the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Joy of 666


Today is June 6, 2006 or 6/6/06 or 666.  Whichever way you read it, today is clearly the scariest day EVER.  It is the day of the Beast.  The Apocalypse.  It is also the perfect day to sit around the blogging campfire and tell terrifying stories about the Devil.  So, grab the edge of your seat — all of you with hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (fear of the number 666) — and let’s begin this devilish tale:

The Devil and Neilochka  by Neil Kramer

I was feeling depressed, and even Wellbutrin didn’t help.  My marriage was in shambles.  My career was going nowhere.  Suddenly, Satan appeared in a pillar of smoke, like Bon Jovi at a rock concert from 1990.

“Neilochka,” he said.  “How would you like to have all your dreams fulfilled?   Love, success, everything?

“Sounds great,” I said.

“But there’s one hitch.  You have to sell me your soul.”


Satan handed me a contract.  I looked at it and quickly signed it.

Years passed.  My marriage with Sophia flourished.  The top five best-selling novels were all written by me.   The top single in America was my song, “Sophia.”  Dooce quit blogging to become my typist and foot masseuse.   Life was perfect.

One day, there was a knock on the door.  It was Satan.

“Hello, Neilochka,” he said.

“Oh, hi, Satan.   I’m sorry.  You surprised me.   I’m having a little dinner party tonight and I was expecting Gore Vidal, Scarlett Johannson, or Mikhail Gorbachev.”

“I’m here for my payment.  You owe me your soul.”

“Oh, right.  Sure.  I’ll be right back.”

I left Satan at the door.  In a few minutes, I returned carrying a large platter of Fillet of Sole Florentine, one of Sophia’s best dishes.

“But you know, Satan, you’re really putting me in a jam.  What is Sophia going to serve for dinner now?”

 “Neilochka, you must be confused.  I don’t want this sole. I want your soul.”

“Oh yeah?”

I took out Satan’s contract and unrolled the scroll. 

“Look here, Satan — it says here:  ‘When I return in 5 years time, ewe must give me your sole.’  So, do you want it or not?”

Satan pounded his fist against his leg.

“Darn it!  My bad spelling foiled me again!”

Satan looked pretty down on himself.

“It’s your own fault” I said.  “Maybe if you had spent more time studying in school rather than doing evil deeds, you would have become a better speller.”

“This is not the only time I’ve screwed up.  Just last week I couldn’t collect on a contract with this guy, because it said that June 4-th will be the last “sundae” of his life.  And then I signed it “Prints of Darkness.”

I could tell his self-esteem was shot.   I quietly thanked Mrs. Goldfarb, my first grade teacher, for teaching me about the importance of spelling.  I looked over at Satan and felt pity.  Sure he was evil, but he was only doing his job.

“You know.  We have plenty of food for another guest tonight.  Sophia is an excellent cook. Oh, and I also have last week’s Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tivo.  I think you might enjoy it.”

Satan was surprised by the offer.  I guess he doesn’t get invited over too much because of his really bad breath.

“Is Scarlett Johannson really coming to dinner?  She has great knockers!”

“Tell me about it, you devil!”

We both laughed.  It was good to see some color coming back into his face.  I showed Satan into the living room. 

“Hey, Sophia,” I yelled into the kitchen.  “Add another setting.  Satan’s in the house!”


  1. The Retropolitan

    If only Faust had focused on the spelling…

  2. Thérèse

    And this just goes to show yet again how useful spelling is. How often do you suppose Satan goes trolling for soles?

  3. V-Grrrl

    So where do you think Scarlett Johansson got the perfect knockers and sexy lips? Uh-huh. That’s what I think too. Deal with the Devil.

  4. mari

    ““Look here, Satan — it says here: ‘When I return in 5 years time, ewe must give me your sole.’ So, do you want it or not?”

    Satan pounded his fist against his leg.

    “Darn it! My bad spelling foiled me again!”

    Satan looked pretty down on himself.”


  5. better safe than sorry

    careful, you might wind up in hell over this one, cuz you never know who’s watching!

