Excerpt From: Two Years Eight Months Twenty Eight Nights by SALMAN RUSHDIE
. . . told his three fellow leaders, who met, as was their custom, on a dark cloud circling the earth at the equator, from which they watched and judged the mere mortals below them, `fear and greed, are the tools by which these insects can be controlled with almost comical ease,’ a remark which made Zabardast the Sorcerer laugh loudly, because Zurnurrud was well known not to possess anything that even slightly resembled a sense of humour. Zumurrud glared at him with open hostility. The gulf between the two senior Ifrits was growing wider every day. They had patched up their quarrel, made a truce and joined forces again, but trouble continued to rumble between them. They had known one another too long, and their friendship was nearing its end.
Lightning crackled in the heart of the cloud. Ra’im Blood-Drinker and Shining Ruby did their best to change the subject. `What about religion?’ asked Blood-Drinker. `What should we do about that? The believers are multiplying down there even faster than before.’ Shining Ruby, the self-styled Possessor of Souls, had never had any time for God or heaven. Fairyland was paradise enough and there was no reason to suppose the existence of a higher and better¬perfumed garden. Showing a somewhat Swot-like fondness for proscription, he said, `We should ban it immediately. It’s a circus.’
This remark caused Zumurrud the Great and Zabardast the Sor¬cerer actually to sizzle with wrath. They crackled at the edges like a hundred eggs frying in a pan, and Shining Ruby and Ra’im Blood-Drinker understood that something had changed in the two senior Ifrits. `What’s the matter with you two?’ Blood-Drinker wanted to know. `Since when did you join the halo brigade?’
`Don’t be a fool,’ Zabardast told him slyly. `We are in the process of instituting a reign of terror on earth, and there’s only one word that justifies that as far as these savages are concerned: the word of this or that god. In name of a divine entity we can do whatever the hell we like and most of those fools down there will swallow it like a bitter pill.’