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Fictional Truth: A Dance With the Devil
Never let your mistakes define who you are, but instead let the way you overcame adversity be your identity. This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my time with Satan. Ironically, I am writing to you from jail cell #666 in a worthless little town called Clay City. It’s a town of about 920 mind-numbingly boring people, more than half of which are above the age of ninety. Clay has nothing but three stoplights, lots of drugs, pregnant teens, and senseless drama. Walking down these dismal streets the only thing you’d see is fighting children and ten cops chasing a kid on a moped with a dime bag in his pocket. How I landed in this town is not as significant as what’s happened since, but given that the only thing I have for entertainment is a chisel and a wall, I’ll explain it.
I used to live in one of the top counties in the nation, enjoying a good life with countless friends, fun, and zero drama. In a fairly large school of about two thousand students I was as well liked and admired as James Dean was in Hollywood. I never realized how much I loved it until I moved. Occasionally, I made some iffy decisions, some of which included illegal activities but nothing that really got me in too much trouble. Plus it was just for recreation and I couldn’t afford to lose my reputation. My friends meant the world to me, two of which might as well have been my brothers. The three of us did everything together as if we were Siamese twins and we even called ourselves the three amigos.
The first one I met was Green. Yes, Green is his name and I have no idea why his parents named him that. I met him when I first moved to the county in second grade and we’ve been buds ever since. He’s tall and lanky with long brown hair and is probably the goofiest looking one of the three of us. James was my other amigo. We met in seventh grade English class and became best friends quicker than a blink. The cool thing about our friendship is that we’ve stayed in touch and remained best of friends through it all. When I get out of here the three of us plan on getting matching tattoos of a joker playing card, which no one but us would understand. We even picked up girls together at the local movies or the mall and went on triple dates. We lived smart, bold, and never ceased to have a good time.
There aren’t many things I regret in my life, but there is one that goes through my mind at least once every single day. Ever since moving away I lost touch with my real best friend. The best times we had together were at my church, which was about 20 minutes from my house in a nearby city. He was a friend that you could always rely on for a good conversation filled with plenty of timeless advice and was there through it all: my parents’ divorce, moving back and forth between houses, internal problems that no one else knew about…just about everything you can think of, he was there. I never actually saw him much, but when I did it was divine. I am the youngest of five children (including step siblings). My stepbrother is the only one of them that lives with me along with my dad (Lee) and my step mom (Marie). If you didn’t know my dad you would think he came from some sort of military background, which is a big reason my sister didn’t bring boyfriends around much. He’s built like a former drill sergeant, about 5’11”, strong jaw line, with black hair and a slightly intimidating goatee. He came from a rather rough childhood and for the most part had to take care of himself. If you were a kid in our house you learned quickly that when dad speaks you listen. He talks with authority and has a strong, imposing voice. Dad and I were close from the time I was born up until my whole life changed.
My family was pretty well off and didn’t really have much financial trouble. Then the economy happened. During the last month of school I knew my life was about to be transformed forever.
“Evan, sit down for a second I’ve got something I need to talk to you about,” my dad commanded.
I know my dad so as soon as he said that, I knew it had to be something bad. I went to sit down in front of him and as I did my mind went racing through every possible incident that could have happened. I was clueless.
“Okay so what’s up?” I said with a perplexed look.
After a long and irritating pause he finally spoke.
“Evan, I’ve been out of work for 11 months now. Marie and I are doing everything we can to keep our life a float but---”
“What’s going on?” I interrupted.
Interrupting my dad is a huge no-no. It’s something that you just don’t do and when I did it this time I know he was stunned. Much to my surprise he ignored the fact that I obviously just cut him off and continued what he was saying.
“Okay Evan, listen. We’re going to have to move. I know I promised you that it would never happen until after you graduated but it’s something that is just inevitable with the hand we’ve been dealt. I’m sorry and I know how much this is going to suck for you going into your junior year, but we have no other choice,” he explained.
