The devil wore patent leather Bruno Magli wingtips, a Dolce camelhair jacket, houndstooth fedora.
We met at a small café on the outskirts of Amsterdam; he was dashing off to a climate meeting where he planned to heckle scientists in the form of a trembling flat-earther before cruising over to North Korea to whisper backwards Latinate phrases into the tormented ear of Kim Jong Il. Then on to Alberta to broker some new oilsands deals, and finally, off to Rome to further tempt Vatican clergy in the form of a beautiful, smooth-skinned altar boy named Rodrigo.
Not bad for an afternoon's work, he said, grinning.
Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. I understand you're very busy.
Hang on, just finishing up this text to Ballmer. "Congrats on Windows 7! We finally did it!" Now let me just Twitter about finding irrefutable proof that Obama is a Nazi sympathizer, then plant this item on Drudge about the new health care bill secretly taking H1N1 vaccines away from white Christian children and giving them to Mexican illegals. There.
OK, make it quick, I gotta pack for a petrochem summit in Davos. Keynote, as usual. Those boys f--king love me.
I appreciate your time. Now, many say the world is in a horrible state of turmoil...
Isn't that great, by the way? That's just f--king great. Dear God, I rule.
It's not, actually, just FYI. Here's a little secret I don't talk about much, but you'll forget it the instant I leave anyway: The world is actually teeming with beauty and life and rejuvenation, hope and awe and epiphany, every moment of every day. There is pure bliss, entire universes of knowing, pure God consciousness available in the smallest instant, the complete breath, the gentlest human touch. But you didn't hear it from me! (Laughs, concrete curdles).
Well, there have been some pretty difficult, even horrifying events in the past few years...
Let me just clear up one misconception right here. People thought I was swamped during the Bush years, running that whole glorious, bloody spectacle. And it's true, I was busy. But it was also wonderfully easy.
What do you mean?
Honey, I had armies of devoted minions in power back then. I basically sat back like a fat, narcotized Hamptons housewife while my staff brought me cupcakes made of war and fear and homophobia, Christian evangelicals and Muslim hysteria and economic failure. Glorious, glorious time.
But now? Now it's ... different. Bloom is off the black rose, you might say. I'm still busy, still plenty of ugly out there, but I'm not in control anymore. Now I'm just herding cats. Very, very dumb cats.
But we still have all these problems...
Sure you do. But now there's this sickening movement toward responsibility and progress that I find totally nauseating. I spend all my time planting these ridiculous stories, going lower and lower on the intellectual food chain just to get the dittoheads to scream about, what's that crap again? Birthers? Death squads? Teabagging? ACORN? This is what I'm reduced to. F--king hate it. But at least I'll always have oil. And guns. Talk radio. Monsanto.
But even the world's finest scientists say we're on the cusp of meltdown, what with global warming and ...
Global warming? Please. Total hoax. Evolution? Hoax. Electric cars? Hoax. All of existence? Hoax. The Bible? Actually not a hoax -- the true, literal, perfect English transcript of floaty magic-winged creatures living on sparkly clouds and judging what you eat and how you have sex, because everyone knows the Almighty loves war, college football, and large caliber handguns, hates gays, Muslims and the French, and wears a U.S. flag lapel pin that was actually made in China. Ha!
I don't see how that relates to...
You don't? You don't see how I can hurl BS into the culture on a spit and a whim before I even eat my morning sacrifices? Let me put it this way: Millions of you actually believe the Bible is literal fact, but you think climate change is a grand, devious ruse. Come on. Who but me could pull off such a masterstroke? I should have my own goddamn reality show. Oh wait, I have all the reality shows.
So you're saying humanity's really not on a collision course with destruction?
Oh hell, of course you are. It's all decay and annihilation and flow and flux. Human civilizations come and go like a divine menstrual cycle. I set my Panerai by it. Never forget, sweetheart: change is the only constant. But as any good mystic or pagan will tell you, destruction and creation are the same god with two intergalactic calling plans. Existence bounded up in a nutshell, the king of infinite space. This is all just a delightful illusion. I should know; I co-designed it.
But what about all the corruption and deception?
Look, I don't care how you measure. Trilateral commission, U.N. security counsel, NSA, CIA, Blackwater, communism, shadow governments, all of them. It's just a grand circus, you know? This is all just a ride. My day-to-day power lies in making millions forget what a cosmic joke it all is.
You take yourselves so damn seriously: your raging political parties, the "crucial" issues, Wall Street, gun control, organized religion, banks, credit card companies, big oil, even the endless wars, dictators, all this nefarious churn. You know what it is? It is the silliest charade. It is monkeys playing piano. It is a grand flea circus on the back of a celestial dog, and he's about to scratch himself.
But what of the pain and suffering? The agony of existence?
Oh my sweet Allah with steaming pork sandwich, what an egotistical species you are! Millennia of war and death and pain and fighting over tiny scraps of land, little dusty strips of nothing, thinking God bestowed it upon you! Let me tell you something: the divine has no agenda whatsoever except to know itself in myriad form. God is a life energy. I am a death energy. Creator/destroyer. Light/dark. Inhale/exhale. Shiva/Shakti. Spit/swallow. Both vital. Both omnipotent. Both essential. You have to choose to see it. You feel me?
I think I do.
How about now?
Please take your tail out of there.
Sure thing, lovebug.
All right, since we're already out of time, let's do a quick lightning round.
Love lightning. Drizzle it on my virgin sacrifices every morning.
I'll toss out some names and current events, and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. All right?
Ha! Dude pisses me off. Can't seem to rile him. Thinks he understands things. Actually does. Know what I hate more than anything, and that includes laughter and singing in the shower and multiple orgasms? Wisdom. Calm, assured wisdom in the face of all the whining and screeching I can muster from my minions. Such gall. Makes my soul pimple.
I have hangnails more interesting.
Has a bizarre thing for dwarves dressed in Chewbacca costumes while she's in full body latex and covered in Crisco. Oh wait, Glenn Beck? Now I remember. All about yodeling, self-flagellation, sniffing the tailpipes of monster trucks, usually simultaneously. They make a cute pair, like a puppet show in an asylum.
The world's dictators. Mugabe, King Abdullah, Hu Jintao...
Ah, now we're getting somewhere! My boys! Some of my best work at the moment. Monsters in different skins, the shadow side incarnate. Love them. What a terrific mirror they are for that part of you so many of you refuse to see!
How about the "New Atheists?" Richard Dawkins, Chris Hitchens, et al?
Cute. Harmless. Completely missing the point. Look, it's way too easy to point out the childish folly, the cute mythology of every major faith in the world. Of course they're fiction. Of course they're totally absurd. Of course those in charge use them to keep millions weak and guilt-riddled and forcibly detached from the idea that they already are divine. A no-brainer, really.
So they're misinformed?
To say the least. They're also only half right. Atheists have merely cut off part of their soul to spite their fate.
After all, it's far more interesting, more challenging to peek behind the silly religious rulebooks and church politics and the obvious myth-making, and taste the source, the wider energy at play. Believing in floaty angels and immaculate conception is for children. Not very bright children, at that. The tantrikas had it absolutely right: the divine is available in an instant, in every moment -- no rules, no complicated hierarchies, no institutions. You are god. You are the devil. Everything else is just maya -- illusion.
But wait, what about...
Whoops, hang on, that's my phone. It's a text from Jesus. Wants to meet for a drink. And it's only noon! That kid is so crazy. If you people only knew. Bye now.