A city on a hill cannot be hidden and in the concrete jungle of Edinburgh, there came a man whose name was john. In his late twenties, John worked as an order picker at Amazon. Working twelve-hour shifts in a warehouse john was still young free and single but all work and no play made John a dull boy. living the dream wasn't all it was cracked up to be and on the job, he felt like he was living for work not working to live. john was looking for an exit and a slave to the machine needed a fresh start in life. john lived alone in a one-bedroom flat that he rented from the local council and with days turning into weeks then months he felt like he was getting nowhere fast. john wanted more out of life than just being factory fitted but found it hard to stand back and take a good long look at what the future held. too busy with the mundane things of life he had gone to bed early one night and was lying there staring up at the ceiling. not looking forward to getting up the next morning he wanted a life with meaning and purpose, to carve out a career in a job with prospects. after all it's said that if you find a job you love, you'll never work another day in your life. but in his line of work, he was just a payroll number and getting some retail therapy online meant he was just a customer reference number. he didn't want to go to sleep as morning and work would come around that much quicker so got back out of bed to raid the fridge. He opened a can of his favourite beer and lounging around switched the tv on. Sat there watching Bedazzled he was looking at a man who had struck a deal with the devil but it wasn't going as well as he had hoped. Nevertheless, john sighed and under his breath said,

''I should have done that myself,'' and speak of the devil and he is sure to appear. not one to waste an opportunity satan appeared in a puff of smoke.

''Do you want one?'' Asked Satan offering john a cigarette.

What the hell?'' Said John almost jumping out of his skin.

''You called,'' replied Satan.

Who are you?'' Asked John.

''An angel and I came in answer to your prayers,'' replied Satan.

''What prayers?'' Asked John.

''Are you sure you don't want a cigarette? Asked Satan.

''I don't smoke,'' said John.

''Don't say I didn't offer,'' replied Satan. ''Now let us get down to brass tacks. What do you want?''

''I didn't mean it, it was just wishful thinking,'' replied John.

''Well, I'm here now so don't waste my time,'' said Satan.

''You are the devil, said, John.

''Very observant of you. now, what can I do you for?'' Replied Satan.

''A deal with you didn't work out so well for Faust did it?'' Asked John.

''An educated man,'' replied Satan. ''That's just old wives' tale from German folklore. A cleverly invented story nothing more. I'm the real deal.''

''If you're real then God must be real too,'' said John.

''Of course, he's real. But it's better the devil you know. God lives in the land of make-believe and with his head firmly fixed in the clouds what has he ever done for you? It is said God moves in mysterious ways and his son is the invisible friend, but of whom? You watch the news there's not much good left in the world, it's always bad. Besides the church on Sunday is nothing but a freak show. The speaker of the house is just the arse end of a pantomime horse. The self-preservation society has the attitude of, 'Stuff you I'm alright Jack,' and TC isn't Top Cat but a thieving cunt who cares nothing for humanity whatsoever. God is just an old man with white hair sitting in a wheelchair talking about spaz chariots of fire that came down from heaven. And how his men do preach rebellion in the name of their Lord and Saviour. Besides, very little is known about God these days. In fact, what is known of God the Father can be written on the back of a fag packet. Are you sure you don't want one?'' Asked Satan. offering John another cigarette.

''No thanks. What's the catch?'' Asked John.

''Not much, just your allegiance to me and the small matter of your eternal soul,'' said Satan.

'' That sounds expensive,'' said John.

''The price is high, most men don't pay,'' said Satan.

''And what do I get in return?'' Asked John.

''Your heart's desires at the agreed price,'' replied Satan.

''I need more time to think,'' said john.

''I'll grant your every request,'' said Satan. ''What do you want? Job security, money, power, a detached house with a trophy wife and two-point four children. Holidays abroad twice a year, that sort of thing.

''That sounds about right,'' said John deep in thought.

''Before you ask I can't give you a bigger dick than the one you already are,'' said Satan.

''What did you just say?'' Asked John.

''Sorry, that was a slip of the forked tongue. I meant the one you were born with, for it is written the flesh counts for nothing,'' replied Satan.

''I want it all,'' said John.

''Excellent then let's start with a brand new job and more money,'' said Satan.

''Sounds good,'' replied John.

''Then all you have to do is just sign right here on the dotted line,'' said Satan.

