Benson Phillip Lott born in Fairbanks, Alaska currently living in Petaluma, California. My other publishings include "Road of things to Come", "Dragonbaby 1,2 and 3", "SuperVamp", "Lollipop Babies with Chainsaws" and "Pumpkin 1 and 2" I am in the process of completing the full manuscript of "Devil Glows Blue" and hope to get it out as quickly as possible.
THE DEVIL GLOWS BLUE
Dedicated to Ms. Zeena “Lovely” LaVey
And followers of the Left Hand Path
“In order to understand, I destroyed myself.” ― Fernando Pessoa
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, no, not one”
Suddenly, it’s four years later, some time, early millennium. I’m twenty seven; a high school dropout, with limited capacity for reason. Some might call me “hopeless”, others may call me “damaged”. But I’ve never cared what anyone says. At least I’m moment to moment. At least, I live near the beach.
As a matter of fact, I’m right here (downtown Santa Barbara) and while I never finished highschool, I read as much as I can.
No, I don’t speak other languages. No, I can’t name a Secretary of State. So what? To me, “calculus” is a famous roman emperor. And “catastrophe” is spelled “cat-ass-trophy”?
What’s important is I own Triple S embroidered sneakers, I’ve rented a ’98 Triffin Allegro 310 motorhome (six-fifty a month, plus utilities) and I once memorized the lyrics for “In Bloom” and “Rape Me”.
Yes, I live in the backyard (behind a shitty, three-bedroom house). Yes, the majority of windows are filthy. The vague scent of week-old cheese doesn’t really bother me. Plus, I’m a half-block’s distance from State Street. Probably, the biggest bonus since I’m (currently) without a vehicle.
And, okay, there is one drawback. Apparently, the property owner is insane. One of those Vietnam war vets who never should’ve made it. The guy’s about as politically correct as Andrew Dice Clay. But then again, how much does that honestly concern me? It’s not like we’re running for congress.
What does bother me, is the man has no left-leg. And there’s a creepy, prosthetic substitute I wanna rip-off and beat him to death with. Somehow I manage to refrain.
Afterall, I’m a Stone Temple Pilots fan
I can take anything.
I don’t have to tell you, introductions are awkward.
The owner approaches me with a glaring expression, grabbing my left hand, shaking it hand like his entire manhood depends on its firmity. Fighting the urge to wince, I tell him “good afternoon”, that my name is “Lucis Carpenter”, that “I called earlier, about the trailer”. Then I compliment his steel grip. Macho dudes love that shit.
“Kurt Jennings,” he says, like shouting for “chow time”. “Please to meet’cha, kid! Now, do me a favor. Listen up, okay? You say your name’s ‘Lucis’? Well Lucis, here’s the deal. I hate faggots, commies and wops. Maybe a gook, here and there. And once in awhile, the occasional nigger. But especially, them faggots. And boy, that means “faggot” of any kind: trannies, queers, bis. Even the regular ol’ butt probers. You name the cocksucker, I’ll tell you how much I hate ‘em.”
“How heart-warming,” I say, “how progressive!”
Kurt retreats a step. “Progressive? Pro-gress-ive! Look son, the only progress I’m interested in, is progressing these cum garglers deeper in their graves. You get me? So, you wanna rent my trailer, you better not be suckin’ no dick. ‘Cause I’m tellin’ ya, this ain’t no Castro. And we ain’t sellin’ KY jelly..”
“Speakin’ of which, let’s be clear, right now, on some rules. Rule one! No suckin’ dick’! I think we covered that. Rule two! Don’t eyeball my fuckin’ leg. All you need to know, it was blown off in the Mekong Delta. I was savin’ the life of American GIs. Without me, there’d be three less soldiers.”
“Rule three! Pay rent - on time - strictly by money order. No cash or checks. And I sure as hell don’t take credit cards. This ain’t AMPM, son. And we ain’t no sand-niggers --”
“ -- sellin’ no sandnigger peanuts, sandnigger hot dogs or sandnigger slushies.”
