“Why am I not 50 points ahead of you?”
“Because I’m smart,” retorted the Prince of Darkness. “Every angel wants to be like me. They want to have my freedom. They want to have my wealth. They are tired of reporting to some feudal lord on high, and eating the same stale, tasteless wafers.”
“The wafers are not stale. They’re the body and blood of…”
“Yes,” admitted Mary, who unlike a human politician could not lie. “My son inherited some problems. We were wrong to attack the Zoroastrians. The great recess of 8 years ago could have been handled better. It could have been explained better.”
“I made a killing on that,” chortled Satan. “You’re making my argument for me.”
“And then there’s your record,” responded Mary, “and your friends. When have you ever done a damn thing that was in anyone’s interest but your own! Why do you make common cause with Zeus and all those Shinto shites.”
“Shi-ites,” said Satan. “Use the proper name. Your allies are so weak. Buddha. Confucius. What we need in heaven today is strong leadership, if we’re going to defeat our enemies. Beelzebub is a strong leader. Jesus is weak.”
“You don’t know what strength is,” said Mary, visibly angry now. “And, what enemies? Monotheism rules the known world. Christians represent a third of it, Muslims another third, and the Jews are the richest believers around. Mormons are the fastest-growing group.”
“And what were those terrible names he called Joseph Smith four years ago?” challenged Satan again. “You accused him of siding with the 1% of angels who are successful against the mass of believers who you said follow you. You can’t diss your friends like that.”
“The polls…” he continued.
Mary interrupted. “The polls mean nothing.”
“All the polls say I’m winning,” replied Satan “They say I’m winning bigly. I’ve got a yuuuge lead.”
“I have all the endorsements,” replied Mary. “The Pope. Mother Theresa.”
“The establishment has rigged the system for you,” said Satan. “Younger angels don’t stand a chance.”
“Young angels are a key part of my coalition.”
“Experienced angels are behind me. They know your promises are false.”
“I would be the first female head of Heaven ever,” Mary said. “Think of the history that would make.”
“What history? We’re in Heaven. We’re beyond history. What matters is what happens right here, right now. And right now, I’m ahead.”
There was a murmur from the crowd. Mary was losing the debate.
“You said thief twice.”
“An ignorant angel who doesn’t know a thing about how the universe works, with his finger on the trigger that could bring back the Big Bang at any moment.”
“We can’t be willing to take anything off the table if we’re to defeat our enemies,” said Satan.
“What enemies? We have enough weapons to take out any faith, or any combination of faiths, and defeat them handily.”
“Then why are we losing?”
“We’re not losing. Others are simply catching up. Our converts in Africa, in Latin America, our Hindu friends and the Chinese are, for the first time in recorded history, gaining some of the luxuries our angels take for granted.”
“So you admit that, relative to others, we’re losing. See what I said,” Satan added, twisting the knife and turning toward the audience. “Heaven is no longer number one. Let’s make Heaven great again! I’m just the diety to do it.” He spread his tiny fingers wide.
The pundits that night agreed Satan did an excellent job of drawing the contrast, and that he might well win Ohio, where the whole issue would be decided, because it was where the issue had always been decided in the past. There, angels still went beneath the rim of heaven to dig rocks that kept hell from freezing over. Mary’s proposal for mirrors would leave these angels without good-paying jobs, and was not going over well.