Yes, the Devil himself has emerged from his secret netherworld headquarters in Des Moines, flashing his trademark devil-may-care smile. He's here to honor Halloween, his favorite holiday, and tout his new book, Evil For Dummies: Global Edition.
In this, his first interview since being forced to defend the existence of both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, the Prince of Darkness -- quite genial, by the way, for someone pathologically intent on world domination through crimes against humanity -- lends insight into his infernal life.
Q: It's no secret you're losing market share to your leading rivals, particularly God. What's up?
A: Everyone has slumps. Even Vlad the Impaler once had an off-year. But on the whole, I'm optimistic. I mean, hate crimes are on the rise. China still has issues with free speech. Donald Trump is still alive. I remain convinced the glass is half empty.
Q: You still face serious issues, though. Facebook, for example, has replaced your website as the premier online destination for iniquity. You've also run into difficulties with your stock in trade, namely getting people to sell you their souls.
A: Hey, between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jung-il, I'm still doing pretty OK. When it comes to spreading misery, Consumer Reports still rates me as the gold standard. Big Oil has nothing on Big Bad.
Q: Clearly, you remain every inch a figure of seminal infamy. But in the end, do you really expect to win?
A: Call me old-fashioned, but I still see plenty of promising signs that our planet is doomed. Just look at my efforts to muddy the messages about the U.S. presidential campaign. If you're in the market for apocalyptic fare, my product portfolio is second to none.
Q: Why, then, does almost nobody wear devil costumes on Halloween anymore?
A: Look, we've held focus groups and yeah, some people still get touchy about a dude whose entire reason for being is to incite evil. If cruelty is to get back its good name, I'll need to be better positioned.
Q: You might go out of business first, though. A study just out shows that sin declined 6 percent worldwide last year.
A: Granted, my minions have a lot of clutter to cut through here. God keeps getting credit for all my stunts, from Lindsay Lohan to Bill O'Reilly. The Devil deserves his due, no?
Q: Do you believe you can turn the corner?
A: Big-time. I'm going to make Hell hot again. We're rolling out a "Got Evil?" public service announcement. Celebrities known to be in league with me -- Clint Eastwood, Rahm Emanuel, Vladimir Putin -- will wear mustaches made of blood.
Q: Will that make enough of a difference?
A: We also revamped my website. Now you can sell your soul to me online -- minus shipping and handling costs, of course. We'll also unveil a reality-TV show where contestants compete to land a land a job as my sidekick by committing atrocities.
Q: Diabolically so. We'll even sponsor clinical trials to show that doing bad -- for at least 30 minutes a day three times a week -- may be good for your health. By next year, I'll once again own Halloween lock, stock and barrel. Call me sentimental, but I still see a lot of reasons out there to fight good.
Bob Brody is a public-relations executive and essayist in New York City. His humor has appeared in the Washington Post, the Smithsonian and McSweeneys.