Where?'' Asked John.

''Right there on the paper mate,'' replied Satan pointing to his scroll of remembrance.

So John got up and picked up a biro from the coffee table.

''Not with pen and ink. It must be written in your own blood,'' said Satan. ''By a little prick.''

''What?'' Asked John.

''Nothing, I was just thinking out loud,'' replied Satan. ''Ignore the fine print, the devils in the detail.''

So John took a sharp knife from the kitchen drawer and pricking his thumb wrote his name on the scroll of remembrance and signed his life away.

What now?'' Asked john.

''I can see patience is a fruit you rarely eat,'' said Satan. And with that, the devil disappeared in another smoke screen.

So John finished his beer and went to bed and waited to see what would happen. Two weeks had gone by and nothing out of the ordinary had occurred in his mundane existence. Life seemed uneventful then then one Saturday afternoon he was out shopping at the local supermarket when he saw a smartly dressed woman who looked to be in distress. She had a flat tyre and asked her if she needed some help she said she was running late for an important business meeting. Seeing this as nothing more than a courtesy call and his one good deed for the day John offered to change her tyre. Engaging in some small talk he mentioned that he would soon be going to work himself doing an evening shift that very same day. The lady said she wouldn't want to work in a factory but John said it was just a job that paid the bills and kept the wolf from the door. The lady said her name was Victoria and she was looking to hire a driver to chauffeur her to and from business meetings. John said thanks but no thanks was just about to walk away when he had a change of heart. Victoria gave John her business card and said the advert was also in the local paper. If John replied she would guarantee him an interview after all that he had done for her.

John thanked her for the offer and said he would look into it over the weekend and then she drove off into the sunset.

The next day John was eating his microwave Sunday dinner and at the same time was looking through the job adverts when he came across driver wanted. He uploaded his CV together with a gift given in secret, the reference from his supervisor at work the night before and thought nothing more of it. But that very same evening Victoria phoned John while he was enjoying his supper of tea and toast and asked if he could attend an interview first thing Monday morning. Surprised by her response time John accepted the invitation to the thirsty as he was eating a dry crust at the time. So the very next morning John put on his whistle and flute and drove to the address Victoria had given him. He parked up at an apartment complex ten minutes early and pressed the buzzer. Victoria let him in and he made his way in the lift to the sixth-floor apartment 66. He rang the bell and Victoria let him in wearing a smart business suit. She had already looked at his CV and after she had looked at his driving license and phoned his supervisor at work she would be willing to offer him the job on a months probation. Timekeeping was essential in her line of work so John would have to be punctual. On the job, she was open all hours including weekends so like Victoria John would have to be on call. Most of her client's meetings were in the afternoons and sometimes late at night so he would have to be flexible. Basically, all John had to do was drive her from job to job hotel or business address John's job was to see her safely home at night. The pay was better than what he was earning at present and at over a grand a week he was delighted with her remuneration package. Meetings with her clients were confidential so John had to be the soul of discretion. He was always to dress smartly in a suit and he would have full use of the car as long as he didn't abuse her generosity she would pay the fuel bill as well. John was enamoured by Victoria. She was tall with long legs and a brunette. She sounded well educated and she came across as a sophisticated woman.

At the end of the interview, there was only one thing left to ask and that was what car would he be driving. Victoria took him down to the garages and opened the door. The car was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X marks the spot in orient red. It took John's breath as it was his dream car of his youth.

''What do you think?'' asked Victoria

''She's from the land of the rising sun and in a Japs eye, second to none,'' replied John.

''Have you ever driven a Mitsubishi Evolution before? Asked Victoria.

'No but I always wanted to,'' replied John.

''They are discontinued now,'' said Victoria.

''It's true,'' replied John.

''What is?'' Asked victoria.

''They don't make them like they used to,'' replied John. ''I used to have a picture of one on my wall.''

''You weren't one for topless pin-up girls then,'' asked Victoria.

''She was mine,'' replied John.

''I expect you to look after the car and no reckless driving,'' said Victoria.

''She's a classy bird so she won't be leaving any skid marks,'' replied John.

Victoria laughed and said, ''Turn her on then.''

''My pleasure,'' said John opening the door. he sat on the leather interior and started the engine.

''Hear that,'' said John.

''What?'' Asked Victoria.

