“Well Mr. Ifer, thank you very much that you have found the time for a second interview” - murmured Matthew Mark into his microphone. “Don’t mention it Matthew, just call me Luc. At least you didn’t ask me if I had just come from John!”
“Thanks Luc, perhaps you can tell the viewers what has happened to you since our last interview.”
“Well Matthew, thanks to you I have collected quite a following of a variety of viewers. Some wish to convert me to their religions. Some wish to join the clubs that practice devil worship. Some want me to become a politician. Some wish to redesign my wardrobe. Some just want to hang about and invite me to join the party scene – fully robed, of course, in traditional devil’s clothes.”
Very interesting Luc, have any of these groups appealed to you?”
“One in particular really attracted my attention,” continued Luc. “The group was called ‘The Truth Society’ and they promised to focus entirely on telling of the truth in daily life!”
“Do you mean that individuals need help in when and how to be truthful?” asked Matthew.
“Apparently so,” replied Luc. “Don’t forget I am an outsider here and come from a very old-style cultural upbringing.”
“Matthew asked somewhat concerned, ”Does that mean that you have difficulty in telling the truth?”
Luc hesitated before replying, “In my culture we usually like to keep people happy - rather like many politicians today. In so doing, the recounting of the flow of events sometimes gets modified! Not necessarily out-and-out deliberate lying, but just modified. I think you call them 'white lies' or even 'modified truths' around here. In my culture, the different kinds of lies all have quite distinct colors!”
Matthew asked, “How much is it your cultural background that makes you tell lies of different colors, and how much is it self motivated?”
Luc blushed a deep green color, and Mathew startled at the dazzling color change on the television monitors.
Luc sobbed, “Oh! Matthew, you have hit the nail on it’s head!”
Matthew looked puzzled and asked, “Can you please explain this quaint old-fashioned phrase for our viewers on the television.”
Luc sobbed again, “Oh! Matthew, you have cut to the quick!”
Matthew quietly asked, “Could you please just tell us in simple language, without fancy wording, by explaining to the color sensitive audience - why your skin has turned to a dazzling shade of green?”
“One of the punishments that has been ‘meted out to me’, sorry, ‘given to me’”, explained Luc, “is that when I am embarrassed my skin turns this delicious shade of green. Other emotions induce quite a range of color schemes across my body.”
Matthew continued to ask, “Are the color schemes different for positive or negative emotions? For example do negative emotions like lying, generate growths on the body like elongated noses for wooden people; or intense changes of colors like orange in the face or hair?”
Luc replied, “Well with me my tail grows in centimeter units, sorry, about half an inch, each time I tell a lie. The color-coding of the lies is translated into more centimeters, with greater severity of the lie. At certain times my tail was metres long, now I have been able to reduce it to a more comfortable manageable length that it will fit discretely out of sight! My diet of ‘no lies’ is helping no end!”
Matthew shrugged, “But Luc we don’t see your tail?”
“It is discretely contained within my clothes,” explained Luc, “Just for the television show!”
Matthew blushed pink, “Sorry Luc, I didn’t mean to embarrass you!”
“For you to embarrass Luc Ifer - you must be joking!” laughed Luc, getting easily carried away from his role as meek television interviewee. Luc himself quickly realized that he must keep himself under control in front of the millions of viewers.
Since the success of the first television interview last year, the press had created such publicity that millions of viewers were eagerly awaiting this second interview. There were criticisms of the last interview, some biting, some religious, some psychological, many speculative - even some were interesting! Many wanted to know why Luc had given up millennia of anonymity to present his attitudes and problems to the world?
Matthew had recovered from his slight embarrassment, and commented, ”Luc, many viewers would like to know why you have agreed to this second interview. What is it you want from the television audience?”
The cameras all zoomed on Luc’s face, which twitched in various places as if trying to shift it’s shape. Moreover different color patches appeared in different places on his face and began to swirl about. Luc whispered, “You see Matthew, I am quite a sensitive and quite lonely person in my deep insides. Yes there is toughness and bravado all over the surface, but deep down I am quite emotional and a real softie!”
The stifled gasps from the studio audience were picked up by the sensitive microphones, and the listening world knew that Luc had struck chords among his closest viewers. Only afterwards did we learn that concurrent gasping had occurred across the whole world, perhaps further!
Matthew tried really hard to help the suffering Luc, “Does that mean, Luc, that what you really want from the whole world is to be loved?”
Luc sobbed, his face flashed a thousand shades of green, and his strangulated voice whispered, “Yes exactly that, that small thing!”
Matthew went on, “Does that mean some of the white lies originate because you want to please people?”
Luc whispered, “Quite so, and not just white lies but some of much greater color magnitude. Actually, through history I have undertaken some quite devilish exploits just to attract attention so that people will love me!”
