Things couldn’t get much worse for the late President: first Alzheimer's, then dying, then, the worst ignominy: getting kicked out of hell.
Marlin Fitzwater, Reagan’s Press Secretary, said he was “furious” to think that the hero of the Cold War could be treated so shabbily. “What has the Universe come to?” Fitzwater wondered, cradling his head in his hands.
Billy Graham, the ex-president’s spiritual guide and confidant, described the event as “An affront against God!”
Satan himself, when he finally appeared, was much more philosophical. Satan refused to speak to any Western journalists, claiming they were too biased. He delivered his remarks exclusively to Al Jazeera.
“Look,” said the Arch Fiend, “I’ve got a business to run. “You let one jerk in, pretty soon, you’re over-run. It ruins the neighborhood. People think you’ve got no judgment.”
This is not the first time Satan has raised the alarm over falling admission standards for Hell. Three years ago, when he was still on speaking terms with the Western media, he told the Associated Press: "You've got to make a very clear distinction between intentional evil and just plain idiocy. Hitler we've got room for. Say what you like about him, he was smart. Same with Stalin...Attila, Al Capone, Andrew Jackson. They've got their studio apartments where we boil them in oil day after day. But you can't do that with idiots. It wouldn't be moral."
Reagan was said to be disconsolate over the rejection, vowing defiance one moment, sighing that he has "no place to go" the next.
A video was sent via U.P.S. to the New York Times offices. The paper of record refuses to release the video to the general public before clearing it with the C.I.A. to check for any hidden Satanic messages. A reporter who had seen the video said he was “shaken, saddened and disgusted” after the viewing. Speaking on a condition of anonymity, the reporter described the pale-looking ex-president as sitting before a drooping American flag with a mock-up of the Normandy beachhead behind him.
In the video, Reagan is reported to say in a solemn voice, with watery eyes, “I did everything I could to go to Hell…I had entire families slaughtered by Contras in El Salvador and Nicaragua…I cut spending for education, called ketchup a vegetable, destroyed unions, cut taxes for the rich, spent a ton of money on a crazy scheme my critics called Star Wars. I let Golly Ollie sell missiles to Iran. When anyone asked me a serious question, I’d kind of look confused and boyish, revert to my Boraxo soap salesman days, and claim I couldn’t remember. And the truth is…I couldn’t remember…that’s the truth…that’s the God’s honest truth…But one thing I did remember, one thing I could never forget. Whatever I did, I did it for America. I did it for the greatest country the world has ever known. I did it for that shining city on a hill where families play and pray in the sunlight of freedom, purchased by the blood of patriots.”
Asked to comment on the alleged video appeal, Satan said he “wasn’t buying it.” Satan claimed that everyone who goes to Hell gets a personal interview by a former employer of Enron or Halliburton. (The Arch-Fiend declines to use the word “devil,” claiming it is too Twentieth-Century.) “Reagan didn’t pass the ketchup test,” Satan said, winking. Then he snorted fire through his nose and beat his bat-like wings.
Gary Corseri’s dramas have been performed on Atlanta-PBS and in five states. His articles, fiction and poems have appeared in The New York Times, Village Voice, Common Dreams, Intervention, Redbook and over 100 other publications in the U.S. and abroad. He has published two novels, two collections of poetry and recently edited the anthology, Manifestations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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