To: Julian Ishgar
From: Lucifer, Head of Administrative Affairs for Outer Darkness
Re: I heard you got canned.
I heard about your falling out with the big guy. Tough break, bro. Really, I can't believe they would do this to you. Let me be the first to welcome you to Outer Darkness. I don't know if there's a bright side to all this, but we've been really short-handed down here. Unfortunately, if you sign on for us, you'll be stuck in a dead-end, low-paying job where nobody appreciates your efforts. Throw in the fact that we give you three weeks vacation every year, and you'll probably agree that you're coming out way ahead.
I know that my department suffers from a bit of a public relations problem. I'm sure you're rather leery about your future here. If it's any comfort, the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth imagery is drastically overstated (with the possible exception of the annual budgeting meeting). You're especially fortunate, since you have a physical body. It will entitle you to certain perks. On the other hand, you'll never have the joy of taking a pig fora test drive.
You'll find that OD land is a bit more laid back than you're used to.I have three main rules:
1) The boss (me) is always the first one in the building and the last one out. He shows up at eight and leaves at five. Anyone who forgets this rule will be locked in overnight.
2) Casual day is on Friday.
3) Every day is Friday.
If you want some help with the move, just say the word. I'll send Caiaphas and Korihor over in the U-Haul. I'd come myself, but it's hard for me todo any heavy lifting.
Best of luck,
Lucifer, Head of Administrative Affairs for Outer Darkness
Subject: Your recent behavior
It has come to my attention that, within the last three months, you have thrown yourself in front of an L-train in Italy, flung yourself from the Eiffel Tower (twice!), overdosed on sleeping pills, blown your brains out with the same shotgun used by Hemmingway, gone skinny dipping in a vat of liquid nitrogen, and eaten at Jack In The Box on seven different occasions. Is there something going on in your life that we're not aware of?
I remember that John went through a similar phase during the Dark Ages. When we caught up with him, he was throwing himself on Joan of Arc's pyre. Our psychologists call it "Post-Immortality Regression Complex," and say it afflicts one out of every five field workers. Take some time off, come back to the main office, and we can make sure you get the help you need. You've been an excellent employee up until now, and I'd hate to lose you.
Director, Department of Human Resources
PS: Are my books still selling?
PPS: We still have no idea where Nephite number 1 is. If there's anything you can think of that might help, everyone at the office would be greatly appreciative.
To: Elohim Tsabaoth
From: Kehoral Serenoth
Re: President Hinckley's interview with Larry King
I caught your boy on cable yesterday. I personally thought that the whole eternal progression thing sounded plausible, but it turns out the whole thing is just a "couplet." I'll admit, nobody was more surprised by this new revelation than I was, but I'll submit to his superior knowledge in these matters.
As long as we're going mainstream, do you think there is any possibility that President Hinckley might reorganize us all into one giant trinity? We were going to print up new organization charts this week, but I don't dare make a move until we can get further light from our Prophet and Seer.
I want him taken care of. Now.
Your Loving Father in Heaven,
Transcript from "The Messenger," a popular Celestial Kingdom news show:
Announcer: Tonight, on The Messenger. . .
Ytor Golinath, news correspondent, doing voice-over: Seven days ago, Doris Finkelstein was taken hostage by a rampaging mob of spirit prisoners. . .
Doris Finkelstein: They duct taped my mouth, and said if I ever preached the Gospel to them again, they'd kill me.
YG: Tonight, in an exclusive Messenger interview, you will be the first to hear her terrible story of courage at the hands of wicked men, in its entirety.
DF: At that moment, I feared for my very soul.
(begin live camera feed)
YG: Good evening, and welcome to The Messenger. Last week, the Kingdom watched in shock as Spirit Prison was overrun by armed convicts. It was feared that the prisoners might actually escape from behind the ten foot thick walls, overwhelm the local Danite peacekeepers, and bring unholy ruin to the Celestial Kingdom itself. Doris Finkelstein, Gospel missionary and author of "In The Prison, Not Of The Prison," was taken hostage. We interviewed this courageous and charming old lady, to find out what it was like in those fateful hours.
(cut to pre-recorded interview)
YG: So, what were you doing there, in Spirit Prison.
DF: Well, Mister Golinath, a thousand years ago, I received my mission papers, directing me to bring God's Word to the vile sinners in Spirit Prison. I was overjoyed to be an instrument in His hands, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. Of course, they have these lessons that you can use, but I felt that what these moral reprobates needed was a good dose of the Lord's own scripture. I've written all about this in my book, "In The Prison, Not Of The Prison," available at better bookstores everywhere. Or you can order a copy in the mail by writing. . .
YG: Er, yes. Now, what was the first sign that there might be trouble?
DF: Well, the dirty scumbags were in a frightful mood that afternoon. All day, in fact. I was reading from Genesis, since I'd finished up the Pearl early that morning. And one of the prisoners came up to me and told me, in a very threatening manner, that he didn't want to hear God's Word preached to him again, ever. I refuted him boldly, then continued my reading. Then all the prisoners started making the most horrible, violent commotion I'd ever heard. At that moment, I feared for my very soul.
YG: Then what happened?
DF: The guards came in and started trying to halt the malicious designs of those horrid, godless spirits. But then they started possessing the guards. I was casting them out as quickly as I could, but for every one I commanded depart, five more would take their place. Soon, the possessed guards were fighting with each other. My sister companion was huddling in the corner. She's such a sweet young spirit. Y'know, her Heavenly Father only called her to the work a few months ago, while she was on a mission in the temporal sphere. She was run down by a semi, praise the Lord.
YG: Now, about that time, it seems that the riot escalated, and spread to A and C blocks. Did you see any indication that the crisis was worsening?
DF: Why, yes. They had taken away my extra-large print quad, so I started reciting King Benjamin's speech from memory. It was as if I splashed holy water on them! All the commotion and the screaming! They duct taped my mouth, and said if I ever preached the Gospel to them again, they'd kill me.
(cut to file footage of prison riots)
YG: Even as this was going on, the Danites were preparing a bold and daring rescue mission. While one of their sergeants kept their leader on the phone, two thousand of those brave soldiers, clad in possession-proof Kevlar armor, had surrounded the prison-turned-fortress. On command, they blew the gates and swarmed into the building.
(footage from helicopter, showing a small explosion at the gate)
YG: The riots were quelled within minutes, as our highly trained peacekeepers performed thousands of exorcisms and took the ringleaders into custody.
(return to interview)
YG: What were you feeling at that moment?
DF: I was afraid, but was praying faithfully, and I knew the Lord would protect me and my companion from harm.
YG: But your companion is still in the hospital, in a state of catatonic shock.
DF (beaming): Yes. Isn't it marvelous? When she snaps out of it, the poor dear probably won't remember a thing.
YG: But one of your rescuers admits that he may have tried to perform an exorcism on her, even though she wasn't possessed. Our spirt healers aren't sure what the effects on her might be.
DF (still beaming): Well, God's will be done. By the way, you can read even more about all this in my forthcoming novel, "Speaker to the Dead." It will be out this Fall.
(return to live feed)
YG: Tonight, you have witnessed a story of true bravery and courage. Mrs. Doris Finkelstein will be remembered as a true hero and saint. Next week, on "The Messenger," if the Apocalypse were today, would the Heavenly Hosts be ready to defeat the forces of darkness? Not according to former military analyst Ulysseus S. Grant. He is pushing for a threefold increase in defense spending. You'll hear the shocking story next week on "The Messenger." Until then, good night.