Matthew asked supportively, “Can you give us some examples please?”
Luc drew a breath (notably without breathing fire or smoke) and sighed, “Well there are classical examples of my temptations offering everlasting life in exchange for something simple.”
Matthew asked, “Something simple like what?”
Luc went on, “Just their souls, for example.”
Matthew asked further, “And was it easy to persuade people?”
Luc continued, “Some, like Goethe’s Faust, were hard jobs. Many politicians and social climbers however, were dead easy. I could go on with similar examples but everyone knows about these classical devilish works. There are some quite different actions of mine that are hardly known about – at least not known here on earth among the sinners.”
Matthew swallowed, “You mention sinners, just how many are there?”
Luc answered, “It rather depends on who you ask. There are many who consider each of their deeds as holy, that only the deeds of others are sins. But broadly spoken everyone on earth is a sinner. Not because of the so-called ‘original sin’ devised by some clerics in response to the original activities in the Garden of Eden, but because humans are human! They are weak, stupid, easily seduced, very judgmental, given to self-worship and self-projection. Many are so ambitious and greedy that they would try to take advantage of even the devil. There are those who honestly try to improve their attitudes and behavior. However too many don’t see why they should change their behavior towards other humans, especially if the others are considered to come from a lower level!”
Matthew said, “Is this your personal view, or does it represent an overview of humankind in the minds of those up above?”
Luc sighed, “Unfortunately it is the general view upstairs. A lot of our work down here is to try to convince those selfish humans that humanity is better off with them!”
Matthew looked puzzled, “I am not sure what you mean, do you try to persuade them to change?“
Luc went on, “Absolutely! The majority of people feel much better if they help others. They find a great richness in contact with other beings. Much more wealth in giving, than before when they were only taking. Sadly there are great political and social movements in human society, where stealing from the many to line one’s own pockets is sold as a virtue.”
Matthew asked, “When do people think about becoming human instead of remaining greedy?”
Luc continued, “The majority start to question the ‘deal of the steal’ when they find that their end is approaching. At that point they fall over backwards trying to reclaim entrance points for the step through the Pearly Gates. There are also those who paid donations to the ‘right ones’ all of their lives, and expect to be given special treatment on their judgement day. One day they might realize that no one was listening! Or more correctly those whom they thought were listening, were actually spending their time solving the disasters of the world. The heavenly choir is not just waiting until some individual from down here starts praying for their personal helpline. Hunger, famine, plague, flood and war demand one hundred percent attention for the heavenly choir and other organizations up there.
Matthew thought to change the theme. He asked, “Do you ever interfere in individual cases?”
Luc answered, “Well never on demand from an evil person. A person who has done things against others, and expects to be forgiven just because of their own ego! Sometimes one of us up there, who is on duty, makes sure that it is the criminals that are caught and not the innocent. Unfortunately the world is a big place for the on-duty team to see everything, and many crimes go unchecked at the time, even by us. But they do get recorded in the Big Book, and on that day they will be judged!”
Matthew thought to change the theme again. He asked, “Please tell us some more about the lies and the color changes and the effect on your tail!”
Luc sighed, “Oh you want to discuss again my weaknesses and soft spots!”
“Well only if you agree Luc,” said Matthew.
Luc sat back, “Well with the help of the discussions at the ‘Truth Society’, I have really made progress and never tell ‘red’ lies anymore. The green color you saw is my way of blushing in embarrassment – not a lie color for me! I am still working on stopping white lies. You do realize that is difficult for me in my role. The majority of humanity has been educated to treat me badly. They have been educated to believe that I am the cause and root of all evil. Very few people are wise enough, and quick enough, to realize that each person usually causes their own evil. A few rare people can advise others to look for the faults in their behavior - and not simply blame everything that is bad on the devil. On top of all of this I have accumulated over millennia, accusations of political leaders and many others who talk a lot that I am evil - whereas they themselves are holy! True, some politicians accuse their opponents of actions that are much worse than anything the devil is supposed to have done. Anyway all of this false accusation has caused an increasing crisis in my soul where I desperately need to be loved!”
"My goodness,“ exclaimed Matthew, “Your frankness and honesty about yourself are a lesson to us all! In summary Mr. Ifer, please tell us about your personal experiences of not telling as many lies and the length of your tail –if I am not being too nosy and impertinent to ask?”
“Not at all,“ replied Luc, “The last time I was here my tail was a standard devil length tail that you see in most illustrations – about 150 centimeters. Now with no red lies, no blue lies, no orange lies, and very few white lies, the tail length is down to fifty centimeters!”
Matthew finalized the interview, “But Luc don’t go too far, we wouldn’t recognize you without a tail. You would look like the rest of us!”
Luc finalized, “Yes, that’s exactly the problem!”