Lucifestus the devil reached out a crimson finger. He gave one of the arrows a flick at the fletch end making it boi-oi-oing like a cartoon. The aspiring saint, Sebastian, yipped like a startled Chihuahua.
Azrael the angel said, “Knock it off Lucifestus. Don’t be a dick.”
The devil shrugged his massive shoulders, “I tried to tell him.”
The two other-worldly beings were each more fearsome than the other. Lucifestus’ imposing size, crimson skin, and massive horns presented a visage that would make most mortals question their sphincter control. The winged Azrael, for his part, stood bathed in a handsomeness and glory that would overwhelm any right-thinking human into instant prostration. And now they stood, shoulder to shoulder in front of the righteously arrow-riddled Sebastian. Tied to a large post, hands behind his back, he slouched against his bindings, head lolling forward. Blood trickled from the side of his mouth, and, of course, from the baker’s dozen of arrow wounds that had been inflicted by Emperor Diocletian’s archers.
Lucifestus pointed to the arrow protruding from Sebastian’s groin, “Those were crack archers. Guy did that on purpose. Now that’s being a dick. I’m just here checking on my good friend Bastian in his hour of need. How long you think he can hold out? An hour or so tops? Wanna bet on it? Over-under at an hour, you take whichever side you want.”
Azrael shook his divine head, “Typical. You have no shame, Lucifestus. Leave the man be. He has lived a righteous life, serving his fellow believers under a repressive tyrant. He suffers willingly, gloriously, in OUR service. When his flesh expires, be that more or less than an hour from now, he will be rewarded with immortality as a saint and martyr for the one true faith.”
Sebastian made a raspy gurgling sound, wobbled his head weakly. It was difficult to tell if this was intended as an attempted communication. The angel and the devil hardly seemed to notice.
“He does look picturesque, I’ll give you that. Artists are going to paint the shit out of this scene for centuries to come. As artistic aesthetics go, it sure beats lying at the bottom of a stoning pit. I wonder if they’ll include the arrow in the dick?”
“Why do you taunt this man?”
“Glumph” said Sebastian. Then his chest made a sound not unlike a carpenter using a jack planer on a wooden door.
“I’m not taunting, I’m here to make him one last offer. Sort of a going out of business sale, but he’s the one going out of business.”
“Why bother? You tempted him before and he stood firm. Don’t you understand that a good man would rather serve US than take one of your tawdry, infernal deals?”
“Well, I think I’d like to point out the fine print on your offer. How all your talk of immortality for saints and martyrs is metaphorical bullshit.”
“Urgh?” Sebastian coughed, sending blood flecked phlegm flying in the direction of Azrael.
With inhuman dignity and grace, the angel wiped a globule of gory sputum from his divine cheek, then wiped his hand on his shimmering raiment. “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. Let the man finish his martyrdom in peace.”
Lucifestus turned his attention to the dying human. “Bastian. Bastie. Can I call you Bastie? It’s like this, they have a soul-arium. We have a soul-arium. You see this through, and, man, all the power to you if you do, Azrael here is going to essentially shit you out into a swampy morass of souls. Just like I would if you’d taken my deal. No different.”
“Oh! Oh!” Azrael sputtered indignantly. “That is a gross, and I do mean gross, misrepresentation. Our heavenly soul-arium is gleaming white, with intricate inlays of gold and lapis lazuli throughout. It is also surrounded by a host of angels singing hosannas to the highest, 24/7.”
“Hmmm!” Sebastian seemed impressed.
“That’s great, but Bastie here will be about as aware of all that as one of Diocletian’s turds will be aware that it’s surrounded by a palace. You’re the one misrepresenting, your side always does. He’s expecting to be decked out in a fine robe, watching earth believers worship his chopped off fingers and toes in reliquaries, all while getting celestial reach-arounds from the likes of you.”
Azrael had begun to turn a decidedly un-angelic shade of red, “Nevertheless, Saint Sebastian will be remembered and venerated for his contributions to the one true faith. It’s a legacy. A legacy of selflessness and sacrifice. Something someone like yourself, who lives entirely for instant gratification, will never understand.”
Lucifestus made wanking motions in the direction of the angel. Then turned to face the rapidly fading martyr-in-waiting. The devil bent his massive frame at the waist so as to look Sebastian in the eyes. “Okay Bastie, I’m going to offer you a deal. But I’m going to have to talk fast, ’cause brother, you ain’t got long. And once you die, you die. That’s it. Understand?”
“Yuth.” It was the most articulate syllable Sebastian had uttered in thirty minutes.
“Castulus’ widow, Irene, you know her right? The one with the amazing rack? She’s on her way here to collect your body. If nothing changes in the next couple minutes, that’s what’s going to happen. But I can intercede and make sure you hang on until she gets here. She can take you home, nurse you back to health. So far so good?”
Sebastian nodded, sort of.
“Now, you wait till you’re good and healed up. Maybe a year or so. Then you hide some place where Diocletian is going to be. You jump out and yell ‘booga booga!’ or some shit. First, he’ll shit his pants cause he thinks you’re dead. So, that’ll be satisfying for you. But then, he’ll probably have his guards just beat you to death right then and there.”
Sebastian’s face clouded perceptibly.
“You’ll still be a martyr and venerated. Only now, you’ll be all the more miraculous because you survived the sure death of the arrows. It’ll be almost like you rose from the dead. Talk about a legacy.”
“Hold on,” Azrael interrupted. “You can’t offer sainthood. Only we can do that.”
“Not official sainthood,” Lucifestus made air quotes. “But Bastie, you know how many fucking unofficial saints there are? Local priests, villages, little old ladies, they don’t give a shit about official saints. They know one when they see one. Brother, you’re in.”
“Still,” the angel pressed his case. “That’s an absolute perversion of a sacred designation. You should be ashamed.”
“Aw, Azie. It’s like you don’t know me at all.”
“Sebastian, listen to me. This deal doesn’t make sense. Why sell yourself to the underworld for this. If you’re going to die a painful death, why do it twice? And why do it for a pale imitation of the actual sainthood we can offer you?”
Sebastian moved his eyes from Lucifestus to Azrael and back.
“I’ll tell you why. Because I can give you Irene of Rome too. She’ll fall for you hard. Everyday from now until your second act of martyrdom will be filled with this beautiful woman – you’ve seen her – doing whatever. And here’s the deal closer. If you decide that a life of blow jobs, titty-fucks and other freaky shit with Irene is ultimately more fulfilling that being clubbed to death, well then, brother, that’s your call.”
Sebastian contorted his bloody mouth into his best approximation of a smile.
Azrael said, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.”
After Irene of Rome had come and gone even Azrael, still smarting form losing a slam dunk to his arch-rival, had to admit that she looked like a “truly tasty piece.”
Lucifestus started to walk off toward Rome-proper in search of a gambling den or some such entertainment. Then he stopped, turned back to the angel and said, “You should have taken the over-under bet. I’da been happy with that.”
“Fuck you, Lucifestus.
“And also with you Azrael. Also with you.”
© 2017 Whiskey Leavins