[As August 2010 marks the close of our tenth year of weekly publication, we shall spend this month enjoying "the blast from the past" with selections from Poor Mojo's Almanac(k): Year Three (issues 101-150). Please, enjoy!—Your Giant Squid, Editor-in-Chief, PMjA]
[originally published in issue #132]
Sedgwick replaced the jar of cookies and was sure no one would know. He had been very quiet about the whole thing and now moved silently up the stairs toward his bedroom. The others were asleep. It was two in the morning and the only noise came from an owl perched somewhere in the backyard. Sedgwick skipped over the third step from the top— it always squeaked no matter how careful he was and it had betrayed him several times before.
Up in his room, he sat in bed with his lamp on and thought about how easy the job was. The two cookies were delicious and surely Mother did not count them. Just as Sedgwick was breathing another sigh of accomplishment and preparing for bed, his wall opened up and Satan came riding in on a ferret-drawn carriage.
"Evening, Sedgwick," Satan said after the wall closed up again. The ferrets squirmed about and he had a tough time keeping their reins straight.
"Evening, Old Nick," Sedgwick said. This was the first time he had ever met the devil in person, but he knew him from many other forms. Indeed, the preacher at the church his mother dragged him and his siblings to every Sunday made sure of that. "What do you want?"
"Oh, I'm just visiting," Satan said. "Looking around."
"Well, look somewhere else," Sedgwick said, then made to go to bed.
"You are a feisty one, aren't you? Just right. Not even scared of me, the devil, and swipin cookies that your mother had set back for your cancer-ridden brother. How does it feel?"
"I reckon it feels OK," Sedgwick said. He wondered what Satan was up to. "Don't you have things to be doing?"
Satan reached in his back pocket, sticking his tongue out as he searched. Finally he pulled out a book made out of the seared flesh of tortured souls. He flipped the pages and each one let out a little scream. "Let's see, Thursday, Thursday. What date is it?"
"Oh, yes." Satan flipped a few more pages and there were as many screams. He read the page and then said, "Nope, I got a clear day today. Why don't you come along with me?" Satan stretched out his hand to pull Sedgwick up to the carriage.
Now, Sedgwick had done many bad things in his short life. Things he knew were bad. He was only eight and already he had lost his innocence to one of the downtown whores. Plus he kept a jar full of teeth that he had swiped from under the pillows of his siblings, depriving them of their toothfairy quarters. But even he knew an outing with Satan might not be the best of things to do.
"I might wait on that, OK," Sedgwick said.
"Waiters are masturbators," Satan said.
Sedgwick couldn't ignore that. He jumped out of bed and took Satan's hand and let himself be pulled up to the chariot.
"Do you want to hold the reins?" Satan asked with a fatherly indulgence. Sedgwick took the reins and gave the ferrets a lashing. His bedroom wall opened up and the ferrets took off, quick as lightening. Together he and Satan toured through hell. Satan held him close and pointed out items of interest. The rivers of blood, the iron tombs, the lake of fire. After that they went to the Baskin Robbins over in Limbo. Satan had a scoop of Gold Medal Ribbon in a waffle cone and Sedgwick had a banana split. Sedgwick was having a lot of fun. Everyone knew Satan here and waved at him. It made Sedgwick feel like a real somebody, being with this guy that everyone knew. But then Satan pulled out his schedule book with the screaming pages and consulted it.
"Oh, I've got to take you back," Satan said.
Sedgwick looked disappointed. "When can we do this again?" he said.
"Well, you see, it's hard," Satan said, "I mean, with my job I never know when I'm gonna be free. And now that I'm out on my own I'm trying to get back in the dating scene, so it's kind of difficult. We'll just have to see."
Sedgwick grimaced. Satan sounded no different than his dad, who kept saying "we'll get together real soon." Enough was enough. Sedgwick jumped from his seat, kicked Satan in the shins, stole the ferret-drawn carriage to rideback to his bedroom, and swore he would never do anym bad things again.
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