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"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" are inscribed onto the WHAT of hell?

"Bill Baldwin" <>
(chuckle, computers)

[Reposted from by permission of the author]

>Yes, but it's common knowledge that Bill forfeited his soul to Satan
>to get where he is today.

Well, that's the short story. Bill actually forfeited his soul simply for the success that came with the first implementation of MS-DOS. And Satan was happy for a while.

Then one day Bill said, "Satan, I want 100 million dollars."

Satan said, "Why should I give you anything more? I already own your soul."

"That old thing?" Bill said. "Why, there are all kinds of sins that soul can't commit. I'm thinking of plans so evil that if you tried to get that soul to carry them out, it'd just freeze up."

"I does that already," Satan whined. "What does a soul mean when it says 'Abort Retry Ignore Fail'? What am I supposed to do?"

"You see?" smirked Bill. "You were never really satisfied with that soul anyway. You need the new improved version."

"But why should I pay?" whimpered Satan. "If I own your soul don't I have the right to free upgrades?"

"You're paying for research," Bill said smoothly. "I can't afford to just give it away. You understand, don't you?"

"But the only reason I need the new soul is because this one's defective." Satan scratched his head. It didn't seem like a good deal somehow.

"Look!" snapped Bill. "Do you want to keep that old soul? Fine. That's your lookout. I'll sell the new one to someone else and suddenly *he'll* be committing sins that make yours look stupid. Do you want to be stuck with my old soul when someone else has the upgrade?"

"It is a pretty crappy soul," Satan admitted. "All right. Another 100 million dollars."

"Oh, and you have to make me smarter, stronger, and faster or I can't control this new soul," Bill persisted.

"Fine. Consider it done."

This scene played itself out several times over the following years. Each time Bill got more money and became smarter, stronger, and faster so Satan could take advantage of the new soul. Each time it seemed that this new soul would be the right one, the one that sinned the way a soul ought to sin.

Each time Bill returned, slyly insinuating that this new soul was a piece of junk, outdated and outmoded, and that pretty soon he was going to stop doing sins this soul supported and only conceive of sins that were beyond its capabilities. This led, as we said, to more money and more power.

These days the conversations go easier than they used to. Satan's lost his will to resist. Bill strides into the office and says, "Hello, Satan."

And Satan replies, "Yes Master?"

Last we heard Satan was going to lay off most of the demons and restructure Hell as a satellite office. He's relocating to Seattle.

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