The Devil was worried. He’d spent years running hell the way he wanted it and suddenly there was an interloper calling the shots. It had been just another Monday when he’d heard the news (yes, hell has it’s own news network) that the land he’d ruled with an iron fist and forked tail all these millennia was about to get a very special guest. After all, he’d been used to so-called fiends: Napoleon had tried to talk big but those burning coals had soon shut him up, Stalin actually turned out to be quite sweet and shy once he’d been set to work sweeping Hell’s kitchens and Hitler, well, he’d gone a bit pale when he saw the sign saying ‘work sets you free’ and a few chimneys and hadn’t caused any more trouble after that.
The devil used to think he was going to have fun with Margaret Thatcher too, when the wicked witch of Westminster finally fell into his abode after a lifetime of bleeding the poor to feed the rich, closing down industries and unions that had existed for centuries and taking away civil liberties left right and centre. The devil had even being eyeing her up as one of his particulars, in fact, a position saved for the really nasty, with her becoming a fallen angel with a forked tongue who would surely sign many an unwitting innocent bystander’s soul into the abyss. But like so many politicians before him (and, yes, hell is certainly full of politicians) the devil had underestimated the iron lady with the shifty eyes and the sneering smile. Things weren’t exactly going to plan.
The day had started out well though. Thatcher had arrived dead on time – as it were - and after having to queue up for hours had been added to the ‘21st century’ themed version of hell: full of signing on at the jobcentre every ten minutes, filling in long and complicated-looking forms for jobs that didn’t actually exist, being prodded poked and laughed at by millionaires who burned ten pound notes in her face and having to work for free in some awful shop where everyone else got paid and made her do all the dirty jobs no one else wanted to do. After all, she couldn’t complain, not in hell, or she’d get sanctioned for poor conduct – and believe me you wouldn’t want to be sanctioned in hell. The devil saved special punishment for Thatcher, too, giving her a disbility that people would laugh at in the street, making every day a hazy fight for survival through aches and pains and tortured limbs until she couldn’t stand it any more and then she was forced to watch Hell news bulletins (in association with Fox News – yes hell has a TV network although there’s not much choice on at any one time and its mainly re-runs of soap operas) telling her she was a ‘shirker’. Then the devil sent her to fight a pointless, unncessary war in the Falklands, where Thatcher saw herself and those she loved die over and over again all for a few square feet of land and some sheep. The money for the weapons that were hideously out of scale with the war were taken out of her wages too and soon she couldn’t afford to pay for anything else. The devil chuckled to himself that he’d surely put this awful woman, who’d caused such misery and suffering and hardship to many others in exactly the right kind of hell – of the 20 different scenarios at his disposal only the Victorian workhouse version of hell was worse.
But then something happened. His assistant demons suddenly started chuckling whenever they were working with his victim over her amazing ideas for torture equipment and new forms of misery and suffering. She seemed to be quite the expert in it. And that was unusual because nobody ever laughed in hell – a land where everyone was told ‘have a nice day’ sarcastically every morning but nobody actually meant it. The demons actually began to enjoy their day’s conversation with their victim where, in a copy of TV quiz ‘The Weakest Link’, this abominable woman gave as good as she got. They even sniggered when the being who’d been known as Thatcher got moved onto a turnspit and declared ‘this woman’s not for turning!’ Surely, the demons cried, she stood up to so much pain and misery then she must be one of them and not a measly human as they’d been told? She might even have – gulp – special powers and take out a retirbution on them all. The devil got more and more uneasy as his underlings rebelled for the first time ever and started talking about setting Thatcher free and giving her more responsibilities.
The devil was right to be scared too – suddenly he found himself out of power altogether, defeated in a suprise election (yes, even hell has democracy you know – of a sort, but then ours in the Western world is only democracy of a sort) by a million votes to one (and that was loyal Napoleon – yes even hell isn’t undemocratic enough to ban pirosners from having the vote unlike the Coalition). After several thousand millennia of torture, temptation and terrifying people everywhere the devil was now suddenly being forced to take part in ‘workfare’ projects in heaven, working for free for hours on end painting rainbows and trees at risk of losing his benefits. The devil found out later that the Thatcher-devil got paid extra money for the work he managed to do – and he risked being ‘sanctioned’ his allowance for stones in his hooves and forked-tail warmers every time he slowed down or tried to rest. He tried to call on his minions to overthrow her – but they were more scared of Thatcher than they’d ever been of the devil and he knew his time as an all powerful ruler was running short.
The devil had a plan though. There were a group of human beings right now on 21st century Earth who were every bit as evil as Thatcher had been in life and each one of them was a devil protege, shaping up nicely with scandal after u-turn after oppresive regime change after media scare. The devil rang up his followers on Earth (yes, hell has its own phone exchange too, extension 666) and asked to speak to David Cameron, George Osbourne, Ian Duncan Smith and William Hagueand remind them about ‘past favours’. As an afterthought he asked to speak to Nick Clegg, too, who hadn’t started off as one of his worshippers but had been shaping up nicely for the job he had in mind. And then he made them a deal: he’d send them back in time as a competition to see who could be the nastiest to the innocent people under their care and see who could cause the most outrage and hatred within people back on Earth. And then, chuckling to himself, the devil picked up his broom and his jobcentre signing-on card, walked through the burning fires that marked out the entrance to the jobcentre and pretended to get on with his work, happy in the knowledge that whoever was first through the doors after Thatcher would surely depose her too. It could only be a matter of time before somebody even worse came along...
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the AAA computer has gone on the blink again (luckily I’ve managed to re-boot it but for some reason DellBoy has been ignoring my internet hub for a week now) so you might notice a few changes this issue (hopefully we’ll be able to correct things and add in our usual illustration when we get her backl online again). It does mean, though, that I might be a tad delayed replying to any of your comments or keeping you up to date with my twitter feed, so apologies to any of you I’ve been delayed in speaking to. In the meantime we’re ever closer to our goal of 100,000 hits (we’re now on 96,500) and our 300th album review should be along very shortly as well as our 700th article so expect to join us soon for some more big celebrations here at the AAA! In the meantime we point you towards the following link for our AAA-related news stories of the week: