It was all over the news. Satan was running for president.
“Good morning everyone, I’m Chris Cuomo along with Alyson Camerota. You’re watching CNN News Day, thanks for tuning in. Early this morning Satan announced his run for presidency.”
“That’s right, America,” Alyson interjects. “His publicist announced that he hopes to win over the American people and take a bride, stating: ‘I want America to look at me as an average citizen, a family man.’ No word on who this bride will be but we were told that he will be choosing from a select group of women already pre-selected and will be notifying them this week.”
“Which party do you think Satan will be representing, Alyson?”
“If Satan is running for president, the party is over.”
A couple of days later in Princeton, New Jersey, Mara Jones returned home from work. Her teenage son, Michael, was waiting outside. Mara barely got out of the car before he started to berate her.
“What the UHHH, what the…” he hesitated so not to use foul language, “what’s going on? What did you do?” He asked. “You have a lot of explaining to do.”
“Slow down. What are you accosting me for? You are 16 years old. Don’t you dare use that tone with me.”
“You had a visitor, mom,” Mike interjected.
“You’re pissed about that?”
“It was a little goblin guy.”
“My friend David? Not nice Mike. He’s short, but don’t make fun of the guy.”
Mara proceeded to make her way to the front door. Mike followed closely behind. Mara went into the kitchen and placed her keys into the crimson colored Tiffany bowl in the center of the kitchen island. She then noticed a large manila envelope sealed with a red wax stamp affixed with the infinity sign.
“What is this?” she asked, lifting it up and turning to Mike. He grimaced with contempt.
“It was a little goblin guy as in one of Satan’s sidekicks, mother.”
Mara’s eyebrows met in the center of her forehead. “No, can’t be,” she said.
“Go ahead bride of Satan, open it,” he replied.
“I feel the mockery,” Mara retorted as her sharp purple painted nails picked at the red wax. She pulled from the envelope a beautifully luxurious rose colored invitation with gold lettering that read:
Satan would be honored
If you would join him this
Sunday at 3 p.m.
At the McCarter Theater
You have been chosen by Satan
as a potential bride
Please accept the enclosed gift.
Mara jerked the envelope and out fell a Swarovski multi-colored crystal bracelet.
“Oh my!” She exclaimed. “I wanted to buy this for my birthday when it was on sale at Lord & Taylor, how in the hell?”
“I bet right about now you’re going over all those times you told me that you gave birth to me through the fiery pits of hell,” Mike replied, snatching the invitation away from his mother.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Mara uttered with exuberance donning the bracelet. “I just won’t go,” she said as she twirled the crystals around her wrist as if making love to it with her eyes.
“Like you have a choice,” Mike responded. “Look, it says right here in the small print that your presence and that of your son is mandatory.” He slapped the invitation on the countertop. “Faaa,” he restrained, “frazil nuts!”
“That’s right mister, I’ve told you not to use profanity in this house,” Mara responded, still whirling the bracelet catching rays of light from the sun with the stones refracting rainbows on the ceiling, walls, and floor.
“Right Mom, we wouldn’t want the step-son of Satan to use fowl language.”
Mike moved in the living room and plopped himself down on the black velvet couch.
“There’s no way he’ll choose me,” Mara said, following her son.
“I won’t ever be able to live this one down. Look, there goes Mike, son of Satan. Like anyone is going to go to the prom with me now.”
“You are over reacting. I mean who wouldn’t want to go to the prom with the Prince of Darkness?” Mara chuckled as Mike got up from the sofa and looked at his mother with distaste.
“Is my dad Satan?” he asked. “I already need therapy. Let’s pile this onto my list of things that make my life a living nightmare.”
“Have you been taking my prescription medication?” Mara replied. “You know who your father is and I’m sorry that he was a monster. You have to forgive me.”
“Whatever,” Mike replied. “Can’t wait to meet my new dad,” he said as he exited the room.
