More of an Unnamed Thing
I can't think of a name for this. Enjoy and comment or suffer my wrath.
It is an undeniable fact that Paulo Averra’s problems started when he accidentally ate the holy sanctified fingernail of St Sebastien, patron saint of pencil makers and resident holy relic of the town of Sestina. It is another undeniable fact that had he not done so, he would have gone on to spend the saint’s day in a very ordinary and unremarkable way, most likely including prayer, fasting before supper, and trying not to stain his Sunday church suit. As it was, there was much weeping and wailing from his mother, unnecessary ringing of the church bells, and an overly dramatic exorcism performed by Sestina’s resident trendy priest (Father Carlos was young and had a fondness for tight jeans under his cassock and Christian rock songs played on his electric guitar).
It was all rather exciting. His family doted on him, he was excused from school the next day, and relatives kept popping by to ask him if he “felt a presence in the room”. They often brought sweets with them. And so, the next day, in order to secure a lifelong supply of sweets, and because Paulo was probably the most lazy boy in all of Sestina (and possibly the world), Paulo pretended he did feel a demonic presence, inside him.
This is the story of how Paulo Averra began his career as the Miraculous Demon Boy of Sestina: a miraculous tale of lies, truth, the Devil, and Sylvester Stallone.
As time went on, Paulo found that the benefits of being possessed by an evil demon far outweighed any disadvantages. Not only was he excused from school, but he was also able to skip church merely by remembering to act demonically in the presence of Father Carlos, whose leisurely trendiness was being sorely tested after Paulo ate the strings of his guitar. Paulo had been given his own room so that he couldn’t infernally corrupt his brother Hector, whose tendency towards incontinence and nose picking, meant that he was probably more infernal than Paulo. He was also no longer forced to play “Unicorns” with his cousin Maria to gratify her powerful obsession with pink horses (this is compulsory for most 7 year old girls but can usually be avoided by providing your children with suitably upsetting experiences with horses at a young age). In short, Paulo felt that he had never been happier.
Months and years went by, and Paulo established a kind of reign of terror over the entire town. The people of Sestina were highly religious, and kept far away from his demonic influence; in this way Paulo was able to do anything he wanted. His family, convinced he was either being controlled by the demon, or was in a brief period of “salvation” would smother him in presents whenever they thought that Paulo was in control. It was for this reason that Paulo was one of the first boys in Sestina to see Rocky in the cinema, and to own a ???, and to chew gum.
Meanwhile, in Hell, the Devil was in a state of genuine displeasure over the events in Sestina. For a being whose entire existence consists of moping around in a frozen lake, generating evil and eating traitors, displeasure may seem an emotion somewhat insignificant in the general miasma of misery; however, like a man who is carrying his obese brother to hospital on foot, and who is then also asked to carry his obese brother’s obese rocking horse, microwave, large pizza and highly visible and painful-looking sex toy, Satan had had enough. He vowed to bring the Sestina embarrassment to a satisfactory conclusion within the week.
The embarrassment originated in the undeniable fact that for two years now, no one in Sestina had gone to Hell. For the entire town was in such terror of the supposedly “possessed” Paulo that they had become three times more devout than any sensible person ever has the time and effort to be. Priests found themselves trapped in the confession box for hours, listening to the most banal and obscurely sinful confessions: “Father I whistled loudly in the presence of an old man, I told my son he needed a hair cut, I brushed my hair twice before leaving the house.” One woman even broke down into tears and admitted to dropping spoons on the floor and not washing them before serving dinner to her husband. Priests began to take sandwiches and small buckets in with them, a sin that they then had to confess to the bishop, who’d taken to hiding out in local crypts.
Beggars received so many donations that they became rich, began lording it over the other townspeople and purchased expensive watches. Blind people found themselves at the mercy of hundreds of would-be Samaritans desperate to help them across the road, often whether they liked it or not. Everyone’s right hands were exhausted from crossing themselves the whole time, and as a consequence of this the entire town became left-handed. In short, the various actual demons knocking about Sestina were so under-employed that they had started doing charitable deeds themselves just to have something to do. The insult was compounded by the fact that since modern society had invented whole new methods of intricate and painful torture, Hell had recently had to update its repertoire to include bureaucracy. And the embarrassment in Sestina was generating enormous quantities of red tape.
The Devil hated paperwork, as only a being whose sole responsibility used to be skipping around Heaven can. And so he sent his most devious, nefarious, treacherous and duplicitous demon (who was so devious, nefarious, treacherous and duplicitous that he approached honesty and decency from the other side) to go talk to Paulo and put the matter to rest. Mephistopheles, who was also so hideous, grotesque and repulsive that he was almost handsome, (somewhat like Sylvester Stallone) was reluctant to return to the surface “after that Faust business”, but after being assured that it would lead to no further paperwork he grudgingly acquiesced. Thus Mephistopheles stepped into his own monstrous reflection in the icy lake of Hell, and clambered out of Cousin Maria’s glitter encrusted fur lined Barbie mirror in sunny Sestina, shuddering slightly and coughing up bits of pink fluff. Things like this probably shouldn’t happen to any self-respecting demon, but since mirrors are the traditional transportation device for demons Mephistopheles had little choice.
[A note on demons and mirrors: since the beginning of time mirrors have made themselves useful as a kind of inter-dimensional highway of evil, or autobahn, with a few interesting and noteworthy results; for example, this is why any given person’s appearance is more hideous than it has any right to be in any given mirror during the hours of 6-9 am, and also why after drinking alcohol it appears greatly enhanced. Other inter-dimensional highways of evil include: cheese knives, the gleam of sweat on a politician’s forehead, and the M11 between the hours of 5 and 7 pm]
Paulo was in his room picking his nose and carefully inverting all the crucifixes his mother had hung on all the walls when Mephistopheles arrived. It is worth noting that by this time, Paulo had spent hours graphically describing imaginary demons of the most horrible kind to anyone who might have doubted his “possession”, which was probably why Mephistopheles entirely failed to impress him. The puff of emerald demonic smoke emitted from his body should probably have been a giveaway, but in a house of boys for whom hygiene was secondary to mud wrestling this may have not seemed so strange.
“Hullo” said Paulo. Mephistopheles drew himself up.
“I am a great and powerful demon called Mephistopheles, servant of Satan and Corrupter of Souls!” He declared, puffing out his so-hideous-it’s-almost-handsome chest and exuding more turgid smoke. Paulo looked sceptical.
“I don’t know,” Paulo said “To me, you look a lot like Sylvester Stallone”
3 comments by 3 or more people
So…I’m in love with this. Its amazing. Its brilliant, clever, funny and wonderfully written. I love your style, it reminds me a little bit of Neil Gaiman.
Keep up the good work :)
16 May 2011, 16:01
Thank you thank you thank you for commenting and furthermore for being nice. I’ve gone a little essay crazy and it’s not longer possible for me to look at my work objectively (also I’ve started using the word “furthermore” in all my sentences). Again, thank you.
16 May 2011, 16:30
Very de Bernieres, isn’t it? :D
And that is never ever a bad thing, obv.
16 May 2011, 17:07
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