Poor devil

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By MARILIA PACHECO FIORILLO*

They outsmarted him, and guess who did it?

Meanwhile, the Devil woke up from a nap – his eyelashes last for centuries – he stretched and pondered: “It is time to pick up the door again, pay a little visit to the world and continue my work, spreading as many abominations as I can”.

It's been a while since I walked the Earth. (It was before the SarsCov 2 pandemic, so don't curse he wasn't involved).

Vain as he is, he was sure that it would be enough to land in some city, whisper temptations in someone's ear and that was it: new hosts and new guardians would follow him in villainy, giving encouragement to the endless cosmic struggle of evil against good. He trusted the flash and rumble of yesteryear. Cheap as he always was, he filled only half of the bag with gold, the other half with fake coins, crypto things. And lazy as he was, he yawned, didn't plan anything, limiting himself to tucking a book under his arm that narrated his past deeds, from a call Torah, to get away with it. In case his old tricks didn't work, he could always disguise his voice in any podcast, about Aleppo, Kabul, Myanmar or Yemen and challenge his intimate Antagonist, a certain God who would be in the hot seat, without being able to fight back.

Where would Moabites, Canaanites, Pharisees and Philistines walk? he wondered. And the descendants of good Job?

What the hell outdated. It's what makes you sleep too much. The Demo was in the analogue era, it didn't have zap or face or insta. A conservative elder.

Still insisted on Job's wire-wire. That had been a tough bet, he and his traditional Antagonist disputing hand to hand as far as the poor guy could stand. “Have you considered my servant Job?” the Antagonist had told him, ages ago, in sheer mockery, "for there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil." He challenged: “Let's see who can do more, me or you? Make yourself at home, second-rate devil, watered down and ignored, simulacrum of Lucifer, who indeed was a first-class dissident, because he had subversive principles and fierce and moral scruples. You're nothing but a loser, all you have is greed and an ugly face.

The Devil was upset with the Other's boast, on that immemorial occasion. He knew that Antagonist could kill the children of the perplexed Job, decimate his oxen, sheep and camels, terrify him, devastate him, despair him, and the unfortunate man would still remain faithful to Him. But he revived with plans for his second coming. “I was young and impulsive, I was unprepared, I didn't know the tricks I know today”, he thought, self-complacent. “After millennia of perfecting myself and after this restorative nap, wait for me.”

Disoriented like every sleeper, the obsolete devil intended to land in Palestine, the place of his most famous combat, and where his old acquaintances – allies of the Other – continued their service. But he ended up falling miles away.

In Africa? Sierra Leone, where soldiers were cutting off peasants' hands to stop them from planting and feeding the rebels, seemed more appealing to her than Rwanda, a little dispirited after the massacre. But if even the old Antagonist had given up on the entire African continent, he wouldn't be the one to be shaken.

Perhaps a good option would be a refugee camp. But there were so many disliked ones, of so many nationalities – Kurds, Afghans, Syrians, Congolese, Rohingya, the endless list – that it was daunting to choose. How about Pakistani, Jordanian or Nigerian women burned by their husbands for talking to their neighbor? Or the nostalgic Damascus, from Saulo's revelation, what was left of it? Libya was too hot. Russia and its poisoners weren't bad. Serbia was always promising, but Pakistan and Belarus were more trepidant. How about China, of millennial opportunities. Or Vicar General? Garden Angela? Itaquera? Rocinha, Rio das Oysters?

The Earth teemed with opportunities.

The devil may have countless faults, but foreknowledge is not one of them. Intuitively sense the how, when and where. He never hesitates, like the old Antagonist, whose habit of writing straight with crooked lines betrays a lot of indecision, and has come to fruition.

Guided by a malevolent but precise sixth sense, the devil, with the entire planet at his disposal, fell into an apparently bizarre den, but ideal for his intentions. on one shopping center.

