Sympathy for the Devil

February 4, 1996
by Henry Wyckoff

DISCLAIMER: The characters and situations of The X-Files television program are the creations and property of Chris Carter and Fox Broadcasting and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

It was a nice summer day in Washington D.C., which was to say that it was an X-File which hadn't been given to Mulder and Scully yet, and would most likely be unsolvable. Though it was quite humid, it was also cloudy in a very nice way.

The roses looked redder, and the birdsong seemed to be a bit livelier. New mothers took their young ones out for strolls along the tranquil sidewalks, and tourists were genuinely glad to be out and about, taking pictures of the scenery instead of the truly bizarre spectacles this city had to offer.

Scully and Mulder were sipping coffee on the patio of a cafe, quite relaxed and untroubled about life. They were in between cases, and were in fact ordered by Directory Skinner to "do something fun for a change." The last word they heard as his office door shut was, "And I don't want to hear anything about it from anyone else!"

That was this morning. It was now approaching noon, and they felt waves of relief flow through them as they realized that they didn't have to do a thing. Even Mulder was beginning to smile.

They talked about anything and everything that didn't have a thing to do with work or anything related to it. They talked about the art that would be presented at a local art gallery later today, things they saw at the mall that would make good presents, cars, planes, yesterday's stocks when Wall Street closed, and so on...

They might as well have been some unusual form of a tranquil married couple.

"I'll be back in a moment," said Scully, excusing herself and entering the cafe.

Mulder now sat alone in the patio, looking at the quaint buildings surrounding him, when he noticed two businessmen sit down at a nearby table.

One had white hair and pale skin, and if it weren't for the fact that he had an American accent, Mulder would have sworn that the man was a Scandinavian. The other was an older man with a well-textured New Jersey voice and a well-developed body, with a suntan to match.

Mulder let his mind wander, not even attempting to eavesdrop, but he couldn't help but overhear the conversation that took place after they were done with the "how's your coffee" exchange.

As the moments passed, Mulder realized that he had no choice but to listen in on the conversation. There was nothing unusual about them: they both looked like normal, respectable businessmen -- perhaps even executives -- and they were speaking at a nice, soft volume. Nevertheless, he couldn't keep his ears away.

"Here's the bottom line, Gabriel" said the New Jersey man, "I just can't do this job anymore. I know it's important, so don't tell me how necessary it is -- I just can't take it anymore. I can't walk down the street and get nothing but spit in my face."

"Here's the official bottom line, Satan," said Gabriel, his accent one of those 'unplaceable' American accents. He could have come from anywhere. "You're the best there is. Nobody is good enough to replace you, and in this day and age, Evoking of Evil is the highest form of public service."

"I know... I know... But take a look it from my point of view: whenever something goes wrong, it's somehow my fault. They never credit me when things go right, but when things go wrong, I'm to blame.

"What's more, I haven't had a healthy relationship with a woman in who knows how long. I'm an Angel, just as much as you are, and the only women who would have anything to do with me are crazy lunatics who hope to gain some 'power' in exchange for their souls." He snorted, "As if I had any power to give, or wanted their souls to begin with!"

Gabriel was without pity, "I don't know how to tell you any more gently, but your request for a transfer has been denied. You've only yourself to blame, you know -- you were the one who told YHWH -- " That word sent Mulder's mind spinning. It was as if someone played a trick of perception on him -- he heard the word, but it was as if someone had taken out all the vowels from his memory after he heard the whole word pronounced. " -- that you could do the job better than he could. You gave him a proposal and even a feasibility study report, so you should have expected this to happen."

"Can't you get anyone to take over my job?" whined Satan.

"No. Plain and simple."

"This is Washington D.C. -- surely you can find at least one soul worthy enough!"

Gabriel laughed at that one. "Most certainly, but none are as competent and objective as you! I wonder how many of them actually know that Satan is a nice and moral man -- far more moral than most on this world?"

Scully chose this moment to come back out to the table. She looked quizzically at Mulder, asking, "Is there something wrong?"

He looked at her, and was about to shush her, when he realized at that moment, Gabriel and Satan were now speaking about politics. //Smooth transition!// thought Mulder admiringly. "No," he said. "I'm just thinking." //What's the point telling her? She'd never believe me!//

Just as Mulder and Scully left the patio, Mulder thought he could hear Gabriel say, "See what I mean? You've a natural gift! Imagine the torment he'll go through now!"

Mulder grimaced -- Scully didn't see it -- wondering what the point of all this was. Did the two Angels intentionally reveal themselves to Mulder just to torment him, or did they only take advantage of a rare situation? Was it even real, or his imagination?

"What do you want to do?" Scully asked him.

"Let's go see that art exhibit," said Mulder, sighing subtly enough to not cue Scully in on his pensiveness. His day might be ruined by these developments, but he wouldn't ruin it for Scully.

The End

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