“This is it: the final showdown,” Satan hissed, gliding sideways. It was no wonder he’d been called a serpent. Over the centuries, he was so used to skirting the truth that even his putrid grey-green form had developed a decidedly sidewards gait.
“Great Prince of Darkness, why not use some younger demon?” his minion, Bedlam, wheezed as smoke rolled from his cavernous mouth. Sitting on his smoldering haunches, he continued, “Hades knows, you’ve got enough of ‘em now.”
“I would, but you don’t understand: this is Mildred.”
“Mildred? Who’s she?”
“The most persistent, stubborn bag of bones I’ve ever seen. If she’d been in Eden, I’d still be talking today and that fruit would be as dried up as she is. Her bill’s come due. I want you, my most foul, to pay her a visit. Her spunk could serve me well.”
“Are you serious? A full frontal attack? I thought with society like it is today our technique is simply to let the world entangle itself on auto pilot.”
“I’m as serious as Calvary. This is Mildred…” the master shuddered, creating an enormous wind as he departed in a powerful slither.
Arriving on Mildred’s front porch in the dark of night, Bedlam peered into her window. The frail, gray-haired woman sat in her rocker, stitching by firelight. ‘Mildred, indeed!’ His pointed tongue flicked at his perennially parched lips as he imagined the old woman’s horror at his countenance. Sliding under the door with ease, he stood up in his most sinister form and prepared for his heart stopping entrance. Springing before her, his voice boomed.
“Mildred, I am the demon prepared for you before the beginning of time.”
“What? My lemon, prepared for me for my tea time?” Mildred asked, unflinching, as she calmly sewed on her quilt.
“Not your lemon,” he screamed. “Your demon.”
“Goodness, you must have been quite a sourpuss for your mother to name you, 'Lemon!' I have to apologize, as I grow older, it seems to me my ears are just shutting down, Lemon. Please sit down, but, first, could you do me a favor? My nose still works and I smell something burning. Could you check for me and see if I left my oven on?” She continued to stitch, not looking up.
“Old woman, prepare to meet your doom!” he shrieked.
“Yes, I supposed this place could use a broom, but, you know, with my eyesight so poor, it really doesn’t bother me anymore…”
This Mildred was really getting under his leathery skin. Hearing, eyesight, smell, touch and taste. 'Taste wouldn’t help here,' he thought. 'I even burn water.'
“Mildred,” he spoke coyly, “where are my manners? I forgot to shake hands with you when I entered.”
“Certainly. My pleasure,” she said, extending her hand.
As he grasped it, his yellow eyes gleamed with expectant victory.
“Oh, my! These Midwestern winters are killers on the skin. Here,” she said, putting some lotion on her hands and rubbing it on his bony, scaly fingers. “I always keep a small bottle here as I sew. I’ve sewed so much over the years, Lemon, that I’m afraid I’ve got calluses!”
Bedlam’s anger raged. A force field of heat surrounded him. This was, indeed, no ordinary human. It was…..Mildred. He shuddered.
“Oh, my. Is it hot in here to you?” she asked. “I’ve been having my own personal summers ever since my hysterectomy thirty years ago. Those hormones are still raging!” Bedlam knew how they felt. “Could you do me a favor, Lemon?”
“Yes?” he hissed.
“Would you mind pointing out where my last stitch ended? My eyes are so weak and I seem to have lost my place.”
“Certainly,” Bedlam answered slyly. “It’s right here,” he said with delight. He pointed to the spot with his tail, waiting for her to trace its scaly form with her fingers. Belying her years, and, no doubt, with Heavenly help, Mildred quickly stitched the tip of his tail to her quilt. Bedlam yelped and, in his panic, bounded out sans tail.
Calmly ripping his tail from the material, she threw it into the fire and continued her stitching. “Lord, your plan for the elderly is so wise. Thank you, that you have dimmed my senses so that I can better battle my demons. ”
Bedlam returned to Satan’s lair.
“Yes?” Satan asked, expectantly.
“Suffice it to say, she got my point,’” Bedlam answered with false bravado as he bounded out....…backwards.
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