Pass Me The Diet Coke

17 Jan


~What really goes on when a woman wavers over whether or not to eat a piece of chocolate cake.~

A slice of chocolate cake. That’s not too much to ask for, is it? Just one slice of chocolate cake and no harm done. Look at it, sitting there all innocent and unassuming, crying out to be eaten. Certainly something as defenseless as that couldn’t do any damage, could it?

“Of course not.” The sequin-gowned devil on my shoulder lured me with a tempting murmur. “It’s just a piece of cake. Go on and have some.” With a wicked smirk, she prodded me with a poke of her pitchfork, urging me to walk over to the table.

“No, no, no! Don’t you dare do it!” A white-laced angel suddenly popped up onto my other shoulder, clutching her stomach in a panic. “It’s full of sugar and completely lacking in nutrition. It’s terrible for you!” She hurried over and grabbed me by the earlobe. “If you eat that cake….” she waved her finger worrisomely at it, “….your insulin will spike, you’ll gain weight and you’ll end up contracting Type 2 diabetes!” Her eyes were wide with apprehension.

The devil rolled her eyes up to the ceiling. “What are you, Mildred, an angel or a dietician?” She placed a hand on her hip and cast her a derogatory glance before resuming her persuasion with me. “The sugar isn’t going to kill you, sweetie. It’s not a cigarette or Birdie powder or nothin’.” Bending down to whisper in my ear, she added, “You know what’s going to happen as soon as you have that cake. You’ll get a feeling of euphoria, right? You’ll become giddy, start to crack stupid jokes and flirt with all of the guys. Basically, you’ll be making a total fool of yourself, and, hey, there’s nothin’ wrong with that! Living is all about having fun. So go on over there and have some.”

The angel gave me a stern warning before I had the chance to take one step. “You want to stay in shape to catch a husband.” She had her arms folded across her chest and was raising her eyebrow up at me all too knowingly.

“Aw, get off of it!” The devil gleefully laughed at her claim. “You don’t understand men, that’s for sure.” Holding out her palms, she gladly explained, “A few extra pounds isn’t going to stop them from being interested in her. All she needs to do is to come on to them, make all kinds of tempting promises, and then not allow them to touch her. They’ll be chomping at the bit to get their prize.” She lowered her hands again and pitiably sighed with a sad shake of her head. “Now I know why you angels lay around listening to harp music all eternity long.”

Glaring at the devil, she tried to calm herself down by counting to seven. “You see,” she went back to arguing her case, “it starts with the cake. As soon as she gets led astray with the cake, she’ll move on to eating chocolate chips straight out of the bag, hiding candy underneath her pillow, dumping mints into her purse on her way out of a restaurant, crashing children’s birthday parties, holding up ice cream trucks…”

The devil had been nodding her head all along in agreement with everything the angel had been saying. “You’re right,” she finally resolved, “she should skip all that and cut straight to the chase. Here.” She handed me what appeared to be a hypodermic needle.

“Lily!” The angel slapped the needle out of her hand. “You don’t care a whit about this person! All you want to do is to send her down the road to perdition. There is no love in your heart. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said, ‘What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love’. A wiser man there never was. Well, yes, there were wiser men, but nonetheless, I tend to agree with him.”

The devil shrugged her shoulders. “Yeah, well, we may not be able to love, but at least we’re able to have some chocolate cake. And don’t tell me you’re all about love and goodness, Mildred. We all know what you guys really do up there. What was it John Milton so wisely said? ‘Look homeward, Angel, now, and pelt with vermouth.'” Lily tapped her fingers upon her lips upon remembering, “Yeah, that was it.”

Through gritted teeth, Mildred corrected her, “That’s ‘melt with ruth’.”

“And you know that line from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’? You know, the one that says, ‘Every time you hear a bell ring, it means that some angel’s going to answer the door for the pizza delivery guy’? Don’t tell me you all don’t go hogwild over food up there.”

Confounded, the angel stared at her for a second, and then she asked, “You never saw the movie, did you?” Then she covered her face with her hands and groaned with impatience. “Look,” she lowered her hands, “if she eats that slice of cake, her weakness won’t just stick with food. Soon, she’ll grow vulnerable to the temptations of alcohol, sex, drugs, crime and….and….alternate religions!”

“Aha!” The devil cried out, pointing an accusing finger at her. “Now I get it! I know what you’re afraid of. You’re afraid of non-existence!”

Oh, God. There Lily goes getting all philosophical again. “What on earth are you talking about?”

With complete confidence in her voice, Lily explained, “If this woman adopts a religion that doesn’t believe in angels, then you would cease to exist in her mind. Then it would be ‘poof’. Bye-bye, Cream Puff.”

Mildred scoffingly laughed. “That wouldn’t erase my existence. There are still millions of people out there who believe in me.”

Lily waved a finger in the air. “Ah, but you see, it starts with this woman. As soon as you stop her from adopting another belief, you’ll move on to other people, trapping them into a numbing acceptance and thereby ensuring your existence for all eternity.” She crossed her arms and nodded her head appraisingly at the angel. “You know, that’s not so bad for an angel.”

Mildred’s fingers curled into enraged fists. “I RESENT the implication! I truly care about this woman. I only want what is right for her.”

With a dismissive wave of a hand, the devil replied, “Sure, honey. Sure. You have no selfish motives there at all. Anyways, have you even considered that she should make up her _own_ mind?” Ooh, now there’s a novel idea. She figured Mildred would do well to try it out herself.

“I wouldn’t trust her to make the right decision with _you_ sitting on her shoulder,” the angel vindictively retorted.

As if to make a point, Lily sat down and made herself comfortable on my shoulder. “You know, it could be that I’m here to offset the balance of having _you_ sitting on her shoulder. Maybe I’ll leave as soon as you leave.”

“Grrr…you get me SO angry!” Her cheeks began to flush from exasperation.

“Yes, I’ve noticed. You really should do something about that. Hey, I know what would lift your spirits. Some kahlua to go with that chocolate cake.” She threw her head back and laughed delightedly at the infuriated expression on Mildred’s face.


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