Strange, at first. Firstly, because it had been centuries since he had gone down to do his own thing, and everything – the luxury of the facilities, the manners of the people – was new. Then because I was a little out of shape, and I didn't really know how to start over. She peeked. And she found out!

“It is here, in this brand-new Temple, with some vendors who hardly speak to us, that I will launch my appeal to the discord between men”.

“It is here, among these skinny fops that I will find the crazed legions ready to follow me”.

“It is from here, from these abysses with conveyor belts, that I will inaugurate my government of the world”.

But why hadn't he landed at one of his traditional stops? “I see nothing to cling to, not hunger and disease, not slavery, not filth. Even less theft or murder.” It all seemed very shabby to him.

He was irritated, but soon recovered.

Luckily – for another reason actually, because the devil can't live without flatterers – he had brought an intern with him. To help him with minor jobs, like luring a victim to jump into the abyss, as the Antagonist had done with the demon-possessed pigs. The intern could also arrange small fires while he attended to larger blazes. Or distract him with the countless gang rapes of women in India, if he got bored – poor old-fashioned devil, didn't know what to do. pornohub. Constantino, that was the trainee's name, despite being trained in the arts of insidiousness, slander, intrigue, hatred, envy, defamation and flattery, he was strictly forbidden to lie to his boss, or rather, to pass on to him fake news. His role was to serve as a reliable informant, a conscientious whistleblower, in charge of resolving doubts and updating the facts, for which the assistant had a device that made his boss sick: a state-of-the-art notebook, plugged in until the end of time. to a server that never went down.

After the initial bad mood, the devil pondered. “Has the Antagonist got me ready again, and thrown me into a corner of Paradise, where I will pay the penalty of mortal boredom? Here I only see comfort, wealth and ostentation. These people are not desperate at all, they will not fall for my lip”. Her bad mood returned and she was about to breathe fire – completely ruining her disguise as a Commodity and Futures Exchange broker – when a beautiful woman, who smelled amazing, stopped nearby. She retracted her nostrils and took a deep breath. It wasn't frankincense or myrrh or lavender or lavender, anything he knew from his wanderings in Sidon or Tyre. But it was devilishly good. He approached the beautiful woman when another cut in front of her – less beautiful, but her scent even more intoxicating. He sharpened his nostrils, sniffed around and then realized that everyone in that Temple smelled delicious. Delilah and Salomé did not reach the feet.

"Constantine, our first step will be to get rid of this celestial perfume." This bunch softened by such pleasant aromas will never agree to join our ranks. Consult your machine there to find out the quickest way to attract and destroy them.

The intern typed in 'perfume' and a few sites popped up – their network was judicious, only selecting the relevant ones.

— Boss, it says here that “11 people die of hunger per minute on Earth”, currently, but don't worry, because much more is on the way. Eight hundred million have chronic malnutrition, they're already living dead, ok? And more or less three billion… that's a third of humanity, how the world has grown… they have acute anemia… and they don't have drinking water… Boss, would you like a glass of water? Something else to drink, a little liqueur, aren't you tired of standing? Want to sit on my back? (Constantino couldn't resist being teased) … let me see, four and a half billion people … that's two thirds of the current inhabitants here on Earth … they never drank potable water in their lives … what do they drink, boss? And 1% of the population has as much wealth as the other 99%.

"Constantino, do you think I'm an asshole?" - Interrupted the devil. – Stop with good news. What do these figures have to do with my question?

— Boss, it's just that from the data I found, okay, a little outdated, I needed about 13 billion dollars a year to end all these people's food and health problems. Exactly, look at the coincidence, the same annual figure that is spent here and here (he showed the United States and Europe on the notebook display), just in one year, to buy these delicious smells in little bottles, these perfumes. The money from the smells was enough to eliminate a good part of the hunger.

- Well, well, who knew - the devil perked up. - Don't mess with these people, then. They're silly, but they don't get in the way. They even help. I will name them our advisors. Let's look for something better.

