Wormwood sat in his office with a Cheshire cat grin on his face and his shiny black shoes resting on the desk with hands folded behind his head. He looked out his bay window at all the new recruits for demonhood. He could at last, after a long distinguished career, feel satisfied. When the book about his early life, The Screwtape Letters, was written, he was a novice still only ranked a demon. The book had been a huge success and he was even nominated for an Ignoble Prize for Chaos. He had used this to launch his career which has taken him to the very depths of Hell. They even gave him a new depth which greatly disturbed Lucifer. But all Lucifer could do was stand by aghast as he received full partnership and ownership of the Company.
He had not just stopped with the Company. He had created his own universities. They taught creative classes such as Cubicles: Our island paradises, Facebook where your life never measures up, and Now that Corporations are People. Lucifer had thought that the modern times would destroy evil but he was wrong; it offered the chance to create alternative realities, fake news, and artificial intelligences. If humans ever crossed paths with their souls they would not see it as a reality. This was Lucifer’s lack of vision and this was my opening to leave him in the dustbin of history.
Certainly he had learned a few tricks from Lucifer. He was a great salesman. He could convince you an armed missile was a Peacemaker. He learned from Lucifer that all you needed to sell something to people were a few tricks. Number one was if you tell them it is new and about progress, they almost became insanely blind to its flaws. Take the internet. It gave the promise to an equality of access to information but hidden in it was the redefining of what a friend was. It also allowed communication anywhere anytime. He smiled: including family time. But with all the communication came the need to communicate with everyone everywhere. And now emotional pain was expressed with emoticons, which created the paradox that there was more communication but at the same time there was less. I love paradoxes, he thought.
The most humorous part to him was that the internet had paved the way for sex without the touch of another human being. He thought that one of the greatest paradoxes. Certainly masturbation had always been around but now it was becoming, with the internet, the major form of sex. Relationships were too hard (excuse the pun) but the internet brought all sorts of varieties and possibilities; it made it feel like you were having real sex. But of course he had to be careful with this because he did need the human beings to continue to breed so he would have another generation to please.
What had made all these thoughts come crushing in today: he was to receive the lifetime Achievement Award for General Destruction of the Fabric of the Community. This was one of the most satisfying awards as it was given by your peers only once a millennium. Lucifer had won all the others and now he would be able to look down from the stage and give Lucifer a condescending look. That was going to be great. He was expected to give an academic acceptance speech. He had settled on exploring the question of the Problem with Pain. Pain was the main thing that could alert people to life. Pain was a reminder of all the good things that life gave you. Many assumed it was a tool of the devil and he declared it was not and he should know. People could trudge through life without ever thinking of their good health, good minds, good relationships, and so forth. But let a loved one die and they suddenly awaken to all the relationships they cherish and need to nurture. In pain questions begin to be asked: what is life about? What really matters? These were never good questions for the hell on earth we want to create. The best thing for an up and coming demon was for their clients to never think of death.
Sweat shops need to be in third world countries, far away from the buyers’ eyes. Weapons of mass destruction need to be able to travel great distances so that their destruction could not be seen in person. The further removed the consequences of your actions from the deeds the better. So hide growing old in removed nursing homes and facelifts.
Wormwood stirred from his deep thought. His administrative assistant was buzzing him on the phone. “The man who wants help in promoting the twenty-four hour War Channel is here.” Ah, painless and clueless and make the unheard of evils of war commonplace and we win. Wormwood chuckled to himself as he rose to greet his visitor. “You are doing such a good thing for the world.” He thought to himself: life keeps getting better and better.