"Punchy and grammatically flawless…Stephens mastered the one liner."
Raising Hell Kindle http://bit.ly/1KtvXoE
A clueless optimist ruins a perfectly good hell.
Lucifer rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his foot steps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. Lucifer’s future looks pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an an incurable optimist who who believes he must be in hell to do good.
Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. He makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment they can.
“Wouldn’t you admit that there are times when things just spin completely out of control and create this huge mess?” Pilgrim asked. “And when all these things happen, the only thing you can do is wait for them to end and then clean up the mess or leave it lying around to annoy you?
“I mean a really nasty mess. Something stinking and obnoxious. But you can mean it metaphorically too. You can’t deny those situations happen, can you? I mean, you might say my being here is one of those situations, couldn’t you?”
Lucifer drummed his fingers on the desk.
“Think about what happened to you, sir. You think God should maybe give you a little bit bigger piece of the pie, right? Maybe stop acting so high and mighty, right? So you share your opinion with a couple of other angels, and BAM…”
He slapped his hands together, startling Byron who dropped a pen which, in turn, spilled ink on the rug.
Pilgrim didn’t skip a beat. “… Before you know it, you’re cast out of heaven and left to run this shit hole. I mean, wouldn’t that be one of the situations I’m describing?”
“You could be right,” Lucifer admitted as he imagined a list of new hells he could create just for this soul.
“Well, there you go, sir. If those situations exist, then we need a word to describe them.”
Lucifer didn’t like where this was going. He rolled his eyes and waved his hand at the pitiful soul to get on with it, to get to the bottom line.
“Shit’s that word. And it’s a pretty good word when you get right down to it. Short and to the point. You get it out right away. Then you’re done with it.”
“Are you coming to a point? Or do you intend to endlessly endorse the efficacy of excrement?”
“That was my point.”
Lucifer continued to drum his fingers. Wisps of smoke drifted from the desk where his fingertips hammered at the surface.
“How about this then? Is it a sin to use this perfectly good word to describe those perfectly awful situations? Or is it a sin to have all these awful situations and also have this perfectly good word to describe them, but send everyone to hell when they use it?”
Lucifer stared at Pilgrim. He imagined Pilgrim’s pink flesh oozing through the meat grinder’s holes. He found himself totally unable to answer.
“Does that mean you see my point?”
Lucifer snapped out of his fugue and kicked his desk at Pilgrim, toppling him from his chair. “See your point?” he shouted. “Of course I don’t see your point. That has to be the most half-assed, cock-eyed, ill conceived, pinheaded idea I’ve heard in an eternity of listening to half-assed, cock-eyed, ill conceived, pinheaded ideas.”
He ripped a whip from his exotic weapons collection and flayed Pilgrim with it, over and over again, laughing maniacally as the flesh and blood splattered on his carpet like paint on a Jackson Pollock canvas. “What do you think of your half-assed, cock-eyed, ill conceived, pinheaded idea now?”
Pilgrim brushed himself off, picking off some of the larger, looser pieces of skin with his finger, and said, “I think you’re afraid to admit I’m right, so you’re punishing me to save face.”
Lucifer cracked the whip against the desk and shouted, “Afraid to admit I’m right?”
“It’s not a criticism, sir.”
Lucifer felt veins three through twelve pop. Then he blew his carotid artery. “I’ll show you saving face,” he said. He spread his wings and hurdled over his desk, grabbing Pilgrim between his claws. He lashed Pilgrim with his tail and kicked him with his hooves until Pilgrim parts lay scattered across the floor and his own fury sated.
Lucifer kicked his desk. “Shit,” he shouted. He kicked it several more times, shouting, “Shit! Shit! Shit!” He thumped his tail on the floor several times, shaking the paintings and the books on the shelves. Then he remembered he was wearing his good toreador pants.
He slipped them off and found a huge split down the back seam where his tail sliced through. “Shit,” he shouted, throwing his pants into the fire. He kicked the bookshelves, shouting “Shit! Shit! Shit!” until every book in the shelves fell out, pounding him on the head, shoulders and wings.
Dazed, Lucifer finally managed to get a grip on his temper. He inspected the pile of books on the floor and his cracked cloven hoof. He could think of only one word that would truly express what he felt at that moment. “Shit,” he said to himself.
Then he said it again.
I forsee a humorous read here.
Do you write full time? If not, what is your "other occupation?"
My wife Carol and I both retired and I write when I'm not socializing cats for adopted homes.
What are your writing inspirations?
I don't wait for inspiration. I write. If I waited, I would still be talking about the novel I intend to write.
How did you come to write this story?
I modeled hell after the modern workplace. At one time I had a notebook filled with e-mails from supervisors that made Lucifer's schemes and outbursts seem sane by comparison.
Ah, yes, hell as the modern workplace. Is this book part of a series?
I occasionally revisit the characters and I encourage readers to add stories and art work to build on the storyline. I wrote a novella, The Worst Noel, and a short story, The Helleluljah Trail to promote the paperback release. People who download the free story will find a code good for $4 off through October and $2 through November.http://t.co/0tLBys3CNp
If I can convince people to contribute stories about my characters or new characters, I'll post the best on gdiMonday.com and hopefully publish them in an anthology. Then I hope to do a deluxe eBook re-release.
If not, what project will you be working on next?
My next book Seeing Jesus is already available for pre-order on Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015X2QHII
As if we really need more, tell us one surprising or interesting fact about yourself.
I Tweet an hour of original comedy content at least six nights a week on Twitter.
Ok, folks, You're gonna love this bio!
Phillip T. Stephens' parents found him behind a headstone while necking in a grave yard on Halloween. Turning up with an infant so scandalized their Baptist families that they married within the week. The newlyweds were so poor, the infant author slept in a carved out Jack-o-lantern until his fourth birthday, drinking pumpkin milk instead of formula and eating pumpkin seeds for cereal.
He painted his first story on the kitchen wall at soon after, a crude drawing in fecal matter of his mother beating his father to death with the family Bible. The incident never happened, but the toddler expressed his mother's inner rage at his minister father so well, the family immediately recognized his destiny as a story-teller. They spanked him anyway.
As did his school teachers, Sunday School teachers, principals, grandparents, aunts and uncles. But as he cried himself to sleep from his dog bed in the closet the night of his punishment, the young author heard his parents and family laughing over his latest outrageous story. Which is why, after failing as Kentucky Fried Chicken clerk, Kerbey Vacuum salesman, cigarette phone salesman for Scientology and lawn maintenance engineer, Stephens finally started writing.
He currently rescues cats with his wife Carol for austinsiameserescue.org.
Find Phillip at