Last night, i met Satan in a dark alley.

i remember thinking that it was such a typical place to run into someone of that ilk, to the point that i felt a little embarrassed. Running into Beelzebub, say, in a grocery store or at a soccer game would have been so much more … interesting … but here i was, oafishly clomping through a dank alleyway replete with rats and rust and spiky bits of metal poking out of piled-up containers – tubes and boxes and things, with ratty vermin scampering about them. i didn’t actually see any vermin, but as i said, it was dark, and who knows what could have been in there? Nothing more terrible than the Devil himself, i suppose, who – as i have mentioned – was walking through that dark alleyway at that very moment.

It’s a strange thing that happens to someone when he is walking through a narrow corridor through which the Prince of Darkness is walking. i became so nervous about what could have been crawling around in the boxes that, for a moment, i completely ignored what was actually physically there in the alley to the point where, in mid-gait, i swerved away from a particularly suspicious pile of crates towards the Dark Agent of Evil. It seems foolish now, when i look back on it, but i do affirm that it’s a strange situation to find oneself in.

Stranger still was the thought that next came to me there, in the dark alleyway through which none other than the Malevolent Overlord was presently strolling, which was how much more laundry i had to do. It was true, there was probably a more pressing matter at hand – that being the encounter i was about to have with Mephistopheles as i walked alone through a dark alleyway late at night – but just as i had swerved into the High Demon’s path to avoid the creepy unknowns in the trash heap, i thought about how filthy my clothes must be getting brushing past all of this infested debris. But as i looked down at my wrinkled chartreuse shirt, the very shirt which every man has in his closet that was given to him by an aunt when he was thirteen which didn’t fit but which fits now, but there’s still no chance he’ll be caught dead wearing it except if it’s the absolute last thing in his closet which, for this particular man, it was … and so i was wearing it. It wouldn’t, then, be such a big loss to get it dirty or torn on a sharp metal thing because a shirt like that had a very low place in my clothing hierarchy. The shirt was only suited for painting the garage, or for wearing as a gaudy costume component on Hallowe’en. Or, on that note, for wearing to a meeting with the Unholy One.

i should mention at this time that i had no prearranged meeting to keep with the Horned High Demon. It was, for all my knowledge, a chance meeting that just happened to be in a tiringly archetypal dark alleyway, full of metal and bats and swooping high cathedral windows with their stained glass scenes smashed out with rocks. i’m adding this last part for effect, mind you, if only to convey how patronizingly unoriginal these surroundings were. You might as well have thrown in some weeping children and bleeding statues while you were at it. Big, grotesque statues of gargoyles and horned goat-fish creatures holding pointy sceptres that would come to life as you walked past, pointing at you mockingly and breathing flaming evil at the back of your hair, chanting some arcane and unpleasant death wail about unhappy bread bakers and puppies on fire, and all the while you’re walking and walking towards the Ungodly Spirit of Ultimate Nastiness, growing ever nearer, each footstep advancing you towards your inevitable meeting with the Angel with No Soul, the Leader of the Fallen Host, and large black flying things with paper-thin wings are screeching and fluttering past your face while your feet sink into some bloody tar carpet stickily oozing across the pavement and your eyes would be gaping, your heart bulging and your jawbone retreating to the back of your head for the maddening terror of it all if you could just stop thinking about laundry.

Just as this last thought crossed my mind the Devil brushed past me, tipping his hat as he went.

i walked on into the depths of that foul abyss, vowing never to forget the night that i met the Satan in a dark alley, and i had been wearing that stupid shirt.