While writing the four Miss Havana paranormal comedy novels, I let my imagination run wild…and tried to imagine all the bad things that could happen to those from “below” if they materialized “above”.
1. In the following excerpt from The Substitute, the devil leaves his realm to join up with Waldo, his henchman on the surface, to wreak havoc and help raise Lilith, the daughter the devil produced with Miss Havana. As the devil emerges above, he 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!”
Waldo 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 radiates 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. In The Training Bra, the devil’s daughter, Lilith, has overthrown the devil and now rules the underworld. She keeps her father on a tight leash and does what she can to humiliate him. Here’s a sample:
My daughter sucks as bad as an Amish virgin. Her weirdwolves suck. My station in death sucks. Everything sucks. I grit my teeth and sit in rigid fear of retribution as the stinking weirdwolf pinches off the last log of its insult on the back of my neck and the warm runny part drips down my spine. The indignity of it all pisses me off. The only sharp thing I have is my wit, or I’d teach the damn thing to growl like a soprano. One quick cut. That’s all it’d take. For the death of me, I don’t understand how a creature that eats only junk food can produce such a huge dump.
I glare at the back of Lilith’s lofty throne, wishing once again I had never lusted after the evil she-devil, Miss Havana. If not for that bitch, I would be sitting on that throne meting out judgments as I had for eternity. My lust might have been blind, but my daughter has been a real eye-opener. The longer I sit here the less impressed I am with her. Lilith considers herself the underworld’s gift to judgment, but I’ve sent many victims to their ultimate horror with far more flair and greater accolades from the gallery.
She reads the files of the accused before pronouncing judgment, and it all comes out the same: “Bla, bla, bla.” Her judgments are like anger without enthusiasm, like reaching a conclusion by getting tired of thinking. I also can’t imagine why she gives any victim the opportunity to respond. The demons screw with the files so much the information in them is of little value, and nothing the judged might utter will alter the outcome one whit.
Yes, Lilith’s judgments suck as much as she does. What good is pain without ironic depravity? I watch her latest victim fall on his knees, shit himself and cry for mercy. His fetor is like perfume compared to the stench of theses damned weirdwolves. Lilith ignores his pleas and banishes him to the eternal fate she believes he has earned.
He’s lucky she sits on the throne instead of me because his fate would have been far worse had I judged him. What a shithead. The bastard stole whatever he could get his hands on, even some Girl Scout cookies … and a few Girl Scouts. He claims he just can’t resist a girl in uniform. I could fix that.
Lilith’s demons will stuff his throat with cookies until he suffocates for eternity, but I would have put him on an eternal hike instead. Without clothing, water or food under a boiling sun, he would forever trek on blistered feet through fields of thorns. A vision of encamped naked Girl Scouts just over the next rise would plague his mind and drive him onward to that place of comfort where he could slake his burning need for food, water and carnal gratification—a place he would never reach. Judgment should include a twist of ironic degradation; pain and fear are not enough.
The massive creature that defiled my shoulder bares its fangs and drips yellow foam down my back as I squirm in an attempt to slide its stinking pile off my shoulder. I brace for its attack as the beast lunges, and scream in pain as the damned nightmare rips a chunk from my opposite shoulder. It gags as it swallows, like it has eaten something unnaturally nasty. Then it pukes all over me.
The judged heal fast in Lilith’s Realm; otherwise, my pain and humiliation would have ended long ago. That’s the thing about eternal judgment … one’s fate repeats forever. Lilith’s monsters do their worst when they are ordered to discipline me—an endless cycle of taunting, reacting and wanton attacks. They gag on every bite but will never learn to leave me alone. To attack is their fate; to be degraded eternally is mine.
3. Miss Havana is given an opportunity to reform in Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! Of course, she blows it. The excerpt below is her introduction to the realm "above".
The light is so damn blinding I can’t see where all the enthusiasm is coming from. I shield my eyes with my hand to get a better look. This is not what I expected.
As I adjust to the glare, I see the owner of the happy-ass voice. His bright-as-the-light smile seems to take up his entire face and his eyes are opened wide, like he’s had far too many espressos. His silhouette is skinny, his skin is dark and he has a straggly goatee—oh, crap, it’s braided in dreadlocks! I curl my lips into a sneer as I address it. “Who or what are you? You can’t possibly be St. Peter.”
He mimes an innocent expression and blinks his huge brown eyes. “Oh, I see. You expected someone else.” He raises his hand to a level about three inches above my head. “Maybe someone about so tall with a nice Santa Clause beard. Perhaps an old white guy.”
He places his hands on his hips, pushes his ass out and turns his nose up. He’s either mocking me or a flaming gay. I shake my head in disgust. “Look, whoever or whatever you are—”
His grin broadens. “I’m ‘The Brazilian’, your guide and teacher.” He slides his arm beneath mine as though all is forgiven and begins pulling me along. “I’m delighted to make your acquaintance. You’re in good hands now.”