So many ages were the temptations in the shop windows - the luxury of dressing and the gluttony of tasting - that the devil and his minion did not know what to look at first, and, worse still, they were among his followers, not a victim in sight. That's when a kid ran by and almost ran over the duo. Enraged, the demo was about to hurl a curse when his minion interrupted him.

— Boss, look at the beauty of the little Pharisee's sandals.

The devil closed his mouth and reconsidered. Yes, they looked more like Roman boots, and very comfortable. As there were other identical ones in the opposite window, he went in and asked to try them on.

— What brand of sneakers do you prefer? That peddler sounded more negotiable to him, he dissolved into salaams.

"Anyone," replied the devil, stroking his goatee.

He was about to leave without paying, had it not been for Constantino, who took money out of his purse, winked at the seller, and thus avoided an incident of cosmic proportions. The devil was out of his mind. Euphoric, he smiled at his feet, took long strides, then stopped, jumped in place, spun on one foot, skidded, squatted, did push-ups on the ground floor of the mall.

— Boss, everyone is watching, we better hide it.

The devil regained his composure and lied:

"I was just testing it, you bloodhound idiot."

Yes, he was deeply delighted. What masterful footwear, with it I could cross Palestine, Samaria and the Decapolis in a single day, without stopping, without truce. It would be like having winged armies. What an infallible weapon for his nefarious hosts, with it his henchmen would tread quickly in any corner of the planet, without fatigue, without blisters on the toes, without pain in the spine or swelling in the knee. “How I wasted time studying the manuals of the Holy Inquisition, after all everything that is there I already knew by heart because I had invented it myself, but this, this, THIS is a genius thing!” He looked tenderly at his sneakers.

— Boss, it's not for nothing, apparently everyone here has the same one.

The henchman's comment restored his reason. He lowered his chin – the devil always holds his head high – took a low look and confirmed. Ah, the Antagonist had again taken the lead. Perhaps he had monopolized the invention and with it adorned the feet of his devotees. What a pity! What could have been an infernal weapon in the conquest of empires was being used for other purposes, who knows what. His spearhead of dominance had been usurped to give comfort to gullible and believing human feet.

— Constantino, we need to put an end to the workshops that do this right away. Moreover, soft feet are a woman's thing, those insidious sandals would end up weakening and cowing my legions. Look at the machine (notebook) where it is manufactured, so that we can ruin the business. Then we salt the earth.

 

“Report by the NGO Filhos da Terra, May 2020, p. 197

Working conditions at the Ike Tennis Production Unit, Saigon.

Name: Tran Quoc Age: 12 years old

Description: Slave labor, rescued in December 2019, currently in the Copenhagen rehabilitation centre.

Biography: Tran Quoc was born in My Tho, in the Mekong delta.

His father couldn't support his seven children, and when Tran was six years old, a contractor from Saigon offered him to take the boy to work in a tennis factory, promising him a bright future. From the first day it was clear that this was slave labor. From four in the morning until eleven at night, Tran cut shoelaces, without a break. In return, he received two servings a day of boiled wheat and salt. No medicine was dispensed to him when he was sick, and physical abuse was constant. To this day Tran is scarred and has difficulty walking due to an untreated wound to his left leg. Tran reported that he never told his employers that he was sick, as he feared the same fate as other companions of his, who had complained, taken medicine and died hours later. His bodies had been thrown into a mass grave. Tran was never allowed home, not even at her mother's funerals. His father had tried to visit him once, but had only been allowed to see him for five minutes, and then the boy, as punishment, had been beaten for three hours. Tran managed to escape the year before last, but after ten days of begging he ended up returning to his former employers before being rescued.”