“Finally, rule four! Easily, the most important rule: No excuses. Petty, or otherwise. ‘Cause I don’t need more bullshit. Especially about rent. I’ve already heard every last caca meme, sob story this side of Kansas City. Boy, you can’t imagine the nonsense. One guy threw himself in front of a car -- shattered his pelvis, cracked his ribs, broke his arm - all just to avoid payin’ me.”
“Another guy - Phil - claimed he was kidnapped by aliens.”
“Said he dropped his wallet inside the mothership. Swear to Christ, I could write a book: ‘101 Ways 2 Screw Your Landlord’. And I guarantee -- it’d be a bestseller.”
After a solid three minutes (where I basically stand there, nodding), Kurt clasps his hands together, mumbling “follow me”, his home-made T-shirt reading: “Soldier 1st, Human 2nd”. It Reminds me of two T’s I had made (back home, at the mall): “PUBLIC FRENEMY” and “All roads lead to me”. Neither of which I wear, except on special occasions; sometimes, maybe, my birthday.
Kurt lights a fresh cigarette (using the tip of his old one). After blowing a fat stream of smoke, he signals for me to follow him, walking across his lawn to a crooked, cement drive-way where his private camper is parked.
He goes on to explain the neighborhood’s quiet atmosphere, how pleasant fellow homeowners seem, but I’m so on-edge from the pile of headless Barbie dolls (chillin’ on the pavement), I find it difficult to concentrate. Frankly, I’m surprised the yard is covered with landmines. At this point, I’m ready for anything. In fact, I half-expect an army of clowns (camouflaged and bozo-faced) to pop out behind me; doing cartwheels and juggling hand grenades.
“Listen, kid. Balls to the walls, boots to the ground. Pay on time, trailer’s all yours. But remember: no faggots. And I strongly advise you never get fresh. ‘Cause I’ll tellin’ ya, right now. I was tearin’ out men’s throats before you was a wet dream. Not even a thought in your daddy’s perverted mind. So, if you plan on givin’ me shit - don’t. You see, ‘cause I ain’t the one to fuck with. I’ll take your back-talk and stuff it up your blueberry cakehole. Got that?”
“Sir, yes sir.”
For whatever reason, Kurt shakes my hand a second time. Almost as if he’s forgotten, we already met. Clearly, I’m aware his eyes never blink. Clearly, I acknowledge my revenue is hazy. My only option, now, is lying. I tell Kurt, “rent’s no problem”, slipping on sunglasses (probably Gucci) as if that’s some kind of statement.
Realizing life’s nothing but fantasy, what concerns me most is food. Don’t ask me why, but one of us should be eating a sandwich. I just think a ham cheese (on rye) provides greater authenticity. I don’t know -- “What’s your opinion? Don’t you think the scene would be better? If we just added a little sandwich…?”
Somehow - I don’t know -- it just feels right. Somehow, I feel, it accomplishes something. Only now, it's too late, now. The paragraph’s written. My first scene is finished. The potential) for sandwiches is gone. Our first impressions are made. There’s no way in hell, I’m starting-the-fuck over. Even for just one scene.
It took me all night, writing these first six pages. So, like everything else, Lucis, I guess the “sandwich idea” is moot. Once again, buddy, your act is coming-up short.
So, I’m thinking, at this point, I have Kurt pretty well figured. But for the sake of detail, let’s add a few in particular. His favorite hobby is soap carving and his church attendance is zero (then again, so’s mine). I believe in God as much as I do Darth Vader. And Kurt’s bitterness for Jesus (referring to him as “Cross Boy”) is the one thing I do like.
If you need a mental image, picture yourself a ghost town. Picture a vacant, dusty road. Where tumbleweeds blow in a reckoning of wind. Where a single white horse remains; tied to a wooden post. Where fearsome riders have come and gone. All that’s here are spirits.
Remember, Kurt’s that guy who never changes. I’m still clueless why he lives in the driveway (in a Forest River Wildwood camper) like a white-trash hermit, VA check and food stamp dependent.