Three days later, Mara and Mike made their way to the theater in the heart of Princeton. They were greeted at the door by a gray colored goblin who stood no more than three feet high. Its appearance was similar to one of the gargoyles at Westminster Abbey in London. Its smile went from earhole to earhole and its face was similar to a dumb, lovable dog.
It escorted them down the right aisle and seated them at the last two empty seats in the orchestra section amidst hundreds of Satan’s invitees.
“See, not so bad,” Mara whispered. “There are a plethora of good-looking women here to choose from.”
“You should have worn sweats and put your hair in a ponytail,” Mike replied.
“Something tells me that Satan’s into the sporty athletic type, so I’m going for the sophisticated bitchy bitter lawyer thing. I’m hopeful that he had relations with lawyers in hell and doesn’t want to marry one.”
“Ma, he knows you’re a nurse. Maybe he wants a Florence Nightingale? He needs a saint for his image.”
“Who are you?” Mara asked, “You’re complimenting me?”
Mara looked at Mike just as Viking horns were blown. She quickly surveyed the sea of faces. Women ranged in size and shape. Every race seemed to be represented. Women were ethnically dressed in garb from Korea, Africa, and Tibet. One woman dressed as a Catholic nun.
The horns blew louder and the stage lights dimmed. Black fog crawled along the stage. A wave of palpable silence swept over everyone. The silence was broken by the sounds of tapping that were coming from the side of the stage.
“I told you he’d have hooves,” Michael tried to say as his mother put her hand over his mouth as Satan appeared.
“Shazam!” Mara exclaimed quietly. “He’s hot.”
Satan’s appearance was in human form. He was average in height, dressed in a black Armani suit and was remarkably handsome. His face and body was like that of Michelangelo’s David. He was perfectly chiseled; created by the Gods. His eyes were a sinfully delicious Godiva dark chocolate brown.
“He looks like he’s got the body of a Greek God under that suit,” Mara whispered to Mike.
“Zeus, Thor, thunder, lightning, and mayhem!” Mike cheered. “Let the party begin.”
“Hello, everyone,” Satan spoke, raising both arms. “I am thrilled to be here. I am so pleased that so many of you came willingly. As you all know I’m running for president, but here is a caveat, Clinton, Biden, and Christie all withdrew. I guess they realized they didn’t stand a chance in hell,” he explained, looking disappointed no one laughed.
“I was surprised and delighted when Sam called me about this mission. FYI, Sam is God. Things have been rough here. Terrorism is trending, people are losing faith in human kindness, and what’s up with those Kardashians? Well I have chosen the woman I hope will be my bride and with whom will share a life with me here in Princeton at the charming white house on Mercer Street once owned by Einstein. I truly plan on staying here in Princeton among the most diverse, accepting community in the world. All colors of skin, sexual orientations, religious preferences, alien status (both international and galactic), as well as human form status are welcome in Princeton.”
In a millisecond Satan transformed into a large black Gargoyle that was more similar to one of those at Notre Dame in Paris, the ones like a bird. His neck was long and sleek. His mouth was like that of an American eagle and his eyes were bold, big, black, and powerful. The room gasped and then clapped for his bravery to show his true form.
“Thank you ladies,” he said as he bowed. “I’m not a monster,” he continued shifting back into human form. As he arose he looked at Mara.
“He’s looking this way,” Mara attempted to say out of the corner of her mouth.
Satan went to the edge of the stage and extended his hand toward Mara.
“Should we run?” Mara asked Mike.
“He’s Satan, how far do you think you’ll get?” Mike replied.
Satan walked to the edge of the stage. “Mara Jones you are one of Sam’s treasured gifts in this world.”
“Pardon me?” Mara asked.
“Join me here on stage,” he asked. “The rest of you ladies can go.”
As Mara stood up and made her way to the stage she looked to her son, who covered his eyes in shame. She extended her hand to greet Satan.
“Hi Satan. Is Satan ok?” Mara’s voice stammered. “Or should I call you Mr. President?”
“My name on earth will be Tumshs.”
