The Stupid and the Sinners

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VI

––

“Tell me what we’re doing here again.”

The man ordered Gerry to park the truck next to a police car, and ever since then they had been walking on the rocky trail, Gerry in front. He felt the dark man’s eyes on him, burning two holes into his back.

“Actually,” Gerry said, “can you tell me who you are already? A name? Even a nickname. Where are you from––”

“You can call me Satan.”

He smirked, regretting it immediately. The man wasn’t laughing, and he bet he wasn’t smiling, either. He commented, “That’s an odd nickname.”

The man didn’t reply.

“Where are you from, uh…where are you from?”

“Not around here.”

“Okay…”

“We’re almost there. No more questions.”

Are you guys close, Vinny? Please tell me you’re close.

Mom wants to know which trail you’re on.

The west trail! No, not the west trail. Which trail was it? How many were there? He stuck with his gut and repeated, I think it’s the west trail.

They walked through a break in the trees. There were two men waiting for them: one with his hands cuffed behind his back and another in a policeman’s uniform.

Gerry stopped walking. “What’s going on here?”

Searing fingers pressed into the back of his neck. “You’re going to pay for what you’ve done now.” The burning fingers pushed him forward.

“But I haven’t done anything illegal.” He resisted. “Okay, I have some pot in my car, but that’s it, I swear.” The man in handcuffs was crying. “All right!” Gerry exclaimed. “I did cocaine once, but just once.”

“That’s not what you’re answering to, Gerry,” the man––Satan––said behind him.

There was a pit where the two men stood. Gerry’s bladder threatened to give way. He had never been this afraid in his life.

Vinny, where are you?

“Meet Terry,” Satan said. The cuffed man sniveled at the sound of his voice. He continued, “Terry is a sinner like you. A murderer.”

“I asked for forgiveness,” Terry said through a mouthful of snot.

Satan replied, “Yeah, but you asked for it from the wrong God. Unfortunately for you, Allah is the wrong one.”

Gerry looked to the policeman, who didn’t say a word. He had his hands on his small hips, biting his mustache, some of his lunch still caught in it.

“Then what’s he doing here?” Anxiety rose steadily up Gerry’s throat as a scream. His knees shook.

“This is Officer Hardy. Terry murdered Hardy’s wife after he fornicated with her. He’s here for the show.”

“What show? What am I doing here?”

“You’re an adulterer, Gerry. You’re a sinner unwilling to repent.”

“I don’t understand.”

Terry’s crying was driving him mad. Satan placed a black hand on his shoulder, crushing it. “You’re going to kill Terry.”

“I’m WHAT?

VINNY!

We’re on the trail. Mom is complaining about her feet.

“You see that grave? That’s Terry’s grave.”

Terry whimpered and shut his eyes.

“Why do I have to kill him?”

“Because you won’t repent, Gerry. Because you’re a already sinner.”

“But if I kill him, that makes me a murderer.”

“I know.”

The silence was too easy, comical even. Gerry was getting closer to fainting with every passing second. The fear froze him. He noticed Terry’s hands were blistered and muddy. There was a shovel next to the pit. Five yards to the left was loose soil.

Who did Terry just bury?

Gerry wasn’t too afraid to realize that he stood on a clear patch of dirt.

“Who’s going to kill me?” he asked out loud.

Satan squeezing his shoulder, he answered, “They’re on their way.”


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