Before I go any further, Your Honor, let me just say this:
My right hip is killing me—seriously, is there any reason
I should be chained up like the lead actress in a S &M video?
I’ve been at this gig for centuries,
And taking human form isn’t as easy as it once was;
Seriously—sixty, eighty years ago I can put my right leg up behind my head.
Now I’d pop a hamstring just thinking about trying that move.
What’s more, I am, after all, The Prince of Darkness,
A title suggesting that I just may have the power at my disposal
To—oh, I don’t know—cast off these shackles, raze this very courthouse
And plunge the remnants and all it’s occupants into the river
Setting the whole kit-and-caboodle ablaze without breaking a sweat.
Oh sure, I know this is Ohio, and you’ve seen rivers burn before,
But, trust me, this would be special. What do you say, Your Honor,
Can we dispense with the Jacob Marley’s older brother look?
The prisoner shall remain bound.
Great. A judge who’s a control freak. Wow, what were the odds of that?
OK, I get the picture; how nice will that play with the yahoo segment of the electorate
(And since is Southern Ohio, that’s a solid ninety-nine percent)
When you run for re-election? I can see the posters now:
Stern visage glaring out from the photo, with the bold caption:
“Judge Cotton Mather—“
No relation, incidentally.
Like I didn’t know that…”—He Kept The Devil In Chains!!”
Very nice, very law-and-order. I’m thinking you’ll run unopposed.
Fine, we’ll do it your way. Just be warned I plan on making a real racket
With all this shit. You try nodding off during the rest of the monologue.
Just how did you end up being arrested?
Who was that? Your honor, if we’re going to be bringing in speaking parts willy-nilly, my court costs are going to go through the roof.
That was the jury. Jurors are to remember they shall remain silent during this portion
Of the proceedings.
Seriously? I thought they were the chorus.
That is the jury of your peers who voted to convict you.
My peers? Come on, who’s kidding who here?
Hands up, how many of you have drank the warm blood of an infant
From a badger skull as an evening aperitif?
The defendant shall restrict his remarks to directly addressing the bench.
OK, OK, relax a bit, would ya? You can put your hands, down, kids.
Boy… I would have guessed three, maybe four blood drinkers tops.
You are one bunch of sick bastards.
Actually, Judge, I was going to explain how events came to this,
And I wouldn’t mind some vocal backup.
Could I possibly seek the assistance of my so-called peers?
Oh, fine. Knock yourself out. Anything to move the show along here.
Firm, but fair. No wonder the voters of Washington County
Have returned you to the bench so many times.
Whattya say, kids—up for a bit of a sing-song?
We’d be honored—surely you have a tune
That you’d like us to sing along to?
How about “Ave Maria?”
Please tell me you’re kidding.
What, you don’t have any classic FM stations here?
I am, after all, a man of wealth and taste.
What’s the problem, O choir of mine?
We had a bet with the judge you’d make that joke
Within the first five hundred words.
Like I didn’t have a piece of that action, you poor stupid sonsofbitches.
Anyway, get the poop outta yer pipes and start croonin’
Baaacon, ham, and cheeeeese
Concoction known to all mankind.
Warm, bacon-y goodness
That none can resist…
Holy shit from shinola, that’s enough of that!
Jesus H. Christ, that was bad enough
To make the ears of the saints themselves bleed.
Seriously, that less-than-joyful noise
Makes the shriek of epileptic cats mating
Sound like goddamn Sinatra in comparison
Is there some ordinance here
That jurors must be impartial and tone deaf?
It’s not like we had a chance to rehearse.
Like it’s my fault you didn’t read ahead.
(And, incidentally, for those of you playing along at home,
Stop moving your lips while you read. It’s just disconcerting.)
OK, I’ll pick up the pace here.
My downfall was, as the prior caterwauling noted,
The tragic result of my Jonesin’ for a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Croissant.
I’m down on Route 7—just off I-77, near the country club, you know the place—
And I see a Burger King on my right.
Look, personification of evil or no, a body’s gotta eat, right?
Well, I go to the counter and place my order with the slack-jawed teen du jour,
And—bang!— don’t you know the wallet’s empty.
Listen, I’m Satan.
I don’t ask if they can hold the order for me while I go the ATM.
I levitate the gooey goodness toward me,
And the Washington County deputies (I know, cops in a Burger King,
Who knew, right?) slap the cuffs on me.