Constantine had more good news:

“Says here there's about two hundred and fifty million kids like this Tran guy in that kind of little job. But it will get better, boss, every year more than seven hundred thousand children are traded in slave labor. And I suspect that even more are recruited into child prostitution. Yeah, boss, I'm suspicious that we have competitors. Well, children die on the spot, in recent years quite a few have been kidnapped from the villages and recruited as soldiers, especially here (he showed Africa on the display), about two million children die in wars, about six million boys are maimed. Let me see... a simpler thing... more or less a child dies every three seconds, from hunger, boss. That's it, the figures are reliable. One kid less every three seconds, and we don't even have to try.

The devil, previously furious, was now a little despondent. Not that the story displeased him. It even brought back fond memories… of that factory inspection in Manchester a few centuries ago, just kids too, skin and bones. And then the Crusades!, piles of Muslim boys disemboweled at the point of the Christian sword, the corpses piled up to form mountains. And the bonfires of the Holy Inquisition, and their elective affinity with the ashes and smoke released centuries later from the cremation ovens of Poland, for example, seems like yesterday, what an ingenious final solution…

The devil daydreamed, but a shiver of realism made him remember that these initiatives, after all, had not worked out very well. The Reich lasted 12 years instead of XNUMX. Islamism spread (and that couldn't be the Antagonist's doing). “But this tennis factory thing is professional, something else. Slavery and death, here, have everything to prosper”, he cheered. "No one protests, no one comments, just a few dripping cats, no one even seems to notice". It was so divinely executed that the devil became suspicious.

Suspicion is another of his natural attributes: “Did one of my people get the better of me? Will there be dissent in my offspring? Who of mine would dare?” No, it didn't. The thing was so well thought out that it looked more like earthquake, drought, tsunami, flood, things that are taken for granted. Things like free will, created by the Antagonist.

“Constantine, leave those cretins to their sandals. We have more to occupy ourselves.

The devil felt deceived again, but he didn't give up.

— Our mistake was that until now we have been occupied with frivolities, vanities, odors, ornaments. Venialities. What's the matter, are we becoming bourgeois?

The Evil One accompanied the publications of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, hoping to be remembered, and in none of them had he found mention of the figures that Constantine showed him.

— That's it, boss, let's go to the heads.

- Our business it was always another. Armageddon Apocalypse. Plague and the plague.

He remembered some news that had brought him, waking him up suddenly in the middle of his last nap, which he didn't care about, and went back to sleep. Of the doings of their Japanese hosts in China in the thirties and forties of the last century. Colonel Ishii Shiro's faithful Unit 731, a bosom colleague. Great scientific spirit, too: Shiro had infected entire Chinese cities with cholera vibrio and Hunan crops with bubonic plague, but the best had been when he had infected three thousand prisoners – the ones who hadn't been used in the freeze survival test – with typhoid and then sent home without warning. What a beautiful surprise epidemic. Even better: when the war was over they promoted Shiro. He was given the position of president of the Japanese Medical Association. Shiro's right-hand man, Masaki Kitano, another devilish good guy, became president of Japan's biggest pharmaceutical company. The secret to success is ensuring continuity.

"Plague sounds like a good way to go." Where are you located around here?

Constantine, the faithful helper, saw a sign, Pharmacy: medicines with discounts. His bedside author came to mind, a certain Epiphanius of Salamis, fourth-century colleague, author of a bestseller unbeatable in the nether realms titled Panarium, ou Medicine chest. Epiphanius had spent his life hunting down heretics. Born snitch. From denunciation to denunciation, he got what he deserved: he was canonized.

Medicine is the opposite of the plague, the intern reasoned, this is where we must attack and destroy everything.

— Boss, that prick over there. Inside they sell potions to cure illnesses. Let's Rock.

"Now what, you abominable worm!" Incontinent bastard! Since when do you have US? Take a try, bastard, I'm in charge here, you don't peep.

Constantine, like any ambitious candidate for promotion, had been brought up to believe and obey, not to air his opinions. But he got a little bitter, because he thought it was time to go up to the ranking.

"I'm sorry, Boss, can you give me penance."

