Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down it.
And the Lord said unto Satan, You seem to be puzzled about something brother, what's the matter?
And Satan looked him square in the eye and said, It is this man Greasley. You don't have him down on your records as one of the saints, but I can't find any fault in him. He doesn't swear. He doesn't drink, He doesn't chase women. And he bears his afflictions cheerfully. The man is cleansed and purified by the things which I have made him to suffer. And the Lord said, Satan, Satan, you must be getting old. Thou hast not considered him closely enough. He is thine servant and there is none like him in the earth.
Is there a beam in my eye then? Satan said, and he went away troubled from the throne.
And Satan came to look upon the man Greasley and was more troubled than before, for the man did smile readily, and was cheerful with all the world. Pain racked his body to one side, yet his grin radiated warmth to fill the whole room. Because of his afflictions poverty dogged his heels and there was frequently nothing in the abandoned shack for him to eat but potato peelings left over from the neighbor's meal from the day before. Yet, Greasley sang hymns, and asked a blessing from the Lord before he dined.
Therefore Satan came closer to behold the man, and stood before him as if in the flesh. "Why, good evening sir," Greasley boomed when he beheld Satan at the door.
The good cheer in the voice was strong enough to rock Satan backward. Then his eyes narrowed, for Elohim had said to consider this man closer. "This is rather a peculiar house for a man of your stature to be living in."
Greasley nodded. "Well, it is just a condemned shack," he admitted. "My friends found it for me, but they are almost as poor as I am. And I don't have any lights, or water. The food is all gone, as is any hope for a better future. It is all that I deserve, really since I can't work for a living any longer."
"What is the problem?" Satan demanded.
"Well, that is the problem," said Greasley. "There isn't really any problem that doctors can hang a name on. While the money from my savings account lasted I saw some of the best physicians in the state. All of them just shook their heads. They could find nothing wrong. But even then, ALL of them admitted there MUST be something wrong with me; they were simply powerless to find it. Yet I cannot long stand, nor endure much walking. My strength fails me quickly. I feel as if there were a corruption filling my body, and flashes of pain rack my soul several times a day, laying me low for hours at a time. There was no way I could remain at my post. I lost my career because of it, then my home, my wife, my children, et al. Everything slipped through my grasp as a puff of wind. But still, I am at peace with the world. I have determined to be cheerful, no matter what further tragedy befalls me. Thank goodness my health at least does not seem to be getting much worse."
"And you bear up wonderfully under this ordeal too," Satan replied. He shook his head. "The more I consider you, the more certain I am that you are one of the Great Ones of this earth. It is a shame that you are stranded in such sad circumstances."
Greasley reluctantly conceded the point. "Yes, all the more so in view of my marvelous mind, full of choice thoughts and beautiful ideas. I have studied intensively, since I could no longer work I had plenty of time to indulge myself. There are several things that I alone know which would be valuable to the rest of the world and would thrust me upward to the pinnacle of success, if only I had a little money to invest in my own behalf."
"Just how much do you require?" asked Satan.
Greasley's eyes glowed. "Just $13,000 would do it for me. If I had that much I could turn this world upside down with the ideas I have developed here while confined to my bed."
And Satan put his hand on his wallet. "My friend, I just happen to have that much, right here in my hip pocket." And Satan went away vastly pleased with himself for having robbed God the pleasure of doing a good deed for so worthy an individual.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down it. And the Lord said unto Satan, You seem to be angry about something brother, what's the matter now?
And Satan looked him level in the eye and glared. It is this man Greasley again. Your records still don't have him down as a member, yet I examined him myself and could find no fault in him. He is a kind man, a gentle man, surely as thou livest, one of the Saints. I, even I, Satan, felt sorry for him, and gave unto him $13,000 in actual currency of the realm so that he could prove to you that all he lacked for success was a little assistance.
And the Lord said, Satan, Satan, you must be getting senile. Thou hast not considered him closely enough. He is thine servant and there is none like him in the earth. And Satan answered him and said, Is there a beam in my eye then? And he went away greatly troubled from the throne.
