This Rodent Subterfuge

You're the old grey crone who works in Hell's Hall of Records, and you're groaning with sinus discomfort. You sneeze into a tissue, then toss it into a growing pile of debris that fills one corner.

“You'd think the boss would at least spring for a garbage can,” You mutter.You look at the disgusting pile of refuse in the corner, then at the flickering burning wall sconces, a rare new idea slowly taking root in your sinus allergy clouded brain. It's time to burn the garbage!

You hobble over to the leaky limestone wall, and grab a torch. You head toward the corner, stopping just long enough to scoop up an armload of ancient scrolls. You toss them on the pile, then light them. You grin happily as you hold your hands out to the welcome heat. The dungeon is so full of cracks, holes, and deep crevices, that the smoke simply eddies up and out. Meanwhile, you're warm for the first time in recent memory, and you have a very long memory.

Lucifer explodes out of the bonfire with a crack of thunder.

“What do you think you're doing, you old crone?!!”

“I think I'm roasting a goat, what do you think?” You remark sarcastically.

You've long since lost your fear of the boss. The worst he can do is throw you in this dungeon, and you're already here, already doing that. He could kill you outright, but it would actually be a relief from this sinus allergy Hell.

He increases in size until he almost fills the vertical space in front of you, right to the ceiling. He roars and screams, and spits sulphurous fire trying to intimidate you. You stand there with folded arms, waiting until he runs out of steam.

“You torched my scrolls!” He bellows, as his voice reverberates around the chamber.

“I burned the garbage. If you give me a garbage can, I'll stop burning the garbage.” You reply calmly.

He shrinks down to normal size, momentarily stuck for an answer, so he avoids the subject altogether.

“Forget about that. I have a mission for you. If you do well, I'll let you out of this dungeon.”

“Really? For how long, three minutes, maybe five?” You don't trust the old prince of deception.

He waves the question away like an annoying mosquito.

“This C.T.Howell has become more trouble than he's worth. He likes this nice girl, and if he gets her to like him back, he could sway toward the competition. His soul belongs to me! He can't repent and take it back! I want you to make the girl hate him so much she'll tell him to go to Hell, where I'll be waiting for him.”

This baffles you. “Isn't that your department, creating hatred and discord where there was none before?”

“I'm busy, I've got three new wars starting. I want you to come up with something that she'll never forgive him for.”

“How am I supposed to do that – from here?” You look around, at the depressing dump you're forced to live in.

“Fine, I'll let you go 'topside', but only in dreams, or the appearance of reality. Don't think you can get out of Hell that easy; your body stays here. You're a witch, cast a spell to produce an image of something he's liable to listen to.”

“If I could still cast spells, this place would look like the penthouse at The Ritz. You took my abilities away from me, when you threw me down here.”

“Fine, I'll give your powers back, but your body and soul stays here, in the Hall of Records.”

The smell of sulphur assaults your nose as a cloud of acrid smoke gathers at Lucifer's feet. He shouts one last order as he disappears into the smoke.

“Howell and his friends speak in rhyme. You'll have to do the same - forever!” His evil cackle bounces around the cavern as he disappears into the smoke.

“Nooooooo!” You scream after him, “I hate rhyme.”
I don't mind once or twice, but not all the time.”
You go through the scrolls to find Howell's file.
You slump on your stool, and you ponder awhile.
You're a powerful witch, you can cast any spell,
but the one thing you can't do, is get out of Hell.
To test out your powers, you come up with a plan
to get what you want, so you imagine a garbage can.
It appears in the corner, as you wished it created.
“My powers are back!” You scream, all elated.
Now you must settle down, and get back to work,
to prove to the boss, you're more than a clerk.

You cast a spell that makes you look like a squirrel,
to gain Howell's trust, and help him get the girl.
You put your scurrilous self into C.T. Howell's dream.
It all looks very nice, but things are not as they seem.
You look like a friend, in C.T. Howell's imagination,
so he listens to your plan, with absolute concentration.
He does as you say, and he puts your plan in action,
but it doesn't turn out to his complete satisfaction.
He drugs Bob, who passes out with a girl in his lap.
The nice girl comes home, to witness this mishap.
She figures everything out, and blames C.T.
Now she really hates the treacherous s.o.b.!
You smile in your guise as the helpful old squirrely,
because you're the one who made her come home early.

You laugh heartily as you return to Hell,
but decide that you don't like it very well.
You cast a magnificent spell to keep all your powers,
Then you clean up the Hall of Records ... it takes hours.
Lucifer eventually shows up, at your specific request,
he sees what you've done, and he isn't impressed.
The walls are now drywalled, with tasteful wallpapers,
The torches have now become electric wall tapers.
The old stone floors are now carpeted plush,
There are two bathrooms with toilets that flush.
There's a whole new office in which you now work,
complete with three computers, and other small perks.
Lucifer screams curses as he goes totally ballistic.
“Oh come on, you old jerk, “ you say, “be realistic.”
He yells, “Don't talk to me like that, you crazy old witch!”
You say, “I'll say what I want, you son of a b----!
You can't hurt me, punish me, or reverse any spell,
All you can do is keep me down here in Hell.”
He stalks around fuming, figuring out what to do,
then he stops in his tracks, as he stares right at you.
“I'll hold you responsible, if Howell becomes nice.
Whatever good he does, you pay the price.”

The End

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