Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hell’s Harpies

“I think I finally do believe God exists”, said Toby.
“What makes you say that”, asked Clem.
“I realized that all the struggling and toiling I endured had to be for something greater than myself and once I had that epiphany, I saw them”.
“Who’d you see”, asked Clem.
“The demon”, said Toby.

Clem moved away from Toby slightly on the park bench and tightened his fall jacket up around his neck. The wind had picked up a bit and he had a chill. A sudden chill.

“Are you sayin’ to me that you came to a life affirming realization and the validation of God because you saw a demon”, asked Clem.
“No, no. Not at all. What I’m saying is that I realized that God existed and he loved me before I saw any kind of demon or stuff like that. It was after I accepted God that I saw a monster from hell”, said Toby.

Toby looked at Clem with earnest eyes. They’d been friends on this park bench for nearly 15 years. They both liked the spot because it faced west and the setting sun cast a lovely golden glow on everything as they sat. They both retired about the same time and just happened upon each other.

Clem always marveled at their chance meeting. Toby was an old white guy and Clem was an old black guy, from different backgrounds and neighborhoods, sitting together every Tuesday on a park bench to feel the warmth of the setting sun. They knew quite a lot about each other but Toby’s realization of the existence of God was quite a revelation.

“So, how did you realize God existed? I mean, we’ve been sitting here for years and you never brought it up”, said Clem.
“I was watching my grandson play with some clay and it kind of hit me all of a sudden. I mean, I started thinking about my life, my childhood, the death of my parents, work, buying a house, working harder to provide for my growing family, all the things that I had molded with the clay of my life and I thought, well shit, somebody had to provide the clay”.
“Somebody provided you with the clay? Man…that is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. The damn clay. What did you think before this whole grandson with the clay thing”, asked Clem.
“I never really thought about it. I just did what I did and figured it was all up to me”, said Toby.

Clem rubbed his graying chin and thought about his own struggle with religion. He had believed in God for his entire adult life until his wife passed away. He had fought so hard for her and romanced her and finally got her to be his wife, only for her to pass away from cancer after only five short years of marriage. He’d actually stopped thinking about God, and here comes Toby, doing the opposite.

“So, what about this demon thing”, asked Clem.
“Well, after I saw God in my grandson’s mushing and molding of the clay I caught a glimpse of a demon on the bus”.
“On the bus?”
“Yeah. I was sitting in my car in traffic and I just happened to look over at the bus next to me and I saw a demon sitting on the bus”.
“Like riding in the bus or sitting on top of it, like, on the roof?”
“No, it was just riding the bus. Sitting there, waiting for its stop”.
“Did you start a new medication I should know about”, asked Clem.

Toby chuckled and shook his head. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper.

“Here, I drew a picture of what I saw”, he handed it to Clem.

Clem took the paper and unfolded it. Toby was a talented artist and what he had drawn made Clem gasp. On the paper, drawn in simple pencil was the face of evil. It was the face Clem had seen the very night his wife was taken from him.

“You okay”, asked Toby, “You just went so pale”.

Clem dropped Toby’s drawing to the ground as the wind picked up.

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