Friday, November 10, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

It was just that feeling. You couldn't change it. 

Palms slick with sweat, you couldn't even get a grip that would stick. You were slipping. Everyone could see it. They smelled it in the sickly sweat seeping from your pores. You tried to smile, flip golden hair, make it casual - sell the simplicity. It didn't work. It irked people. It was like biting the tines of a fork. It sent shockwaves. 

You open the door to let the devil in, then you better be able to close it. That's the truth. It's always been that way. Some people can open the door a crack, some can't. Some ride the top of the wave, and some sink to the bottom where they are tossed by currents, abraded by sand, instructed by panic. 

I keep the door wide open, because I am the devil. I can match any sickness he can think of. I can throw my weight into misery. Evil fears me because I can take it and keep on taking. I am a bottomless well. I am pure potential, a mountain you can't see the top of. I am the craggy bluffs that deceive the adventurous. 

You better keep your door closed. Lock it with the deadbolt. Nail two-by-fours over it. Rig it with bells. Shine a bright light. None of it will save you. 

I am coming, and I don't need a door. 


  1. You think you know me. You make your silly human caricatures, with the horns and the tail and the fire and the brimstone—whatevs. Do what you want for your own amusement, to make me seem tamer and perhaps a little comical, put me on your tinned spiced meat if it makes you happy and makes me safe for the workplace. But in the end it will not save you. All it will do is make it more frightening for you when we eventually do meet. Whether that’s after one of your ridiculous bargains (why on your grieving crumbling earth can you only attach my presence to retellings of a series of offers of your pathetic little souls?) or when you do something to truly catch my attention (are you listening, Mr. Speaker?) we will meet.

    But, hey. If one man’s meat is another man’s poison, as you say, perhaps I will be just some humans’ cup of tea. And not the hemlock kind, either. I am thinking of one individual in particular. He loves himself some of this red, smokey tail. Can’t get enough. I find him quite amusing. Oh, how I cherish the evenings we’ve whiled away in front of the fire, with our crystal tumblers and our many stories. He’s what some in my line of work call a “death eater.” Soaking up all the evil to keep it from others. But not for any altruistic reasoning, not to keep me from gobbling up those so-called innocent parties. As I said before, he just wants more for himself. Thinks somehow that if he becomes a kind of concentrated ball of evil, he’ll corner the market and get all the world’s goodies for himself. Silly, silly man. He doesn’t know that his enterprise is just another kind of bargain.

    I will enjoy that soul. Perhaps with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

    Have a nice day.

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  3. Wrote a thing, unrelated:

    Harold lied like a fiend with his boys about the women he’d slept with—had to keep up his image, being who he was—but he wouldn’t dare tell a soul that what came after was often his favorite part. When it was over, and the room fell silent, and he lit up a cigarette and felt her soft curvy heat against him. Especially when it was Lola. She was softness and heat, all right, but when the deed was done she didn’t talk his ear off like some of the others. Lola just shared the smoke with him and, when she did have something to say, it wasn’t the usual kind of nervous patter about dresses and night clubs and movie stars when she really wanted to ask if he’d be taking her out again. Lola was smart. And usually funny. But that night, she wasn’t saying anything, and looked like she was a million miles away, and that made him uneasy.

    “You okay?” he asked, when he offered the cigarette back.

    Her gaze flicked to him, took the cig, held it between her fingertips for a moment before taking what looked like a thoughtful draw in which she might have been forming a complete sentence in her mind. Her nails and lips were red. But not a screaming red. It looked sophisticated. Made him proud to take her out. Maybe he should lay off the other women.

    “I’m fine,” she exhaled, along with short puff of smoke and a quick glance at the clock beside her bed.

    “You got somewhere to be?” he said.

    She looked away. “I’m sorry. It’s—fine.”

    Fine. The word made his brain itch. His mother said “fine” like that to Pop when she was mad yet didn’t want to get into it. But something made him want to get into it, and get angry. Did she have a date? Was she bored with him? Worse—was she dumping him?