The little shop Satan came to was on the main street of the little town. The man Greasley sat in a far corner, huddled deep into the shadows and his eyes gazed unseeingly at the floor. He didn't even glance up when Satan entered to stand before him in the shape of a man. "How does it go with you?" asked Satan.
"Why, Good Afternoon, Sir. I did not hear anyone come in." Greasley glanced up, and smiled in recognition. "Why you, You are that man that gave me all that money, you are --"
"I am your benefactor," Satan interrupted. He peered around the shop. "It is darker than hell in here."
"Yes," Greasley confirmed. "The electric is turned off already. A friend is paying for the water though so that I don't die of thirst."
Satan took a step backward. "Are things that bad? Then you are not as wealthy as you had supposed you would be with some financial assistance?"
"Well, I had a run of bad luck," Greasley admitted. He grinned ruefully. "The week I opened up my shop here a tornado came through town wreaking havoc --"
"He isn't supposed to do that!" Satan barked. Then he smiled through his teeth. "Were you hurt?"
"Oh no," Greasley assured him. "I slept right through the altercation. My building wasn't even touched. But, the town needed my help. So, I closed down my shop and went out to help others less fortunate to recover from their tribulations. I couldn't help much, considering my afflictions, but I helped all I could."
Satan grinned proudly. "Good for you. I knew you had it in you. And the best part of it is, you were building up goodwill."
Greasley nodded. Then he went on. "Unfortunately, the worst winter storm of the century soon followed. There was ice on the sidewalks a foot thick. And I had to go out in the icy wind, scouring for customers from one end of town to the other.
"It was awful. Farmers were frozen in, they could not work, or even come into town to buy from the merchants here. When they saw they weren't selling their products the merchants decided they could not buy mine. Oh, I didn't give up. I trudged to every business in town, 3 times, without so much as a coat to wear in the freezing wind. No one needed a thing though. Two owners snarled at me and even declared that they wouldn't even throw my sales literature in the garbage for me!"
"I know them bums!" Satan growled. "I'll talk to them for you."
Greasley paled. "Oh, don't do that! Please. Once they realized that I wasn't a pushy salesman they bought more from me than anyone else in town."
Before Satan could say a word, Greasley hurried on. "In fact, the fourth time I scoured the town for sales they were the only ones that bought anything from me. But I was learning. I was learning. And gradually I changed my advertising to fit what the businessmen of this town want to see. Before long I was making a sale here, and a sale there, and one after that."
Satan stood taller. His face glowed with pride. Then his eye fell once more on the darkened shadows around him. "So, what is happening now?"
"Everyone in town that could ever possibly need anything I have has already bought all they will ever be able to use from me. The man from SCORE was amazed that I had accomplished so much. Then he said that I had exhausted my line of customers here and had to go to neighboring towns and drag in their business too. Unfortunately, I had spent all my money to learn the right steps. Now I don't have a thing left. If I just had a little more money, I could make it; I could make it BIG!"
Satan's smile bloomed as he reached for his wallet. "Helping you makes my old heart feel warm and good. Would another $25,000 get you over the hump?" And Satan left there vastly pleased with himself and enjoying the unusual feelings pattering so playfully in his breast..
And Satan looked him square in the eye and said, It is this man Greasley. After all I've done to prove he is one of yours you still don't have him down on your records as a member, but I can't find any fault in him. He is a kind man, a gentle man, helpful and resourceful, surely one of the great ones of the earth, destined for the highest degree of glory in heaven even as none of your other saints have ever been if thou hadst just given him a little help.
"He doesn't swear. He doesn't drink, He doesn't chase women. And he bears his afflictions cheerfully. I tell you, the man is cleansed and purified by the things which I have made him suffer. I, even I, realized what a wonderful man he was, and I, even I, Satan, did give unto him another $25,000 in actual coin of the realm. And the Lord said, Satan, Satan, I really despair of you. Thou hast not considered him closely enough. He is thine servant and there is none like him in the earth.
And Satan answered him and said, Now listen here, Bub. I know what I'm seeing down there. You are the one making a mistake, not me. This guy is perfect if anybody on earth ever was. If I didn't know you couldn't lie, I'd think you were pulling a switch on me so I'd end up helping a good man for the wrong reasons. And he went away troubled greatly from the throne.
