The defeated creature slithered back into the darkness with his slimy tail between his legs, smoking and crackling like a hot coal dipped in cold water. His failure sent him back into the Pit because Mary prayed the sinner’s prayer this morning in church.
A new demon was immediately assigned to her. He preened past the retreating beast, taunting him with a sardonic laugh. He had every reason to gloat; Greazle rarely ever failed.
The congregation was still milling around visiting and giving hearty hugs to the newly born-again Mary. Greazle knew he could never get her back, but he could render her useless and he knew exactly where to start. He whispered into Mr. Tibbit’s ear.
“Mary, would you please join us for lunch today?“ Tibbit said, putting his arm around her. Tibbit wanted a new pastor. Might as well see if he could get Mary on his side right away. Greazle snickered as he thought about strutting before the Spirit of Division, boasting about how he’d done his work for him.
Greazle avoided Mary’s eyes. The Holy Spirit was glowing through her and it was a serious threat to his plans, but he had faith in the Tibbits. At the dinner table he did not waste any time. Mary’s new Master must have big plans for her to be a threat to Lucifer’s kingdom. Why else would His Wickedness so quickly send the Demon of Gossip and Evil Reporting to her side? He laughed until he shook the glasses on the table.
“I’m sitting right here between the mashed potatoes and pot roast, and they can’t even sense it,” he said, cackling and clucking like an overgrown chicken.
“Well, no time like the present.” he said, and then perched himself on Mr. Tibbit’s shoulder.
“Pass the potatoes, will you Mother? That sermon was a little long today, thought I was going to fall asleep,” Tibbit said.
“You’re telling me. I was in the nursery and every one of those babies was tired and hungry. I don’t think he considers the nursery workers at all. Mary, would you like a roll?” Mrs. Tibbit said.
The words that came out of their mouths floated into the air. Greazle did somersaults as he danced in the air to catch them in his mouth. He flew up and attached himself to the ceiling. It would be easy now, because once he whispered the half-truths and outright lies into the ears of his victims, the threat spread like wildfire. He had only to recline and gorge himself on the words.
Mary was feeling slightly uncomfortable. She liked the Pastor and was grateful to him for all the patient visits he and his wife had made to her little apartment. Greazle could not hear her thoughts, but no worries; the Tibbits would take Mary in, pay some of her bills for awhile and baby-sit her child. Her gratitude would surely keep her on their side.
The gossip fire raged throughout the meal. The Tibbits covered everything from the clothes the Pastor’s wife wore to criticism of her friends outside the church. They railed on the all the raucous teenagers that had started coming to the Pastor’s youth meetings. A rope of fire whipped up and lashed a thorn into Mary’s heart.
“Well,” she said slowly, as the thought formed in her mind, “they were kind of critical of my live-in boyfriend.”
“See? They should have just loved the both of you into church. Well, bless their hearts, we will just have to pray for them,” Mrs. Tibbit said, sealing the gossip session with the two phrases that make it all ok.
Greazle had become so fat on their words that he fell from the ceiling. He rolled around on the floor consumed with laughter, his victory bulging out all over him. He laughed so hard that the floor vibrated.
“Must be planes passing over. This house has been shaking one way or another all through dinner. Mary, we’ve got tickets to a concert Friday night. What say you go with us, eh?” Mr. Tibbit offered.
“Too easy, too easy,” Greazle chuckled as he watched this little scene. Now he would get to enjoy the added benefits of his meal of words. He was allowed to go and lay down on the Pastor and his family, oppressing them with the weight of the Tibbit’s criticism.
“Bless their hearts,” he aped, and screeched with hideous laughter as he flew away.
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