, what do you want to do about this? With your unique background, it’s not like there are many vocations suited to your skill set. Being a lawyer is out of the question since they all end up with a Hades zip code when they die. Maybe you could be a doctor?”
“And have to touch sick people whom I cursed with diseases in the first place? Uh, no thanks.”
“Your altruism is impressive.”
“Actually, I do know what I want to do,” Satan advised honestly.
“And, that is?”
“I want to be God.”
“You know he can hear you, right?”
“I want to be God,” Satan bellowed. “For once, I want to lay my head down on a fluffy cloud when I go to sleep instead of brimstone. I’d like to have cherubic angels serenade me with lullabies instead of listening to the noise pollution of Kurt Cobain and his grunge rock friends on repeat. That music has no melody. How did they ever get record deals?”
“Since most of dead Hollywood lives in Hell, ask one of the record executives spending eternity with you.”
“And, I want to experience that natural high God gets everyday from seeing people do good things. I’ve had enough of the LSD, Special K, Ritalin, Lithium and other mind-bending, feel-good drugs to know that they can never make you feel as good as a good deed does. Kids today overdose on horse tranquilizers trying to feel good. They’re batshit fucking crazy!”
Without warning, the ceiling of Freud’s office was parted in two like the Red Sea by a lightning bolt that pierced the leather top of Freud’s desk.
“LUCIFER!” God bellowed. “How dare you take my name and try to go after my job.”
“Whatchya gonna do about it?” Satan taunted, challenging God to a sparring match. “Report me to HR? Tell me to go to Hell?”
“You think it’s so easy being me? Do you know how hard it is to figure out which prayers should go unanswered? Or, to let a good person die before their time? Like a child? Or, not helping someone who’s been barren get pregnant, while watching a crack whore deliver her seventh bastard child from an unknown baby daddy, whom you’ll no doubt house in your cesspool? You have no clue what that kind of pressure is like.”
Freud sat back and watched the holy ping-pong match.
“That’s just because you’re too damn picky. If I were God, I’d grant every wish and prayer intended for my ears. I’d let everyone into Heaven who deserves to walk through the pearly gates.”
“If I did that, I’d have the same overcrowding problems that plague you.”
“So, maybe I’ll just send them to Purgatory.”
Freud grew agitated at Satan’s suggestion. He liked the quiet of his surroundings, enjoying the solace of being in limbo. It represented the perfect Ego-like balance to the Super Ego that was Heaven and the Id that was Hell.
“Since it sounds like neither one of you has total job satisfaction, perhaps you should each spend a day in the other’s shoes. A job shadow of sorts. If after walking a mile in the other’s sandals, you’re still unhappy, then maybe a role reversal will provide you each with the change of scenery you both need,” Dr. Freud suggested.
“Good thinking, doc,” Satan said.
“Finally, we’re on the same page for once,” God advised.
“This is what I like to call a breakthrough,” Dr. Freud surmised.
Naomi Elana Zener visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 – full of beans Coffee House & Roastery, 1348 Dundas St. W., Toronto (6:30pm, PWYC) – along with Phil Dwyer, Shauntay Grant and Terry Watada and a special guest talk by Eva Stachniak entitled “Making History Come to Life in Your Fiction”.