Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Magical Realism

     Jake heard the familiar jingle as he pushed his way through the heavy door of the convenience store. A tasty after-school snack was just what he needed. He sifted through the options in the aisle in the back marked 'baked goods,' as if dry donuts and cupcakes manufactured weeks ago in some factory two states over and vacuum sealed could be considered 'baked goods.'
     "I know you're real hungry, let's shove a few in your backpack for later," a voice rasped in his left ear. "No one's paying attention to you back here, you could take 3 or 4 and they'd be none the wiser!"
     "Absolutely not. Think about the manager, he's got to make a living you know," came a voice in his right ear. "Stolen food will taste sour in your heart."
     Over the years, Jake had grown tired of listening to the angel and the devil that resided on each of his shoulders. Their bickering and unwanted input often made him lose focus, and kept him questioning even the most innocuous of decisions. And yet, at times they lent
     Not wanting to feed the escalating debate occurring across his shoulders, Jake turn away from the baked goods and hurriedly left the store, empty handed. He stepped out the door to the jingle of the bell and was confronted with a distraught woman kneeling over a motionless male body.
     The woman looked up and their eyes met.
     "Oh good!" she exclaimed. "My husband is diabetic and just fainted, please wait here with him and watch him while I get help!"
     Jake stood for a moment, staring at the scene before him. He looked around; the street was otherwise empty as far as he could see.
     "Come on, this is an easy one," the angel chimed in from the right.
     The devil said nothing, leaning up against Jake's ear with his arms crossed and a musing look on his face.
     "O-okay," Jake stuttered.
     "Thank you so much!"
     The woman leapt up and hurried off, leaving Jake alone with the supine body. Jack walked over and crouched down by the unconscious man. Only the steady rise and fall of his respiring chest indicated that he was still alive. Jake swept his eyes across the body, his eye catching on a bulge in the man's pocket. His wallet. Jake gazed at the bulge for a slow, lingering second.
     "Looks like it was worth it after all," came a slick voice in his left ear. The devil's lips spread into a wry grin.
     A moment's pause.
     "No," the angel said with a stern glare.
     "Hey now, why do we always have to listen to you? When do I get my turn?" the devil questioned.
     "Because I am of sound judgement and will lead Jake here down the rightful path of justice and integrity," the angel proclaimed proudly.
     "Hah! You speak of justice, but what justice is this when one voice is never heard? There is no justice in your actions, only oppression," the devil spat venomously.
     "But I am pure of mind and soul and I will choose what is right," the angel countered.
     "And what is right?" asked the devil. "I think that what I do is right, so then you deny that which is right."
     "You wouldn't understand. Your mind is clouded in delusion, you will never see your own folly. Or if you do, you will never admit it." While the angel lectured on, the devil pulled himself up Jake's ear and hopped up onto the top of his head.
     "-in fact, you're very existence is a flaw in this realm."
     The angel paused and looked up just in time to see the devil flying down at him. The devil landed on the angel's shoulders. He pinned the angel's arms down with his legs, and wrapped his lanky fingers around the angel's throat. The angel writhed around as the devil attempted to choke the life out of him.
     Jake, in a stupor, slowly reached a quivering hand into the man's pocket. The devil continued to tighten his grip, staring maliciously down at the angel, whose struggle had begun to falter. The angel's body fell limp as Jake closed his hand around the man's wallet. The devil threw the angel's lifeless form from Jake's shoulder as Jake rose, clutching the wallet.
     Jake scurried off down an alleyway as the devil rode triumphantly on his shoulder.

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