Sweet Temptation

Arena, the Arts Programme on our national radio station, are running a monthly competition called New Planet Cabaret where they give out a prompt and you’ve to write something creative in less than 700 words. This month’s competition, the winners of which were announced last night, was to write as somebody other than yourself.
By winning, of course, you give up all rights to the piece and so cannot, say, publish it on your blog. So here’s what I sent in….


I have never hit anyone, never stolen anything, never kicked a ball-boy during a football match.

When you’re the Devil you don’t do any of these things.

I don’t seek world domination. I don’t desire the crown of Scotland. I’ve never even tied Penelope Pitstop to a railway track. So I am not a super-villain, a Moriarty or a Voldemort or a Blofeld. I do have a secret underground headquarters – oh boy, do I ever – but it is not impregnable. In fact I throw it open to the public, and even lay on a ferry to bring people to it.

And I do have henchmen, though mine are called worshippers. In reality that’s no more impressive than being followed on Twitter. Besides, censuses usually list more people as “Jedi” than as “Devil Worshipper”, and Jedi is just a mock-religion for the humourless.

As I say, I do no wrong. I suggest it. I am like the hypnotist at a second-rate cabaret show making a volunteer from the audience quack like a duck.

It began when I persuaded Eve to eat the apple. Big deal, I hear you say, you got a girl to eat fruit, it’s not as difficult as, say, getting a bloke to watch Marley & Me. I don’t care. The important thing is that I wanted her to do it and she did.

Point to the evil, the wars and the injustices of your world and I will reply that I do not alter basic personality, I just enliven it. Evil, wars and injustices are caused by evil, warring, unjust man, so face up to that. Don’t try to blame me, and ask yourself instead how God somehow gets blamed for them too.

No, I am just the inner voice that whispers that you should ring that doorbell and then run away. I am the sudden belief that what the girl on the bus-shelter poster really needs is a moustache drawn on her face. I am the bubbling-up giggle that makes you burst a balloon beside your sleeping Grandad.

I am the equivalent of a man standing on a street with a sandwich-board, though instead of “Eat Sandwiches at Mona’s” my board says “Fart loudly on a crowded bus”.

I am the banana-skin on your footpath of virtue, and I am what makes people laugh when you step on it.

I am the devil in you.


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