I was asked the other night by a well-wisher why I wasn’t Famous. At the time I was lost for words (so many reasons!)  but later I realised I should have told them

 the cautionary tale related by the great Parisian poet Charles Baudelaire, entitled ;


The Three Demons


One dark, moonless night long ago, I awakened suddenly from my dreamless sleep, seized by a feeling of overwhelming excitement and anticipation, as though something of tremendous importance was about to happen.

As events were to prove, I was not mistaken.

For, sitting up in, I saw with surprise that set in the dingy wall opposite my bed was a door, where there had never been a door before. Furthermore, from around the edges of this door there streamed a greenish light that illuminated my room with a weird, unworldly hue.

As I sat staring at this inexplicable manifestation, the door slowly swung open. Beyond were revealed steps which descended down, down into a swirling viridian mist. And out of this mist came three Demons. Up the steep steps they came and through the door and into my room, and there they stood before me. And each of them offered me their gifts, if only I would give them my soul in return.


The first Demon was in the form of a jolly fat man, and his name was FORTUNE. He laughed often and when he laughed you could hear the clinking & chinking of metal, as though his vast belly were filled with silver coins. He was clad in loose shimmering robes of gold, but through the gaps in the cloth you could see that his whole body was curiously tattooed with entwined and convoluted figures.

This Demon promised me all the Wealth of the World! Treasures long buried by dead tyrants. Vaults of gold and jewels in anonymous Swiss banks. Stocks that would climb until I sold. Yes, all this would be mine, and all that such wealth could buy, if only I would sell him my soul.

But as he made his sales pitch I was staring in horror at his tattooes, for I could now discern that the twisting figures depicted the forms of starving children. Each was a picture of FAMINE; the round, staring eyes and the xylophone ribs, the distended bellies and the matchstick limbs.

I knew then how those vaults of which the Demon spoke came to be filled with gold, and thus it was with cold contempt

that I declined the Demon’s gift.


Now the name of the second Demon was EROS,

and this creature had something of the androgynous allure of the professional transvestite of the stage, but mixed with the unworldly beauty of a Hindu God.

Its skin was tinged a delicate blue and the scent of perfumes and incense hung about it and the heavy-lidded eyes were rimmed with Kohl. Dressed in fishnets and the latest pop-star fetish-ware, I thought at first it must be wearing stillettoes from the clicking footsteps I heard, but then I observed in fact

that it had hooves instead of feet.


This Demon offered me the Love of whomsoever I desired. Any girl, any woman, any boy could be mine. Any and as many

lovers as I could desire would be mine for the asking. The most unattainable Model, the most blushing virgin. The Demon offered me a life of unending Pleasure and Passion.

But I noticed around the Demons waist a knotted leather belt which filled me with a growing feeling of dread. For from this belt hung many tiny hooks and razor blades, and also curious crystal phials filled with unknown fluids.

From some subconscious part of my brain the suspicion came upon me that these tiny bottles contained sinister potions, poisons and acids. Though I did not understand the purpose or meaning of these blades and hooks and phials, I found myself shivering, and so it was that, stammering as if from cold, I declined the second Demon’s gifts.


The third demon’s name was FAME and she carried a shining, golden trumpet.

Clad in sweeping purple robes, she had the majestic mien of a mature and noble woman whose beauty has not yet faded. She was both beautiful and familiar, like a gracefully aging actress whose fine cheekbones still defy Time.

Wasting no time with words, she merely brought the golden trumpet to her lips and played upon it a single note, and that note carried a name. And Wonder of Wonders, it was my name that was sounded by that Hellish trumpet! Ah and what a note it was! What a pure, pealing, tremendous note it was, a note of brass and thunder, that reverberated with a hundred overtones, and each of them traveled to the furthest reaches of the Universe and back, crossing and recrossing and echoing down the corridors of time.

“Hmm,” I thought,” now that’s tempting.”


Indeed, I was on the point of accepting the Demons gift, when a memory unbidden tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of when it was that I had last seen this Lady, and who it was I had seen her with, and where. And I remembered all the others with whom she had been seen, all those whom Fame had made her pet, the whole ghastly crew. The unending line of miserable creatures she had had as her consort to strut the red carpet for a season or three. Yes and their follies and their scandals, I remembered, and also how fickle she was with her Favourites and how each had been ultimately discarded in their turn,.

“Well well,” I mocked,” A Strumpet with a Trumpet!”

The Demon winced at that.

“Madame,” I demurred with cold and formal politeness,

“I do not care to be seen with One

who keeps such company as yours”.


At this my last refusal, the three Demons bowed to me, and in serene and stately procession, passed back through the mysterious door, down the steep steps and dissappeared into the swirling green mists. After a moment the door itself swung slowly shut, and the light seeping through its edges gradually faded, till the outlines could no longer be discerned and I found myself once again staring at the blank and dingy wall opposite my bed.

I know not how long I sat there staring mutely at the wall, but I was suddenly brought back to self awareness by the sound of a cock crowing, and startled, I realised that the sky had just begun to lighten on the eastern rim of the world.

Yes at that moment it was as though I had finally fully awakened from a fitful dream, and rememberance of the night’s events flooded my mind.

Instantly I lept from my bed and flung myself to my knees on the floor. There I cried out loudly, my hands raised in supplication,

“Oh mighty Demons! Oh good, kind, wise Demons!

Please come back to me! I’ve changed my mind! Please forgive my arrogance and stupidity! I was a fool to spurn your gifts! Return! Please return! Won’t one of you return?”

But there was only silence. The door remained closed.


That was many years ago now.

And although since then I have repeated my prayer

to the three Demons every single day of my life,

they have never,



Rev meditates, traffic calming




September 2016 handbill red blue


The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet,

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity Inc

and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

AND the Church of the Universe.

Laughed all the way to the Grave..



~ by reverendhellfire on September 12, 2016.

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