A Pawn Shop

Once upon a time in Russia there was a very nondescript KGB spy called Putin. He had expensive tastes and supplemented his meagre spy income by driving a cab at night. His passengers were often drunk and either vomited, pissed or shat in his cab; soon, he hated everyone and thought, This can’t go on. If I’m to be rich and feared as a supremely powerful dictator, I need help – but who from? The solution came to him in a flash: Satan. He falls asleep at the car’s wheel to the smell of vomit. He dreams.

He sees himself lighting a candle in St Basil’s Cathedral, and hears his prayer of supplication to Lucifer. Out of the intense darkness an old priest, smoking a cigarette and wearing a cassock covered in ash, approaches Putin, who stammers, Are you really …

Yes, I’m Lucifer, he says as he unlocks a heavy door. They descend into an ancient crypt filled with the bright light of flaming braziers. Lucifer leans forward into the flames, and lights the cigarette in his mouth; his skin smoulders. 
Putin sees glass demi-johns stored on shelves. What are these? 
They are labelled.
Putin reads: Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Genghis Khan. Something like a tiny hurricane twister is swirling inside the jars. Are they trying to escape? 
Lucifer laughs. They pawned their souls for power and lost all moral sense.
Do they get them back? Putin asks.
Lucifer almost chokes with laughter. They failed to achieve my ambition of destroying God’s world; so they remain here everlastingly trapped in their unrequited rage. I’ve been watching you for some time Vladimir, and I think you might be the man to realise my dreams.
What do you want me to do?
Create hell on earth. 

Putin wakes to find Lucifer sitting next to him in the taxi. A drunk staggers towards the car and pisses on the windscreen. Lucifer points at the drunk who explodes. The windscreen wipers clunk as they push fragments of bloody flesh aside.
Putin retches.
Wimp, Satan chuckles. Shall we visit your mother?
You know where she lives?
Of course.
Why?
I have a test for you.
She’ll be asleep at this time of night.
All the better.

Back in the crypt. Lucifer shows Putin a demi-john.
Is that my soul? 
Yes, you passed the test; your mother never knew what was happening. 
I didn’t know I was capable of doing such a thing, Putin says, crossing himself.
Compassion? Stop that nonsense. Crossing yourself is pointless. God doesn’t give a shit about you. Listen. You will provoke the West over and over again as you try to bring the USSR back to life. America will destroy Moscow with a nuclear weapon. You will retaliate. 
You really want to destroy the earth? 
It’s better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. So we’ll make hell here. It’s too late for second thoughts, Vladimir. Remember, I have your conscience in a jar.


I hope you enjoyed this story. Please feel free to pass it on to others who may be interested. You can read my previous 500 word stories on my website www.philcoskerwriter.com under ‘Writing’.>>>More

© Phil Cosker 2022
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Poem to Putin

If my tears could make a laurel wreath of peace
For you to wear upon your troubled head
Giving victory to peace instead of war
If my breath could make a gale of love
Blowing doves of peace inside Kremlin’s walls
Defying hate and Lenin’s disgusted grimace
Ending forever your fear of love
If my eyes would let you see the truth 
Freeing Russians from your mendacious misrule
Where you portray genocide as God’s cause
Where in Ukraine you wage your holy war
While at your devil’s table you gorge 
On rape, murder and pillage and smile at the feast
And what will history make of you?
Will your Stalinist madness be excused 
By a malignant melanoma of hate in your head?

No, you shall not escape, even in defeat
You will always be known as evil beyond belief
Not in Hitler’s camps but in a land once at peace 
Now reduced to ruin for your fantasy’s sake
Your war is lost all you’ve won is contempt.