The only thing I could do was stare at the wall in absolute silence. I could hear my heart beating and with every breath I took I wished it were my last. I had just been handed the worst news I’ve ever had in my life so it took me a while to process it. My mind immediately began a pursuit of anything that would make me feel better about the terrible situation I was about to be thrust into, a bright side to what I just heard. The pursuit was a failure. I went into a depression that I had never experienced before in my life and it was affecting every aspect of it. I no longer cared about anything. I ended the best relationship with a girl that I’ve ever had, did things that were harmful to my body, ignored the people who cared about me, and treated people poorly. My life and everything I ever knew was depleted and since then I haven’t been the same. Our financial issues forced us to have to relocate to a place where I knew not even one person, had no friends, no life, and no reason to live anymore. I had given up on life. I will never forget my first day at Clay City High School and especially what happened after. Most people at some point in their life will have a conversation that they never forget…I was fortunate to have more than one.
The only way to describe what the first day felt like is by comparing it to solitary confinement. I was completely alone, just me and my thoughts. Sure I had a short conversation here and there, but nothing memorable. Since the day I said my first word I have never spoken less in a seven-hour period than I did that day. I walked through the halls like a new prisoner at Auschwitz. One thing I wasn’t used to was the fact that everyone knew anything and everything about everybody with me being the only exception. I would look up from the ground and see people whispering and pointing and I knew it was me they were talking about. A new junior at a small school, of course they’re going to talk. It was one of the slowest days of my life and when the last bell rang I was by far the most excited person in the building, but I didn’t show it. As I pulled up to my house I was thinking about my first day of school and how lonely I was. Before I could finish my thought I looked at my front porch and noticed a man waiting by my front door. He was probably about six feet tall wearing an expensive looking black suit with white pin stripes and black, slicked-back hair. He reminded me of the typical businessman you would see in a movie. I got out of my car and made my way toward the porch, but before I could even get all the way up to it I heard an unfamiliar voice that said:
“Hello Evan, it’s good to see you. I’ve been waiting for a while now.”
The man on the porch was still facing the front door so I looked around for another source of a voice, but fell short. I took another reluctant step toward the porch and as soon as I did the man turned to face me. By this time I was pretty confound but I wasn’t scared (especially since at this point if I was going to get murdered I wouldn’t mind it too much). I walked up to him and introduced myself. There was an intense peculiarity about this guy, but it was hard to figure out what it was. He had the deepest eyes I’ve ever seen and had no color to them whatsoever, but they were black. It was as if the man was looking into my soul as I shook his hand. The weirdest part of it all was his name. He introduced himself using only one name…Beelzebub. At the time I had no clue of the significance of what that name meant, but I wish I had. He seemed harmless though, so I invited him in because he had what looked like a brochure in his hand so I assumed he was going to try to sell me something. We sat down and before I could say anything he spoke.
“Evan I am here because I know what you’re going through deep inside your soul and I can he---
“Excuse me? What do you mean you know what I’m going through? I moved, so what?” I asked.
I continued my newly formed habit of interrupting people when I don’t like what they’re about to say. But this time I had a good motive. Before I gave him a chance to answer I had already had enough.
“Sir I don’t mean to be rude, but I think you should leave,” I said.
After I said this he didn’t say a word as he stood up and started for the door. I politely opened the door for him and let him outside and after taking not even three steps toward the porch he stopped. Without turning around he said something I’ll never forget.
“I know about you and your former real best friend,” he said. “You know you and God.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said, playing dumb. “Goodbye sir.”
I couldn’t help but to be curious about his intentions for coming to see me. I thought about it for a few seconds and bolted out the door to try and catch him before he was too far away. I looked around, but the only thing I saw was an empty street. I gave up and turned around to see a pair of deep black eyes staring back at me. I gasped just slightly enough to where I think he didn’t notice. It freaked me out a little but I didn’t question how he did it.
“I knew you would be curious,” he said.
“About what?” I replied
“About what I have to offer you. We both know I’m here for a reason,” he said. “Look at where you are in life right now. You are depressed and don’t have any more hope, but I’m telling you that I can help. I’m on your side, Evan.”
“What are you dude? My stalker or something?” I asked
“You can just think of me as your guardian angel,” He said with a smirk. “I know God very well and I can tell he doesn’t care about you. Tell me what he has done for you.”
At first this seemed like a simple question, but for some weird reason something came over me and I had no answer for it. I know He was my best friend, but it was as if I couldn’t remember anything from that window of time.
“I…I don’t know man,” I said with my face to the floor.
“Evan I have seen the kinds of skills you possess. With time you could be a great leader, influencing whomever you want and how you want it. You could be richer than you’ve ever dreamed of with more women at hand than you can count,” He stated.