    “Yeah, sure,” he said, voice a little loud but not caring. “You’re fine. Cause you’re kinda acting like you don’t want to be here. Cause I’ll go. You want me to go, I’m outta here.”

    Her eyes widened. “No!” But in a second, her face grew soft, her sophisticated painted lips pouty. She pressed a hand to his chest and drew it down his belly. “I mean, no, don’t go. I’m here, baby.”

    “Nah, wait a minute.” He kept her hand from where he knew it was headed. Never in a million years would Harold think he’d stop a woman when she was doing that. And Lola was good at it. Good at distracting him. Knowing exactly when he was troubled and offering him an easy and welcome escape from his thoughts. But he didn’t want it to be that way right now. Or maybe at all, anymore. Did that mean he loved her, and not in a throwaway-line-to-get-laid kind of way, but for real?

    “Huh,” she said. “Now I’m wondering if you’re okay.”

    “I been wondering—” His heart thumped against his chest. Was he really going to say the words? Did that mean there was no going back? “I been wondering about a bunch of things lately, I—”
    A pounding on the door stopped his thoughts. And nearly stopped his heart. “Harold Weissman! FBI. Come out with your hands up!”

    “Tell them I ain’t here,” he whisper-shouted at Lola, eyes piercing through the moonlit bedroom, looking for a way out, or at least a place to hide.

    “He ain’t here!” Lola yelled.

    He couldn’t find his pants.

    “I know you’re in there, Weissman, your goddamn Packard’s parked right outside. You come out now, nobody gets hurt. I’m giving you to the count of five. One.”

    “Shit,” he muttered. He had his boxers, but where the hell did he put his pants?


    Why was Lola moving so slow? “Goddamn it, help me find my pants. I ain’t going to the goddamn pokey in my goddamn boxers.”


    “I’m looking, I’m looking.”

    “Four! On five, we bust through this door!”

    “Where you going?” Harold called to her.

    “I don’t want ’em breaking my door down! I’ll lose my security deposit.”

    He glared at her through the dim light. No. It couldn’t. She couldn’t have. She wouldn’t. Not his Lola.

    And as they walked through the just-opened door, as they clapped the cuffs on him and read him his rights and hauled him away, all he saw was her eyes. A million miles away.

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  6. The demonic manager assessed the world. He’d done his best to be controversial, bucking public opinion. He’d attacked the Church and its ministers, hoping they’d react when he denounced them for their nefarious activities. Unfrocked or not - that was the question, although they were bad in either state, their behaviour on this mortal coil sufficient to earn them damnation.

  7. And then there are the little people. Dying in their millions. They’re like a constant dripline into me, their pain and their frustrations and the squandering of their essence an elixir that floods from them, creating a lake of vitality and potential. Their governments think nothing of them, they’re a crop for them to harvest, the measure of their individual anguishes a metric used by their ministers to gauge success. When you’re as wealthy as their officers are, the money means nothing: it’s just an ever-increasing statistic used to compare their relative fortunes. But every child that becomes homeless, every veteran with PTSD; they’re the froth providing the cream that they savour and guzzle with glee. Like swine in a pool of blood, they wallow and splash, smeared with their own personal by-products and the quintessence of the people they’ve brought down. That’s the sport that they delight in, not major-league ball games or the insane driving of cars. They’re diversions for the small people, distractions specifically designed to anaesthetise their minds.

    1. But I care for the minions. Every one of them. I love the way their churches offer them salvation, a consolation for the way that they’re farmed. Without hope, their lives would be pointless, with no drive to exist. For sure, some people would still procreate, seeking a momentary pleasure, ignoring the consequences of their carnal acts. It’s the onanists I frown upon, the heretics that try to buck their revered churches’ conditioning. Without their unwanted births their nations’ populations would falter, their species would fail, the futility of life beyond their generation the ultimate contraceptive. Their ministers and despots have no longevity, they have only a single short life. They have no need to look ahead, thinking to preserve the herd that they feed from. They’re greedy children, not gourmands. Corrupt and spoiled as any of the worst in my lineage. An inevitable consequence of their species’ imbalances of power.


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