Satan slammed the telephone down.
“This has gone far enough!”
A row of icicles fell from the table edge simultaneously, nailing the engineers’ foot to the floor.
“See my liege, I told you there was a good side to this,” said Greador.
“My foot. My foo…” the engineer fainted.
“Wake him up”, said Satan.
Hobal and Greador slapped the engineer around the face, fanning him with his company baseball cap until he was finally awake. Satan regained his composure. He pointed to the telephone on the corner of the desk.
“Do you know who that was?”
“N-No,” said the engineer, looking around wildly for the way out.
“That, ”said Satan, “was the manager of The Eagles.”
“Oh,” said the engineer.
“I love them, ”said Hobal, he began to sing, “Wel-come-to-the-ho-tel-cal-i-forn-ya.”
Satan flicked an icicle across the room and continued speaking through Hobal’s coughing and mad clawing at his own throat,
“Yes. He wanted to know if they could extend their ‘Hell Freezes Over’ tour to the real thing.”
“Great idea,” said Greador, “we could give the music critics a break from their twelve year quest to hear the perfect version of Sabre Dance.”
“How’s that going?” croaked Hobal.
“I heard they almost had it last week but the critics weren’t pleased that the orchestra was puffing and panting by the end, apparently, they lack stamina.”
Satan looked from Greador to Hobal with a stony stare.
Both demons went silent.
“I hate The Eagles,” said Satan, “and Hell is not a concert venue. You!” He pointed at the engineer. “Explain!”
“Well, it’s yer inflow valve and yer timer guv. This apparatus is so old it could have been on the ark.”
“His carbon dating skills appear to be up to scratch if nothing else,” said Hobal.
“What’s the problem?” asked Satan.
“Well, it doesn’t work in the modern environment, does it?” said the engineer, rolling his eyes to the ceiling. “It’s all out of spec mate. None of it is ISO9000 compliant. Yer wirings all two core and none of it can cope with the power load yer puttin’ through it.”
Satan folded his arms, leaning forward across the desk.
“What can you do about it?”
“Well, you’ll need a new boiler, top of the range for a place this large. It’ll all have to been compliant with the new regs and we’ll have to get an electrician. I can call my mate Carl for that.” The engineer whipped out a phone.
“Wait! Satan halted him with a pointed finger. “When will you be able to fix this?”
“Not for another six weeks at least…” The engineer stopped talking.
“SIX WEEKS!” Satan began to expand.
“No!” Cried Greador. “No, my liege. Sire. Not here. Not in the office Sire. Remember last time? It took us three days to get you out and untangle you from that stapler.” Hobal was frantically tried to pin down an arm as it flew past him. Satan stopped.
“Good point,” he said. “The thought of that stapler still makes me wince.” He pointed at the engineer. “Get him out of here.”
Hobal produced a blow torch and began melting the icicles pinning the engineer to the floor. He whistled as the engineer began to scream. Satan turned to Greador.
“Was that really the best you could do?”
“He’s the top one Sire. He had the best qualifications of the lot.”
“What qualifications were they?”
“Apparently he’s Corgi registered, Sire.”
“Strikes me he’d probably get on better with dogs.”
“The problem is that this is Hell, my liege. All we’ve got are cowboys. That’s why all our maintenance and decorating is terrible.”
“Sort this out,” said Satan. “And fast before St Peter starts sending vikings over. We’ll never get any peace and quiet with all their moaning and whining. I’m going to find a working kettle.”
Satan slid toward the door on a patina of frost.
“Great, first The Eagles now I’m imitating Nancy Kerrigan. Can this day possibly get any worse?”
Several hours later, things had not improved.
“You know that icicle on the end of your nose really suits you,” said Hobal as he skated past. Greador looked up.
“Whatcha reading?” asked Hobal.
“Ventilation and Heating Systems for Dummies,” replied Greador.
“Any use?” asked Hobal.
“Not unless you need kindling for a fire. We really could do with pulling in some hot air through the ventilation system, that would thaw everything out.”
“Why didn’t you say?” asked Hobal, “I know just the thing.”
Satan wiggled his hooves under the hot air blower.
“This is marvellous,” he said. “Pour me another Pimms and tell me how you did it.”
Greador speared a slice of cucumber with a cocktail stick and handed over the drink.
“It was Hobal’s idea,” he said. “He’s the one who suggested we move the air intake valve over to Paris. All that the hot air from the COP21 summit will keep us going for months.”
Hobal sighed. “Oh, how I love man-made global warming. It’s wonderful.”