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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)

TITLE: Something's brewing in Hell's Kitchen
By Gregory Kane
10/20/08


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“Excuse me, your excellency, am I intruding?”

The question was reasonable. An appointment had been made through the correct channels. Yet the master appeared engrossed in the contents of a steaming cauldron whilst keeping an eye on several smoking ovens. A starched chef's hat sat perched over one leathery ear and a taloned hand clutched a long, rusted iron fork that he was thrusting, seemingly randomly, under the surface of the broth.

“You're late,” said a voice that dripped with unsurprising malice.

“Sorry, sir. I'm just after a little advice and I hoped—”

“Then spit it out, imbecile!”

“It's about Christmas, sir,” muttered the visitor, his claws nervously cutting furrows in the dirt floor. “I don't really have much experience of it, you see. I've just been transferred from the Orient to Scotland. That's, er, in Britain and—”

“I know where Scotland is, dolt!”

“Of course you do, sir. Only I'm worried my human may take too much interest in all things Christian. So my idea was to book a winter cruise to get him out of harm's way.”

“Lucifer preserve us from dimwits!” The senior devil cast a look of such disdain that the lesser demon came perilously close to voiding his bowels. “Are you completely clueless? Don't you realise that Christmas provides us with one of our greatest opportunities?”

“Yes, sir. I mean, no, sir. I, er, don't understand.”

“No you don't. That's why you were sent to me. As it happens, I'm just putting the finishing touches to this year's Christmas fare. I find this particular concoction so efficacious, I use it with all three score of the humans assigned to my personal care. If you step closer, I'll run you through the basics.”

The junior demon scurried forward, then vaulted up into the rafters to observe the proceedings from a safe distance.

“I find the lengthy run-up to Christmas especially beneficial to our cause,” explained the senior devil. “I like to think of it as my hors d'oeuvre. Wherever your human goes in Scotland, he will be exposed to a constant stream of Christmas pop songs and sentimental carols. Most of these are deliciously inane, a few actually promote greed and immorality. The net result will be to blind your human from glimpsing the awful truth of the incarnation.”

“Moreover, allow your human to indulge himself in kind thoughts about children, small animals and aged relatives. None of these 'appetisers' matter because by the time he's guzzled his way through to the end, he'll be in no state to put any of it into practice.” The devil turned suddenly, opened one of the ovens and pulled out a rancid-looking roast. “I'm particularly proud of this dish. Doesn't really matter when he consumes it; it'll sit heavy in his stomach for months after.”

“What is it?” clamoured the imp from the ceiling. “You must tell me!”

“Why, I shall,” replied the master, amused by the pathetic chorus. “This is the annual Christmas party. With this one fiendish dish your human is guaranteed to be enslaved by lust, drunkenness, slander, and every flavour of debauchery. Really mouth-watering.”

“Bravo,” cried the junior demon, unsettling cobwebs and debris in his heady excitement.

“The pièce de résistance is of course Christmas Day. While he feasts upon turkey and ham, you can be stuffing his soul with lashings of self-indulgence and bitter resentment. Surround him with his nearest and dearest and a room-full of irrelevant and unwanted presents. By the end of the day he'll be so sick of the whole spirit of Christmas, he'll be yours for the rest of eternity.”

“What should I do about church?”

The devil gave an involuntary shudder. “Normally harmless but I do find it opens a dangerous door to the Enemy. My advice is to keep everything ecclesiastical off the menu. Stick to shopping malls.”

“And for dessert?”

“In Scotland I would move straight to liqueurs. Hogmanay is only a few days later and once your human is properly inebriated, you can start the New Year confident that he's as far from redemption as is demonically possible.”

“Marvellous, truly inspired!” chirped the smaller demon, jumping down and skipping out of the room. “It's astounding that we can get away with it.”

“It is indeed,” said the devil, calling after him. “Firstly, humans don't believe we exist. Secondly, they are blind to our schemes. Let's keep it that way!”


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This article has been read 762 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Scott Sheets10/23/08
Eerie take on the topic. Very thought provoking and well-written. The last line reminded of Paul's words in 2 Cor. 2:11 where he told the believers, "We are not unaware of his [Satan's] schemes." Unfortunately, today many believers are unaware. Nice Job!
Amanda Ewing10/23/08
from the kitchen of hell itself. wow. great take on the topic!

..i was a little confused on who was telling the story at times, if it was the devil, or just a "senior demon".

it IS ridiculous how blinded we can be sometimes... Lord keep our eyes open!
Joanne Sher 10/24/08
VERY creative take on the topic. I was engaged.
Debbie Roome 10/25/08
Thought provoking story that prompts us to keep our gaze focused in the right direction over Christmas.
Dixie Phillips 10/26/08
This is the second story this week that I can see as a skit for a church service. Yours would be such a great visual with an eye opening message. Appreciated your "take" on the topic. Very original...
Beth LaBuff 10/27/08
You've done amazing work with this brutally frank and not-for-the-faint-of-heart story. I like your word choices and phrases, "several smoking ovens" and "keep everything ecclesiastical off the menu." I've never heard of "Hogmanay" … I'm going to have to check that out. :)
Seema Bagai 10/27/08
Unique and chilling. Great job.
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/28/08
Your creative idea is wrapped in wonderful word choices carrying a very important message.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge10/28/08
With it being the end of October, this read like a cross between Halloween and Christmas...it's also a reminder that demons are busy at both times.
Celeste Ammirata10/28/08
Wow. This is eerily true and thought provoking. Great use of dialogue and great characterization. Excellent job!
Lisa Cox10/29/08
Wow, you had me until the very end. It was very CS Lewis like, which is the best compliment I know how to bestow on you and this piece...I see why you have been knighted a master....this will win!
Joshua Janoski11/04/08
Not only was this a unique take on the topic, it was masterfully written as well. I hesitated stepping into Hell's Kitchen, but you sucked me in and didn't let go of me until the end. Congrats on your EC! :)
Charla Diehl 11/05/08
Quite an inventive take on the topic. This piece should serve as a reminder to each of us that Satan is always hovering around just waiting to catch us in a weak moment. Thanks for the creative way you put this together. Congrats on your EC placement.