Barbara Eden

Is he real? the son asked. You think he really exists? the father popped open another beer. He stared at the can. Took a drink and then lit a cigarette. When I was a kid, I used to believe he ruled the world. All these wars going on. Starvation in far away lands. Tornadoes knocking down houses, the old man rocked back and forth in his recliner. I think he’s real. I think sometimes he’s inside me, the boy said. These evil thoughts I have sometimes. I don’t know. Stealing, cheating, lying; the only thing I haven’t done is kill somebody. Not that I know of, the son grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.

What makes you think you killed somebody? the old man asked. That’s something you’d know.

Yeah. I suppose. What if it wasn’t me that killed a man? What if it was the devil inside me? the old man smiled, let out a laugh. That devil. Once he gets a hold on you. It’s hard to shake him.

He’s a ghost. A spirit that roams this earth, dad put out his cigarette. There’s two ghosts that roam this world. The devil. And the Holy Spirit. It’s your choice which one you take, the father declared. There is good and there is bad. But, it’s up to you, he looked at his son. Have you killed somebody?

No. Not physically. Never shot anybody. Or, stabbed them. Pointed a gun at a man before and told him to give me his money.

Being poor will do that. You feel guilty? Feel like you sinned?

I feel like I sin every day. Maybe I’m filled with the devil.

Maybe you’re just human. Making mistakes as you go along, the old man reached for the remote. He started flipping through channels. Barbara Eden was on. Granting wishes. He turned the sound down. Confess these sins to God. Ask for forgiveness. Keep that devil at bay, lit another cigarette. Strange world we live in. Just strange.

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