''I am cat woman, hear me roar,'' replied John.

''I see you're going to get on well together, said Victoria still laughing

''I will treat her like she is my own,'' said John.

''Excellent I have an appointment this afternoon so if all goes well with your reference from work be here at two. Dress smartly while I put you on the insurance and call me Vicky,'' said Victoria

John agreed and vowed to give up his job at Amazon right there and then. He went home ran a shower and waited impatiently until the afternoon. The job sounded great as he didn't have to get out of bed early in the mornings and his disposable income would soon increase. It looked like his pact with the devil was finally paying dividends but in gods eyes, the man who is self-employed has no future. That being said john arrived promptly at two in the afternoon and drove Vicky to a five-star hotel in the city centre.

''Wait for me here ill be a couple of hours,'' said Vicky

So John duly obliged and a couple of hours later Vicky returned and asked John to drive her home.

''that's all for today. ill text you later what appointments I have tomorrow,'' said Vicky.

John watched until Vicky had got safely to the front door of the apartment block and let herself in then he drove home.

''That was easy,'' John said to himself. he could get used to this as the pay was out of this world and with nothing physical to do he'd have to watch his weight sitting behind the wheel.

Two weeks had passed and chauffeuring Vicky from job to job john realised that he hadn't asked her what line of business she was in. So he popped the question and Vicky said she used to have a missionary position but now ran an employment agency that catered for women only. Human resources sounded plausible but John couldn't understand why Vicky was always visiting expensive hotels and private residencies even late at night. He didn't want to pry into her professional life nor press the matter and as he was getting paid a premium what business was it of his. Still, doubts remained about her working unsocial hours and he was worried about her walking for any length of time alone in the dark at night. So he always parked as close to wherever she was visiting. Then one night she got back into the car only for a large amount of money to fall from her handbag onto the passenger seat well. John looked at her as she began picking it up. she said it was just cash owed from a previous job and took it rather than a bank draft. John's suspicions were now aroused but he said nothing to imply anything other than her explanation of things.

One day John was invited to mind Vicky's apartment while she went out of town on a business trip for a couple of days. John jumped at the chance to stay at the apartment as it had a great view of the city from the balcony. Wanting to uncover Victoria's secrets John headed straight for her underwear draw but rummaging about in her panties was futile as there was nothing of interest there. So sniffing about he headed for her laundry basket instead. It was a good job Vicky wasn't there at the time as caught with her knickers down his pants he'd be fired on the spot. John was looking around the apartment for any proof of life in regards to her line of work when he came across a pile of business cards in the coffee table drawer for Angels One Five escort agency. On the back of the card, it read five hundred pounds for a woman's hour. John thought that Victoria had a girlfriend as he had drove her to a cottage outside the city on a number of occasions and a couple of times she had stayed the night there only for him to pick her up the very next day. John had seen Vicky's lady friend a few times at the cottage and passionately embracing each other looked more than just family. 'But this must be it,' thought John to himself. It took him another week to catch on to what Victoria's secret was. She was a high-class call girl for businessmen and charged whatever she wanted for services rendered. But not one to judge it was each to their own and as long as he was getting paid what did John care what her line of work was.

John's probationary period had come and gone and he was getting used to the hours Vicky worked. They were almost regular as clockwork and it was always afternoon delight and sometimes until the early hours of the morning. Vicky usually had three or four appointments a day and judging by how popular she was with her client's John thought she must know what men want. John never mentioned any of this to Vicky as it might spoil their working relationship and he was getting fond of the lady of the night and Vicky appreciated his prompt timekeeping. His bank account was filling up nicely his flat had got a refit and he was always smartly dressed and with a full wardrobe had plenty of food in the cupboards. Things were looking up and even though he knew the job would end sooner or later he had years yet and hope for the future too.

