Beelzebub's Halloween Adventure
On the 31st of October, the Devil slept in, as usual. At around 3 pm, he awoke hungry and in need of black coffee. He showered, put on some cologne, polished his horns, and drove to the little cafe down the street from his modest LA ranch-style home in Atwater Village.
He glared at the hanging chalkboard above a cash register festooned with mock-humourous stickers; the countergirl interrupted her chat with a white dreadie student. The student looked no older than 15, but was probably in his early twenties.
Yikes, thought the Devil, I must be getting old.
"Hey," said the barista, squinting through her Clark Kents. "Nice costume. What can I get you?"
The Devil was vexed for a moment, then remembered the date.
"Oh, this," he gestured with a sweep of his hand. "Yeah, I just kind of, uh, threw it together before I came out...mmm, I guess I'll have an iced double mocha." He absently kicked the counter with his pointed boot, glanced shyly at his black nails.
When she brought the drink over, the barista handed it to Satan and said again, "That's a totally great costume." She looked over at her impossible-young-looking friend, saying, "Isn't that great?" The friend looked up from his free weekly paper and nodded, "Yeah, man, that's cool--you totally look like Satan." He threw up his hand in the heavy metal horns and grinned amiably.
"Oh--um, I am Satan," said the Devil. "These are actually my real clothes, really--for Halloween, I'm going as Adam Ant."
The barista and her friend laughed. "Have a great Halloween," she said.
"Uh, you too," said Satan, flummoxed. "See you later." He went back to his station wagon, wondering where he could get some face paint and a couple of bullet belts.
Unfortunately, it turned out that finding bullet belts was more of an ordeal than he had expected, so when he got back home at around 7 pm, the Devil figured he might have to end up being a ghost or a 70's guy. He was sure he still had that afro wig from a couple of years ago, in a box somewhere. He called up his friend Hitler, who was throwing a party that night at his condo in Toluca Lake.
"Man," said Satan, "I couldn't find any bullet belts, I'm really bummed. I'm thinking I'll have to go as a ghost or something."
"Vaaat!?" exclaimed Hitler. "I could have azked Benito for zum bullet belts--you should have called me earlier, dumkopf!"
"Oh, man, that's right." The Devil looked at his watch. "Well, what time should I show up there tonight?"
"It von't really get ztarted until 11 or zo, zo juzt show up when you can," said Hitler. "Anyvay, I'm juzt hanging ze streamers, so I gotta run, ja? Later!"
In the end, he took Adolph's advice. What with the drive to Toluca Lake, and traffic, he figured it was better to show up looking good in normal clothes rather than in some patchy, thrown-together carbuncle of a costume. And, Hitler's hot friend Lisa was supposed to show up later, so that cinched the deal. No costume.
At the condo, Satan could hear the music from Hitler's party long before he got to the front door. It was almost midnight already, and after the drive, the Devil just wanted a couple of bong hits and a place on the couch.
Before he could ring the doorbell, the door opened; it was Lisa and her stripper friend, Darla.
"Hey, you guys, what's up?" The Devil hugged them both and kissed Lisa lightly on the cheek. Don't say anything dumb, he thought emphatically. "Hey, whaddya think," he smirked, again sweeping his hand in front of himself, "Nice costume, huh?" You idiot, he thought.
"Awww," groaned Lisa. "How come you didn't dress up? What happened to Adam Ant?"
"Oh, well, I woke up late, all hung over from bowling yesterday, and I just couldn't get it together." He shrugged sheepishly.
"That's no excuse, Satan," she said, poking his belly playfully. "Anyway, we gotta go, me an' Darla are meeting someone tomorrow about the screenplay. I'll see you later, maybe." She turned.
"Wha--you're leaving?!" He watched them go down the stairs to the street. "See you--hey, I'll call you, OK?" Lisa waved at him as they u-turned in the cul-de-sac and drove away.
The party was hell; not finding a place on the couch, Satan squeezed his way through the crowd to the kitchen, but the keg had been cashed. He fixed himself a drink from what was still available--some tequila, club soda, the last three ice cubes, and a dried out rind of lime. Around 3 am, pretty sauced, he made the mistake of calling Hitler "Charlie Chaplin." Hitler totally flipped out and threw a can of Hawaiian soda at the wall, cursing in High German.
On top of all that, every time someone asked Satan his name, they didn't believe him when he told them. "I'm Satan, I swear!" He must've said it to nearly every person there; each time, they responded, "Yeah, I know who you're supposed to be, but who ARE you?" As the night wore on, and people became more drunk, it started to sound like: "I know who you're SUPPOOOOSED to be, but who AAAARRRRRRE you?" It was all he could do to keep from turning them into little ashpiles on the sofa.
Eventually, he stopped telling them he really was the Devil; when they asked, he said, "Hi, I'm Chet," and silently vowed never to go out on Halloween without a costume ever again.
BM is a writer and musician living in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.