May '04

Carmen Adair Battling Monsters
Wayne H. W Wolfson In the Sea
L.D. Petterson The Devil and Judy Peters
Rattan Mann The Unread Story
Randall Brown Soccer Dad

Photo by Larry O. Gay

The Devil and Judy Peters

            L.D. Petterson

Spring. Doesn’t that sound nice. Spring – it gives a person visions of big metal spiral bed springs at Grandma’s that squeak when you roughhouse on the bed, of jumping dogs chasing Frisbees, of leaping off the diving board. Spring as a season, well, that just makes the word sound even more promising.

So it’s a lovely, calm spring day and the trees are blooming. The girls wear short sleeves and hike up their skirts to sun themselves on the steps of the courthouse at lunch. I walk around the center square searching for souls; souls that can nourish my insides in a way that only human souls can.

There she is: Judy Peters. The target of today’s search. She wears one of the skimpy short skirts that always get her fired from responsible jobs and that land her, sadly, back on the street into another job altogether. I don’t believe sin is really on purpose for Judy Peters – she just sort of falls into it like the people used to fall into the swimming pool on that iced tea commercial. I walk past her and give her a wink. She smiles her “Meet me in the alley” smile and begins to follow me in that direction.

Once we are in the alley, Judy lifts her skirt a bit to show off her wares. She smiles a practiced, crooked smile that says, “You know you want it. Now buck up and pay to get it.” While I search my trousers for the knife, I ask her, “So how much?” Where is that damned knife?

“Fifty gets you this,” she says, hiking her skirt a little higher, “and twenty gets you this,” she points at her pouty mouth. “And no money gets me both and gets you this,” I think, as I fondle my knife. I wonder if she believes in the devil? I wonder if she knows she was about to become a permanent part of my collection of souls?

“Fifty it is,” I say excitedly, handing her a sweaty, wadded up bill. She stuffs the bill in the front of her blouse with practiced ease and leans her back against the wall, legs spread in preparation. I know I will catch her in the act of sin and her soul will automatically be mine forever, so I hurry up, my knife behind my back as I press myself against her to pin her to the wall. I look around to make sure we are truly alone, and, practiced professional that she is, she does the same, murmuring something mood-inducing into my ear.

“What have you got there, sweetie?” she asks, running her hand down my knife-wielding arm and pulling it aggressively into my back. “Naughty, naughty,” she says, pursing her lips and lightly kissing my ear. She looks at me with a sparkle in her eye as she forcies the knife still deeper, wrapping one of her legs around my waist to secure me to her.

My struggle ends in only seconds and she pushes me away from her, causing me to slump to the ground in a sickening puddle of my own blood. Gasping for air I hear the gurgling of my punctured lung and helplessly watch Judy as she frisks my pockets for more money. She straddles me in a sexy pose, smiling a wicked smile, satisfied that she has taken all of my valuables.

The blood rushes from me in spurts and the alley begins to spin as Judy leans over me, breathing in my soul and the souls of all those I have ingested. From down here I can look up her dress and see her crescent-tipped tail. Why had I never noticed that before?

L. D. Petterson, perpetual student, finance clerk at an east coast university (George Mason University - no, not George Washington - George Mason, writer of Virginia's Declaration of Rights), wife, mother, bad dancer, former opera singer, and fledgling writer. Told by editors that my stories are too dark and hopeless - true enough, but sometimes the dark and hopeless are all there is.