“The kinds that weaken men’s souls so that the Devil can more easily claim them.”
“Like Sister Alice?"
“And that girl from the movie!”
“Man, that’s crazy!”
“I know, mijo. But it’s true. And there's others. My friend also gave me a tape-recording of an old quarterback from back in the day testifying to a crowd that he had sold his soul to the Devil in order to play in the pros.”
“What was his name?”
“I’m not sure. Ted something I think.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll look for it when we get to the house.”
“Cool,” I said, believing every word, as it all made perfect sense. Of course the devil wanted to claim our souls. Why else would people subject themselves to the weekly torture of mass but to avoid the fiery pits of God’s archenemy? And those who hadn’t seen the light would be more than willing to trade in some far-off future paradise for whatever they wanted today. I mean, who could turn down an invisible jet and magic rope of truth, or a chance to enchant entire stadiums full of people with wicked spells or incredible touchdowns?
No one! That’s who!
Then he shouted, “And Marx too!” And for the first time since he’d said there’d be a movie at church, I doubted him, because not only did the appearance of that big-nosed freak called Groucho, with his too-thick eyebrows and black-rimmed glasses spell the end of my weekly Saturday morning cartoon extravaganzas—when I would be forced to go outside and entertain myself—but who on God's green earth would risk eternal hellfire to become a movie star back when people were so dumb and poor that people hadn't even invented color yet?
No one. That's who.
But on and on my old man rambled, weaving in and out of Saturday night traffic as he railed against homos, Hollywood and liberals alike. But the worst of the bunch—the Devil-worshipping architect of the communist plot to wipe Christianity from the world—was that Marx guy.
And although I could still hear everything he said, something inside me had already stopped listening.