This is Story #15, entitled The Devil And Sagittarius Rolfdown, from my book, Go West or Go Weird.
I felt nervous. It was my first day of college. And I was in English class. I assumed English college professors were tough, dry, and dull as a stale bagel. And I wondered if I could survive this class. I even considered walking out, and dropping out of college right then, rather than undergo the tortuous mental discipline of a rigorous academic education.
Professor Rolfdown resembled a gray Abraham Lincoln, although his grizzled beard was even longer than Abe’s, extending below his Adam’s apple. His tall figure and wizened face came across imposing and intelligent as he began our first lesson, with chalk to blackboard, screeving descriptions of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
But about five minutes into the lecture, he set down his chalk, removed his wire-rimmed spectacles, and solemnly informed us that this concluded our English lesson for the day.
He then had us form a circle with our desks, asked us to hold hands, and then led us in a meditation session. And that’s how we spent the rest of our class that day.
I felt relieved, because English never seemed so easy before. But I also felt a little puzzled and annoyed. I signed up to learn English, damnit, and not some weird eastern religion. Why, I thought I had matriculated into a community college, not some hippy-assed California commune.
And as my anger smoldered, I strongly considered transferring out of this class and replacing it with fuck, who knows, badminton maybe. But I needed credits in English. And this seemed like an easy way to get them. Hell, Professor Rolfdown had turned English into a gut course. So I stayed on for the easy ride.
But not without remonstration. A pattern developed. Every day of class began with a simple, five minute lecture about English. Basic shit I already knew all about, from elementary school lessons. And after that, the bearded professor would segue into lessons on eastern religion, meditation, psychic phenomena, and the paranormal. Then he’d have us write a short essay about what we’d just learned. And every time, I wrote sarcastic, satirical essays, expressing skepticism about all this bullshit, and lampooning it as New Age nonsense.
He would chuckle at my essays, and gently tell me that God loves humor. But such reverse psychology never dissuaded my skepticism.
One day, after I’d written an especially strong satirical rebuke of the lesson he’d just taught, he asked me why I hadn’t dropped out of his class. I told him that I needed the credits. He then ordered me to visit him in his office after class, for some counseling.
I sat cornered in the tiny cubby of his office. His beard strands were inches from my face. And his breath reeked of coffee, as Professor Rolfdown referenced my need for credits. And then he said something incongruous. He told me that he didn’t think I would be very good in bed.
Strange. And then it occurred to me. He might be making a pass at me. I suspected that if I reacted by defending my sexual prowess, he would have told me to prove it. In other words, this professor seemed to be implying, in a weasely sort of way, that if I didn’t suck his cock or let him fuck me in the ass, I might not get those English credits I was hoping for.
Now I felt even more nervous than my first day of college. He truly was a tough English professor.
I didn’t take the bait. Instead, I quickly changed the subject, and told him I was running late for my next class. And then I excused myself and got the hell out of there.
But I continued my defiance and sarcasm, in my essays. In fact I stepped it up. And I determined that if I failed this class, I’d raise a holy row, and expose this son-of-a-bitch for what he was, to the school administrators.
On the last day of the semester, our final exam consisted of us writing an essay explaining how we had changed after attending this “English” class. You can bet I laid the satire on thick and heavy, and lampooned the hell out of Professor Rolfdown.
He returned the paper to me, with the superscribed comment: “God loves humor. But God also loves change. So what grade do you think you deserve?”
I didn’t fall for it. I left that class giving him no response, and no final chance to try to mulct a sexual favor out of me. And his little smarmy, written question provided just the evidence I needed, in case I had to protest a failing grade.
He gave me a B. So I let the matter go, since a B was sufficient to get the credits I wanted.
But I also felt a little burn, having to go through such bullshit, and having to learn the hard facts about professors with hard-ons.
About a year later, just to get all this bullshit off my chest, I wrote one final sarcastic essay about this pervert professor and the eastern religion crap he tried to shove down his students’ throats. And I changed his name to Sagittarius Rolfdown. I thought that name was more fitting.
I submitted it to my Creative Writing teacher, and she read it to the entire class, then asked if anyone felt offended by it. To my great disappointment, nobody raised their hand. I don’t remember what grade she gave me but here, I humbly submit my essay now, for your grade. And please, if you feel offended by it, be sure to raise your hand.
The Devil And Sagittarius Rolfdown
The bearded man was eighty-five when he finally died of old age. He was in the middle of a meditation session when he went into his first chakra and had a heart attack.
