Skip to main content

The devil inside

Victor was one of those children with an overdeveloped mean streak—if there was a fly to lose its wings or an ant to be burned, he was the chief executioner. Victor was also one of those kids always being sent to the principal’s office or running laps for the coach. Most parents had Victor’s parents on speed dial. When it was time to learn a new dirty word, we’d all go to Victor for our next lesson—the boy was the professor of profanity. Victor had the first collection of porn any of us had ever laid eyes on. He was also the one that showed us how to decipher breasts and other parts of the female body squiggling in and out on scrambled cable channels. Eventually our parents branded Victor a ‘problem child’ and his underground popularity grew like kudzu.

As we got older, we saw less of Victor as his punishments began to involve authorities with a little more clout than the school principal. It was Victor who tried to shoplift some candy from the local drug store. When the school playground was vandalized with spray-painted obscenities, Victor’s name was first to circulate. By now, most of us realized that affiliation with Victor could lead to blemishes on our ‘permanent record’—that file which the police seem to keep on all children everywhere.

No one could quite figure out why Victor did the things he did but soon most of us kept our distance. What used to be fun, exciting and dangerous to be around became uncomfortable and annoying. As Victor began to lose his fan base, his antics took on a more sinister hue: stealing from the teacher’s lounge, slashing tires or tormenting small animals. Initially giving voice to all the things we were afraid to say or do, Victor had now become a thug—the bastard child of our curiosity with doing wrong. It wasn’t long after banishing Victor from our social circles that he disappeared from school as well. Assuming he had been sent to juvenile detention or worse, we continued to go to school, grow up and move on without Victor.

Several years ago, I heard that Victor was married with kids and holding down a decent job in the town where we had all gone to school together. Curious to see if this was indeed true, I looked him up the next time I was in the old neighborhood and found everything to be as reported. Victor is indeed married, holding down a steady job and has 3 well-behaved young children. When I asked what happened to him all those years ago and he told me...

It turns out that his parents decided to move Victor away from us because we were a bad influence on him. After moving, Victor settled down, focused on his studies and made new friends. It wasn’t until many years later that he felt comfortable returning to our small town where he ultimately met his wife and settled down.

While most people have their own inner demons, Victor apparently had a classroom or young devils waiting to see what he would do next. He had somehow fallen into the role of “bad boy” with an entire community unwilling to let him live it down. Victor had become the manifestation of the things all of us were afraid to do. We, in turn, became his muse for mischief—the devil inside.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Story Problems and Escape Pods

This is a continuation of a previous post. If you'd like to read it first, click here.

Danny managed to sit in his seat just as the last bell in the school chimed. He barely avoided another tardy by bolting down the hall while ducking under the little windows in every classroom door. His dad had dropped his mother and sister off first before driving like a crazy person to get him to school. Like a scene straight out of an action film, the van had rocked back and forth it dodged cars, swung around corners and squealed tires. When his father skidded up to the school, he yelled, “GO! GO! GO!”

"Danny run!" shouted Molly from the school's main door. Molly was Danny's best friend and the one always helping to keep him out of trouble. "You'll be late again if you don't hurry!" Danny turned to say goodbye to his dad but the van was already screeching around the corner and headed out of sight. Quickly he started running toward Molly. She waved him down the…

The Light

The Light By Nabih Saliba
I light the path for all to see They shall not trip because of me How great I am that darkness flee I do all this without a fee
And so it went each night for lamp Who proudly thought itself a champ But then one evening came a tramp His clothes were worn, and torn, and damp
He staggered left, he stumbled right He should not try to walk at night The drunkard fell into the light Thrown from the lamp with disdain bright
Why should I help this man below? He’s far beneath me don’t you know His lesser breeding clearly show This beggar can’t deserve my glow
And so the lamp let darkness fall On he who lay there in a ball As shadows grew both thin and tall The lamp stood off for one and all
Then suddenly the night time fled

Untitled Story pt.2

This is another installment of my "Untitled Story." The preceding portion can be found here.

Gregory Santo sighed at the stack of parchment glaring at him from his desk. This latest batch of border reports would seem less daunting if it represented more than a single day. Looking around his cramped workspace revealed similar piles stacked on chairs, overflowing shelves and collecting dust in the darkened corners of his time room. The Council had assigned him the honor of serving as interim security coordinator but any comfort taken from the position being temporary faded little over five years ago.

Pushing his chair away from the desk, the young acolyte stood and picked his way across the room to a leaded window. Throwing the latch, Gregory swung open the small porthole hopeful that the stacks of paper behind him would suddenly rush through it to freedom. Barely a rustle could be heard as the night air was heavy and unmoving. Father Santo sighed deeply and watched the sun thro…