Monday, April 11, 2016

Miss Havana's Off-Beat Comedy

While writing the Miss Havana series of novels, I tried to imagine all the bad things that could happen to the devil if he materialized in the realm of the living. Here are a few excerpts where the devil leaves his realm “below” and appears in various forms “above”.

1. In an excerpt from The Substitute, the devil joins Waldo, his henchman on the surface, to wreak havoc among the living and to help raise Lilith, the daughter the devil produced with Miss Havana. As his spirit emerges above, it takes over the body of “Bob”:

Waldo can’t help but notice my angry glare when he returns. He sits on the opposite side of the bed staring at the floor in silence as I nervously tap my fingers on the bed sheet, waiting for anything that might explain what I’ve found, or more correctly, what I haven’t found. Finally, I’m forced to address the problem directly. “All right, Waldo, where the hell is my penis? I didn’t come here to be half female!”

            He shuffles his feet, crouches lower like I’m about to slap the back of his head, probably because I would if I could reach the bastard across the bed, and refuses to look me in the face as he answers in a near whisper. “Bob had a sex change operation. He wanted to make my time here as comfortable as possible.”

            I’m stunned. How could Waldo, my most ancient ally, allow such a thing to happen, knowing I would eventually occupy this body? Surely he knew my spirit would arrive here all male, regardless of any feminist leanings my host might have had. My ire rises sharply. “You went along with that knowing I’d be the guy with a pussy?” Waldo will indeed be in deep shit when we get home. There’s no question about that!

            “I’m sorry, Boss, but I could only do so much without you being here. Bob insisted and wanted to please. Besides, I had to take care of the baby.”

            I snap back without thinking that what he said has a tiny element of merit. “You horny bastard! What about me? Shit! I planned endless orgies with all the pleasures flesh can offer, but spending time with sweaty two hundred pound males just doesn’t ring my chime.”

            He bows his head even lower, deeply ashamed he has let me down. He should be, because he has condemned my time here to celibacy. When he finally looks up, all he can offer is, “Okay, Boss, I know you won’t be happy with what I’m about to say either, but just remember, I had nothing whatsoever to do with any of it. I’m just the messenger who has had fifteen months to think about it, and even then, I’m not too sure of anything.”
            My scowl deepens before he continues, and I immediately suspect…Miss Havana! “How’d she do it, Waldo? How’d she keep me in purgatory for so long?”

            He looks up, slowly shaking his head. “First thing, Boss, my name here is Fred, and you are Bob. The Bob you replaced was a very understanding guy, a good and lustful man, but he didn’t like the original Fred very much, in fact, not at all. We reached an accord. I took over as Fred. The two of us enjoyed each other’s company and the baby for the past fifteen months. In exchange, I told him I’d put in a good word for him with you when you got here, although I can see how the pussy thing might screw that up. Anyway, our last name here is Moore, a respectable name. Our daughter’s name is Lilith—Lilith Havana Moore.”

            My jaw drops. “Fuck! Lilith Havana! Who authorized that?”

            “Sorry, Boss, I thought you knew. Miss Havana made me promise to name the baby that long before her birth. Frankly, I thought you approved because Lilith is Hebrew for ‘female devil’ as well as the name attributed to Adam's first wife—the one who taught him lust!”

            Disgust must radiate from my face. “Miss Havana is a master of half-truth, you idiot. Lilith was a proud and willful militant feminist who claimed equality with Adam. That’s why the other side threw her out of the Garden of Eden! It should have been as clear to you as it is to me. The bitch gave my daughter that name intentionally to mock me!”

2. When Waldo uses arsenic to poison the devil’s surface-bound host, the devil arrives in purgatory. After a few rude comments and nasty actions, a “light creature” pushes him over the edge (excerpt from The Substitute):   

After some time, I see a dim reddish glow below, perhaps the lights of home. Although I’m as anxious to get there as anyone possibly could be, I fear my extreme downward acceleration is probably not a good thing. Before I can utter, “Oh, Myself!” I hit the surface with the force of a small bomb, causing a huge wave of brown slime to roll outward from my impact zone. Dazed but still floating with clumps of brown slime raining down from above and splatting into the brownish liquid surrounding me, I slowly realize the tiny light creature intentionally pushed me into purgatory’s sewer and I’m awash in Holy Shit. Without question, the cheeky little bastard will be on my shit list for eternity!