“Lovely,” Mara said, putting her hands down at her side. “That’s Latvian right? It means dark. That’s nice. My name means bitter. I now pronounce you dark and bitter,” she nervously burst out.
“Mike, please come join us,” Tumshs waved over at Mike.
Mike grunted as he stood and pouted his way up to the stage and over to Tumshs.
“Do NOT expect me to call you dad,” he blurted.
“Michael be mindful of your manners, be nice to Satan,” Mara scolded.
“May I have a word alone with him, Mara,” Tumshs asked.
Mara shrugged her shoulders and nodded. Tumshs walked Mike to the side then leaned toward Michael and spoke quietly in his ear. Surprisingly Michael softened his face.
“If boss lady is cool with it I’ll roll,” he belted.
Satan went over to Mara, his heels happily clicking. “Mara, is it ok if my protector Marty over there flies Mike to New York to Dave and Busters for a while?” Mara looked over at the gargoyle that greeted her as it waved its paw, its tongue sticking out to one side as it drooled.
“I guess,” she said, looking startled and confused.
“Don’t worry, she’s my most reliable,” Tumshs explained.
“You going to give me any government money for the trip, Pops?” Mike asked.
“They will know who you are, go have fun,” Tumshs said.
“I’m out,” Mike yelled as he left the stage and building with Marty.
“Walk with me?” Tumshs asked Mara.
Tumshs and Mara left the building from the back of the stage.
“Questions?” Tumshs asked.
“Why me?” Mara responded as they strolled up Alexander Street.
“I’ve actually admired you since your birth,” Tumshs responded.
“You admire those cursed at birth? It that in your job description?”
“Want to talk about it?” Tumshs asked.
“About what?” Mara replied. “How my grandmother was the illegitimate child of Adolf Hitler’s nephew, Willy, or how at 17 my mother got pregnant by David Berkowitz. How I’m the spawn of pure evil.”
“In your mother’s defense, she didn’t know that David was a monster,” Tumshs replied.
“You didn’t know about Mike’s father either, Mara, you have to let it go.”
“When I told Mike his father was Tim McVeigh, he told me I killed his dream dad and his soul.”
“Mara, he assaulted you,” Satan responded, putting his hand gently on her arm.
“Well that part Mike doesn’t know. I need him to at least think I knew his father.”
“Did you know Sam cries almost every night?” Tumshs asked. “He creates everyone pure and so many choose to convert kindness and love into hatred. You’re one of very few, my darling, who despite who you are and what you’ve been through, can see the world with rainbow colored eyes. You’ve never judged or seen anyone or anything with anything less than the love Sam bestowed upon you.”
Mara stopped and looked at Tumshs. “Can you be yourself with me?” she asked as he shifted back into his true form. They continued to walk unscathed by his appearance in the acceptance of the people in Princeton.
“Why are you really here?” she asked as she reached and gripped his right claw.
“Just too much evil, the scales are tipping,” Tumshs replied. “People unfortunately fear me, they don’t fear Sam. Terrorism, violence, and hatred toward fellow man have reached epic proportions and I’m here to level the field. I need to return a feeling of safety amongst the people so that they are free to procreate without fear that they are burdening society. It’s time people realize that gargoyles were created to ward off evil. The imagery of evil begets evil yet the young boy ordering a tall bold at Starbucks who is planning to plant a bomb on a subway is the real evil enemy I was sent to irradiate.”
“Who would have thought that you were a good guy,” Mara smiled and looked at Tumshs.
“You knew all along,” he replied and pecked her forehead as she closed her eyes.
“Will you be mine?” he asked.
“Can’t you read my mind?” she replied, and then kissed his beak.
Suzanne Podolski is a life-long Kingston resident and a Kean University graduate. She is the self-published author of two books and has been published online in Special Parent magazine and Singles Parents Travel. She is the owner of Costa Medical, manufacturer of medical devices for ostomy patients. She is the proud mother of two autistic children.