Stan Narth was fiercely average.

With a boring height of five feet and ten inches, a Number 5
haircut at his local barber (the standard male trim), a wardrobe made up of dull colors, and a
rather plain face, he was entirely unnoticeable. Stan was the kind of guy that could melt into a
crowd. His coworkers knew him as “That Boring Guy,” if they were able to remember who he
was. In fact, he was so unremarkable, his own mother would be surprised when he came home
from school, having completely forgotten about his existence. To sum him up, Stan Narth was
the role model of the cliché average, underappreciated, unnoticed, quiet guy.
Stan followed a strict schedule during the weekdays:
Wake up
Brush teeth
Have breakfast (slightly overdone toast covered in butter, a cup of decaffeinated coffee,
and two scrambled eggs)
Get dressed
Walk to the bus stop two blocks away, take the N45 to Sears Street, walk three blocks,
and enter the office building
Enter numbers, transport folders to other areas of the office, print documents, make and
answer phone calls
Walk three blocks to the bus stop, take the N45 to Canal Avenue, walk two blocks, and
enter the house
Undress and put on “comfortable” clothing
Watch TV for an hour and a half
Have dinner (whatever he had decided to make on Sunday that would last him the week)
Clean the house
Brush teeth
Undress
Go to bed
Stan moved through life, not quite realizing that he was experiencing anything. To an outside
observer (that is, if anybody miraculously was able to notice him), Stan had no emotion; there
was no joy, no sadness, no boredom, no anger in his life. Merely existence. This was not far from
the truth— Stan had no occasion for emotions. He had long ago accepted his fate of mediocrity,
and lived his life dutifully; he did what was expected of him with skill and efficiency, although
not enough to get him noticed, of course. Somewhere, though, buried in a corner of his soul,
covered with blankets and memories long forgotten, Stan was sad; he did not enjoy his life,
and—although he did not know it—craved something more.

It was, of course, a Thursday when it happened. The Position had been created on a Thursday, so
it felt sentimental to have it refilled on a Thursday.
Stan had just gotten on the N45 on his way back from work, not tired, not energetic, but a middle
ground between the two. Stan‟s stop was towards the end of the route, so the bus was generally
crowded when he got on. Every now and then there would be an empty seat where Stan could sit
and be alone. He valued those times. Today was one of those lucky days. He sat down by the
window, thankfully isolated. This moment of peace was promptly ruined when a man sat down
next to him. Stan inwardly groaned. People were not, understandably, his forte; would this man
try to engage him in conversation? It was unlikely, given Stan‟s natural transparency; but just to
be sure, he looked out the window and prayed the stranger would just let him be.
“It won‟t work, you know.”
His prayers obviously gone unanswered, Stan decided to ignore him instead. The bus stopped
and a few people trickled into the bus.
“That won‟t work either.”
Stan had decided the man was now talking to himself.
“I‟m not. I was referring to your prayers and then to your intent to ignore me.”
Stan focused harder out the window. More stops, more people.
“This conversation would be much easier if you would take part in it. Makes me look less crazy,
don‟t you think, Stan?”
Startled by the mention of his name, Stan looked towards the stranger. He was dressed in a black
suit, so dark Stan felt he was falling into infinity. Yet, at the same time, Stan thought there was a
slight…shine to the suit. No, not a shine. It’s more of a glow. Definitely a glow. A red one.
Whether it was emanating from the suit, the man, or just his frazzled imagination, Stan could not
say. He wore a pristine white shirt and a tie patterned with flames. As Stan‟s glance fell on the
tie, he could swear he could hear distant screams. Probably just people yelling for the bus to wait
up.
The stranger interrupted his thoughts, “Thank you. This will be much easier now, don‟t you
think?”
“How‟d you know my name?” Stan asked.
“Surprised, are we? Nobody‟s called you by your name in a long time. But, to answer your
question, because I‟m Satan.” Satan responded with a slight turn of his lips that may have been a
smile.
Most definitely crazy. Stan slowly reached up to pull the cord to signal that he wanted off. It
wasn‟t his stop, but to get away from this guy, Stan was willing to wait for the next bus. The
stranger‟s lips twitched further upward, into what was most definitely a grin. As the bus stopped
and Stan got up, the self-professed devil made no attempt to stop or follow him.
Stan waited around for twenty minutes before another N45 came by. As he climbed on and paid
his fee, he thought, Twenty minutes standing outside and paying an extra $2.25 is a small price
to pay for not getting harassed. He turned to take a seat and stared. There, in the exact location
as before, was the stranger. Satan looked up, smiled, and gave a wink. Stan quickly fled the bus
and decided he would hoof it home, but not before watching the bus disappear four blocks away.
