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Saturday Night Between Heaven and Hell

He knew this would happen. Even at the close of his life, things would go as awry as ever.
Decades ago he had thought of his last words; a wicked line he intended to leave this world with and which would have the crowd around his deathbed in stitches, regardless of their sorrow of seeing him pass away.
Now he was lying here, the quote about which he never told anyone on his lips, and no one would hear it. Of course, he thought, of course I’d be alone in my dying hour; I had nobody when I was alive, so why should my death be any different?
With a last sigh he closed his eyes. As his breathing ceased and his head fell to the side, the floor opened, and a dark creature entered the room and sat on the bed. He looked almost like a man apart from his horns, tail and hoof.
Just as he stretched out his hand over the dead body, a creature in white flew in through the closed window and sat on the other side of the bed.
‘What the hell are you doing here?’ he asked her.
‘I bring this man where he belongs,’ the angel said in a soft voice. ‘But what on God’s green earth are you up to?’
‘I’ve come to claim this man as well,’ the demon answered. ‘You can’t be serious about taking him to Heaven!’
‘Of course I am! He led a very virtuous life...’
‘That’s only for the lack of opportunity. For Christ’s sake, he’s a poet! He appeared to be romantic, gentle and poor; no woman ever looked at him twice. But if he would have had his own way, he would have brought several girls home each day - and not necessarily one after another!’
‘That’s mere speculation! You don’t have any proof of that!’
‘Oh, don’t I? Just have a look at his poetry so!’
‘We’re not allowed to read anything apart from Ireland’s Own and the biblical texts.’
‘Miss goody two shoes, are we? Well, we’re not allowed to read either, and that’s exactly what makes it such fun!’
‘Obedience is more important than fun.’
‘Yeah right! So if I told you to lie down on your back, you’d do it?’
‘I take my orders from someone else. No angel has ever agreed to that kind of thing!’
He sneered at her. ‘No demon has ever asked for permission, honey!’
She disapprovingly looked at him.
‘You’re gorgeous when you’re angry,’ he remarked.
‘I’m afraid I can’t return that compliment!’
‘Don’t worry, our looks were never meant to please,’ he grinned. ‘Do you come here often?’
‘What - to Earth?’
‘No, to Sligo.’
‘No, actually it’s my first time.’
‘What - in Sligo?’ he smiled. ‘I’m not surprised. Seems this is one of those places where we have to do all the work. By the way, what’s your name?’
‘Angela,’ she whispered.
‘How original,’ he replied. ‘My name is Damien.’
He looked at the lifeless body that lay between them. ‘It seems we have to leave this for our superiors to decide. How about going for a pint?’
‘I can’t,’ she answered. ‘They’ll be looking for me.’
‘I don’t know about the angel retrievers,’ he said, ‘but the demon retrievers can only recognise us by our tails and horns. We could get dressed in this man’s clothes and cover our features.’
It was the first time ever that she felt tempted, and she decided not to put up too much resistance. After a short while he had talked her into a pub visit, and the two raided the poet’s wardrobe.
‘We’re lucky he’s a man,’ he explained as he put a cap over his horns. ‘A man running around in women’s clothes is being considered a transvestite while a woman in men’s clothes is a completely normal sight nowadays. That’s what they call equality up here.’

