Satan, you have really been pissing me off lately. Could you please just
leave my sister alone? She is sitting in the house with the blinds closed
and the lights off, looking through all of the letters she received while
in prison. We both know what this means. Juan is never going to call her
again and she is never going to love anyone as deeply as she loved him.
You’re not very good at this. You could
have made it work out differently. You’re getting sloppy. I thought we
had a deal: I was going to dedicate my life to being your channel, and
you were going to take care of things. You promised me power. You said
I would get what I wanted. It was going to be fun. I was going to be on
your team. We were going to make guacamole.
Have you noticed that I haven’t gotten anything
on my list? I was really, really close to getting it all when I was a
free agent. I thought a little Bonus Power from Satan would seal the deal.
Right? Wrong. All the progress I’ve made over the course of the last two
years has completely unraveled in a matter of weeks.
Number one on my list was the boy. I know
what you think of him. I don’t care. It was a beautiful crush. Why’d you
ruin it? I cast the spell, waited patiently for him to come around, and
tied the rope around his ankle just like you taught me. You said the worst
thing that could happen was he’d gnaw off his foot. You forgot to tell
me that he’d leave his body. I lay there on top of him, kissing an empty
body. It was the creepiest thing ever.
The spell works on everyone else. It works all the time, without me even
trying—a number of hopeless distractions now flutter around, outside my
kitchen, banging their stupid junebug heads into the screen door. But
Satan, no one can compare to what I made out of that boy inside my head.
No one understands this. It’s like staring at a light as bright as the
Sun that’s not turned on. I just wanted to find his switch. I wanted to
turn him on, load his gun. I thought your spell would do this for me.
Lord knows God’s plan wasn’t working.
I know you and my mother want me to marry
the rock star, but the rock star bores the shit out of me. The rock star
has a back like spider man and eyes like butterscotch candies. Shit like
that makes me gag. Did you see what he did to me on Sunday? He took me
to a bubbling creek in the middle of the desert and stared at my face
for three hours. Am I supposed to be entertained? I don’t get it. What’s
with the long list of drooling slobs? The organic chemist kisses like
a fish and asked me to marry him on the third date. Dr. Tony keeps sending
flowers. He adores me. I am infallible in his eyes. Once we were talking
and orange juice randomly leaked out of my mouth. He said it was the most
adorable thing he had ever seen in his life. He keeps calling. He wants
to do my laundry. And then there’s the Tai Chi instructor. What a black
hole he is. All he does is giggle to himself. Are you trying to fuck with
me? Are you trying to prove a point?
I admit it, I’m naïve. You remember
my reluctance when I signed on to your team. I was afraid that my friends
would be able to tell the difference, sense the change in my alliance.
I was afraid that if I was working with cards up my sleeve, winning wouldn’t
feel as good. Little did I suspect that I would lose lose lose. Mister,
I gotta tell you, your stacked deck is a pile of shit. You said I would
be able to do more, have more. You said Sex Power. You said my sister
would always pick up her clothes and do the dishes. Okay, you’re right—it
isn’t about my sister at all, it’s all about me me me.
You know why I quit God’s team. God says
we have everything we need, here’s the end of the soup line, cup your
hands like this, it minimizes leakage. God says everything is yours, so
leave it where it is. God says your glass is half-empty because you were
good and shared. Don’t feel cheated. I have a grander plan and your thirst
is an important part of it. Make a deal with God and his roots burrow
into your heart. They connect you to everyone and make you responsible.
God says be humble. God says shine. God says stay out of the way. This,
to me, is unacceptable.
God said it wasn’t up to me. Just like God
to take everything out of my hands. Sure, God knows best but is God doing
anything about it? It doesn’t look like God is doing anything ever. Have
you ever golfed with God? It’s a joke. Watching God work on turning the
boy on was like watching a corpse rot. God says that orphans in the slums
of Zambia laugh louder than children in Walmart. Mary says be grateful.
You said we could have cake and hamburgers. Where’s the beef, Satan?
I met the boy an hour before sunset a year
and four months ago. I was writing a paper for an embarrassingly rudimentary
class. His friend introduced himself, he was pure Velveeta cheese. The
boy was not. He looked at me sideways. He smiled and blushed at the same
time. Velveeta asked what I was writing. I explained that it was an embarrassingly
elementary research paper about the History of Prostitution. I returned
the question and asked what they were studying. Velveeta answered “We’re
first year med students. We’ve got an exam in three weeks.” His tone said
This will impress you... I will take off your panties now. Maybe it works
on other girls. I tuned him out and stared at the boy. My stomach was
falling, my brain shut off, my hands were sweating, and I had no grace.
I was Queen Dork.
It was summer. I dreamed about him. I taught
myself how to pan-sear salmon. I made bread from scratch. We sat together
whenever we were at the same place at the same time. I read Sex Tips For
the Straight Woman from a Gay Man. I took 16 units in the Fall. I smiled
a lot. Nothing happened. I took 19 units in the spring. I tried to keep
smiling. I tried to keep busy. I asked for your help and I got him onto
my couch and I kissed him and he evaporated.
I can leave my body, too—stare at a point
across the room so intently that I am suddenly there. I can go anywhere.
I visit museums in Europe. Sometimes I look for my brother. What happens
to the shell that’s left behind? It takes care of itself. It breathes,
it digests. It waits for your return.
He didn’t leave his body like that, he just
stopped being present, stopped paying attention. He went far away, to
a place filled with beer and motorcycles, or maybe simply to his grocery
list. I will spare you the bawdy details and cut to the point: he doesn’t
like me. God bless him.
Nothing’s changed since you’ve been put
in charge, Satan. Nothing’s gotten better or even gotten worse. At least
worse would be interesting. You and God, you’re both the same thing—Selfish/Selfless,
and no help at all. God says leave it alone, you say take it home, and
Buddha says if you take it home you’ll have to dust it. Buddha says we
love the breeze because it kisses our cheek so gently, yet we cannot put
it in a tin can to be saved for later. Buddha is a shitass, too.
My time has been robbed. My space infiltrated.
My intentions tangled. You have magnetized me for morons and baboons and
I quit. Consider me a free agent. Better yet, you’re fired. Clean out
your desk by lunch.
It’s true, at first I only wanted to teach
people to fly. And then I got greedy and wanted to command people to do
my will. Now I just want everyone to do exactly what they want to do,
which they are doing anyway. Maybe I’m still on God’s team. Maybe I’m
still on yours. It no longer matters, in my opinion.