By Tony Russell|
'Happy Hour' at Beelzebub's Bar, and two young devils
with a powerful thirst stepped through the swinging
doors. It was broiling hot outside, but the barroom
was like an inferno.
"Whew, it feels good to get in out of that warm air!"
said the taller one. "Let's grab a booth."
A waitress in a scanty scarlet outfit, wearing a cute
little 'devil's horns' headpiece and swinging a
realistic tail from her tush, sashayed over to take
their order. "What'll it be, tall, dark, and
handsome?" she grinned. "Working hard today, or
"Going full bore," said Nick with a wink and a leer.
"Keeping a lid on the global warming debate isn't
easy. My costume's wringing wet."
They watched her retreating form as she hustled to
get their drinks. "Come on," said Scratch, the
shorter of the pair, "you don't really think you can
lull a planet full of people to sleep while you turn
their world into a miniature Hades, admit it."
Nick snorted. "Hey, it's easier than you think. I
don't have to deal with six and a half billion
people--just a handful of corporate execs. Did you
see the Pew survey? Two-thirds of the public in both
Japan and India are worried sick about climate change.
But you know what? The people who are doing the
heavy damage, the Americans? No sweat! Only one out
of every five say it worries them a lot. I'd say
that's pretty good proof my method works."
"Pagan poop!" swore Scratch. "How the heaven did you
pull that off?"
"Scratch, Scratch," said Nicky, shaking his head
sadly. "It's so basic. You've gotta get back to your
"What's the root of all evil?"
"Oh, the love of money. I always thought 'all evil'
was an over-simplification. But I see where you're
"I get off on working with giant corporations. If
shareholders aren't happy with the bottom line, they
boot out the current management and bring in a
'leaner, meaner' team. Love the sound of that, don't
you; who's leaner and meaner than me? Think about it
for a minute. These corporations exist for a single
purpose--to generate a sizable profit. That makes them
a perfect devil's instrument, since by definition,
they worship Mammon! Brothers, hello!"
"You've got a track record with some of the best."
"Hey, I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but
I've been in bed with the big boys--ExxonMobil,
Chevron, Halliburton, Ford Motor Company, GM, Massey
Energy, American Electric Power, Boeing, Alcoa,
Phillip Morris, Cargill ... Carbon emissions,
poisons, carcinogens, smog, bribery, polluted rivers
and earth and air ... poke around in that list and
you'll find it all. Each one of them's considered a
'person' under the law, but they have no conscience
built in. It's Frankenstein's monster in a real-world
"I don't get it. Don't they care what they're doing
"A corporation doesn't care one way or another about
Creation. They can be totally committed to
Destruction, as far as that's concerned, and hire a PR
firm to paste a pretty face on the pig. Then they
pick compliant state legislators and judges,
Congresspeople and presidential candidates, and
bankroll their campaigns. They dictate the limits of
action and the terms of debate. Corporations are like
us; they're immortal. People come and go, but
corporations are going to be here till the earth bakes
in its own greenhouse gases."
"A day to dream of," said Scratch. "But the
executives and people on their boards--doesn't all
this worry them?"
"Why would it? They're rich; they demand and get
insulation. They live on private estates, belong to
exclusive clubs, and travel in private planes; their
kids go to exclusive prep schools and private
colleges; they only hobnob with people like themselves
on the boards of charities and museums. They're
respected. They've got it all!"
"Except their souls," noted Scratch with a grin.
"That's a small clause in our bargain. Even the rich
can't have everything," said Nick.
"Doesn't it bother you when executives blast critics
for 'demonizing big business'? You do all the work,
and then somebody else gets all the credit?"
"Nah. I'm not in this to make a name for myself. I
do it just for the hell of it."
© Tony Russell, 2008