3. The devil’s daughter, Lilith, also gets hers, but she generally gives as much as she gets. In the passages below from The Trophy Wife, the body of Lily has been taken over by the spirit of Lilith.

Lily could hardly believe it. She arrived late for class the following day, but the Havana bitch didn’t say a word. Even more, Miss Havana conducted her class as if nothing happened the night before. Lily expected some response—a sarcastic thank-you for the caramel sauce or an admonishment of some kind—but Miss Havana continued to radiate her all-is-well-in-wonderland smile. When class ended, Miss Havana requested everyone leave except Lily. Lily smirked internally. Ah, a rematch.

This time most of the students clustered outside of the door to listen for the faint whistling sound followed by the slap of wood against stretched fabric. Only a few heard the sounds before, but rumors spread fast. The one concerning Lily’s past punishment raced through the school like an accelerant-driven flame. A hush fell over the hall outside the classroom; dead silence reigned within.

Lily squirmed in her desk chair, trying to reach the switchblade in her purse, as Miss Havana’s glare focused on her. Lily could neither reach down nor get up and, for the life of her, she did not understand why. Totally helpless, Lily watched Miss Havana extract the large paddle from her oversized bag, set its rounded end on the floor and lean into it with both hands on the handle. Miss Havana’s glare deepened as Lily silently cursed the small beads of sweat she felt gathering on her brow.

After a few moments, Miss Havana began speaking in a low, controlled voice. “I know you did it, Lily—you and some fool you conned into being your accomplice.”

Lily’s eyes widened. She licked her lips and slowly shook her head. “I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.” She grunted as she tried to force herself out of her seat.

Miss Havana stood erect and flexed her shoulders. She set the paddle on her desk and then extracted a bottle of caramel sauce from her bag. A hard expression crossed her face as she walked to Lily’s desk, pulled the collar of Lily’s blouse away from her neck, and then poured the gooey semi-liquid down her back, up her nape, and into her hair. Next she added feathers. Lily’s breath came is short gasps when Miss Havana stepped back and said, “It can be fun to clean off if you do it with the right partner.”

Miss Havana then strutted to the front of the room, picked up the paddle and began tapping the rounded end on the floor. Once again her hardened glare fell on Lily. “Discipline can be a bitch. You may come to the front of the room now.”

Suddenly Lily seemed compelled to get out of her chair and walk robot-like to the front of the classroom as if on autopilot. She couldn’t scream. She knew what would happen next but seemed helpless to prevent it. Although she fought with every muscle in her body, she stooped over and grabbed her ankles. Miss Havana lined up behind her and, with all the strength she could muster, swung the paddle against Lily’s butt. Whack!

Lily danced on her toes as soon as the paddle made a fire-hot imprint on her ass. She wanted to cry out, but whispered sympathy from the other side of the door kept her in check: “Oh, my God”…“Poor Lily”…“What comes around goes around”…“That’ll leave a mark.”

* * * *
Miss Havana heard the hushed voices too, and smiled. From now on, my other students should be far more receptive to my lessons. Watching Lily gyrate in abject pain on her tippy toes produced the same reaction Miss Havana had noted before. Her private area dampened, and she secretly wished Jackson would show up to put out the flame building inside her.

When Lily stopped her dance of silence, Miss Havana blew a quick puff of breath across the surface of the paddle. “We can do this forever, Lily, or you can just stop attacking me.”

Lily shot back. “I hope you choke on the next penis you swallow!”

Making the war between good and evil, or at least less evil and more evil, provides hours of laughter. If you enjoy off-beat humor that is a little risqué, then you will love the Miss Havana novels: The Substitute; Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!; The Training Bra; and The Trophy Wife.

Thanks for reading!
James L. Hatch



Tina Donahue said...

I still think these books would make an insanely funny movie or TV series. Did you watch "You, Me, and the Apocalypse?" Loved it. Yours could be something like that.

jean hart stewart said...

Love even the titles of your books...