Everything he was saying sounded like a good plan to me. I knew not everything he was saying was true, but I chose to believe it anyway.
“Evan, I want you to sign this contract. It just says that you’ll will work hard and do whatever it takes to get your life heading in the direction that it should be going. Think of it as a contract for yourself to keep you on track and to help you stay reminded of what you’re meant to do in life.”
Without putting much thought into it, I signed it. I didn’t read the contract at all because for some reason I trusted what the man was telling me. When I looked up to hand him his pen back he was gone. It was a heavy pen crafted with gold and silver. On the side it had a tiny inscription that read: The Prince.
After he left I was shook to the core with more emotions then I can count. Fear, curiosity, sadness, anger…the only one missing was happiness. That visit bothered me for days and I never forgot the man’s name. It stuck in my head like an annoying song. I couldn’t get it off my mind and dominated my every thought. I had nightmares about the man with his eyes staring at me, dissecting my soul.
“There was something different about this guy.” I thought to myself. “I have to figure out who he is.”
I went straight to the most reliable source there is…Google. I typed in “Who is Beelzebub?” in the search bar and the very first thing that came up put a sick feeling in my stomach more rapidly than anything ever has in my life. It said: “be•el•ze•bub: A name for the Devil”.
I decided not to tell anyone about that meeting with Beelzebub because I knew nobody would believe me and would most likely refer me to a psychiatric hospital. The next couple weeks were a little weird. Life started going my way and I was beginning to enjoy it way too much. Quickly, I became one of the most well known people in my new school. Multiple girls, parties, friends, a new job, I was a star on the basketball team and the coolest part of it all was that I was getting away with anything I wanted. Frankly, I was being really stupid with the decisions I was making, but I didn’t care because nothing could touch me.
I came home late from a party one Friday night, everything completely normal. Just as I was about to open the back door to sneak in I noticed a piece of paper sticking out right above the handle. Of course I’m not just going to ignore it so I grabbed it ever so quietly and took it in. It was a letter in an envelope with my name on the front. I wasn’t expecting any kind of message from anyone so I couldn’t imagine what it was. It read as follows:
I miss you and hope we can start talking again soon. I love you.
I stiffened as a wave of nausea rolled over me.
“S***, I’m screwed,” I said out loud to myself. I figured my dad left that in the back door because he had caught on to my ingenious back-door-sneak-out routine. The next morning when I woke up with a terrible headache I went to ask my dad about the letter I assumed he wrote me. My parents then proceeded to ask me what kind of drugs I was on and where I was getting them. Based on that response it’s safe to say they didn’t believe that I had just found the letter. Later that day I ended up having to run to the gas station to grab something. I parked my car, got out, and made my way for the door. Just as I was walking in, another person was walking out. We collided with a large amount of force for how slow we were both moving. He dropped some change on the ground and I bent to pick it up at the same time he did. He looked at me, gave me a big smile, and thanked me. The man had long flowing brown hair with soft brown eyes and an inviting smile. He was wearing what looked like some kind of worker’s gloves and a pair of big black boots laced up to the shin.
“Excuse me man I’m sorry,” I said.
Without saying a word the man crossed the distance between us and engulfed me in his arms, lifting me off my feet and spinning me around like a little child. When he was done throwing me around he pushed me back as if to get a good look at me. I was speechless. In a matter of seconds this man had breached every bit of social appropriateness behind which I had so safely entrenched myself. In spite of that, I felt a powerful feeling of contentment and sense of familiarity by just being next to him. It was like getting blind-sided with a rush of happiness that I haven’t felt since the last time I went to church.
“Evan! Did you get my letter?” he said excitedly.
Without delay I thought of the envelope that I found the night before. I figured at this point this confrontation couldn’t get any more bizarre so I might as well just pull it out of my pocket.
“Um…is this what you’re talking about?” I asked as I flashed him the envelope.
“Yup, that’s the one,” he said with a huge smile.
He took off his gloves to inspect the letter to make sure it was really the one he was thinking of. As he did so, I couldn’t help but notice light passing through one-quarter-size hole on each of his hands. It took me about a nanosecond to connect all the dots.
“J-J-Jesus?” I stuttered.
Once again without saying a word he snatched me up and gave me what seemed to be an hour-long hug.
“Oh don’t worry about those. I just had a little accident with a nail gun at work,” he said with a wink. “We need to start hanging out again you know.”