On his death bed, he said the cosmic experience from the first chakra was so powerful that his heart began palpitating with excitement, only to become completely exhausted a moment later.
After he died, the bearded man expected to become a cosmic part of the great universe above him. But instead he felt himself being hurled downward, downward, downward until he finally fell on his ass before the burly gates of Hell.
The gates were a sooty black color, and had a sinister, gothic look to them. A red sweaty figure stood behind these gates, sneering and jeering at his newest arrival. “This is not my idea of becoming a piece of a great cosmic dustcloud in some ectoplasmic galaxy far away,” the bearded man mumbled in a low, confused tone of voice.
“Shutup!!” the red devil roared, “Just who the hell do you think you are to talk without my permission?!
“Wait a second, I think I know who you are,” he continued, playing with his pitchfork thoughtfully, “Why, you’re that space-cadet who fell heads over tails for eastern mysticism and such garbage as that.
“I’ve been waiting quite a long time for you, Sagittarius Rolfdown. I’m glad that goddamned God finally gave up and let you into my clutches. What foolish thing have you to say for yourself?”
“Where the hell am I?”
“Foolish enough.” Lucifer chuckled. “You are now exactly 450 miles beneath the surface of the earth, sitting in the bowels of Hades. Is that cosmic enough for you?”
“They say the inside of the Earth is like the outside of a star.”
“Goddamnit, one more reference to this place being like a heavenly body and I’ll root you in the butt through a volcano and send you to the heavens!
“And now, before I allow you the privilege of entering through these gates, let me explain how things will be while you’re down here, which will be forever.
“I will be your father and your mother, your brother and your sister, your godmother, godfather, and even God himself. You will be my slave and I will be your master. You will follow my orders to the letter and punctuation mark. What I say goes, even if it means jumping into a sea of boiling hot lava. Yes, life will be tough down here in Hell. Almost as bad as a Marine Corps training camp.
“But before you can pass through these burly gates, I am instructed by the Jesus Peace Convention in Heaven to allow you a few questions as to why you’re down here instead of up there with Simon Peter.”
“My first question,” the bearded man asked, “is why have I been sent to Hell if I spent my whole life on earth devoted to learning how to go to Heaven?”
“Because you’re a sucker!” Satan screamed with delight. “And God hates a sucker! It was God, you know, who first said ‘never give a sucker an even break.'”
“I thought that was W.C. Fields.”
“It was W.C. Fields. He stole that line from God, though.”
“B-But I still don’t understand,” Sagittarius stammered, “h-how am I a sucker?”
“Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!” the devil roared. “My computer readout for your life on earth shows that you spent over a hundred thousand dollars on psychic phenomena books, religious cult magazines, astrology and biorhythm charts, and other such useless things, during a sixty-year span of your life. You were so easily conned out of your money, in fact, that God almost rated you as bad as those foolish churchgoers who tithe. What suckers they are! But still, you’ll be getting harder labor than most of them down here!”
“Why is that?” the bewildered Sagittarius asked.
“Because of your actions!” the devil ranted, pounding his pitchfork on the ground and switching his pointed tail furiously. “You stupidly devoted three hours out of every day of your life in worthless meditation (which amounts to one-eighth of your life). You wasted the average of another hour of each day reading that lousy literature you bought. And worst of all, you wasted a total of over one thousand weekends as a Hare Krishna disciple, walking around busy airports and pestering weary travelers with your ridiculous eastern religion philosophy.
“Being suckered out of your own physical actions by doing things slick con-artists like gurus and preachers want you to do, is a crime more heinous than wasting money. Money can be replaced. But the short time you have to enjoy life on earth, cannot.
“You could have spent your time doing more enjoyable and worthwhile things like procrastinating, bar-hopping, or stealing, but instead you gave your life away to enduring hardships like meditation (very boring) and mind reading (very futile) for a bunch of fat gurus. For this reason you have been sent to Hell instead of Heaven.
“But enough of this talk—it is now time for you to learn coal shoveling for my vast furnaces. They must be kept very hot if I am to maintain this Hell of mine.”
Beelzebub then opened the burly gates and began prodding the bearded man through with his pitchfork.
“Oh no, oh no, oh no!” Sagittarius began to cry. “I’m doomed to live in this burning Hell forever and work beside evil people, like whores and heathens!”
“Whores and heathens?! Shit, they go to Heaven!” the devil exclaimed.