He hadn‟t gotten three blocks before he heard footsteps behind him. Don’t look back. Don’t look
back. Don’t look back.
“If you wouldn‟t mind waiting up, that would be lovely,” a voice called out—the same voice.
Stan froze to his spot, not out of courtesy but out of sheer disbelief. “How…I…bus…what?!”
Stan somehow managed to stammer out.
“Quite an impressive trick don‟t you think? I‟m here, I‟m there. Where aren’t I, is the best
question,” Satan laughed. “But, as to the „how,‟ I‟m Satan, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, the
Devil, the Serpent, yada yada yada. I get tired of the titles; they‟re quite extensive. Just Satan
will do quite nicely,” he chuckled to himself, although what he found funny was lost on Stan.
Stan, obviously, had his doubts. So, quite sensibly, he said, “Prove it.”
Satan groaned, but nodded. He kicked off his shoes and pulled a small speaker out of his pocket.
As he turned it on, dark music began to play. “Helps set the mood,” Satan explained. He clapped,
rubbed his hands together, and began to laugh. It started off as a throaty chuckle, but soon
became deeper and more menacing. Stan watched as the barefoot chuckling man before him
grew into a giant, barehoof, menacing pack of fiery red skin, stretched over bulging muscles.
Horns sprouted from his head, blood red and five feet long each. From his lower back sprang an
arrow tipped tail.
“LOOK UPON ME AND SEE MY MIGHT,” the monster bellowed. Stan fainted as life carried on
around him, completely unaware of evil incarnate standing on the sidewalk.
When he came too, in front of him the stranger—No. He’s Satan.—had returned to normal size.
“Wh…wh…what d…d…d…do you want from me?” Stan wailed.
“Shhh, shhh. That was quite traumatizing, I know. It‟s not every day you see the Beast transform
in front of you. I assure you, though, I mean you no harm. Well, if it‟s harm or not is open to
your own personal interpretation. But I have an offer for you, Stan; one that I truly hope you‟ll
take.” He reached down and helped Stan to his feet.
“What is it…?”
“Let‟s step into my office first.” Satan began to walk down the street. Stan followed, not sure
what else to do. Satan turned right at the corner and stopped in front of the second building. Stan
craned his neck to see the name of the office: LEWIS AND STEVENS. It was a well-known law
firm in the city.
“You‟ve got to be kidding me. You work with lawyers? This is a joke, right?”
“Yes, but I always found it funny.” Satan opened the door and motioned for Stan to enter. “My
office can be anywhere, but I can never resist this temptation.”
They entered the building and walked down a long corridor. A long corridor. After ten minutes,
it occurred to Stan that they hadn‟t passed any doors of any kind; the hallway just stretched on
and on. We must have walked at least nine blocks by now.
“What‟s going on? Are we going to your office or not?” Stan finally decided to speak up,
unsettled by this seemingly endless hallway.
“Finally you noticed. I thought we would be here for the rest of eternity. Forgive me, I‟m making
the most of my last few minutes.” Satan snapped his fingers and the inside of Lewis and Stevens
appeared around them. Stan, shocked, looked around while lawyers and interns hurried papers
across the room, talked on phones, and clacked away at their keyboards. He noticed that they
were only three feet into the building.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!?” Stan started to faint again, but Satan put his arm
around him to keep him steady. He started to usher Stan along, moving towards the back of the
building.
“Nothing to worry about, folks. He‟s just a bit angry about a case,” Satan answered in the
response to the looks Stan‟s outburst had drawn. He continued quietly, “It‟s called a joke, Stan. I
altered time and space a little for a bit of humor. God, lighten up.” A deep thunder shook the
building as Satan said the last sentence, but nobody besides Stan seemed to notice it.
“Sorry if I don‟t find being messed with by the devil so funny.” Stan shrugged off the arm,
understandably uncomfortable with being touched by the Prince of Darkness. Once they were out
of sight, Satan stopped. He reached out his arm and made a motion with his hand, as if he was
turning a door. As he opened his nonexistent door, thin air opened onto a luxurious office.
“Step in. We‟ll get down to business.”
Stan was hesitant. Why should he follow Satan into his lair? He had free will. He could fight it,
he could run, he could cry for help. He would probably lose; all humans would lose trying to run
from the near-omnipotent being that patiently waited beside him. But at least he could say he
went down fighting.
“Please don‟t try to run. It just makes my job harder. All I ask is that you step through, and listen
to my proposal.”
“And why should I trust you?” Stan stuck out his chest in defiance.
“Because I‟m the supernatural being and you‟re the mortal.” Lucifer let his eyes shine bright red
to add a little extra support to his statement.