That was until one fateful night when he drove Vicky to see her girlfriend at her cottage. as usual, John drove Vicky to the address but this time she said that John had to wait for her as she would only be about an hour. It was late at night, his watch said eleven o'clock so John sat in the car listening to the radio. About an hour later there was no sign of Vicky so he checked his phone to see if she had left him a message but there wasn't. He thought he heard loud voices and then screams coming from the cottage just then. John got out of the car and locked it and was walking to the cottage when he heard another loud scream so he rushed to the front door and opened it. He could hear voices in the kitchen so he ran in only to see Vicky lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood breathing her last with her girlfriend standing over her. It looked like a lover's quarrel had escalated into something far worse. When her girlfriend turned around and saw John standing right behind her she struck out with the kitchen knife in a murderous rage and stabbed him in the groin and the thigh. Still in shock, John fought back and grabbing the knife still in the woman's hand plunged into her abdomen. She fell back onto the kitchen floor still holding the blade. John staggered back against the kitchen sink and saw that he was losing a lot of blood. He reached for his mobile phone to call for help but realised it was still in the car so he limped back outside to phone 999. He made it to the car door and was fumbling at the door handle but it was locked. He took his keys out of his trouser pocket but felt faint and slumping against the car door and slid to the floor. Just then Satan appeared to claim John as his own.

''Nice night for a walk,'' said Satan looking down at John.

''I think I'm dying,'' said john.

''Yes, it is as you say. She severed your femoral artery with that kitchen knife,'' replied Satan.

''I thought the bitch had cut my dick off,'' said John.

''You're bleeding out quite badly I give you a minute or so,'' said Satan.

''For God's sake help me,'' said John.

''How? I've already got your number,'' said Satan.

''Phone an ambulance,'' said John.

''But I'm not really here, on your plane of existence anyway besides even if I could it would be futile as you'd be dead on arrival,'' said Satan.

''She killed Vicky,'' said John.

''In a jealous rage I know and it's terrible. then you went and killed her fiance,'' replied Satan.

''It was self-defence,'' said John.

''I'm sure it was and it is just as I said to the Lord of Hosts,'' said Satan.

''Said what?'' asked John.

''You are all my children,'' replied Satan.

''What about our deal?'' asked John.

''I fulfilled my side of the bargain let's start with a new job and more money remember,'' replied Satan.

''Beside it was first aid that killed you. You went inside and became the architect of your own downfall.''

''I was trying to help,'' said John.

''You turned things upside down as if the potter were thought to be the clay,'' said Satan.

''What do you mean?'' asked John.

''Why is my language not clear to you? Man's number is 666 and God says outside of him, ''You'll find yourself in A & E for I O U nothing, you owe me one life.'' Now you want me to dial 999,'' said Satan.

''God forgive me,'' said John.

''Not tonight,'' replied Satan pointing to his scroll of remembrance.

Then John slipped into unconsciousness and with his head slumped forward died at the side of the car due to blood loss.

Just then the angel of death arrived on the scene

''Oh it's you I might have known you had a hand in this,'' said the Angel of Death.

''Oh look it's the shit shoveller right on time,'' replied Satan.

''I see the serial killer has struck again,'' said the Angel of Death.

''Scrape this shit up will you,'' said Satan.

''You don't make my job any easier,'' said the Angel of Death.

''It's not my fault he ran after other gods. the amen called it when he said, ''free will is my gift to mankind and men should exercise it.' ''It was his choice after all.'' replied Satan.

''And now he's lying dead at your feet,'' said the Angel of Death.

''Shit happens by the way there are two more inside,'' said Satan.

''I know,''; replied the Angel of Death.

''It probably looks like a scene from murder at the rue morgue,'' said Satan.

''You are the butcher of bakers field,'' replied the Angel of Death.

''Watch out for Vicky's girlfriend she's a bit of a bunny boiler,'' said Satan.

''What a psychopath?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''No she used to sterilise her rabbit vibrator using the kettle,'' replied Satan.

''This is no time for jokes,'' said the Angel of Death.

''I thought it was funny,'' replied Satan.

''Just one more question,'' asked the Angel of Death.

''And what would that be,'' replied Satan.

''Why were you disputing with the archangel Michael over the body of Moses?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''Never happened,'' replied satan.

''It is written in the sacred texts in the letter of Jude,'' said the Angel of Death.

''Don't believe everything you read,'' replied Satan.

''What was that all about exactly body-snatching necrophilia?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''Why do you insist on asking questions about the amen at the most inappropriate times?'' Asked Satan.

''We might be ill met by moonlight but why not now?'' Replied the Angel of Death.

''Not tonight. speak to the rock about it,'' said Satan.

''I heard Michael slagged you off to your face and you just stood there and took it,'' said the Angel of Death.

