A "666" Step Program
The powdered doughnuts tasted like ashes in my mouth, the coffee weak and lukewarm. Wipping my chin with the cheap, one-ply napkins provided, I sat my unwanted snack aside and made my way slowly to the front of the room. Tugging nervously at the lapels of my tweed jacket, I stepped reluctantly behind the podium and adjusted the microphone to accomodate my considerable height.
Five sets of eyes watched my every move and their questioning, expectant stares were almost more than I could bare. Though we were all here for similiar reasons, I momentarily considered walking right out the door and forgetting about such nonsense.
A promise was a promise, however, so I cleared my throat and spoke those nine words of commitement, "Hello, my name is Azrael and I'm a demon."
I do not know what I had expected, but the enthusiastic clapping was very reassuring and some of my trepidition vanished.
"Hmm, where to begin," I mumbled to myself as I tapped the podium with a well manicured finger. "I guess I should start at the beginning. I've plagued mankind since the dawn of time. I was very good at my work and some of my greater accomplishments are still lauded in most infernal circles. I was on the fast track to success and most of my hellish associates agreed that the next demonlord vacancy would assuredly be mine. My ascension was assured after that little medieval exploit commonly referred to as the Black Death."
"A few centuries later, with humanity flocking to the newly discovered Americas, I was promoted to my long coveted position. Let me be the first to tell you, virgin territory is the sweetest and ripest you could possibly imagine. Revolutions, slavery, and religious persecutions, I'mparticularly proud of the Salem witch trials, I had it all and so much more. Now you might wonder what could possibly go wrong, but believe me, the expression too much of a good thing is unfortunately true."
Eventually, the Americas settled down and the opportunities for real mischief declined. Oh, there were still a few high points like the Civil War and the oppression of the Native Americans, but the novelty of the situation was fading fast. It was in the early part of the twentieth century when I finally decided to retire."
"My superiors tried to talk me out of it and even trumped up a little excitement, World War I, to try and regain my interest, but I was adamant. I spent several decades in hell cooling my heels, figuratively speaking, and delighting in the unholy torments."
"Unfortunately, even that grew routine. I decided then to try and stage a comeback, but my heart wasn't really in it. For twenty years, I dipped my claws into mortal affairs and was only able to foster the Vietnam War and the Challenger incident. I was also able to corrupt my mortal host, but that was no great task."
"Corrupting mortals had become routine and much to my chargrin, I no longer derived any pleasure from it. It was then I decided to give up my demonic ways and try to live a life free of any morale agenda. I've had difficulties of course, but I heard of this group and here I am."
I sat back down admidst thunderous applause. I was the first of my exalted rank to try and escape my evil nature. My example was encouraging and for the next couple of hours, I listened to several variations of my own story. Suprisingly, I could symphathize with their plights. It was then I determined to be there when they needed me. If you could not count on your fellow demons for help, then who could you?
My life has settled down into a semi-blissful state. I attend Demons Anonymous, DA for those who insist upon being trendy, once a week and our little group has nearly doubled in size. It came as a great shock that there were so many of us disillusioned with the perpetuation of evil.
Last night, I manipulated a hapless postal worker to go insane and kill fourteen of his colleagues before turning the gun upon himself. I guess I am not as far along as I had hoped, but that is okay. I will take it to the group tonight. Nobody is perfect and even demons need support.
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