the devil I know

Allan Shawa

  Never have I been known for my piety, at least for extended stretches of my existence. To me the definition of real had always been something characterized by its tangibility. Probabilities and ambiguities pertaining to reality never much appealed to me. Trying to sell me on the authenticity of an unseen being hovering over the clouds was a hard bargain. But all that changed when I met the devil on two separate occasions. The devil character owns an immense array of costumes such as Satan, Shaitan, Lucifer, Beelzebub and Baal.

    Unfortunately, most theories of the devil possess the dust of inaccuracy, because I know exactly what the devil isn’t. The devil ain’t a spirit being, a militant tyrant, an occult figure, a political leader and much less a man, because the devil I met was the most stupendous figure to ever befall my sight and her name was Lucy Ferris and she made me believe in God for two reasons. First, if the devil exists then there must exist a God somewhere since it’s a well known fact that opposing forces always prevail. Secondly, the bible talks about God creating Lucifer as a radiant Angel and this broad was as glamorous as the stars in the distant night skies.

    I first met the devil in my final year of high school when she transferred to our school. Like a scratched disc, my heart skipped a beat when I first laid eyes on Lucy Ferris. Her magnetic force forcibly stuck my eyes on her splendor, because she was an anomaly that only a superior imagination could conjure. She had long blond hair that fell to her lower back; her tall stature was the perfect anatomical structure which indeed was God’s architectural mastery. From the smoothness of her hair to the texture of her skin to the radiance of her smile, Lucy was indubitably a goddess among men. Maybe I am being slightly hyperbolic, but this lady’s sparkle effortlessly arrested our attention, and I knew that my chances of ever being with her where as slimmer than a malnourished African child. 

    But my nightmares came true on one fateful day, after long hours of wrestling practice as I was packing my stuff in the lockers, I heard a soft female voice call my name, causing me to instantly drop my bag to the floor, “I’ m so sorry Billy, didn’t mean to startle you,” She walked towards me and crouched down to pick up my bag, “I just wanted to say that you looked so good in the gym.” 

    I knew not how she discovered my name, besides this was the first time she spoke to me, if I wasn’t alone I would’ve swore that I wasn’t the intended recipient of her smile, “Uuuh, thanks,” despite being a beast on the wrestling mat, this little lady made me feel minuscule, “ you need something?” I hardly could maintain eye contact hence I got a hold of my bag and feigned being busy so as to further the gap between us.

    “Sure, I need you to do me a favor,” she slowly charged at me as she brightly smiled, “I want to go out on a date with you.” At that instant my mind began to contemplate on the possibilities of my mind pulling tricks on me, because before me stood a lady who equated my existence to the importance of the words of the poor and secondly what are the odds that the first time she ever spoke to me she asked me on a date? After noticing my skepticism she asked me if I didn’t want to go out with her.

    “Are you being serious or are you just playing games with me?” Suddenly the weight of my head doubled, as it hang lower than before which was coupled with my inability to articulate myself.

    “Listen to me Billy, I like you and I want you.” She drew closer, erasing the space in between us. I couldn’t further the distance since I had my back against the wall.

    “Me, you like me?”

    “Yes and I know that you like me too,” I like her inability to mince words and stare right through me, “come to my house at 7pm and I will show you what a good time looks like.”

    After writing her address on a small piece of paper, she then placed in my sweaty palm and left after lending me a heartwarming smile, which left me more bedazzled than I was when I learnt that there existed a black pope. I hurriedly left the school premises and went home. In my room I pulled out every bit of money that was buried under the mattress which I used to rent a car because I detested the piece of junk that my parents called a vehicle. As the time drew near, the excitement accelerated like the pace of a robbery gate away car as I anticipated what could wrong. Despite taking a cold shower, I couldn’t prevent the drenching of my body in sweat. Regardless of the fact that I was a sports competitor, this was the most nervous I had been because going on a date with the girl that inhabited my dreams felt surreal. 

    After standing in front of a mirror for almost half an hour in order to confirm if my suit was properly worn, I exited the house after saying my goodbyes to my parents who wished me luck. When I got to her house right on schedule, I found her sitting on the front porch waiting for me. Her eyes were glued on her cell phone. The conspicuity of the contrast in our appearances was as obvious as light and day; I dressed as if I was attending a formal cocktail party, while she appeared like she was attending a rave party. Without exchanging pleasantries, she walked right past me and entered the car.  She aggressively grabbed the back of my neck and forced her lips against mine. So far so good, I thought to myself. Before driving off, she changed the radio station to the one that played heavy metal music, not my kind of tune. She directed me to a part of town which I was unacquainted to. We arrived at a nightclub; I asked to confirm if we were at the right destination and she responded in affirmation. 

