The Devil Inside Me

He whispers into my ear, “What have you done this time?” So I run back to the bar, and order another drink, and wring my hands, and wonder where is the angel on my shoulder and why does it always abandon me in moments like this. Which means that I left here to sit back and sip shots and ruminate with the devil, who is not a small creature a top my shoulder, but a blistering, big man, all red in these leather bar seats, glaring at me with menace.

“Let me tell you about all your insecurities,” he says, encouraging me to drink more. “Let me tell you about all the mistakes you’ve ever made.”

I sit there, feeling nervous, trapped in this relay with the devil, who is grinning with glee as I melt beneath these dim, red lights. Where are my friends. Where are the people who love me. Where is the exit, and why don’t I have any courage to stand up and shout, “Leave me the fuck alone!” Why am I planted here, my feet rooted into the ground, like a caduceus intertwined with the snakes of the devil’s feet, too.

“Everything about you and everything you have ever done is wrong,” he tells me.

“I know, I know,” I respond softly. Maybe the devil will let me die here, burned to death by the spontaneous combustion of my heart that is in tatters right now.

“There is no fixing any of it now.”

“I don’t think I would ever try.”

“Give up.”

“I give up.”

I look at the devil, hoping that this white flag will at least earn me redemption, but there he is, grinning like a winner in the battle for my soul. Well, no simile needed there because there it is, my soul, slipping slowly out of my body, pouring out of my mouth like a sad song, into the devil’s pocket. He has won.

Take this pain away from me. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

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