— What a penance, you imbecile, look at the machine who does that Panarium modern medicine that cures everything, then we send a wave, then a typhoon, then some locusts, just for fun, and it destroys.

"Boss, there's a problem." Only one file appears, “Laboratories: top secret”, and need the password. You know, that kind of access I don't have.

"Here's my crypt-capture-everything pix card, asshole." Copy the number.

Constantine obeyed instantly. The fiendishly leaked files were intriguing.

“Axxis Mundi laboratory, Geneva, June 2018: INFO AD.

Confidential underground survey report 42, does not appear in the plan of the building. Basement 32 included in. Center for the Development of New Epidemics to be disseminated in case of national security (*) or essential synergy for the continuity of aspirin production. Antidotes are being tested for the Axxis Mundi patent, infographics, confidential tests without double blindness, confirmed publication in some scientific journals, prompt and detailed marketing, distribution logistics and impeccable advertising. Attachment:

(1) Embryo research for smallpox inoculation, new strain. Production time of the new drug/antidote AxM, four years; cost included, reasonable lobbying, cheapness with free distribution to the African population. Return in the first year, 3 billion dollars. Target: generic. Test subjects.

(2) Research on embryos for inoculation of type D tuberculosis, strain extracted from a congener. Easy dissemination, target: Central Europe and Latin America. Level K mortality. Production time of the new drug/antidote AxM, seven years; the delay is due to the target audience. Return in the first year after approval, 7 billion dollars. Research completed, tests on-site visit ongoing.

(3) Embryo research for the inoculation of diseases arising from the consumption of transgenics, production inputloutput AxM, reach Beta 2. Kl level mortality; synthetic strain. Production time of the new drug/antidote AxM, three years; cost included. Return in the first year, 650 million dollars. Target: Africa. DISCONTINUE, inconsistent target.

(4) Embryo research for “Daisyday” flu inoculation, new strain, produced underground 4. Production time of the new drug/antidote AxM, five and a half years; cost included, plus expenses for experiments with native populations. Y3 mortality, safe lethality. Target: China. Co-participation with Chinese state laboratories. Return in the first year, 24 billion dollars. MAXIMUM PRIORITY. Activate.

The devil was stunned. Astonishment is little, he suffered his first depression in his long life. Caught in the jump. Mistaken. Betrayed. Someone, he suspected who, some nice Antagonist with a clean record, had already arranged everything.

What a waste of energy with costumed Beasts snorting, smoldering flames and devouring human entrails. All it took was a drop in water, a single viral drop dropped by an AxM employee into a reservoir in any city, and chaos would ensue. Or a sprinkle of them on the crops. A single drop was the perfect medicine: it poisoned and cured. And, to make matters worse, Axxis was a conglomerate, not just inventing diseases and their magical cures, but also controlled airline fleets, real estate and derivatives and hedges in the financial market.

Poor devil.

How anticlimactic.

How did they pass his leg like that? Fool the Illusionist? Farewell to his age-old reputation as the faithful repository of evil.

To his disappointment, the hecatomb would not come.

The world would not end, it would just remain the same, for all eternity, spinning on its axis. Alternating the moan of a miserable person inoculated by Axxis and the sigh of a lucky person treated in the very expensive Axxis oxygen tents.

No End Times.

Creation and Fall, the poor Evil One realized, were one and the same thing.

All lie! Farewell to the pomp of the Apocalypse, as they had promised you ages ago. He even grew nostalgic for the prospect of historic defeat—an unfavorable judgment or sleeping lambs embracing wolves.

Poor devil.

He felt sick, useless. His head was spinning. His legs didn't support him. His hands and crowbars were shaking. He called out to Constantine and spoke with what little voice he had left.

“Let's go, man. I will retire. There's nothing to do around here anymore, someone has already taken revenge before us.

*Marilia Pacheco Fiorillo is a retired professor at the USP School of Communications and Arts (ECA-USP).

 

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