''No he didn't he was courteous and polite,'' replied Satan.

''So it did happen then,'' said the Angel of Death.

''That was entrapment,'' said Satan.

''Call it what you will,'' said the Angel of Death.

''Very well, it happened for sure and I was there on the ridge of Pisgah with Michael,'' said Satan.

''Do tell,'' said the Angel of Death.

''We had a disagreement a difference of opinion. quarrelling amongst ourselves I was effing and jeffing, blinding Michael with bullshit but he was adamant that Moses' body was not for the taking. polite but firm Michael said that there was no fucking chance I could have the body of Moses,'' said Satan.

''He swore at you?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''Not a cat in hell's chance was his exact words. he was referring to Jesus being the lion of the tribe of Judah at the time,'' replied Satan.

''Michael was always a yes man and like a nodding dog he is always agreeing with the amen,'' said Satan.

''Why did you want his body?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''To destroy the gospel,'' replied Satan.

''How?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''Listen doing it by the book it is written in Jude but even the archangel Michael, when he disputed with the devil over the body of Moses, did not presume to bring a slanderous charge against him, but said, “the Lord rebuke you!” And that is a fact,'' said Satan.

''So it's true then?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''Of course, it's true, but men never ask why and what for?'' Said Satan.

''Moses lived what the lord of life had promised men during the days of Noah in that God's spirit would not contend with men forever for they are mortal so he gave them the three lives of Moses. and 120 years later Moses was brown bread,'' said Satan.

''And?'' Said the Angel of Death.

''God told Michael that even though Moses had seen it with his own eyes under no circumstances must the body of Moses cross over to the other side,'' said Satan.

''You mean the promised land?'' asked The Angel of Death.

''Exactly, it would have been the invasion of the body snatchers,'' replied Satan.

''I don't understand,'' said the Angel of Death.

''Listen and understand, the gospel is an all-consuming spiritual conquest of Eden and you have to look at the plans of The Amen on the spiritual plane not in the physical sense or by practical application. In the ancient of days I looked on as Israel's war machine destroyed everything in its path, everything I had built and I soon realised that the body of Christ led by Joshua must cross over into the promised land not the body of Moses,'' said satan.

''Why?'' Asked the Angel of Death.

''Because the body of Moses would have thwarted gods plan that salvation is from the Jews. and in 1799 the transfiguration would never have taken place. the three amigos on the mountain that peter, 'on this rock I will build my church,' and the two brothers in arms, James and John saw were Moses the law giver Elijah the foundation layer and Jesus the fulfilment of the law. The church wouldn't be built on ten laws but by faith in Jesus Christ alone. by faith men in the church should be assaulting the gates of hades lighting the way home busy with the conquest of Eden and being enemies of Saturn's rings Bla bla bla. It's the plain and simple fact that christ may be before all things.''

''in the desert of the real god needed an excuse to prevent Moses from crossing over to the other side of the Jordan into the promised land and at the waters of Meribah he found one. Saying to Moses that he hadn't trusted in the lord enough to show him holy in the sight of the Israelites was just a pitiful excuse on behalf of his son. God had no intention of letting Moses cross over into the promised land because by upholding the law you don't get to heaven on good works. Works outside of faith are fruitless. It's all do and do and observing the law is not faith and faith is everything I know, you don't. God was being cruel to be kind to the nation of Israel. moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, as the Lord had said. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab facing beth-peor, and no one to this day knows the location of his grave. Facing the site of Balaam's oracles it seemed that one mistake and Moses was denied his heart's desire but not so. It was written that when Moses asked to cross over to the other side he heard God say, ''that is enough, “do not speak to me again about this matter.'' Go to the top of Pisgah and look to the west and north and south and east. See the land with your own eyes, for you will not cross this Jordan. Moses was at the finishing line but he couldn't cross it. The door was locked for fear of the Jews taking the law into their own hands. The law carries no weight in the eyes of Christ as it is by faith you are saved and enter the undiscovered country known as the promised land not by observing the law of Moses. And even God testified that there is more than one Jordan, Moses crossed the river sticks and escaped by Jacob's ladder. One earthly, one spiritual,'' said Satan. One of this world and one not of this world. Are you satisfied?'' Asked Satan.

''Like this story, it is finished,'' said the Angel of Death.












Submitted: June 02, 2022

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