He rattled it once more, then he rattled it vigorously even for him. Moments later Greasley showed in the back of the room and crabbed his way towards the door. At last he opened it slightly and snarled. "Can't you see I'm closed. I don't feel well. I -- Oh, it is you, my friend. Come in. Come in."
Satan stepped through as the door opened wide. "Well, I see you are prosperous enough, Mr. Greasley," he observed. "But why are you all locked up and keeping customers away?"
"It's my blasted health," Greasley groaned through clenched teeth. "One hour my arms feel like they belong to Sampson, the next hour I can't even sign my name to the checks that have come in. One day I can manage all the work that comes in, the next day I can't manage getting out of bed. One week I my health is glowing so strongly I want a wife, the next week my health is blunted so much I require a nurse to wipe my nose. Every penny I've made goes for doctors and hospitals. Four times they have operated on me now, and still, I only get worse. Please, can you help me back to bed before you let yourself out?"
And Satan glanced around him to marvel at all the man Greasley had accomplished in spite of the torment he was in. "I can't stand it," he cried. "My friend, I can't bear to see this anguish continue in your life. I can't bear to see you robbed of the wealth, the happiness, and the success which should be yours. As the master of pain, death, and anguish, I shall take away all this pain; I shall eliminate the weakness from your bones. You will be whole once more, just like God intended for men to be."
"Bless you!" Greasley shouted as the pain flooded out from his soul. "Bless you. You have straightened out every kink in my body."
And Satan looked him square in the eye and said, It is this man Greasley. I have taken away everything in the world I did to him, and you still don't have him down as a member on your records, but I did not find any fault in him. He is a kind man, a gentle man, helpful and resourceful, surely one of the great ones of the earth, destined for the highest glory in heaven even as none of your other saints have ever been if thou hadst just given him a little help. He doesn't swear. He doesn't drink, He doesn't chase women. And he bore his afflictions so cheerfully that I, even I, realized what a wonderful man he was, and I, even I, Satan, could no longer continue to needle him, and I gave him a release from all of his pain and torment.
And the Lord said, Satan, Satan, your eyes have gone completely blind on thee. Thou hast not considered him closely enough. He IS thine servant and there is none like him in the whole earth.
And Satan answered him and said, Now listen here, Buster. I know one of my guys when I see one, and this one ain't. You are the one making a mistake, not me. Greasley is perfect if anybody on earth ever was. You must be pulling a switch on me so I'll end up helping a good man for the wrong reasons. And he went away muttering and gnashing his teeth from the throne.
Satan walked through the walls and stood before him. "Greasley, Greasley," he cried. "What the hell are you doing HERE?"
"I'm writing the story of my life," Greasley replied. Then he glanced up from the table and recognized his benefactor. "It's YOU. You, the one that caused all my troubles!"
Satan was astonied, and fell back against the sagging door. "What?"
"You took all my excuses away, every last one of them.
"Until you came into my life I had fooled myself so well that fooling the rest of the world was easy. People who cared, respected me and admired me for being so cheerful in spite of all the troubles I had. My humility was a source of inspiration to them which I could feast on. What did I have after you got done with me? Who worries if a rich man has the gout? How much honest sympathy can you drag up for a successful salesman just because he can't handle all the work he drags in? Once people realized you had taken away my excuses for failure I was of all men most miserable. You robbed me of every pleasure in my life, and made me nothing but a hypocrite. After my excuses were gone, what apology could my friends discover for an excuse when I was still nothing but a whining bum? If I just knew what your name was I'd give you a cussing every day that I live from this day forward."
"Well, I'll tell you who I am," Satan snapped with venom dripping from his lips. "I -- am Lucifer. L-U-C-I-F-E-R !"
"Lucifer, huh?" Greasley snorted. "Just like a match, you mean? Well damn your soul, you light a shuck out of here before you burn up something else for me!"
And Satan said, Brother, if you think I'm smiling now -- you just wait until I get that Greasley home for good where I can give him what he really deserves!
Click HERE for more stories for mature adults.
Click the FIND button
for more Great Fiction
essays personal help novels, humor, bargains, history, travel, kids, stories