“Right…that….” Stan swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. He took a step forward
and peered into the doorway. It didn‟t look infernal. It looked somewhat how he imagined some
big shot CEO‟s office would look.
Steeling himself, Stan Narth took his final step on this earth and stepped into Hell.

“Take a seat, get comfortable,” Satan gestured as he followed Stan in, the door closing of its own
accord.
Stan glanced around, trying to pick up clues that he was, in fact, in Satan‟s office. There was
nothing to distinguish it as particularly demonic, though. The back of the room was lined with
bookshelves, all of which were filled. A few feet ahead of the back wall was a large wooden desk
with a leather office chair behind it. The wall to his left seemed to be one giant window, although
the shades were drawn. Nothing screamed Welcome to Hell, except for maybe the carpeting,
which was a dried-blood red. Maybe it looks like that for a reason, it occurred to Stan.
As he walked towards one of the two armchairs in front of the desk, he finally found something
that convinced him he was not on the earthly plane anymore. The desk, it seemed, glimmered
and changed colors. First cherry, then gold, then indigo, then fuchsia and mauve and copper.
With every shift of his eyes, the desk took on a different shade; it made him a bit nauseous. He
took the seat on the right and settled back. Titles such as Inferno and Paradise Lost jumped out
from him among the books on the shelves. Oddly enough, a King James bible lay open on the
side of the desk. Satan, as much as Stan hated to admit it, seemed like a nice guy. Well, a nice
supernatural demon that was the cause of (presumably) most of the world‟s evils.
“So, let‟s get down to business, shall we?” Satan asked as he sat opposite Stan. “I think it‟s
appropriate if first you understand some background. Tell me what you know about Heaven and
Hell and, of course, about me.”
“Well, God obviously created Heaven, and…do I have to go through the whole creation story?”
Satan shook his head and Stan continued, “Eventually you rose up against God, so he cast you
down from Heaven into Hell. At some point you tempted Eve with the apple, forcing man out of
the Garden of Eden, and you keep trying to tempt people so that they can‟t go to Heaven. Also,
one day you‟re going to father the Anti-Christ to rise up against Jesus and bring about the End of
Days. That‟s about it.”
Satan nodded, hearing exactly what he expected. “Well, that‟s wrong. Quick backstory: in the
beginning there was nothing—except it wasn‟t really nothing because The Big G and I seemed to
have existed. Rephrase. In the beginning there was Satan and there was The Big G. Time didn‟t
exist at that point, so I‟m not really sure how long we were there, but eventually we decided to
create the universe.”
“What do you mean „we‟? I thought God created the universe!” Stan interrupted.
“I mean exactly what I said. The Big G and I are—well, until recently—partners. We both built
creation and played eenie-meenie-minee-moe for who got what job. He got rewarding the good
and I got punishing the bad. I‟m not some creation gone sour; I do exactly as my contract states.
“Close your mouth, Stan, it‟s impolite. Now, anyway, we‟ve been doing our jobs for a few
millennia now and it‟s gotten a tad boring. So, The Big G—”
“Why do you call him that—The Big G? Isn‟t that disrespectful?” Stan asked.
Satan dragged his hand over his face and moaned. “It‟s not disrespectful, we‟re equals. But I lost
a bet to him a few centuries ago and now I can only call him that. Technically, I could call him
something else, but I‟m a supernatural devil of my word. That actually brings us to my final
point. As I was saying, The Big G”—another moan—“and I started growing bored, hence the
bets. The winner of the most recent bet got to pick a replacement for the other.”
“What was it over?” Satan waved a hand in an attempt to dismiss the question, but Stan was
persistent.
The ruler of Hell sighed, mentally braced himself for the ridicule, and said, “Who could make
the cutest cat video. It‟s not fair! The only cats I have are black, scaly things with wings that are
actually dragon babies! Nobody‟s going to watch that! While He,” Satan exclaimed, pointing
upward, “has newborn kitties all fluffed and ready to play with a ball of yarn!”
Stan coughed, trying to wave away the smoke that was quite literally fuming from Satan‟s ears.
The room began to grow dim as the smoke became thicker. As Stan began to lose consciousness,
he heard an alarm go off. He couldn‟t be sure, but he thought he saw a small, lumpy, oompa-
loompa-like creature hurry through the door and pour a bucket of water over Satan‟s head.


Stan sat up with a jolt. Why was he on the floor? He had a pretty active dream, maybe he rolled
off his bed. He dreamed that Satan had found him and—“It wasn‟t a dream. You‟re still here;
you just passed out from lack of oxygen. Sorry about that.” Stan stood up slowly, his legs
wobbling beneath him. The Prince of Darkness was, in fact, drenched from horn to hoof, but
Stan was pretty sure the fire that currently engulfed him would soon take care of that. Stan went
back to his chair and sat down, patiently waiting for Satan to finish drying off.
