Have you ever heard the story of the White Devil?
Everyone in Porterville knew the devil was covered in sulfur and smelt worse than spoiled cattle beef because the person who had first discovered the devil worked at a slaughterhouse and would constantly stain his rubber boots in mud and blood. The devil loved to douse himself in filth and gunpowder, especially to scare the children at night. That was why, as the old tales went, when you smelt sulfur, the devil loomed closely. The sound of a gun used to scare the devil. If the devil was shot to death, it would have to reincarnate from hell and travel all the way back to earth just to wreak havoc–and the devil tended to cruise a little less than the speed of light in space. It would be centuries before people began to think of the devil as a mythological creature and not a being which could move objects, like the trash bag to outside or last year’s credit card bills into the shredder.
Yet another century later it was unfortunate congress passed an anti-gun law that abolished all guns. After a century without guns, the people had forgotten the scent of sulfur, and in consequence, forgotten the devil. Mythologies, legends and facts began to veer in strange directions. First they began mistaking the scent of the devil for stale coffee beans. Then they accepted it for rotten corpses, a rumor which had vexed the coroners because he hadn’t seen the devil for over three generations when he was just a tadpole sucking on sugarcane. Spending his time away in a cave, the devil—Omar Simon—discovered the humans little faux-pas in passing an anti-gun legislation, and he emerged from the cave carrying evil thoughts harbored over centuries. You know the typical evil; on a mystical barometer the devil’s evilness ranged from kicking a baby welsh corgi to abandoning a baby in a weave basket traveling downstream.
In December Porterville experienced its first snow in over three hundred years. Meteorologist theorized the earth was mitigating from a global warming and entering a “global cooling,” a liberal term to justify that republicans were right all along. Yet with only a thousand years of information, when compared to the actual age of the earth, which was over a billion years, their theories were too facile to uphold any validity. All they were sure of was that it was the perfect weather for tobogganing. It explained the impetus for skis, sleighs, and snow gloves; people competed in creating the largest snowmen in neighborhoods, the greatest snowbanks for flying, and in search for the greatest hills barren of any trees. Meanwhile, Omar couldn’t handle the snow. Fuzzy snowflakes would tickle his nostrils that’d make him sneeze uncontrollably. “I must persevere,” he told himself. Then the great question came to his mind: Why weren’t the people as unhappy as him?
A couple of kilometers from the forest there was an icy pond where children were ice skating freely in the safe zone. There was one boy however leaning against the iron rail brooding over something on the pond. These humans, Omar thought, add too much meaning to things. Humans constantly named things that didn’t need names nor their assistance. Take a depression, for example. There were so many words for it–sadness, melancholy, ennui–clinicians needed to add one more word in the dictionary, which wasn’t even English to begin with. But this also meant Omar found his first victim. He transformed his face into hairy one like a bat with lion fangs and bear ears (he didn’t know why the size of bear ears were a scary image). He snuck around the palm trees, closing proximity. He tapped on the melancholic’s shoulder and screamed in the boy’s face. The boy was so afraid that he ran but tripped on a small stone jutting from the ground. Omar gave the impression he could fit a family of five in his jaw but knew that the last time he did it, his mandible had locked more than two days. So he was careful. The brown boy was paralyzed and closed his eyes to accept his cruel fate. Just then Omar vanished into the snow and into the trees from where he spied below. The little brown boy ran to the crowd hollering that the devil had returned, that the white devil had returned to Porterville to haunt the people.
“Jerry Sablan,” Jerry’s mother mounted the snow bank in a red down jacket. “You can’t just call white people, white devil, do you hear me?”
“But, mom, I saw him,” Jerry exclaimed. “He snuck up on me in the forest. He was white and smelled like cow poo.”
“What were you doing in the forest?”
At home Jerry took a thirty-minute hot bath like an adult stressed out from his manager, except here, the managers were his parents. Washing the terror from his body, he heard his father knock on the door and make an innuendo about being a man. He also told him hot stew was ready on the table. Jerry submerged himself in the water where sound became silence. He cleaned himself well and joined his parents at the cork table to discuss the matter of the white devil.
“So here’s why you can’t just call anyone white devil,” Jerry’s father said. “First, slavery was abolished in 1860. Sadly America was the last to do it. But so be it. It was history. Let’s put it behind us. But, consider our friends. Amy Cunningham, David Borleni, and you’re godfather, Erick Smith. They’re all good people, they’re our friends. They bought you gifts when you had a little birdy and pooped everywhere. Don’t you know they had the witness all that? You can’t just call them white devils.”
“Hey, don’t interrupt me. When you have children of your own, you’ll understand. Where was I? Yes, don’t call our friends white devil. Do you hear me?”
But they wouldn’t know that Omar was peering through the cross window and eavesdropping on their conversation, enjoying the brown boy writhing in his chair. Later that evening Omar surreptitiously mounted some old boxes to reach the top of the house where for some reason there was a derelict brick chimney. He crawled down the chimney collecting all the dust on his fur back. He immediately went into the brown boy’s bedroom and lifted the bed sheets—but it was the parent’s bedroom. As the parent jumped out of their bed, the sullied devil morphed into beast before their eyes, into that bat-bear he was earlier; the parents evacuated the room and ran into Jerry’s bedroom and hid under the heavy blanket with their son. The father called the constable using Jerry’s cellphone.
“The devil, you say?” the constable said. “What did he look like?”
“Gray and furry with bloodshot eyes, large fangs and bear ears.”
“Bear ears, you say?”
There was brief intermission for the constable to annotate the incident on the margin of the form.
“What did he smell like?”
“Like bad onions.”
“Well the devil is supposed to smell like a cemetery. Are you sure you have the right person?”
“Could you just come and uphold justice?”
Someone kicked down the wooden door.
“Sorry to kick down your door, Mr. Sablan,” said the constable who came ten minutes later when the culprit had already fled. The constable was a porkish fellow in a dark blue jacket.
“Okay, you just missed him,” Mr. Sablan explained. “What are you going to do about it?”
“Well I’m going to file this report,” he said, procuring a spiral reporter’s notebook from his breast pocket, which he diligently used to record everything the Sablan family said.
“So why didn’t you protect your family, Mr. Sablan,” the constable said. “If I were you, I would’ve gotten my family out of the house.”
“Well, if guns were legal, I would’ve shot the devil in the face!”
“Hmm…” the constable consternated.
Watching from the same cross window, Omar Simon the white devil was again covered in snow and delighted in his artistry and victory, as he wildly sneezed.
Moral of the story: Countries, keep your guns.