I got a sick feeling in my stomach when I remembered the visit from Beelzebub.
“Jesus…if you even really are Jesus…I need to tell you something.”
I never thought I’d say that out loud so it sounded funny coming out of my mouth. I also remembered the fact that Jesus knows everything, therefore I don’t really need to tell him anything. Despite my better judgment I opened my mouth to tell him about what I had done.
“Evan, I know about the contract,” he said before I could speak. “I know you’re sorry for it and I’m here to let you know that it’s okay. You still have a chance. I’m a second chance kind of guy, you know that,” he said with yet another wink.
“Well what should I do Jesus? I’m lost, I have no true friends, no support, and honestly I just feel lonely.”
“Now that’s more like it!” he exclaimed. “No more thinking in your head that you don’t need to tell me something because you know I already know about it. Contrary to popular belief, I actually like hearing what you have to say. But on a serious note, you know what you need to do. I picked you out for a special task. You already know what your calling is in life; it’s to lead people to me. Why do you think I gave you so much ability, charisma, and so many talents?” he asked rhetorically. “You know what you need to do now go do it,” he commanded. “I’ll see you around.”
He departed with a hug, but it wasn’t too long before I saw him again. Despite my visit with Jesus my life continued as it was for the past few weeks. I continued to make choice decisions (which I got away with) and didn’t think twice about how I was living my life. What I needed was a wakeup call. I got one in a big way.
April 20th started out as any other day. Wake up, smoke a joint, go to school, then a girl’s house, and then hang out with a few buddies and kick back. This time we decided to cruise around with a few ounces of marijuana and a few grams of coke in my car. After a little while we decided to stop in a neighborhood and chill out. We weren’t doing anything suspicious for an outsider’s perspective but for some reason a cop decided to roll up to my car with his lights on. My car was still running with music playing pretty loud…I had a busted taillight. The policeman walked up to my window, tapped on it, and commanded me to roll it down. As I did a whirlwind of smoke rolled out of the vehicle. As soon as he saw the smoke he told me to wait and began to walk back to his car I guess to radio someone. Unfortunately I was still feeling considerably invincible so I made the brilliant decision to burn out in front of him in my manual-transmission Ford Escort and speed off. Running from the cops is something that I don’t recommend anyone attempt. You’ll get caught. And when you do it’s not fun. Luckily, yes luckily, I was not an exception. Looking back on it now, I know that if I hadn’t run from him I’d end up hurting someone with my destructive decision-making somewhere down the road. The chase didn’t last long because I was in no condition to be driving anyway. I eventually gave up and turned off the car. The first person I thought about was Jesus and our conversation at the gas station. I was so overwhelmed with guilt that I couldn’t help but throw up out my window. My friends didn’t get in too much trouble because I covered their asses with the cops. As I was about to be put into custody I told them all that it was going to be okay and to just put the blame on me. I knew I was going to get in trouble and couldn’t stand to see my friends go down with me. My dad was given a chance to talk to me before they took me in to the station. As I was sitting in the back of the squad car waiting for my fate, my dad walked up to me.
“Son, look at me. Look at me now,” he said with a stern yet concerned tone.
Through a wall of tears and with a muffled voice the only thing I could muster was “I can’t”. I couldn’t look at my own dad because of the amount of humiliation I was feeling. It was as if someone had stripped every bit of dignity, pride, and self-respect from me in one instant.
“I love you son,” he said as he was walking away.
One of the officers took me out of the car with his unnecessarily tight handcuffs digging craters into my wrists. He led me into the station where I would spend a significant amount of time. Before I got in though I saw someone that I wish I had seen earlier in the day. It was Jesus standing by the door doing something I’ll always remember. He was weeping. Jesus was weeping for someone as useless as me; a runaway, womanizing pothead with no perceptible future. I looked down in shame and looked back to try to catch his eye one last time before I went in, but he was gone. I was brought into the building, crying helplessly the whole time. They showed me the cell that I would be staying in for a while. I got an odd, but recognizable feeling before I stepped through the cell door being held by a guard. I looked up at the guard out of curiosity and looked straight into two dreadfully black eyes. With a sly smirk the guard shut the door and locked it. With the clank of the key turning I felt my whole life slip away. Beelzebub had me right where he wanted me.
To be continued…