Well, doesn’t it figure the one time I’m out without fake I.D. is the time I get busted.
Instead of petty theft, they go through all my priors, and, here I am, looking at the chair.
Then you were a victim of your own overreaching.
Despite my fairly solid grasp on the notion of precognition,
I’m going to ask the question anyway.
Just who might you be?
The name’s Nikos. I’m the Greek Chorus.
SATAN (After a lengthy pause):
I’m sorry, I was waiting for the rim-shot.
Anyway, Nikos dear friend,
It is my sad duty to inform you that you are well off base.
No, my demise, my stubborn insistence on remaining in human form
And going happily to meet my maker—
We’re expecting the mother of all puns here.
Sorry, but we’re coming to the part that isn’t all that humorous,
Not that I think anyone is still reading. Maybe we should stop here?
We’re sure no one has made it this far,
But it would be an abrupt ending.
Well, you’ve got a point there, I guess.
Bad spot for a blackout and all that.
As I was saying, the reason I am facing my imminent death
With an almost heroic stoicism as my good side faces the camera
Instead of angrily turning everyone in this courtroom
Into tiny, smoking piles of lizard shit
Is not due to being addled by the years or Oedipal-level hubris,
But something simple and heart-breakingly tender
No, it was all due to—well, what would you think?
Could it have been a woman?
Really, could it have been love that brought down the Dark Prince?
Just on the off chance, might it have been something in a skirt?
ANYTIME YOU WANT TO JUMP IN HERE, JUDGE.
I’m sorry—I was miles away. Tell me, sir, was it a woman?
Why, yes, as a matter of fact. It was all for the love of a woman.
Her name is…Audrey. Like bells, isn’t it, Your Honor,
Or the very whispering of the celestial zephyrs in Heaven.
Audrey. Oh, Audrey.
I met her several years ago at a Reds-Pirates game at Riverfront.
I was sitting in Marge Schott’s box as her guest—
Like that’s a shocker.
As if. Well, about the sixth inning I have to get some air.
I mean, you don’t what Hell is
Until you’ve sat through nine innings next to Margie,
So I wander down to the mezzanine to get a cold one.
She was pulling drafts, and—well, I just don’t know.
Maybe it was her smile,
It might have been the way she held her wrist while she tilted the cup,
Could be that she didn’t try to screw me by giving me half a cup of foam.
We started talking, and I found out she lived here in Marietta,
And worked at Riverfront on weekends.
We talked non-stop for two full innings,
And by the time the Pirates went quietly in the ninth, I had her phone number.
A barmaid and The Lord of the Flies? It doesn’t sound
Like a match—
Just don’t say it; I’m begging you here.
But, yes, needless to say, our backgrounds were somewhat different.
To be honest, I tried anything I could do to put the damper on her feeling for me.
I spread my great leathery wings (inside the house, no less—smudged her walls
Something fierce), I turned all her VCR tapes to Beta,
I left the seat up—all to no avail.
Her purity, her unalloyed devotion, her uncomplicated nature…
You gotta understand something here;
After centuries of dealing with millions of people
Who are not only the greediest bastards who ever walked the earth,
But absolute morons as well…
I mean, I offer you all the worldly goods one could ever want,
And make no mention of requiring anything in return, and you don’t smell a rat?
Jesus H., doesn’t anybody read anymore?
So after eons of dealing with slimeballs, you can see how my head may have been turned.
To be frank, the idea of seeing her again
Even if for just the most fleeting of moments—
You’re getting a bit maudlin here, sir.
What do you want me to do, fart?
The last time I did that, Chicago went up like a thatched roof.
Anyway, it’s a fair exchange in my view.
I would like to make just one final request of the bench,
Namely, that I may be hung instead of sent to the chair,
So that my sweet Audrey may kiss me farewell upon the gallows.
And just think of the great photo ops!
Incidentally, Southern Ohio is a wonderful venue
For any outdoor event.
Do I know you? It seems we’ve worked together before.
I’m a loan officer at Settler’s Bank,
And the Vice President of the Marietta
Chamber of Commerce.
I’m going to take that as a “yes.”
Well, Your Honor, it sounds like a done deal to me.
And you may rest assured
That my demise will ensure that,
Among the veritable wave of spectators
Which will turn out to see me swing,
There will not be an impure thought in the bunch.