Like sands in an hourglass, so was Satan’s once tranquil life. Harvey Maxwell didn’t have to see Satan’s expression to know what he wanted, when Billy pulled Satan’s beat up ’92 Escort into the parking space in front of his Burbank office.
“Still driving the old Escort I see.” Harvey said greeting Satan in the parking lot, throwing the cigar he had been smoking onto the shoe of a Spanish man who was trimming the plants in front of his office.
Satan nodded, “I don’t get caught up in world pleasures.”
“Of course you don’t,” Harvey smirked. “Shall we go inside?”
Satan nodded and followed Harvey to his office.
Harvey also happened to be a Jew turned Atheist, giving him the proper blend of godless hope that Satan needed to establish the film industry as his biggest evangelical media form.
“It’s about Felipe Santiago, right?” Harvey asked taking a seat behind his desk.
“I want you to offer him a movie deal that he can’t refuse.” Satan said choosing not to sit.
“Something that will keep him distracted for six months, be a sure flop, and ruin his career.”
Harvey nodded and held a bowl towards Satan, “Want a mint?”
“Do I need one?”
“No—of course not.” Harvey lied. Satan had dog breath and always needed one. “So how much money do I have to work with?
“And what about the others?”
“Felipe’s the root of our problem—get rid of him and you’ve gotten rid of the others.”
So that’s how it happened that Felipe Santiago met with Harvey Maxwell for dinner. They ate at a 11-year-old, pop-sensation, Mikey Mike’s new Rock-N-Roll style restaurant with a sixties rock theme. It went bankrupt as Felipe took a sip of sparkling water.
Harvey had produced several of Felipe’s blockbuster movies and at one time Felipe considered him a close friend. He was even the godfather of one of Harvey’s cocker spaniels. Felipe saw it as a chance to win another believer.
The two sat under a speaker that was hidden in the mouth of a portrait of Jimi Hendrix. It was cheaply blasting out non-stop bubble gum music.
“I have a movie that would be perfect for you—considering your recent conversion.” Harvey shouted over catchy bubble gum lyrics.
Harvey pulled out a piece of paper with the title of the movie in flashy glitter letters with
“Sponsored by Pepsi” typed in boldface on the back, “It’s a remake of Left Behind: The Movie.”
“Left Behind? I heard the last screenwriter who tried to make a workable script out of the book was murdered by the books bad writing.”
A young waitress who had a chain connected to her pierced naval which connected to her pierced nose, which wrapped around her head and connected to her pierced left ear, took their order, and whispered in Harvey’s ear as she left, “I’m an actress and I have a screenplay—my boyfriend wants to be a director.”
Harvey ignored her. “It was a fluke.” Harvey promised.
“Even if someone could write a screenplay from the book and live to tell of the horrible horrors, I don’t think any actor could make that book work. My accountability partner says it was the worse piece of literature ever written—even worse than the poetry of Mehetabel Wright.”
“I’m sure it won’t be that bad.”
“They’re his words, not mine.”
“Well I’ve been authorized to give you 150 million plus options to take on the role.”
“That’s a lot of money for something that will probably not even make a tenth of that.”
“That’s why you should take it—think of all the things you could do with that much money. You could give Bibles to every hungry child in the world.”
“Because I believe that that kind of movie would be hurting the name of Christ more than promoting it.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Harvey took a swig of water then promised, “I’ll guarantee it will have nothing to do with the book if that’s what you want—I’ll give you complete creative control.”
Felipe tapped the table lightly then announced, “I just don’t believe a partnership could last between the two of us.”