Project Manmaker

“Consider life and death,” write authors David Bischoff, Rich Brown and Linda Richardson in their mosaic novel from 1985. “Good and evil. Law and chaos. Black and white. Sex and oblivion.”

Yes, consider all the veriest stuff of life whose churlish churning and infinite interweavings, confusing comings and linear leanings constitute the essence of the universe’s febrile fecund fabric.

And when you’re done and you’ve figured it all out, give yourself a gold star. You’ve won the grand prize—the adoration and fealty of a 4,000-year-old sexy demoness named Anathae. 

Summoned from Hell using a pentagram made of Silly String, paper milkshake straws and swizzle sticks, Anathae is a perfect collection of human female curves and impish sultriness. “She didn’t precisely inspire men with fatherly feelings,” says the wry narrator. 

Thus brought forth, Anathae is forever bound to Willis Baxter, an amateur demonologist and professor of medieval literature at a small New England university. Befitting his academic background, Willis is a bookish boob and a sad sack with a big drinking problem. If you enjoyed Dudley Moore in the movie Arthur then you’ll probably enjoy the professor’s endless drunken pratfalls and screwups.  

Anathae quickly sees that her human benefactor needs a little help and initiates “project manmaker,” a crash course in self-confidence. “You’ve got a lot of potential,” says the she-imp. “You’re like a Mack truck without wheels. A hell of a lot of horsepower going nowhere in a hurry.”

What follows is a series of humorous episodes involving Willis and his well-meaning personal demon. With a little bit of magic and hellfire, Anathae does, in fact, help the absentminded professor bolster his low self-esteem. Lots of sex helps too. 

But surely there must be a downside to having an infernal girlfriend, right? Willis wants to know. “Does my relationship with Anathae fall into the category of consorting with demons?” he asks. “And, if so, am I automatically going to Hell?”

To that particular question, Willis discovers that Heaven and Hell aren’t two separate places—they’re actually one single place. Gods, devils, angels and demons are all the same. Like humans, seraphs and serpents are sometimes good and sometimes not good. They’re fluid. “I prefer a little mischief,” says Anathae with a randy wink. “I don’t want to inflict any real harm.” 

After three months of romance, Willis forgives himself for his divine regressions. “I love her and, I suppose if demons are capable of love, that she loves me too.” That’s what matters, he realizes, that’s the only important thing. Next on his agenda: joining Alcoholics Anonymous. 

[A Personal Demon / By David Bischoff, Rich Brown and Linda Richardson / First Printing: September 1985 / ISBN:  9780451138149]