Satan entered his apartment to find the lights on and the TV blaring. Terrific.
Sprawled out on the couch was exactly whom he expected: Sloth. Satan’s voice dripped with disgust. “You again.”
Sloth didn’t look up. “Yeah, she kicked me out. Express deliverance. I told her it was too much trouble to pray to dislodge me. But you know how it is.”
“And I suppose it would be too much trouble to find a new host.”
“Yeah, I will. Hey, can you pass the remote?”
The remote lay on the coffee table next to Sloth’s huge feet, among five opened soda cans. Satan glanced into the kitchen to find an empty pizza box on the stove and an open box with half a pie on the table. “You—out. Find your own host this time.”
“Relax! I’m getting around to it. My brother says he knows someone who knows this guy who lets the lawn go for a month—”
Oh, good grief. Satan knew he shouldn’t reward bad behavior (well, bad behavior by his support staff; bad behavior by humans he rewarded in spades) but if he didn’t find Sloth a host, he’d stay for months, running up the electric bill, leaving pizza boxes, and hogging the couch.
Satan sniffed the air. “Were you smoking?”
Sloth shrugged. “My cousin stopped by.”
Satan stalked to his dark bedroom where he found Self-Loathing in bed, the room reeking of stale smoke.
He turned on the lights. Groaning, Self-Loathing pulled a pillow over his head. Satan opened the drapes, then yanked off the covers. “Out! Out! Now!”
It amused the archangels whenever he had to exorcise his own apartment, but seriously. Was it too much to want good help?
He booted Self-Loathing out the apartment door, then hoisted Sloth by the neck of his stained flannel shirt. Sloth protested that Lost would be on in two hours, but Satan only tossed him onto the Earthly plane with orders that Mephistopheles find him a new host...before dinner if possible.
That’s when he heard the “thunk” of his refrigerator.
In the kitchen he found Gluttony shoving the remaining slices of pizza into his mouth. “Bad news—got kicked out. Thought I’d drop by.”
Before Satan could protest, Gluttony drank half a gallon of milk directly from the container.
Satan lifted the phone to call Central Employment. How many deliverances were going to take place today?
“What do you want?” screamed the operator.
Oh, right—Wrath had switchboard duty. “Put me through to Asmodeus.”
“I hate this job! Tell Asmodeus to fire me—I don’t care!”
The phone disconnected.
Gluttony was polishing off his fifth ham sandwich when the bell rang. Satan opened to find Pride primping his recently trimmed hair.
“You got kicked out, too?”
Pride adjusted his designer suit as he walked inside. “That soul wasn’t good enough for me. Man, this apartment is a pit. You should live somewhere nicer, like mine.”
About to suggest that Pride return his beautiful self to his perfect apartment, Satan had a thought. “Today’s been a disaster. Nobody could possibly fix this.”
Pride snorted. “You haven’t asked the right person.”
Satan rubbed his temples. “Sloth and Self-Loathing need new hosts. So does Gluttony. I’m not sure anyone can stem the tide.”
Pride raised his chin. “Prepare to be impressed!”
He vanished with an air of sage-scented smoke (designer), taking Gluttony with him.
Satan dropped onto the couch. Sometimes he wondered why he’d rebelled: in Heaven, God handled the staffing issues.
As he turned on the TV, Envy appeared by the doorway with a sigh. “Must be nice to sit around all day. I wish I had your job.”
“Yeah,” Satan muttered, turning up the volume. “I wish you had it too.”
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Copyright 2010, Jane Lebak. All rights reserved.
Jane Lebak has been writing since age 3 and writing about angels since age 16. Her novel The Guardian was published in 1994 (Thomas Nelson) and Double-Edged Publishing released Seven Archangels: Annihilation in 2008. Visit her website at http://www.janelebak.com and her blog at http://philangelus.wordpress.com.