I mean, there’s a big-ass house - right there - in front of him. But no, he’d rather stay outside. Clearly, this man is a marshmallow.
My guess is, Kurt has a small, green trunk (somewhere in the depths of his closet). And inside that trunk is a fading-yellow “discharge” certificate, along with a shitload of polaroids, bullet clips, dog tags and other useless war regalia.
I’m also betting amongst those pictures, there's a grainy photograph of him and his platoon members; all smiling and waving, and raising their guns. Each of the soldiers are young, each of the soldiers are healthy. I’m betting two or three died, immediately following this picture.
There’s a look in their eyes (“kill or be killed”), mixed with a glimmer of idealism (“war, what’s it good for?”). Their long, hippie hair and handlebar mustaches fit the image of the time. And a part of me wishes I could be there. Just to see their expression change. That moment they realize: “we’re gonna die”. That moment they realize: “We’re doing this for nothing”.
One interesting fact I’ve acquired: the illusion is more important than the reality. And there’s two things in life one should never turn down: money and pussy. If you do, you will live to regret it. and finally, it’s better to die with regret than regret to be dying without having lived.
As far as the house, it’s a rotting, faded structure. The plumbing is broken, the paint is chipped And strangely, Kurt shows no desire in fixing it. As a matter of fact, he refuses to acknowledge its presence, whatsoever.
If the man owned a beehive, he’d never be stung.
The bees wouldn’t waste their stingers.
Quite frankly, Kurt’s residence in his camper couldn’t be more appropriate. He just has that “camper look”, admitting his life sucks. And all he wants is isolation. There’s no point, sorting his countless mistakes. The guy’s a major screw-up and really, that’s all that matters. He’s comfortable in his misery. And frankly, so am I.
So, here I am, standing before the house, expressing my sympathy for any future roofers (assuming he’ll hire any). Never mind, it’s not authentic. At least, it changes the subject.
The man’s obsession with “suckin’ dick” gives me a headache. I feel like a goddamn replicant from “Blade Runner”. Like I’m discovering my childhood is fabricated; each precious memory, belonging to someone else.
Now, Kurt explains to me “the deal” with his house, warning me to “never go in there”, claiming his preference for “the great outdoors”. When I ask why, “what’s wrong with the house?”, his response is a soft-spoken mumble.
“That’s for them Mexicans,” he says, as if, somehow, this explains anything.
Suddenly, it’s four minutes later; some time after sunset. I’m slightly buzzed on Kurt’s supply of Heineken (Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!). However, I’m sober enough to ask more bullshit questions (which, of course, he doesn’t answer).
My slurred speech is obvious. I’m lucky to be standing straight. If someone requested I count backwards from ten, I’d have to respond: “10, 9, 8 -- go fuck yourself!”
Soon, I’ll be reaching total incoherence. Soon, nothing that I say will have meaning.
Fortunately, the simplicity in knowing this allows me to cross the line. Soon, I’ll be vomiting beer foam, soon, I’ll be chanting God’s name.
As for Kurt, he’s over-the-moon (well-passed it); flimsy and weak, drunken and feeble. Barely discernible. Whatever he’s shouting, frankly, I’m done with absorbing. His point is long-forgotten (along with his equilibrium). Kinda like an adult from Charlie Brown’s “Peanuts”; garbled, disjointed and spitting all over.
Christ, he may as well be mainlining Thorazine.
At long last, Kurt tips himself backward, stumbling in his lawn chair. There’s a confused shriek as he spreads his limbs, whistling profusely at the sky. It’s almost dark. Almost black. Suddenly, Kurt springs forward, alert. Suddenly, he’s ready for anything. Maybe a spaceship will beam its light down and take him. Maybe, he’ll drop his wallet (and can’t pay his own rent).
A round of laughter as we condone our own absurdity. Finally, Kurt glares at me, saluting with patriotic glee. At this moment I am tender. At this moment, I stand attention, saluting back (like a private to an officer). When truthfully, we’re useless; just two, wandering children, drifting through the mist.
Longing to evaporate.
PART ONE SERPENT OF OLD (49 & 61)