Taking Tea with Satan

A chance encounter with Satan over a cup of tea. Just another normal day in small town France

It’s just one of those thing you do on a sunny autumn afternoon: stroll into town and have a cup of tea with Satan. I had an Englishman’s urge for a good «cuppa» so I headed into the downtown of my smalltown to one of the plethora or recently opened «Salon de Thé» or Tea rooms (it sounds far more genteel in French) In tea room terms,

I am a regular at the «Chapeau Melon» (the Bowler hat) a real tea room, run by real Brits offering up an inexhaustable list of teas and a mouthwatering menu of teatime treats such as carrot cake, Dundee cake or Scones with cream and jam. Oh Yum.

So, there I am, outside the «Chapeau Melon» where the owners have set up tables and chairs on the pavement and the punters are enjoying a refreshing «cuppa» in the glorious autumn sunshine. I should add that normally at this time of year all should be grey and damp, but thanks to global warming, it unseasonably mild enough to sit outside in shirt sleeves and nibble on your scone.

And sitting outside, soaking up the golden Autumn sun was, Satan. Clad from head to toe in red, complete with horns, a pointy beard, a pointy tailand a three prong Trident fork – just the job for pronging a piece of carrot cake. More Mephistopheles than Satan, in the absence of an empty table ,

I asked the devil if I might not share his. table «Of course» says Satan as he nonchalantly puffs away on his pipe. The Devil is a pipe smoker! I would have imagined the very evil gent more as a cigar toking dude than a peaceful pipe puffer. (The devil likes some good shag!) No matter, what he smokes, he is acquiescent and very courteous; a gentleman of sympathy and taste, of course I have used all my politsse to ask permission to sit at his table.

«Earl Grey» says Satan as I sit down. «I do love a nice cup of Earl Grey,»

«I’m an Earl Grey man as well» I reply, and then there is a silence in the conversation.

Well, just what do you say to Satan, when you meet him?

«How the devil are you?» or «What the hell are you doing here?» or «I’ve seen all your films.»

No matter The English lady tea room owner arrives to take my order a pot of Earl Grey and a slice of carrot cake (yep, I do like my carrot cake) and as I wait, I try engage the Devil in conversation.

«Nice day» I venture, trying to start up one of those very English conversations on the weather.

«Extraordinarily gorgeous» pronounces Satan with a distinct flourish.

«You’re not too cold up here after the fires of the inferno?» I ask timidly, not wishing to get on the wrong side of the Master of Evil.

«Oh no. I love days like this. Such a change from the fires of Hell.»

«Erm, what are you doing in town?» Well this is the question you are bound to ask. I just want to know that satan is here just to enjoy a cup of tea and not to bring us death, pestilence an eternal damnation and …

No! As we chat over tea, it turns out that Satan is a former cameo actor from the Parisian stage, who now specialises in various major «cultural roles» across France. He is in town for a couple of days to play Satan at various local Halloween events, before heading back to Paris to begin what he terms «a long and tawdry season» playing Santa at various Christmas fairs and Major paris department stores. Satan to Santa. I like that.