Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Excerpt: Lucifer Rebuilds Hell

- an excerpt from To Hell In A Handbasket to be published in May 2012. "Halos & Horns" Book 3:

Lucifer rose from his ivory throne of bones to address the demon contractor before him. "Abraxas, when I hired you as general contractor to oversee the rebuilding of Hell, you promised the job would be nearly completed by now. Instead, you've hardly begun."

The cock-headed demon slithered to the throne's side on his serpentine legs. "Lord Lucifer, that was merely an initial estimate. At the time, I had no idea of the considerable damage to the infrastructure that had been done. It's like a war zone out there."

"Of course it's like a war zone! It was a war zone. Have you forgotten the realm was invaded and attacked by the Netherspawn? These repairs are taking far too long, Abraxas."

"You must understand, some of the affected areas have no power to supply our equipment. Many of the fire pits have dried up and are caked with earth."

"I realize the fire pits are not functioning. Ukobach has promised to get the Infernal Furnace back to full capacity shortly. However, the repairs —"

"The repairs will take much longer without power. My goblin crews have had to resort to picks and axes. It takes far longer to do everything by hand. Of course, if you want the crews to work longer, that will mean overtime. The bill could be quite expensive."

Lucifer rubbed his forehead. "It's all about the payment with you contractors, isn't it? Your goblins never show up on time and they're completely incompetent. It's as if they were born with an innate inability to do anything right the first three times."

"Now, Lord Lucifer, that's hardly fair."

"And you, Abraxas, offer nothing but excuses and more promises and then disappear for weeks at a time."
"I do have other projects I must complete."

"What other projects can you possibly have in Hell?"

Abraxas pulled out a notepad. "There's the new brothel being built on the second level; the torture chamber on the seventh level; the doghouse for Cerberus — you'll recall your son requested that and you approved it back on —"

"All right, all right." Lucifer threw up his hands. "You don't fool me, Abraxas. You're an unethical, negligent, arrogant, deceitful, and lazy contractor."

Abraxas shrugged. "Count yourself fortunate general contractors are all like that, else you'd never find one in Hell. You realize they can't get a damned thing built in Heaven — no contractors up there, you know."

Lucifer sighed, as the chuckling demon left his throne room. He looked up when Asmodeus entered. "It's bad enough I have to deal with the work of rebuilding Hell without having to contend with demonic contractors. It's going to cost thousands more souls than originally estimated."

Asmodeus shook his three heads. "You don't want to run over budget. The last thing we need is a contentious budget debate. The dukes and lords are already riled."

"What is it this time?"

"It's your push toward democratization. Hell has always been run as a dictatorship, with ruling classes of dukes and lords, the military led by Evil Tail, and the secular church headed by President Valac. There's a pecking order from the dukes and lords to the upper-level demons, the lower-level demons, the goblins, and finally the Damned. You've pushed through civil rights for the goblins and now you've allowed political parties to form."

"I'm simply applying what I've learned topside. Political parties are a wonderful source of corruption, bribery, and lies. We should have had them down here years ago."

"Perhaps, Master, but the concept has unsettled the upper classes. They feel they may lose prestige and power."

"Nonsense. They can participate in the process, as well. All they have to do is register as either Demonrats or Reprehensibles and they'll have an equal vote."

"That's precisely the point, Master. They don't want to be equal; they like being superior."

"Pshaw!" Lucifer exclaimed. "Once they realize they can rig the system the way humans do, they'll welcome the idea with open arms. Politics was made for Hell."

"Be wary, Master. The demons of the Underworld are unused to the new freedoms you are offering them.
There is the potential for your newfound democracy to slide into anarchy."

- an excerpt from To Hell In A Handbasket to be published in May 2012. "Halos & Horns" Book 3 -- Third time's the charm!

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