The Ecphorizer

The Damnation of Herman McSnide
Tom Horti

Issue #16 (December 1982)

An heroic doggerl epic in four cantos and an epilog

Canto I

This is the story of Herman McSnide
Who sold to the Devil his newly bought bride.
The payment was due on the day that he died,
With token deposit to enjoy on this side.

Herman, you see, had correctly surmised
That people on Earth would be greatly surprised
If they learned that the horrors long advertised
Were not the full picture of what Hell comprised!

"After all," he reasoned, "the Devil well knew
What he was leaving, when from Heaven he flew.
Why would he stay in his juices to stew
When repentance would grant him his status anew?'

So reasoned Herman: "On Earth here I see
For the multitude, torments and all misery.
But the few at the top never see Poverty;
Their life is full good, (and that is for me)"

"So it is for the Devil, and certain of those
Whom as disciples he carefully chose.
I must make certain that Beelzebub knows
To select me to join him when my life shall close."

Up jumped the Devil and said, "I can feel
That you're able to make me a good enough deal
To persuade me to make you a Hellish big wheel:
But have you considered what serves as my meal?"

"Why, yes;" smiled McSnide, "I've considered it well!
But I won't make commitments till all my plans gel.
You've nothing to buy 'til I've something to sell,
Then I'll serve you from now till we've both gone to Hell!"

Canto II

When McSnide had completed his devilish plan,
Worked out the details for the rest of his span,
He summoned Old Nick to the town of Pu-San.
"Here's my scheme," said McSnide, "for joining your clan:"
"The orient's full of young girlchildren still,
Whose fathers can sell to whomever they will.
I've built me a house at the top of a hill
Which I with those innocent maidens will fill."

'The plan is quite easy for us to control:
I get the body, and you get the soul.'
During the day they will work for their dole
And at night they will play quite a different role!"

'So far your big scheme isn't much of a pip;
To put it colloquially: it ain't worth a flip!"
 Hold on!' said McSnide, "let me give you a tip:
 Nectar is best when enjoyed sip by sip"

"The next step," said Herman, "is logically plain:
I'll set up a school to teach and to train
All the girls in the arts -- both fancy and plain --
 Of the occult, bizarre, and how to raise Cain."

"And when they are trained I'll send then all West:
For our kind of convert, the West is the best!
(Orientals are splendid, pass each devilish test
But for extra Hell service, we need western zest!)"

"Thus, slowly but sure, in a matter of time,
We'll take over governments, organized crime.
We'll lead all the leaders, we'll dictate the clime
Of earthly endeavor, absurd to sublime!"

Canto III

Give the Devil his due, with one stroke of his beard
He'd made his decision: "Tis sufficiently weird
To meet my approval!" "And further," he leered,
"Your contract starts now." He waved, disappeared.

For a moment McSnide felt disturbed and uneasy.
The sale of his plan had been muoh, much too easy.
The Devil's acceptance had been almost -- breezy?
Herman felt weak and decidedly queasy.

That he strikes a hard bargain, of the Devil is known.
And Herman knew then, from that fact alone
That the seeds of destruction for him had been sown:
He'd bargained in haste, get no chance to atone.

"Ah, well," Herman sighed, "a deal is a deal.
If I keep my commitment, he'll make me a wheel."
He brightened once more, regaining the feel
Of anticipating the fruits of his zeal.

From Cho-sen and Hokkaido, Taiwan in barges
Herman collected his innocent charges.
Life for these maidens grew endlessly arduous
While their fathers relaxed and enjoyed Herman's largesse.
And then came the day when Herman McSnide
Fell victim to one girl whose terrible pride
Was proof against all of the wiles that he tried;
To win her he finally took her to bride.

Her name was Meikwei (which translated means "rose'),
Her skin alabaster, her eyes brown as doe's.
Her body was vibrant even when in repose,
And Herman adored her clear down to her toes

Canto IV

Damnation of Herman was well on its way
As he struggled to save the sweet soul of Meikwei,
Not knowing her role - in Beelzebub's pay
To cloud Herman's mind, his judgment to sway...

He followed his plan. Each girl he did train
In the wiles and the tricks she was meant to attain.
He forged every one into links of his chain --
But one he left out: Meikwei should remain

The Devil appeared, with eyes flickery green,
 Reminding McSnide of his sinister lien
On the souls of all maidens whose contracts he'd seen:
"Including your wife!" This with unsmiling mien.

"Not so!" McSnide blustered, "you can't take her soul
We're united, we're one, we're two halves of a whole!
She's chattel no longer, she shares now my role;
You've no business with her 'til we've both reached our goal!"

"Not so, yourself!" the Devil now smiled,
"She was mine before she had you beguiled:
Her soul snatched away, her body defiled.
Her role you will share - from Hell you're exiled!"

"You upstart! You pipsqueak!  Herman McSnide,
Presumed to tell how to preside
Over Hell and its angels, with you at my side?
Bah! Such presumption Hell cannot abide!"

"You'll wander the earth, obeying my aim.
And after you die it will continue the same!
Heaven won't have you, nor Hell's fire and flame:
Your soul will know torment beside which Hell's tame!"


This is the story of Herman McSnide,
Who sold to the Devil his newly bought bride.
But he sold her too late - his reward was denied;
Though he wanders no more: he burns at her side! 

He writes that he was inspired to write his "doggerl epic" by the realization that there were times in his life when, if the opportunity had existed, he would have been sorely tempted to bargain with the Devil.

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