“Mr. Satan, there’s an ‘Arthur’ here to see you. No appointment but he says he knows you?” Debbie’s voice came over the intercom. Satan sat alone in his cavern-like office. His obsidian desk was covered with several short piles of paper. He was in the midst of moving papers from one pile into another; he paused to try and think of an Arthur he knew. Only one came to mind; but, he doubted that was his visitor.
“Kind of busy. What about?” he asked through the intercom.
“Eric,” a young man’s voice replied. It was the Arthur he knew!
“Send him in!” Satan said. He jumped out of his highback leather chair. He ran around the desk and reached the door just in time to see a young man walk in. He wore a coffee brown suit that went well with his short, light brown beard. It was the first time Satan had seen him so dressed up; and, it was odd he was visiting Hell alone.
“Arthur! What a surprise!” Satan extended a hand and was relieved when Arthur shook it. “What brings you down here?” Satan showed Arthur to a seat in front of his desk, then returned to his own chair.
“I won’t take up too much of your time..,” Arthur started to explain. Satan immediately regretted saying he was busy. He didn’t know Arthur very well at all; but, Arthur was his son’s closest friend. If he needed something, Satan would do what he can.
“Don’t worry about it,” Satan leaned forward and placed a burly, dark-suited arm on the desk. In one smooth motion, he swept all the stacks of his desk and onto the floor. “I’m Satan,” he winked at Arthur. “I can finish things at my own pace.” He instantly regretted the action, he put himself quite a bit behind schedule. Fortunately, he did see Arthur relax a little.
“So take your time,” Satan smiled. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, first I wanted to apologize to you…,” Arthur bowed his head. “…for hurting Eric’s feelings. You were kind enough to give us a tour of Hell and I reacted…,” he sighed and his head dipped lower. “…poorly. I couldn’t take it out on you, so I directed my frustrations to Eric.” Satan grinned broadly and shook his head.
“Don’t worry about it! All things considered, you handled it pretty well. And, you’ve made up since then; something Eric’s very glad for. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy,” Satan said. He caught a slight smile on Arthur’s face that he tried to hide.
“Me neither,” Arthur said. “I mean, he makes me happier than I’ve ever been too,” he clarified, then, he took in a deep breath and released it in a heavy sigh. “Which is why I’m here,” Arthur said. He stood from the seat and took a step closer to Satan’s desk. Even seated, Satan towered above Arthur; he looked up and into Satan’s eyes.
“Your son means the world to me, and I’ll never hurt him like that again,” Arthur said. “So, please..,” he clasped his hands together as if begging Satan. “…please.. will you give me permission to marry Eric?”
Arthur stared into Satan’s eyes. Their usual red glow faded leaving inky black spheres; Arthur held the uneasy gaze. He felt like he was staring into an abyss, but he would stare into forever for Eric. After a few silent moments, red liquid gathered in the corner of Satan’s eye. It overflowed, ran down his cheek and landed on the obsidian desk with a hiss as it tried to ignite the stone. Satan chuckled. He reached up, wiped away the rest of the red from his eyes, then blinked a couple of times.
“Well, It’s a good thing I cleared those papers,” he said with a broad grin. “I was not expecting to cry today. But…,” he nodded at Arthur. “…I’m definitely expecting to cry at the wedding.”