While states are easing lockdown restrictions many Americans are still in dire need of financial support. House Democrats have proposed a stimulus package that could help small businesses and the unemployed get back on their feet. But Republican senators aren’t so sure the extra spending is necessary.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel wanted to consult the Dark Lord Mammon before rushing into anything. Last night he and his fellow senators held a session that turned into a summing.
The Night Session
Mitch McConnell raised his hood over his head. He wore an ornate cloak of crimson and gold. He produced straight stemmed lighter and a set of tongs from its pockets.
There was an incense burner at his feet. He opened it, lit the charcoal, and topped it with salt and resin. McConnell took a long deep breath. Satisfied, he walked down the aisle holding the burner up high.
When McConnell came to the well of the senate floor he set the burner aside. He rolled back the carpet, plucked a gemstone from his pocket, and etched a sigil into the concrete. Then he drew a dagger from his waistband, sliced his hand open, and pressed his palm into the sigil, gritting his teeth to mask the pain. When the sigil was full the Senate Majority Leader craned his head back.
When McConnell spoke it was not the soft southern drawl he put on for the press, but rather the guttural gruff of a Shakespearean thespian.
“Lord Mammon. Baron of banks. Duke of debt. Emperor of avarice. He who rules the fourth circle, who sits atop the throne of worldly wealth. He whose controlling interest decides our fate. Your humble servants prostrate themselves before you.”
The senators kissed the floor.
McConnell spoke into the sigil as it boiled and bubbled. “Oh covetous one. We beseech you to grant us an audience.”
The senators chanted in a tongue that preceded American English by a millennium.
A breeze ran through McConnell’s hair, setting his bangs aflutter before circling around. The breeze became a whirlwind, tugging at the curtains, slamming doors, tossing flags like javelins.
The floor rumbled. The desks flipped over and the busts of the vice presidents fell from their stands. Cracks rippled across the ceiling, blanketing the senators in dust.
Then the lights went dim and something lumbered forward from the dark. Its footfalls were a thunder upon the floor, reducing the priceless mahogany furnishings to splinters. Senators scattered like sheep fleeing a wolf.
McConnell groveled as the dark lord Mammon towered over him.
“Speak.” Mammon’s word echoed throughout the chamber.
McConnell took a knee, a knight before his king. “A pandemic has ground our economy to a halt. People are uncertain. They’re buying less. Department chains are filing for bankruptcy. Restaurants are shuttering their doors. Millions of Americans are out of work and they want us to do something for them.”
McConnell counted the wants on his fingers. “Furloughed employees want unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, and food vouchers. While small business want federal loans. Tenants want rent forgiveness, while landlords want mortgage forbearance. Customers want reasonable prices, while essential workers want hazard pay.”
Mammon drew close enough for his breath to pass through Mitch McConnell’s robes. McConnell kept his spectacles fixed on the sigil. He dared not look the demon in his eyes.
“If we don’t provide federal intervention there will be a tidal wave of closures and evictions. We are looking at another great depression. The people want a stimulus bill, but we knew to consult you before doing anything.”
“Wise.” Mammon’s shadow shifted as to draw something from its silhouette. “We must consult the Economicon.”
McConnell leapt back as a book the size of a banquet table spread out before him.
Who is Mammon and why does he have so much sway in Washington?
Mammon is the demon king of money, while he may not be the most powerful demon in the Dukante hierarchy, but he has the most liquid assets flowing through the realm of man. Mammon has his claws deep in petroleum, in pharmaceutical opioids, and subprime mortgages.
He owns shares in everything from. Data harvesting social media companies to cancer causing chemical manufactures. From addiction model game publishers to predatory lenders. From slave labor factories to for profit colleges.
Mammon influences influencers. Political action committees. Washington lobbying firms. They all bow to him. Mammon has made campaign contributions to most sitting senators Republicans and Democrats alike.
Those who dare look upon Mammon say he has a crown of horns that thrust through his brow like a dying starfish. They say his face is locked in a predatory stare. His brow has been furrowed for so long there are trenches in the skin. He has green eyes. A silver tongue, and mouth full of sharks teeth.
Mammon wears a fur cap, a bejeweled bib, and golden robes. His hands are red and his palms are always slathered in grease. There’s hole where his belly should be. His pockets are singed with burn marks and he stands upon on a network of tendrils like roots rising from the ground.
This is who our nations fate resides with.
Back on the senate floor
After paging through the Economicon for an hour Mammon came to the passage he was looking for.
“A star does not concern itself with the rocks in its orbit. The rocks depend on it, but the star is all that’s important. May the market expand without concerning itself with the misfortunes of man.” Mammon slammed the book shut.
McConnel dared to raise his gaze. “So…that’s a no, then?”
“No handouts!” Mammon voice shattered every windows in the capital building. “No entitlements. No stimulus. Only prophet. So sayeth Lord Mammon, prince of prosperity, king of commerce, god of gold.”
And with that, struggling Americans were on their own.
3D Demon model by Filip Hans Nyberg
Photoshop by Drew Chial
Meet Noelle, a Hollywood transplant that’s been subsisting on instant ramen and false hope. She’s on the verge of moving back into her mother’s trailer when her agent convinces her to take a meeting at the Oralia Hotel. Enchanted by the art deco atmosphere Noelle signs a contract without reading the fine print.
Now she has one month to pen a novel sequestered in a fantasy suite where a hack writer claims he had an unholy encounter. With whom you ask? Well, he has many names: Louis Cypher, Bill Z. Bub, Kel Diablo. The Devil.
Noelle is skeptical, until she’s awoken by a shadow figure with a taste for souls.
Desperate to make it Noelle stays on, shifting the focus of her story to these encounters. Her investigations take her through the forth wall and back again until she’s blurred the line between reality and what’s written. Is there a Satanic conspiracy, is it a desperate author’s insanity, or something else entirely?