I stopped praying for strength and mercy, to know the right path to walk.
I stopped praying the day I had to have my dog put to sleep- if God or the Devil couldn’t be bothered to show her mercy or to do a deal to save her life, I didn’t stand a chance of having my prayers answered.
So I don’t pray.
I believe, but I don’t pray.
What’s the point?
Nobody is listening.
The universe demands balance, the human spirit demands balance human nature sticks it’s thumb on the scale and pushes it down in it’s own favor all of the time.
I’d like to do that every once and awhile- just cheat, lie and betray who ever I have to in order to get what I want- to tip those scales in my own favor.
Then I’ll run to church and thank God for answering my prayers, and I’d beg for forgiveness for not recognizing his power in the past and to promise to be a better person from now on.
I guess I do have faith, I have faith that the world is hard, it’s not fair and it has teeth and claws and will rip you apart chunk by bloody chunk.
Her name doesn’t matter, his name doesn’t matter but as for his Wife…
Oh her name matters very much and I’ll tell you why.
Her name was Penny- and she was indeed the lucky Penny, the bad Penny, the one cent people give along with their opinions so you won’t punch them in the throat when they give it.
He met the former Penny Dyen in a bookstore.
She was flipping through a book and chuckling to herself and that’s what he was taken with.
That deep rich laugh.
She looked up from her and he looked down into her dark brown eyes.
He introduced himself and she closed the book and gave him her name and two months later he gave her his last name.
It was on their first wedding anniversary he asked if she remembered the title of the book was that she had been enjoying so much.
The one that made made her laugh and drew him towards her.
” Oh. Yeah. Sure I remember, it was a hoot.”
He waited for her to answer because she had started to laugh again.
He couldn’t help but to smile.
” It was The Exorcist. The Devil in that book reminded me of someone I knew once.”
His mouth dropped open. ” You knew someone like…”
” Oh don’t worry Sweetheart. He wasn’t as cute as you and is totally out of my life now.”
He was never scared of Penny.
He felt like the person after they skydive for the first time, or fight off a shark or find themselves in the eye of a tornado. That’s what he felt like with Penny in his life
Penny never slept, he never saw her actually eat food and the neighborhood cats, dogs and small children all sounded someone was cutting their heads off when they saw her walk by.
But he would be the first to tell you after awhile he felt like a visitor in the world Penny came from- he never quite got a handle on the way she seemed to always know things before they happened or how she seemed to just appear for a second and was gone like a puff of smoke.
So every once and awhile He went back to his old world where people didn’t stare into mirrors for hours at a time talking backwards at their reflections because as Penny explained that was the only way the words would come out right on the other side.
His problem started when he brought someone into the world he shared with Penny.
She was an old flame- very old and when Penny found out how old she was Penny laughed and said, ” Sweet Baby Jesus, if you wanted a bag of moldy bones to love, we got plenty of those in the back yard. I could have dug some up for you. I’d be glad to, it’s getting crowded back there.”
Beyond that Penny didn’t seem to concern herself with His ‘Moldering Cadaver’ ( as Penny called her )
But the Moldering Cadaver cared very much about Penny.
She called Penny and Penny agreed to meet her at the Park down the street from Penny’s house.
Their conversation was actually very brief.
She wore rings on all of her fingers, her hair was cut like Penny’s and she was wearing nose bleedingly high platform shoes.
Penny looked down into Her eyes and was not surprised to see the Sanity draining from them as they spoke.
Penny was not surprised because she had that effect on people.
The part where She pulled out the gun and fired it right between Penny’s eyes.
That was new.
Poor Penny, the neighbors said with some relief.
To be shot in cold blood like that and how morbid- that old Park was actually part of an old cemetery and whoever had shot her in the head had also bashed her face in with a piece of broken tombstone.
That was a shame, people said with honesty. Penny had actually been a beautiful woman in life.
He married Her after a year.
Of course the sanity did not magically find it’s way back into Her head sadly enough.
She now drank too much, smoked too much and wrote far too much poetry about passion and regaining one’s youth again and how female breasts were a metaphor for true love and made Him listen to it.
He would sometimes wish during those readings that Penny was there laughing into her books about Demonic Possession or history books about the Black Death ( good times baby she would say as she wiped the tears from her eyes ) and torture.
He missed Penny, but it was probably a stretch that she would take him back- being that he married the woman who killed her.
One night, he was sitting on his front porch smoking one of the Cuban Cigars that Penny had stashed in the library upstairs.
She loved to smoke cigars and the habit had rubbed off on him.
So on that biting cold November evening He was wishing Penny was there to smoke with him when Penny walked up the steps.
Her face was beautiful again, the bullet hole was gone.
He stood up, took her into his arms and he said
” Penny, I’m so sorry. I … “
Penny took the cigar from his fingers and kissed him. Her eyes burned bright and she ran her fingers through his hair. ” You always have been a little Devil my love-“
Penny turned him loose turned and opened the door to their house.
She squared her shoulders, popped the cigar into the corner of her mouth and called Her name- actually Penny howled Her name like a demon escaping from Hell is probably a better way to describe it- into the dark innards of her home.
Penny took a breath a long easy breath and said with love and affection oozing from every pore in her body as she crossed the threshold:
” But as we both know, I’ve always been a bigger one.”