Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gordon’s Demons in 1877

“Have you ever tried to drown a demon?  It’s no easy endeavor, involving a modicum of exertion and no small amount of tenacity,” explained the Devil. “You most certainly need a specific mindset and certain materials at your disposal.  Not holy water, crucifixes, and Latin phrases—none of that rubbish.”  He licked the sweat from his upper lip for dramatic pause, as everything Gordon did, from the beheading of street urchins to the mutilation of prostitutes, was deliberative, thoughtful, spiritual.  His clothing reeked of blood and alcohol but sobriety had now returned to him.

“I grant you that people in the world, throughout the annals of history, have suffered more than me.  Self-righteous interrogators have burned their hapless victims over fine points of theology, for instance.  And you don’t have to remind me of the pangs of despised love or the insolence of office.  No.  But few are those who have fought a demon with such determination, and so continuously.  To be sure, you'll need whiskey, vodka, and wine.  Second, you need to find ways to amuse yourself, divert your attention from the demonic powers infecting your soul.  You must be willing to tolerate pain, and by pain I mean mostly mental anguish.  Physically I’m as fit as could be, especially for my age, notwithstanding this temporary leg wound.”

The chief inspector and his constables were baffled.  Gordon seemed contrite and sincere, yet his demeanor up until these last few minutes suggested an egomaniac subservient only to one god: Gordon, or to be more specific, the fulfillment of Gordon’s darkest desires.  They found him on the steps of the St.-Theroux Parish, drunker than sin and muttering in homicidal tones.  He was also nursing a nasty wound on his left leg, an injury sustained from an unsuccessful attempt to leap from one rooftop to another as the authorities finally had the elusive killer on the run.

Until this time, no one suspected that the Devil of Drudgery Lane was an assistant professor of Slavic literature and philology at the university: one Gordon L. B. Hellquist.  Gordon wasn’t in a forgiving kind of mood.  To the contrary, he was out for vengeance, not about to show mercy to man or beast.  You see, Gordon had been wrestling with his demons, but he lost.  He fought valiantly in this spiritual battle royal, or at least he believed he fought hard.  The fact that he fought so tenaciously, with the highest of intentions, and lost the war, only gave him greater cause, only empowered his resolve to chastise his enemies.