Postremo Proelio (The Devil's Bet)
"Postremo Proelio (The Devil's Bet)" is a religious sci-fi legal thriller novella about how God eventually rids the world of Satan in a very unusual way, using the main character, Rudy Kretz, as a pawn in His well planned out and devious final battle with the Devil. In the end, despite a horrendous act of pure vengeance that shocks the world, Rudy ends up to be the hero without even knowing it. More
In this religious court-battle legal drama, the earth is ensconced with the Second Coming of Christ, an event that enthralls the world’s population. International organizers take Jesus from country to country, rich and poor cities alike, to bring peace and goodwill to Mankind. However, lowlife Rudy Kretz, a very miserable and abjectly downtrodden individual, decides to seek his revenge on God for his miserable life by shooting Jesus, killing Him in front of millions of viewers. Lacking any action or vengeance from God, the authorities are forced to proceed with the legal prosecution against Mr. Kretz in the form of a criminal trial for “Murder in the First Degree” and other minor charges.
The slam dunk case, with ample worldly evidence against the defendant, is suddenly interrupted by the entrance of a slick lawyer- The Devil himself- who wants to represent Rudy for obvious and personal reasons. But before the shock can wear off of the court attendees, in walks another deity in the form of the new "replacement District Attorney," representing the prosecution- God! Despite the overwhelming evidence against his client, Satan makes a bet with God that he can win the case outright using only the human’s weak judicial system (in this case, California criminal law) without any tricks, magic powers or subliminal force- just plain old legal wrangling with the loser being banished from the earth forever!
God accepts the bet and handles the case exceedingly well. Strangely enough, the Devil offers no counters to the overwhelming evidence or witnesses God has presented in the trial. Instead, Lucifer clearly states his case is based merely on a loophole of jurisprudence- that of the simple legal definition of the charges- “Murder in the first degree!” And to the shock and fear of the whole world, he wins!
However, before Satan’s obnoxious victory celebration can be completed, God points out that, in his excitement to win the main legal issue of the case, the Murder charge, the Devil has overlooked the few minor misdemeanor charges that were also attached to the case aside form the main charges of murder.
Since the bet with God was for the total victory (i.e. "all the marbles"), namely the Devil winning it outright and completely, Satan, losing the bet on the smallest of the charges, has no choice but to be banished from the earth forever. In the end, Jesus returns to earth and comforts the poor distraught Rudy who was really just a pawn in God’s perverse but effective attempt to rid the world of the Devil after all. And with that ending, Rudy is given his life back to him, now devoid of all the suffering he endured to make it all happen. A modern day Job style story with an unexpected twist.