  6. Paris Parfait

    Neil, you clever devil you! Over dinner a couple of nights ago I was talking about the significance of these numbers – how the late Shah of Iran’s Pahlavi Foundation (before the Revolution knocked him for six) was located at 666 Fifth Avenue, New York. Prime real estate with a very bad number. To the Chinese, almost as bad as 444. I know some Chinese women in San Fran who refuse to enter a building with that address – even though it has a fab restaurant! Because 4 is the number of death to the Chinese and 444 triples the curse!

  7. idighootchandcootch

    I think this was the direction Marlowe initially wanted to go.

  8. Michele

    This post is awesome. Good job. Yay you!

  9. TWM

    Genius. You are a genius my man. BTW, you should be working on a book of your posts, but I am sure a genius like you has thought about that.


  10. Alison

    Satan is IN THE HOUSE!


  11. M.A.

    See what happens when the devil quits school?

  12. DebR

    So THAT’S how it happened! It all makes sense now!

    I wonder what the word is for a fear of having to say hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia out loud?

  13. Margaret

    Is that Satan’s problem is, low self-esteem?

  14. boxen

    the shopping mission was clearly hexed; only a pair of flanny pj’s to be had. that dude’s got his finger in all the pies.

  15. Kevin

    Scarlett truly does, doesn’t she? Mmmm…

    Actually, if you had read that contract correctly, you are not responsible for giving him that sole. It is a female sheep (“ewe”) who is responsible. Get your fish back!

  16. Alex

    Again, you are a great writer!!! This was very funny indeed. (& Thank you for having me as your daily blog crush yesterday! I appreciated it very much!)

  17. Blonde Vigilante

    You said “Satan looked pretty.”

    You’re such a goof ball.

  18. modigli

    so funny! 🙂 Who knew it would be SPELLING that was Satan’s weakness! This is like a cautionary tale to students who don’t study their spelling words.

    Your silly sense of humor cracks me up, Neil!!

  19. Trixie

    Clearly, TWM is going for the daily blog crush.

  20. Sarah

    I’m sorry, once you mentioned Scarlett Johannson I sorta blanked out.
    What were you saying?

  21. eeekat

    “Satan handed me a contract.  I looked at it and quickly signed it.”

    ha!!!! priceless, as always.

    is your career *really* going nowhere? you should be rich and famous…

  22. steph

    awesome! hahaha

  23. chantel

    This only shows how brave you are. Flying in the face of thousands of years of prophecy and yet you still mock it.

    ha, ha, ha (evil laugh)

  24. Jenni

    Satan always made me go out to the bar in college instead of studying for my exams.


  25. Roberta

    The blogging campfire. What a world in there; your head.
    I couldn’t help but notice you gave Mr. Bub the okay before you ever checked the spelling.
    Nicely done, overall.
    — Today is clearly the scariest day EVER.

  26. jackt

    Dude this is an AWESOME post. I’m still laughing right now.

    I still want to read the spelling-related post about Jews and Chinese admitting that Indians are the smartest though. I know you’ve got it in the archives. Time to let it out for a little air! 🙂

  27. Melissa

    Oh, Neil, you card.

  28. Dagny

    Hehehe. Reminds me of college. My student ID number ended in “666.” One day at the registrar’s office, the woman who was helping looked at my ID number, blanched, and then said, “You know you can ask for a new number.” I told her, “But I kind of like this one.”

  29. rachh

    Outrageously deliciously funny Neilochka, legendary post as always. Boyf’s birthday today,he’s 6/6/69, mmmmmm that is very interesting
    (she says with one eyebrow raised)
    think I am screwed!!!!!

  30. Scarlet

    “Satan’s in the house”-I love it!

    Nothing scary has happened here yet. Heads are spinning but that is the norm.

  31. Daisy Mae

    Okay, ewe realy skert me with that story. I surelly am gled I am a graet speler.

  32. Brooke

    See that? Your first grade teacher saved your life! Now I know I made the right career decision.

  33. Daisy Mae

    I have been trying to forget the date of today actually.

    Okay, ewe realy skert me with that story. I surelly am gled I am a graet speler.