What the fuck? I slam on the brakes, and he nearly stumbles “There’s crap on your toga. If I’m where I’m supposed to be, then why the stain? Aren’t people here supposed to be without stain? Is this another one of Lucifer’s goddamn tricks, or are you just sloppy with food?”
He throws his arms up. “Mercy me! Language like that is forbidden here. You’re on probation, and I don’t think you want to go back to the man below. He has a bone to pick with you, and in your case it’d be your bloody broken bones he’d pick for sure.”
He climbs down from his high horse long enough to inspect his toga, and picks off some nasty-looking chicken. His sheepish grin reveals large white teeth. “Lunch was excellent.”
I ignore his leftovers and mock his ignorance. “You mean the woman below don’t you? Lilith took over, you idiot, she runs everything now.”
He puts his hand to his large mouth like he really doesn’t know, and exclaims, “You don’t say! I heard you and the shithead had a kid, but didn’t know she took over. Maybe that’s a bad omen, maybe not, but you’re here now, so congratulations are in order. Nevertheless, watch your tongue. Foul words are not spoken here under any circumstance.”
He cocks his hip and places one hand on it. His eyes narrow into a glare and he shakes his finger at me. “You need to work on your interpersonal skills too. My name is ‘The Brazilian’, not ‘you idiot!’”
He’s weird and sensitive. Just my luck. “So you’re something like Croco? You’re the gatekeeper … but gay?”
He shakes his head and sighs as he begins pulling me along again. “You’re a hard case, Miss Havana. I’ll do my best to guide you, but you need to open your heart and mind. I’ll teach by showing; you’ll learn by doing. That’s how it’s done here.”
I’m not sure where he’s dragging me or why. Everything is sparkling white—a vast plain of nothingness. If it’s all like this, what difference does it make which direction we go? I placate him with feigned acquiescence until I see a gathering of people in the distance. My spirit perks up. “What’s going on up there? Looks like a party.”
He stops, licks his fingers, and flattens the hair over my forehead with spit. I shudder; it’s disgusting. “There now,” he says looking me over like a new toy, “you need to look your best for our meet and greet. They might not all be friendly.”
I bat his hand aside. “Who gives a shit about them? Do they have liquor?”
He licks his fingers again, but I catch him by the wrist before he reaches my head. He gives me a sad look, as if I just don’t understand.
Lilith’s Home! Maybe I don’t.
He folds his arms and gives me a scolding glare. “Look, Miss Havana, you need to trust me. I am your friend as well as your guide, and I can tell you this: as in life, so it is in the afterlife—you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Just relax and everything will be fine.”
Nonchalant, I shrug while looking into the distance. He exhales an exasperated sigh through his huge nostrils, and then continues pulling me along. The throng separates as we approach, like I have the plague or some other deadly disease. I don’t see any booze, but one of the women looks familiar—shit, it’s Senator Wansworth’s daughter! Didn’t that bitch commit suicide?
The Brazilian shuffles us toward a large throne. No one speaks, but they all glare at me with what feels like intense scorn. If I could shake my arm free of The Brazilian’s vice-like grip, I’d give them the one finger salute. He stops at the throne, bows and sweeps his arm toward me. “Sir, this young lady is—”
The man on the throne raises his hand, stopping The Brazilian in mid-sentence, and then seems to lean forward to get a better look at me. “Ah, Miss Havana, you might have a difficult time adjusting to probation, considering what you’ve been through; therefore, some leniency will be extended to you during our evaluation. You will, however, be expected to make progress.”
I glance at The Brazilian and mutter under my breath, “Who the hell is this?”
The Brazilian trembles, but doesn’t answer. Instead the man on the throne does. “I am … St. Peter. Welcome to heaven.”
Can this be real? Can HE be real? I feel weakness in my bowels. I want to pee, and the fart I needed in purgatory slips out accidentally. I look up with a coy smile, ignoring the odor, and bend in a shallow bow. “A pleasure, I’m sure.”
He beams down at me, but not in a good way, although I can’t fully make out his facial features through the brilliance. “You have much to learn, Miss Havana, besides colon control. The Brazilian will guide you. Listen to him. Learn from him. The time of your testing will be upon you soon enough.”
4. Throughout the Miss Havana novels, Lilith, the devil’s daughter, is at war with Miss Havana. In the passage below from The Trophy Wife, the body of Lily has been taken over by the spirit of Lilith, and Lilith uses Lily to strike at Miss Havana. The night before Lilith and Waldo had ambushed Miss Havana with caramel sauce and feathers. Miss Havana subsequently uses her powers as the former Queen of Darkness for retribution.
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 again. 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. Hatchhttp://www.amazon.com/James-L.-Hatch/e/B005CQB6E6