Ba'al was getting tired of this crap. With a roar he halted the parade. He rose from his throne and jumped down to personally inspect the assembled hordes, majordomo in tow.
"You," he growled to one of the raw recruits. "Who the Hell are you supposed to be?"
"Sir," the recruit squeaked. "I'm a Lego Man, sir."
"What the Hell is a Lego man?"
The majordomo interceded on behalf of the terrified recruit. "Lego is one of the most profitable franchises in Topside history, sir. It's actually a sort of meta-franchise, encompassing a myriad other brands. It's worth tens of billions."
"All I see is a stupid yellow blocky thing that can't even march correctly." Ba'al raised a clawed finger to the Lego Man's round head, tracing the outlines of its incongruous smile. "This is not frightening. This does not inspire terror. This does not PLEASE ME!" Ba'al ripped the Lego head off and flung it into a nearby pool of sulfur. It evaporated with a tiny green burst of flame. The terrified soul under the mask turned and ran. Ba'al unfurled his bat-wings to take chase.
"Please, milord," said the majordomo. "Here is a regiment of zombies that is surely more to your liking. And look! Pirates. Very deadly."
"Mmm. I noticed there weren't nearly enough ghosts this year."
"But there's been a huge uptick in skeletons and skull-faced girls, thanks to Dia de la Muerte infiltration."
"What about all these? Explain this." Ba'al gestured at a platoon of brightly-colored muscular and metallic marchers.
"Robots and super-heroes. Huge. This one can turn into a truck, I believe. And that green giant there- you don't want to make him angry!"
Ba'al's head exploded. The majordomo knew well that this meant he was very, very angry. Even a hulking green giant would think twice about crossing Ba'al when his head was on fire. His flaming eye-sockets looked ready to incinerate the super-hero squad. Once again the majordomo did his best to avert the coming fury.
"Most Infernal One! Movie franchises have been a venerated part of Halloween tradition for decades. Remember how pleased you were to welcome Frankensteins and werewolves and mummies into the fold."
With visible effort, Ba'al unimmolated. He didn't bother to reconstitute his face, however, so there was just an even more hideous than usual skull countenance with roiling maggots where the eyeballs should be.
"How is the Kingdom of Hell glorified by robot superheroes?"
"The licencing fees bring in millions every day. Gold mines."
"For what shall it profit a satan, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose a single soul to the enemy?"
"Well, that's the best part- you think Halloween is overly commercialized, you should see what we've done to Xmas!"
For the first time Ba'al's mood seemed to improve. Worms dropped from his rotting nose, a sure sign of mirth. The Majordomo was relieved. Perhaps it was safe to continue the inspection.
"I think you'll be pleased with these- abstract concepts turned into simple halloween avatars. Not much money in it but our participation ratios skyrocket, especially amongst the college-aged and hipster demographics. Ah. See? Here we have Euclidian Geometry. Oh and that must be Sound of One Hand Clapping. And I love this one- a Hashtag! Brilliant."
Ba'al didn't seem to be impressed, however, so the majordomo hurried them along.
"Now we come to my favorite part- the Sexy Squads!" They came to row upon row of all manner of female souls dressed in revealing and implausible garb.
"What is this?"
"Sexy nurse! Sexy witch! Sexy vampire! Sexy zombie! Sexycop! I like to say that one all one word, sexycop. Sexy teacher. And so forth."
"Sexycop? What? What are you talking about?"
"Sexy princess, sexy spacetrooper, sexy robot."
Ba'al stopped one of the marching souls. "What are you?"
"I'm a sexy snowman. Do you wanna build a . . . sexy snowman?"
Ba'al exploded. Not just his head, his everything this time. Gone. Maybe to some lower depth of hell. All that was left was his brimstone crown, which the majordomo defly swooped up and placed on his own head. It fit good!
He turned and addressed the Halloween Horde.
"Let's go trick or treating!"
- Nathan Waddell