    She ordered me to lose the jacket and tie after which I loosened the shirt. We entered the club without any hitches as Lucy was familiar with the all black wearing, bald bouncer who lent me a frigid stare that shook me to the core. The inside of the club was a sea of humanity, void of any space to catch my breath due to the heat that inhabited the place. I was as out of place as a white man at a Black Panthers meeting because this was not my cup of tea as far as entertainment was concerned. After ingesting a few blue pills, she dragged me to the dance floor where she let the music lead her body astray. Despite the hostility that I possessed in the gym, I couldn’t match her vigor on the dance floor. She was as wild as a cave woman who possessed innumerable amounts of energy that seemed infinite; hence I pretended to be having a blast despite my inability to dance to the beat. After a long while of perpetual dancing, she grabbed my hand and dragged me to the ladies room. She then shoved me against the wall, igniting an ache to my bones and the she magnetized her body against mine, asserting her lips against mine. Weird making out in the restroom, I thought to myself but enjoyable nonetheless. 

    Lucy then produced a small plastic from her cleavage which contained a white powder. After placing it on the sink she sorted it out with my driver’s license, she then sniffed it causing her eyes to bulge out of her head. An expression of satisfaction overcame her face as she laughed uncontrollably. I knew what the powder was; I was in total awe that she had it in her possession. She then coerced me to join her in her festivities. After declining her offer, Lucy rained a barrage of obscenities, finding innumerable ways of calling me spineless. At that point I reckoned that my resistance was sending the bird further away from my nest hence I obliged.

    After absorbing the white powder through my nose, I likened the sensation to being struck to the head with a hammer. To this day, the remainder of the night is still a blur; I still don’t know how I even got home, let alone how the car was still intact. The next day didn’t erase the discomfort, as I woke up in matrimony with a headache. It was in the midst of the turmoil that I realized that I needed to rush to school for an interschool wrestling tournament which was going to buy me a collegiate scholarship if I won.

    Despite wearing a heavy crown, I quickly got dressed after taking a cold shower. I managed to get to school on time; but as fate would have it, the higher authorities decided that every participant was subject to a mandatory drug test. I unsurprisingly failed the test, causing them to kick me out for harboring copious amounts of cocaine in my system, thankfully I didn’t get arrested.

    As the favorite from our school to win, my absence sealed their fate and my actions were akin to treason. The rest of my high school days became a chore to get through; suddenly I joined the ranks of Adolf Hitler. Lucy and her family relocated to another state, making my foolish decision a lot more worthless than before. I never got to speak to her after our little adventure of misbehavior.

    I watched the incineration of my dreams of becoming a professional wrestler, hence after high school I went to college and became an accountant; not the thrilling career I hoped for. But it offered me the security which led me to getting married and introducing to the world two products of my seed.

    Ten years after the infamous night that got lost in the dungeon of intoxication, I once again met the devil. After a stress inducing day at the office, I decided to stop by my favorite pub in town. Often times I preferred not to share my space hence I sat alone in one corner as I enjoyed a refreshing beverage, when I heard a familiar voice calling my name, “Billy,” my attention was instantly arrested, so I turned around to catch a glimpse, “Billy, it’s me Lucy Ferris, we went to high school together.”

    She needed not to remind me of who she was because she was who my mind couldn’t erase, regardless of how much I tried to repress my memories of her. I didn’t know how to react to the appearance of her presence before my sight. I was shocked to see her after ten years but she returned all the indignation that I felt for her since she was temptress who goaded me into making that stupid decision which forever altered my life. But she possessed one lion taming weapon which made me susceptible to her charm, her smile.

    Ten years past, like fine wine her beauty was more refined. She tried to play catch up after joining at my table but my resentment towards her made more conspicuous by my facial expression and the fact that I didn’t even offer her a drink, “Listen Billy, I would have loved to stay here and chat but I have a lot of stuff to do.”

    “Then you should just leave.” My response left her dumbfounded as she stared at me in a shocked silence.

    “Is it okay if we can do this again?” She politely asked.

    “Of course not, besides I’m married.” Unused to not getting her way, disappointment was etched on her face.

    “Look, I owe an apology and I just want to make things right with you, please Billy.” I couldn’t believe that Lucy Ferris was begging for my attention and quite honestly, I loved the feeling. 

    “Alright, here’s my card; give me a call.” After appreciating my consideration, she stood up and gave me a light kiss on the lips, a gesture which I shrugged off by pulling away. She then slowly walked towards the exit; I caught her staring backward a few times. This version of Lucy was more polished than the self indulgent brat from high school and deep inside I wished that I could have settled down with her.

