Before my death several hundred years ago, I was called Robert (Bob) Smythe, and I was not what you would call a nice person. That is why Saint Peter met me at the Pearly Gates and sent me on my way. He told me to go through a gilded doorway, and once I crossed the threshold, I was on a slide that rapidly carried me down to Hell. Man was that one hell of a ride.
My first 50 years in Hell was spent as one of the Tormented. Toward the end of that period, I was talking with my Tormentor and mentioned a way to increase the number of souls Saint Peter sent down the 'Slippery Slide to Hell'. My idea was tried and it worked. My reward was to be elevated to the position of Tormentor, Third Class. That was an unheard of honor for a New Soul. Normally a soul had to become an Old Soul before they could get a promotion to Probationary Tormentor.
During the next century, I received several promotions ending up as one of Hell's Tormentor Supervisors. My boss is Donatien François, who is better known as the Marquis de Sade. Donatien, never Don, manages the Department of New Souls and he reports directly to Lucifer. I figured that it would take another millennium before Donatien would receive a lateral transfer to the Department of Old Souls and I would have a chance at his position.
Christmas was approaching up on the surface and down here things always get busy at that time of year. The large number of drunk drivers killing themselves and their fellow commuters means we always have a higher than average monthly intake in the New Souls Department. The Thanksgiving holiday means Christmas is less than a month away, but for some reason, Lucifer is always in a bad mood during December.
I found out why about two weeks before Thanksgiving. Donatien called me into his office; this wasn't too unusual for in the past 50 years, I had become his go-to man for ideas. I think he likes me also for we have similar likes when it comes to inflicting sexual perversions on the souls of the females who come within our grasp.
"As you know Bob, the big boss is starting to get grumpy and he will continue to get increasingly irate until after Christmas. We had our quarterly Department Managers meeting last week and the Department Managers have agreed that we need to find a way to fix Lucifer's attitude regarding Christmas Office Parties."
"I'm not sure what you are talking about Donatien. Granted Christmas is one of the Christian religious holidays, but religious holidays are common throughout the year. What with all the different religions, almost every day is a religious holiday up there. Why does Lucifer get so upset about this one particular holiday?"
"I know you haven't been here long enough to be considered an Old Soul Bob, so I'm not surprised that you haven't heard the story for it is rarely mentioned. This goes back to before Lucifer was banned from the surface. He used to go to Christmas Office Parties and recruit new souls by encouraging them to enjoy themselves in activities that they knew were wrong. He especially enjoyed it when the future New Souls would do things with him. Lucifer really loved to attend those parties. They were the events he looked forward to every year. Since he was banned, he gets very surly at this time of year. As you know, when the boss is surly, it is time to hide or at least keep your head down and your mouth closed.
"What we decided is to find something to replace the Christmas Office Parties that Lucifer used to love. I am hoping that you can think of a good replacement for a Christmas Party."
Two days after Thanksgiving, I knocked on Donatien's office door. Donatien motioned me to take a seat while he finished his phone call.
"Morning boss. I have an idea that might work. Instead of replacing Christmas Parties, let's have a Christmas Party here in Hell."
"What? Are you crazy Bob? You know Lucifer's rules about celebrating religious holidays here in Hell. What are you thinking of?"
"Calm down boss. I know what you are thinking, but it is not like that. I'm not thinking of a religious celebration like their Christmas. What I have in mind is creating our own non-religious celebration, which will compete with Christmas. You can think of it as Hell's Office Party if you want.
"My idea is to call it a New Soul Roast. Since we have an overabundance of New Souls at this time of the year, I think we should celebrate our good fortune. We can have a competition where the Department Managers and all of their Supervisors gather around the fire pit and each of them roasts a soul. We can have prizes for the Most Evenly Roasted Soul, the Least-Charred Soul, the Best-Charred Soul, and other categories. There can be food, drink, and entertainment like we have at our annual picnics.