10

I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot of information on this one.

As best as I can remember, the protagonist is presented with the opportunity of a wish from an imp. The imp is comical in nature, with mentions of it wearing saggy red tights, and having an innocuous, friendly demeanor. I believe there are three choices allowed for the wish. I remember two of them. One is immense, almost limitless wealth. The second one I remember is the power to be completely irresistible to women.

After some time and consideration, the protagonist chooses to be irresistible to women (I believe with some encouragement from the imp). The imp cheers the guy on for his choice with "Atta-boy!" or something like that. The man goes to bed that night, turning over in his mind thoughts about an attractive woman at the office, and the delights he would soon have from her due to his gift.

The man awakes, not in his bed, but in Hell. He's naked and in terrible pain. He looks to see not a comical imp in red tights, but the Devil himself. I believe the protagonist asks how this could have happened. The Devil explains that all mortals have a finite amount of time and/or "allowed badness" (so to speak). By choosing the one wish option that could not have been used for good, the protagonist has used up his time, and has damned himself.

The final paragraph describes the Devil picking the protagonist up and hurling him into the pits. The last line is the protagonist thinking that Hell looks just like a medieval woodcut.

I don't know the specific time frame on this one. 1970s and earlier is the best I can narrow it down to.

  • Bedazzled (2000/1967) not? – user42298 Aug 25 '16 at 10:20
  • That's not it, but thanks for the answer! – Helbent IV Aug 26 '16 at 3:07
7

Damned Funny by Marvin Kaye (under the pseudonym Eugene D. Goodwin)

"Well, then," Drake murmured gamely, "I guess I'll risk it after all. Put me down for the women." "Attaboy!" Tiny Tom crowed, delighted.

"That's my kinda wish!"

...

"Yes," the Devil sardonically replied, "and what did you win? Vast wealth? That might not have mattered, no more than a preternaturally extended life would have - not if you had put them to good use. But you selected irresistibility - much to my intense delight! It is a wish that depends for its fulfillment on the subversion of free spirits. One doesn't get into Hell by accident: one earns it!"

...

Satan hurled the mortal into the gaping chasm, and as he fell, Drake scanned the awful panorama of the Pit.

It resembled a Medieval woodcut.

The Google book of The Possession of Immanuel Wolf: And Other Improbable Tales where it is contained has some pages visible.

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