Satan in the Smoking Section

Words by Michael Kruger

Published on June 13, 2014


God sat at the computer, his foot lightly tapping. He had taken my mother’s dressing gown, the red, stripy one, and I could see that he was naked underneath. Porn flashed on the screen. Two blonde girls, one black man, and God continued to tap his foot.

When’s the next charitable event? I asked. He switched to an empty word doc and turned, blushing. The redness of his skin glowed bright against the white of his hair. His voice came thin, crackly, old, worn, vinyl: I couldn’t find a sponsor, son. Damn multinationals. Later, with the moon clear outside the window, we drank wine in the kitchen. God slumped against the foot of the fridge and claimed that there must be ‘a reason to change’ stashed somewhere among the frozen vegetables. Maybe after a few more, I joked, and raised my glass. He smiled gently and tiredly, then lay back down on the tiles and mimicked a snow angel. He said he needed to call a friend.

When we finally got a line on him, Satan was sitting in the smoking section of The Old Bar in Fitzroy. It was nearly morning. I paid for a taxi down. People gathered round the back of the bar, near the heaters, drinking fruity beers. One woman stood on a table. Satan grumbled about sex, life and traffic lights and hunched his back like those old Greek men who shotted Ouzo and played Tavli on the sidewalks. He tipsily told God that if he was gonna dish it out, he’d better learn to take it too. And for christ’s sake, mate, stop googling yourself. I laughed nervously and then asked Satan why his purple fedora tilted slightly to the side, and if it had something to do with his horns. He could tell I felt out of my depth. No need to sweat it, kid, he replied. Hell ain’t freezin’ over.

Satan finally asked my name and then read my mind. I felt innocent and dirty at the same time. Afterwards, we sat and drank and judged the people stumbling outside for smokes. Satan said fashion was for the brave. God said it was for the invisible. They disagreed on many things but there was a comfort now, like old housemates reuniting. When I asked how they met, God laughed sadly and replied that Satan had shown him how to drink. He rolled another cigarette and Satan shrugged his bony shoulders with a look that said, it’s hard being single, you know?

Michael Kruger¬†is a writer based in Melbourne. In June he’ll present a¬†series of slightly surreal stories about politics, religion and family.