[Note: For the uninitiated, “Milliways” is the name of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe – the title and main location of the third part of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. Via the Laws of Improbability, one can meet and greet anyone from any time or galaxy, sometimes more than once. The highlight of the evening is to watch the End of the Universe – which is featured at every sitting, in a little over half an hour.]
God and the Devil entered a bar…
More accurately, the entered the bar at Milliways – the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. They had been going there, on and off, since the beginning of Time, to catch up with gossip, share amusing stories, commiserate losses and put away an astonishing number of cocktails. It had been a while since their last get together – about 16 years – when they had met to see if the start of the New Millennium would affect their iMacs and digital watches; knowing, of course, that it would not.
“It helps to put a healthy fear of Me in ’em every now and then.” God had chuckled at the time.
“Aye,” agreed Lucifer, “Keep them on their toes!”
Tonight, the pair were in a contemplative mood. Recent developments in The West had been revealed to be the consequence of a bizarre experiment by the Seven Deadly Sins – all of whom the Devil had put in Time Out within the Ninth Circle of Hell. The Lord, in an attempt to forestall the subsequent Monster, had dispatched the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Stymied by the combined forces of Ignorance and Hate, they had been forced to admit defeat.
“So, how are you doing?” Lucifer asked, flicking his forked tail to get the barman’s attention. “i hear things are pretty turbulent.”
The Devil grinned: “Sulfur is a bugger to get rid of, but I rather like it.”
After ordering their drinks, the pair retired to a corner booth where their view of the End of the Universe – due in a little over half an hour – was uninterrupted.
“Will the Horsemen be joining us?” asked Lucifer, sipping his very Dirty Martini.
“Not tonight,” God took a deep draught of his Guinness, “I’ve given them the night off to recharge their batteries – it’s all been very stressful for them. Their whole concept has been shaken.”
The Devil nodded. “I’m sorry about the whole Trump thing. If I’d have known what was going on, I would have put a stop to it all. Or at least toned it down a bit.”
“Well, there’s only so much you can do,”God replied sadly, “I mean, I tried to give them Free Will and Knowledge, but sometimes you just have to acknowledge that They are not all that smart. We’ve seen stuff like this before. It’ll get worse before it gets better.”
Morosely, they sipped their drinks.
God turned to the Devil: “Hey! How’s the new Circle coming along? Last I heard, you were having contractor issues.”
“Oh that’s all been sorted out,” replied Lucifer, “I just got rid of them and replaced them with some guys from China; they’re cheaper and the parts come from there anyway. Much more efficient.”
“The main problem,” Lucifer continued, “Is trying to locate that much gold leaf and marble. I have a couple contacts in Central Africa who can help me out but still, it’s starting to look a bit tacky.”
The Lord raised a snowy brow. “I thought you liked extravagant ostentation?”
The Devil snorted. “Not that much!” he huffed, “I have my standards.”
“Maybe we can ask Caligula,” God remarked drily, “I think I can see him over there chatting to Pope Gregory IX”
The Devil raised his glass, beckoning for a refill.
“Anyhoo, the fact is, that the Circle will be completed on time and under budget and will be ready for business as soon as necessary.”
“Well that’s a consolation, I suppose”
While the waiter replaced their drinks, the Milliway’s MC announced that the End of the Universe was scheduled to begin shortly.
“I’m thinking of sending Faith, Hope and Charity back down,” God said, through a mouthful of bar nuts, “I think it’s time for a Refresher.”
“Good idea. Send down the Girl Squad,” agreed Lucifer, “Put the fear of You in them. By the way, do they still mention me?”
“All the time.”
The Devil nodded in satisfaction. “Hey, any publicity is good publicity.”
“So They tell me.”
With a sudden dimming of the lights, the MC announced that the Big Show was about to start.
“I always like this bit,” the Devil whispered excitedly, “All the noise and destruction!”
God shrugged and finished his pint. “They’ll do it all again later…Now, where’s the restroom in this place?”
And so, the Lord and the Devil watched as the Universe imploded yet again, amid the roar of cheers and applause.