Only in New England Will the Devil Find a Friend
Chapter 1: Only in New England Will the Devil Find a Friend
Drenched in sweat, Andy swung open the door of the Video Shack. His white, To-Hell-with-the-Devil t-shirt clung to his glistening body. The flesh was visible through the frayed material. Since the beginning of summer, Andy wore the same t-shirt every day, now the fabric was on the verge of surrender.
Waves of July heat trailed him off the street.
Dan, his friend since the fourth grade, never looked up from the task behind the counter, even when Andy raced across the small store only to fall to his knees before the narrow section of horror movies relegated to the lowest shelves near the floor. Dan feverishly worked the keys from a gigantic ring in the small lock at the bottom of the cash register. There was a lot at stake opening the register, so even when Andy started flagging him down with a videocassette box that revealed a woman spread-eagle on a church altar with a crucifix between her parted legs and an expression of demonic eroticism on her lips, his focus was not deterred.
“Dan,” Andy cried, still holding aloft the fiendish cover like Moses and his staff in the desert surrendering before the Canaanite army. “You should have been there last night. You should have come to church with me. I told you he was going to be. But this guy was crazier than even I figured. The guy’s whole talk was titled Shock Rock. So I had some ideas going in.”
Dan threw the keys down on the counter.
“What’s wrong, Dan?”
“What are you even talking about over there, Andy?”
“You know that whole rock music thing at the church. This was like a parent’s wet dream. Some ex-musician comes to church and tells them that the reason their kids don’t listen to them is that the devil has brainwashed them through their music. We’re talking about real-deal satan. El Diablo. Mr. Scratch. This guy is the nightmare all our moms are praying about. The long hair, the earrings, spiderweb tattoo on his neck. And here he is giving them the ultimate scape-goat. The devil speaks to these mom’s kids through music, toys, board games, you name it. This guy had a laundry list.”
“What are you even going on about, Andy? Do you even remember last night?”
“What do you mean, I’m telling you?”
“No, that church nonsense. Do you even remember what we were doing last night?”
“What are you telling me, Dan?” Andy slid the videocassette back onto the shelf. He stood up. This statement got his attention.
“Are you telling me you kept going?”
“You think I was going to stop just because you left?”
Beads of sweat pooped out on the back of Andy’s neck. “Are you telling me it worked? What did you do, Dan?”
“It gets worse. My mom walked in, Andy.”
“You’re telling me it worked?”
“I don’t like it when you keep saying that, Andy. Every time you say it like that I get the feeling you lied to me.”
“It was different for me, Dan. I was alone in my room. It worked. Sure it worked. I remember how it felt. I could feel it happening…”
“That doesn’t sound like it actually worked. I believed you, Andy.”
“I never lied. You’re trying to tell me somebody walked in on you.”
“My mom, Andy. Not somebody...My freaking mom. She came through the door with a pile of my underwear in her hand.”
“While it was happening?”
“My nose was practically touching the ceiling, Andy. She came through the door and I was floating so far above my bed I could practically touch the ceiling with my face. She threw all the clothes into the air.”
“You were off the bed…?”
“This is what I mean…”
“Your mom saw you…?”
“Andy, I nearly gave my mom cardiac arrest. She stopped breathing.”
“You were floating…?”
“I heard the doorknob turn. My eyes popped open. For the briefest moment, I could see the ceiling right in front of my face. Everything is a blur after that. Everything seemed to happen simultaneously. The door opens. She screams. I fall back down to my bed. The laundry is flying everywhere. It was a madhouse.”
“Do you know what this means, Dan?”
“Andy, my mom is a Catholic. My mom believes in the devil, Andy. I wouldn’t be surprised to get home tonight and find a priest at our kitchen table. This isn’t a joke. My mom might decide they need to perform an exorcism on me. Her only son.”
“With all the stuff I heard last night, this takes the cake.”
“Are you joking? Do you think this is funny?”
“I just wanted to use a camera and get proof. What you got is like ten times better than evidence. Your mother saw it with her own eyes.”