Tuesday, November 30, 2010


OLD GOOSEBERRY'S DILEMMA - A new comedy from fantasy author Patricia Perry

The Devil strikes a bargain with God to keep two misfit brothers out of Hell; unfortunately the arduous task is more than even the Prince of Darkness can handle.

Unwilling to allow two rowdy brothers and their crazy acquaintances into Hell where he fears they may take over, the Devil strikes a bargain with God - keep the brothers out of trouble for three days and He'll consider letting them into Heaven.

The Prince of Darkness quickly realizes that trying to protect the raucous Dean Brothers is an arduous task as the brothers unwittingly lead Lucifer into their world where bar fights, free money and casual relationships are the norm.

Assigned by God to keep an eye on the goings-on, the Archangel Michael cannot help but be amused at Old Gooseberry's dogged determination to keep the Dean's out of his realm.

Autographed copies are available on Patricia Perry's Website.



The Meeting

God and Lucifer had a serious discussion concerning Harry and Rex Dean, when the Devil no longer thought the brothers were special and asked God to put them on His list. You could well imagine Old Gooseberry stroking his cleanly shaven chin while smirking at some of the brothers' mean but not evil antics. Lucifer thought he had a couple of good prospects and kept an eye out for them, waiting for the brothers to cross over the line but they didn't-well, not really anyway. You see the Deans got involved in some shady stuff but they wouldn't participate in any serious crimes. Harry was impishly irresistible, street smart but had little in the way of book learning under his belt. Deep down inside he wanted to get an education but was too lazy and preoccupied to bother. Rex, on the other hand, was as smooth as a bottle of aged whiskey and always looked out for anything that was free for the taking.

God felt sorry for them and wanted to keep them out of the salivating jaws of Hell. The more chances He gave the brothers, however, the more charmed they felt as they crept closer to the precipice. Lucifer would rub his hands together with delight as the little bits of rock and dirt, dislodged by the brothers' toes, began to fall into that great chasm. The accidents, run-ins with the law and a host of other bad turn of events somehow morphed into good luck for the brothers. Harry and Rex rode the tide of good fortune like surfers catching those perfect waves.

Anyway, back to the meeting between God and Lucifer. It took place in a dilapidated warehouse along the New Bedford waterfront where birds flew unobstructed through broken windows. Gangly weeds poked up through a parking lot composed of little islands of asphalt floating on a sea of gray sand. A rusting chain link fence surrounded most of the abandoned property, which was littered with old tires, heaps of corroding scrap and other junk. Most of the debris had long ago lost its identity and had reverted to indistinguishable blobs. Derelict trucks, their company logos faded by the elements, slouched on deteriorated tires, their broken headlights pointing at the vacant buildings in front of them. The only creatures peering back at the crumbling hulks were rats, cockroaches and pigeons, none of which could insert a key and send some life through their long unused engines. A place once flourishing with the activity encompassing the unloading of fishing boats was now a haven for vermin.

God brought Michael with him, the Archangel picking up the hem of his frock to keep it from getting dirty as they walked over to the building. Lucifer tap-danced around the broken bits of glass, barrels of old oil and dead animals.

They entered the structure from opposite ends, meeting in the middle of the storehouse like a pair of gunslinger waiting for a scheduled shoot-out. Pigeons flew overhead dropping poop upon the dried out wooden planks while rodents scurried into the dark corners. God and Lucifer stopped several paces away from each other, the latter folding his skinny arms across his chest while the former calmly waited for the Devil to speak. The Archangel Michael, his sun streaked shoulder length hair framing his tanned and chiseled face, crossed his brawny arms over his torso. The rivals studied each other for several long moments before Lucifer broke the silence.

"Whatever possessed you to create pigeons?" Lucifer dodged a dropping. "The vermin I can understand...but those things?"

"I had better plans for them but was distracted just prior to imparting any intelligence into them."

"You should have made up your mind: dirty or stupid- not both," muttered the Devil as an errant feather fell into the mini inferno upon his head. It immediately turned to ash.

"What do you want, Lucifer?" asked the Lord adjusting his white robes. Michael shifted his weight to his right leg then cocked his head and raised a brow at Satan.

"You can have the Deans." Cheeky bastard, thought the Devil as he scowled at the angel.

"Why would I want them?"

"I'm going to be very busy in the not too distant future with some unexpected arrivals, leaving me very little time to deal with them."

"I saw the list, Lucifer."

The Devil took a deep breath, the piercing glint in the Lord's eyes freezing him for a split second. Lucifer had greedily helped himself to generous portions of the Deans before finding out they gave him indigestion. He wanted to slip this plate of half-eaten food back onto the banquet table without anyone being the wiser. Satan narrowed his eyes as the Lord waited for him to reply.

Lucifer cleared his throat. "If you saw the files then you know I will be unable to accommodate them."

"My roster is also full," replied the Lord.

"I'll give you ten souls of your choosing."


"One hundred?"

"I don't think so."

"Paper, rocks and scissors?"


"I have a quarter."


"It really does have a head and a tail on it!"

"I think not."

"C'mon, G!"

Old Gooseberry closed his eyes and sighed. He squatted on his hindquarters, his wiry frame still except for his forked tail, which flicked back and forth like that of an annoyed cat. Harry and Rex had been so promising. Like every human, they had knapsacks full of sins but not the big ones-ones that would firmly plant them in Hell. As of right now, they were up for grabs with a slight edge to head south: Lucifer needed a trump card but all he had left were jokers.

"Why are you willing to give me the Deans?" inquired God.

Satan used charm, promises and lies to ensnare the unwilling: the Deans, whether they realized it or not, utilized those same methods. Street smarts outfoxed book smarts, for Harry, anyway. That and a healthy dose of providence allowed the brothers to move comfortably on in life despite the occasional hiccup they encountered along the way.

Harry had stolen a few things over his life and beaten up on more than one fool who thought himself more macho. Rex had a unique ability to make people like him, even without resorting to beating the crap out of them.

Lucifer had heard the whispers in Hell, undertones that some of his tormented souls would welcome the Deans to break the monotony of their eternal suffering. The Prince of Darkness, even with all of his powers, would meet his match if Harry and Rex went to Hell. Satan owned the souls of a multitude of wicked people but none with the easy charisma of the brothers. Old Gooseberry glanced over at Michael, his vertical pupils no wider than a strand of hair. The Angels' buff form seemed to dwarf even the massive wings hanging casually from his back as he stared with open amusement at the gaunt devil with the puny leathery wings.

Mine are bigger.

Up yours.

You wish.

Two rats began to fight in a dark corner; their squeals of pain elicited a contented smile on Satan's face. Michael frowned with disgust at the unseen confrontation. It was the one bright moment so far during the meeting and gave Lucifer an idea. Contrary to everything he stood for, Old Gooseberry decided that if he could somehow keep the Dean brothers out of trouble then God would be obligated to accept him into Heaven. As nauseating as dabbling in good was at least he wouldn't have to contend with the Dean brothers in his house. He mulled over this daunting assignment for a few more moments then glanced over at the waiting pair.

"I'll get back to you." Lucifer rose to his feet and walked out of the warehouse.

God and Michael watched him leave.

"What do you think he is up to, Boss?"

"I don't know but you had better keep a sharp watch over Harry and Rex."


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