    A few days later she called to schedule a meeting. But since I firmly clutched the advantage in my palms, I played hard ball by rejecting her suggestions. We finally settled for a Friday evening at one of the most expensive restaurants in town; however I stressed the fact that not a single dollar was escaping my pocket. It was awkward date as neither one of us was willing to break the ice, hence we unconsciously decided to participate in a staring contest until she conceded defeat, “Listen Billy, I asked you out here because I feel bad about what happened ten years ago,” she spoke in a voice void of the conceit that she was known for, “I have never been able to stop thinking about what you went through because of me.” 

    After an unending apology, the callousness of my heart began to melt, it was quite the impossibility to remain angry at her, “Listen Lucy, its water under the bridge, don’t worry about it.”

    “It’s just that I can’t help but blame myself for what happened.” I noticed a tear crawling down her cheeks.

    “It’s not like you held gun to my head,” I bust out a laugh and she mimicked it as she wiped her tears off, “we were just a bunch of stupid kids doing stupid stuff besides I got to kiss you that day.”

    “Really” She smiled. Her big bulb like eyes, her indentations on her cheeks and her brightened teeth made her smile that much more appealing to my senses.

    “Really, we’re good.”

    “Then prove it to me.” 

    “How can I do that?” I asked as I leaned forward.

    “By kissing me.” She leaned forward as well, stuck her head out and shut her eyes awaiting my response. I tried to protest, but she assured me that it was an innocent gesture. I threw caution to wind and locked lips with hers. I went astray in the moment like a teenager, caring less about who was watching, a mistake which deserved more attention. The magnetism of the moment was lost when I heard a familiar voice yell out my name, it was my wife.

    Upon the realization of the lion that was encircling me; I immediately detached myself from Lucy. Unlike Lucy who still wore a smile, the stare of my wife ignited an endless quiver. At that point my mind grew numb, and the only words that limped out of my mouth were, “It’s not what seems.” 

    It was exactly what it seemed, my wife who went to the restaurant to meet with a client bolted out of the premises and I decided to give chase. The kiss led to the degeneration of my marriage, which ended in a divorce. As fate would have it, the feminine favorable courts decided that I be banished from my own house. 

    Fortunately, Lucy was there to lend a helping hand. She asked me to move into her apartment with her. At the time, divorce didn’t seem that punishing since her presence shielded my mind from the dark reality. 

    Unlike the untamed high school girl, this one was more stable, a lot more organized. She kept the place clean; she prepared my food just the way I liked it and the electricity charging massages were to die for and not to mention the bedroom action. I could do anything for her.

    “Honey, I want to ask for a favor.” She spoke one day while gently rubbing her hands on my shirtless torso as I lay on my back in our bed.

    “Sure, what is it?” I gave breathy response.

    “I need you to invest in my business,” she gently kissed me on the lips, “I know that it’s too much to ask and you might be on the fence about this and if you say no I will totally understand.”

    I sat up and leaned against the head of the bed, “How much are we talking about?”

    “350 thousand dollars,” she noticed the instant shock on my face, “I know that it’s quite a lot and if you say no honey I will understand but this business will be worth millions one day and I want you to be a part of it.”

    After massaging my chin and diving deep into a sea of thoughts, finally the contortions on my face disappeared and I got out of the bed, “Did I say anything wrong honey?”

   “No,” I reassured her with a smile as I pulled out my check book and pen from my briefcase; I then sat down on the edge of the bed as she did the same. I then scribbled a few things on a piece of paper and handed it to her, “will that be enough?”

    A smile appeared on her face after staring on the paper, “Yes!” She excitedly embraced me, causing me to fall on my back as she climbed on top of me and the rest was history.

    This marked the last time I ever saw her, the following day when I got home all that was left was my property as she skipped town. I felt the weight of my head double when filled with an array of thoughts that ranged from suicide to binge drinking. All my savings were gone, stolen by the devil.

    My life would experience a downward spiral, as I became a dedicated drug user and alcoholic leading to my job termination and inability to keep one when I found it. I then moved back to my parent’s house where I leached off of them for a few years after selling off everything of monetary value. After five years that consisted of a spate of events which led me to nearly retiring to an early grave by my own hand, I decided to clean up my act. I found God and quit all forms of drugs.

    Unfortunately I had to resume from the bottom, and the bottom couldn’t get any deeper as I started work as a cashier for a fast food restaurant. How I loathed being there, I despised the monotony of the work, the degrading treatment, the low pay, the stupid uniform and the loud mouth boss who felt that like a precious stone amidst the dust, “If you don’t get the job done, your butt will be out on the streets.” He would often yell the infamously irritating lines.

    As a near forty year old man, it was quite degrading getting yelled at in front of strangers, something that you don’t get quite used to. As if my day couldn’t get any worse, as I was tending a customer I heard a familiar voice call my name, a voice that embodied pure evil. I saw her smile at me, a juxtaposition of beauty and wickedness was written on her face.