“Anyway, where were we? Ah, yes. The bet. Well, I obviously lost and you‟re my replacement.
Before you ask, you do have a choice. Take my place or be damned.” With that, Satan pulled a
piece of parchment out of the air and placed it in front of Stan. It read:
THE UNDERSIGNED SHALL HEREBY INHERIT ALL THE RESPONISIBLITIES
AND POWERS GRANTED AND ASSIGNED TO THE POSITION OF SATAN, PRINCE OF
DARKNESS, LUCIFER, DEMON OF THE PIT, CO-CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, ETC.
ETC., AS OUTLINED IN THE UNIVERSAL HANDBOOK.
ANY ABUSE OF THE POWERS GRANTED TO THE UNDERSIGNED SHALL BE
WEIGHED ON THE COSMIC SCALE WITH THE APPROPRIATE CONSEQUENCES.
THE UNDERSIGNED SHALL HEREBY AND FOREVER CEASE TO EXIST IN
THEIR CURRENT STATE. ALL RECORD OF THE UNDERSIGNED‟S EXISTENCE
SHALL BE WIPED, ALL MEMORIES DELETED, ALL SOULS REVOKED.
THE POSITION OF SATAN, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, LUCIFER, DEMON OF THE
PIT, CO-CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, ETC. ETC. IS A PERMANENT POSITION THAT
CANNOT BE TRADED, RESIGNED, OR REVOKED*.
THIS CLAUSE IS INVALID IN THE CASE OF A COSMIC BET. ALL RULES OF PHYSICS, NATURE, THE
UNIVERSE, ETC. ARE SUSPENDED SO THAT THE TERMS OF THE BET MAY BE FULFILLED. THIS INCLUDES,
BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO: A LOSS OF POWERS, A REMOVAL FROM THE POSITION, A GRANTING OF A SOUL,
AND OTHER SUPERNATURAL OCCURENCES.
At the bottom there was a dotted line for a signature.
Stan read the contract and promptly bolted for the door. Satan made no move to stop him as he
left, ran down the hall, and wound up sitting exactly where he had started. “You‟re not getting
out of here. You have to make this decision. Personally, I would choose to take my job. It seems
a whole lot better than eternal damnation. And believe me, I know what that‟s like.”
Stan sighed. He hunched over, furrowed up his eyebrows, and thought. And thought. And
thought. If I choose to be Satan, that’s pretty awesome! I could control who-knows-what! But I
would be limited by that handbook…hmmm, maybe not so great. Then there’s damnation.
Probably won’t be the most pleasant experience, but at least people—well, demons—will pay
attention to me. But then again, it’s probably going to involve being burned alive, and I never
could stand the heat. Although Satan does live in Hell, so that doesn’t do much for the heat…
After no time had passed (since, seeing how long this deliberation would take, Satan took the
liberty of freezing time), Stan spoke. “I have decided I‟ll take the job. I probably wouldn‟t be
allowed to roast marshmallows when I‟m being tortured, but I figure I‟ll have that leisure as the
ruler. So how do I do this? Blood or something?”
Satan laughed. “We haven‟t done that in centuries! The only reason that happened at all was
because ink wasn‟t readily available! Here, just use this pen.” Satan made one materialize and
handed it Stan. With what he thought was a rather impressive flourish, Stan Narth signed on the
dotted line.
As soon as the pen left the parchment, the entire sheet went up in flames. What-had-just-been-
Stan watched the smoke drift lazily over to the being opposite him. It began to engulf him,
making it near impossible to discern the body from the cloud.
“It is done. Best of luck. Don‟t get burned out there kid!” And just like that, what had once been
Satan vanished.
The new Satan stood up, feeling rather pleased. He raised his hand to his head and frowned. No
horns, but perhaps they would come in time. Satan walked around the desk and sat in the chair.
He began searching through the drawers until he found what he was looking for: a bell. He shook
it and another oompa-loompa-type creature appeared.
“Yes Master? What is your wish?”
“Fetch me some sticks and marshmallows.” The little demon vanished and reappeared with the
requested items. “That is all.”
Placing a marshmallow on the stick, Satan walked over the curtain on the wall. Drawing it back,
he found a window to Hell. Outside, fires burned, people screamed, demons ran to and fro with
whips. Cracking the window open, he poked the stick out. After a minute or so, he brought it
back in, took the marshmallow off, and popped it into his mouth. A bit burnt, he thought, but it
will do.