There was a good crowd in McGarrigles already, but Angela managed to get the last table while Damien organised the drinks. A middle-aged woman joined her and kept a seat for her partner.
‘I haven’t seen you before,’ she said. ‘Where are you from?’
‘Up there,’ Angela replied and pointed upwards.
‘Oh, from the North! I should’ve recognised that accent.’
Damien arrived with the pints.
‘You’re from the North as well?’ the woman asked.
‘Oh no,’ he replied, putting on his broadest Australian accent. ‘I’m from Down Under, luv!’
Her man came over, put the drinks on the table and sat down beside the woman. ‘Gee,’ he said looking at his watch, ‘it’s not even eight and I’m suicidal already.’
‘Oh,’ she said, ‘this is my husband Sean, and I’m Lola.’
Damien looked at him and back at her. ‘You’re such a beautiful woman,’ he said. ‘You must look great in black!’
‘Are you always that charming?’
‘I’m doing my best,’ he replied.
‘And have you ever been slapped?’
‘Only once.’
‘What did you say?’
‘I told a prostitute not to give up the day job.’
A young girl with a form and a biro squeezed in between them. ‘Excuse me, would anyone like to fast for the children in Africa?’
‘I thought they did that themselves,’ Damien replied.
‘I hate this Christmassy chariterror as well,’ Seamus added as the girl approached the next table. ‘Anyway, they should be collecting to support the war now.’
‘How come it’s always the good guys who win in the end?’ Lola mused.
‘History is written by winners,’ Damien enlightened her. ‘And the winners naturally claim that the losers are the baddies.’
‘What is that war about, anyway?’ Angela asked.
‘The Americans securing the survival of their armament industry,’ Damien explained.
‘But couldn’t they bomb army facilities instead of schools and wedding parties?’ Lola wanted to know.
‘That would be taking the fun out of the war, wouldn’t it? Besides, soldiers would be able to shoot back, and the Yanks don’t want to put their men in danger. There’s a good reason that the UN only allows the most aggressive and dangerous countries to produce and use weapons of mass destruction.’
With that Damien went to the counter to get the next round.
‘Could you get me ten cigarettes as well?’ Seamus asked.
‘Which ones?’
‘Not the ones that kill, just those that seriously harm me and those around me. You couldn’t lend me the money till next week, could you?’
Damien frowned. ‘I’ve lost some of my closest friends by asking my money back. But sure, it’s for a good cause...’
When he came back, Lola suggested to go upstairs. ‘Petronella are playing.’
‘Petronella?’ Damien exclaimed and took his pint. ‘I haven’t heard them in ages!’
The others followed him up the stairs.
‘It’s a shame that a town that produces so many real talents is only famous for Yeats and Westlife,’ Damien sighed.
‘I wish there was enough space to dance,’ Angela complained.
‘I suppose it would look funny if you danced with your coat on,’ he told her.
‘She could take it off,’ Lola suggested.
‘That would look even funnier,’ Damien grinned.

After a while Lola took her purse and accompanied Angela to the ladies’. As they freshened up their make-up Angela asked her what she thought of Damien.
‘There is something really sinister about him,’ Lola smiled. ‘He seems quite dangerous to me, and he has the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen. If I were you, he had me tied to the bedposts already!’

‘So what do you do for a living?’ Seamus asked Damien.
‘I’m kind of a shoemaker - I’m fixing souls. And you?’
‘I’m a broker.’
‘Good money in that business, I reckon.’
‘Sometimes. When things are going bad, Lola runs off with someone else and asks for a divorce, and as soon as I land a major deal, she’s back in a flash and tells me she had stayed at her mother’s.’
‘It’s a shame that women only mature on the outside, isn’t it?’

When the girls came back, Angela went up behind Damien and put her arms around him. ‘Do you want to go home with me?’ she whispered in his ear.
‘You couldn’t stand the heat,’ he answered. ‘And you’d burn your beautiful wings!’
‘I actually thought of the poet’s place. I’m sure he’ll have a bottle of good wine hidden somewhere...’
‘... which he would like us to enjoy over his dead body, I bet.’
‘It wouldn’t have to be in that room.’
‘Well... why not,’ Damien agreed. ‘I haven’t been a bad boy for quite a while now.’

Damien filled their glasses and put on Strauss’ Salome. Angela shook off her coat and danced, seductively stripping off her clothes. She covered her front with her wings which she slowly spread again, revealing the marvellous shape of her body.
She sat down in the armchair and stroked herself with the tip of her wing. ‘Your turn now, naughty boy!’
Damien undressed quickly and in a rather unsensual manner, and Angela pulled him down on top of her.
‘Let me see just how bad you are,’ she said as she leered at him.
Damien gently touched her lip. ‘Let me just wipe that smile off your face,’ he replied. ‘I’m really sorry, but I can’t do that.’
‘Why not?’
‘I’m afraid I’d be too rough for your taste, darling.’
‘Go on! Be rough, force me, do whatever you want - just take me!’
‘Sorry honey. You are there to please others, but our mission is completely different: we make people want something real bad, and then we make sure they won’t get it!’
And as he disappeared through the floor, Angela wished him to hell.

© 6244 RT (2003 CE) by Frank L. Ludwig