  34. laurie

    Does the Prints of Darkness look anything like Kris Kristofferson? I always think of the devil in blue jeans, like the song. Not that I think of the devil a lot, you know. Much.

  35. Tim

    what an aweful speller that devil is!

  36. kimananda

    What a wonderful feel-good story. Well done!

  37. The Artist

    [said in my best Will&Grace “Jack” voice] “Hi my name is SATIN and I’ll be your tempter today . . . .”

  38. Dustin

    Neil, you totally —-ed yourself over on this one. Technically Satan now gets all of your Sole, which means you’ll never enjoy Fillet of Sole Florentine, which by your own admission is “… one of Sophia’s best dishes.”

    Is life really worth living with out sole?

  39. Kestrel

    Only you would catch something fishy in a soul-stealing document. Good eye Neil, good eye.

  40. introspectre

    So who is the sheep that is giving Satan sole? I’m so confused. Must be all that stupid evil in the air.
    I knew something smelled bad. I thought it was my butt.

    ps) check it out:

    Good for those exercise buffs. Or you can give the link to charity, whatever.

  41. amanda

    simply brilliant…”tell me about it, you devil.” love it!!!

  42. Nance

    I have been preaching the evils of spell-check to my students for years. Now I will have your story for hard proof! NEIL!! ONE MORE DAY AND I AM FREE!! I MADE IT AFTER ALL!! **HAPPY SUMMER TO ALL OF US TEACHER BLOGGERS**

  43. Nance

    Oh, and Neil…just noticed… “Tales of a Wandering Mind” was already your crush. You must have it bad for that blogger!

  44. Neil

    I know, Nance. But did you read his comment? Three “geniuses” in one comment is always a sure winner!

    Introspectre — Are you suggesting that the Biceps for Bloggers participants are so in shape now that we should walk across the country?

  45. teahouseblossom

    Gosh, I love that word that means fear of 666. I think one of the kids spelled it in the National Spelling Bee last week.

    In honor of today, I have re-read Dante’s Divine Comedy.

  46. Neil

    Teahouse — The Spelling Bee last week was awesome! I still remember losing the Queens County Spelling Bee by misspelling “missile.”

    And by the way, did you notice that I give a link to the excellent fillet of sole recipe?

  47. Rabbit

    Ah, 6/6/06. THAT explains why I just spent four consecutive days with my parents.

    So, Neil, if the contract had been for your SOUL, would you still have signed it?

  48. Deb_LA

    I wonder if Satan would even like sole? Wouldn’t he eat like charred remains? I wonder if he really will have crazy good sex with Saddaam like in South Park? So many questions.

  49. mariemm3

    You invited Satan in, helped him feel better about himself. Because of you he could gain angel status again.

  50. helen

    LOl From Omen to Amen eh?

    Enjoy this post ALOT!! lol

  51. Jules

    The scariest day EVER??? Dude, that’s my birth date that you are making fun of!!

  52. Nelumbo

    Ironic, I just wrote a post about my spelling disability about 5 minutes ago, before visiting here. It really has nothing to do with education. I have plenty of that, even taught college English for a while, and I can’t spell to save my soul.

  53. Lynn

    I don’t think you’d have Dooce massage your feet.

    What? I’m just saying.

  54. wordgirl

    Oh My God! Satan must be one of the 89 anonymous commenters who invaded my site last weekend. None of them could spell either!

  55. anne arkham

    You mean Bon Jovi has stopped with the pillar of smoke thing?

  56. lizardek

    Dooce would never be your TYPIST, dude.

  57. Carly

    Maybe I was oblivious, but yesterday didn’t seem any more evil than any other day.

  58. Babes

    First time i get all blogs from anyone in the net… you are lucky to have my pick… i get yours.. and will show them to the school where i work… you inspire me truly.. good luck…

  59. physco

    um i think personally that the 6th of the 6th 2006 was one of the best days ever. it was the day that my wee sister was born so um yea

  60. Elizabeth

    Just found your blog. I laughed out loud reading this post. Only Woody Allen’s essays and Jane Austen novels make me do that. You rock.

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