When writing Slubgrip Instructs I had the challenge of keeping the readers’ attention through fifty days worth of lectures in which a demonic professor teaches his students how to undermine human culture.
So to introduce some comic relief I invented guest lecturers who appear on the weekends. Here’s the cast of characters:
Zelnick – Professor of Film Studies, Bowelbages University
Starlow – Retired Temptress; Author, Sirens and Seduction
Karma Chameleon – Professor of Eastern Religions, Bowelbages University
Swagger – Active Tempter, Religion Department SouthEast
Gecko – Active Tempter, Finance and Fraud Division NorthEast
Snoot – Active Tempter; Founder, Materialism and Malice International
Strump – Professor of Gender Studies, Bowelbages University
Flambeaux – Associate Professor of Gender Studies, Bowelbages University
Claxton – Senior Tempter, Politics and Passion, NorthEast
Dowdy – Professor of Media Studies, Bowelbages University
Oskar Fullman – Professor of New Testament Criticism, Bowelbages University
Starfox – Director of the Institute for Occult Science, Bowelbages University
I’m afraid the names are not very original and you may find the voices I assume to be strangely familiar–maybe even sounding like their human counterparts?
Here’s a sample: This is Swagger–an Active Tempter in the Religion Department Southeast.
Sounds of squirming, squelching and squealing. A door slams.
Sit down, boys. Swagger’s here!
Murmuring of anticipation and glee. Sliding of seats and sudden quiet.
Slubgrip called me in to teach you boys a little bit about the ole-time religion. I’m talking the sawdust trail, the revival tent, the TV ministry and the radio Bible hour. What we’re talking about is a sweet little false religion.
It’s a pretty good game if you can get it. You see the sad lonely humans are just desperate as can be for a religion that feeds them sweetness and light and makes them feel all good about themselves. First thing you need is a decent preacher. It don’t matter if he’s Protestant or Catholic. Shucks, it don’t matter if he’s Pentecostal or Episcopal. Hell’s bells! It don’t even matter if he’s Mormon or Muslim. The main thing is he’s gotta be a good preacher. He needs to know how to get ’em all stirred up and emotional. That’s the thing. Emotion.
All this is part of this relativism stuff you’ve been working on with ole Slubgrip. I’m talking about the idea that there’s no true religion. Make them remember that all religion is man-made.
So first you get yourself a good preacher. You gotta work on him first, boys. Get him to think it’s all about him and the love he’s getting from his people. Butter him up. Make sure he gets good reviews and let his church start growing. Don’t forget the money! When he starts talking about “evangelizing” and “church growth” you make sure he starts seeing dollar signs. He says “saving souls” but he means “savings account.” If he’s a smart cookie he’ll soon figure out what brings folks through the door and what drives them away, and he’ll soon learn how to deliver.
That’s when you start working on the folks in the pews. Work together as a team, fellas! Get the people in the pews to call the shots. We don’t want no preachers telling them about hell and damnation and sin and repentance. No sirree! You get that preacher to tell them about love and peace and forgiveness and healing. Get him to tell them stories about little children and brave ole soldiers and grandma who used to pray on her knees every night ’til she wore out the floorboards.
Before too long you have a mutual admiration society between the preacher and his people. Like I say, it don’t matter if he’s a Protestant or a Catholic. It works both ways. What happens is the preacher never says nothing to upset his fan club, and the fan club continues to dish out the love he needs—not to mention the cash! You get a religion rolling along like that and you’re coming out on top! You’re going to find yourself demon of the year!
Why, it just tickles me pink to think of a whole boatload of souls drifting down to Our Father Below, all the while thinking that they’re just the most wonderful Christian people who ever walked this earth.
I tell you boys, if you get called into religion, it’s one of the most fun places to play in the whole wide world! On the other hand, if you get stuck with some pastor or priest who knows his stuff and realizes that there’s a spiritual battle on hand—why you’ve pulled the short straw, son.
Y’all better scoot. That bell went long ago, and if I keep you too long I know what’ll happen—I’ll get called up to Commissioner Crasston—and that ain’t going to be no picnic.