We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you
think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER NINE: PART EIGHTEEN: THE MAYOR OF HELL
“The devil is everywhere that God is not. “
These were the hoarse words of Red Mary, who seemed to be in the grip
of some delirium. I started to get up as if to leave the room but Doc
Ketmen held me in my seat at the foot of her bed with a surprising
grip of iron. “Hear her out” said Ketman, “The talk is part of the
“To be sure,” said Red Mary, looking the slightest bit frazzled as she
balanced an ill-fitting wig atop her head and barely withstood the
temptation to pluck at the tangled stray hairs which protruded from
it, “God is everywhere. How can we even understand it. “
She then wiped her dry lips, leaving a smear of lip paint on her
ruffled shirt, and began to speak more rapidly. “But I tell you now
that the devil is everywhere God is not. Swiss cheese is the Devil. I
won’t have it in my house. All the fractions. The number zero. Is it even
a number, though? The sun is God. The sun ain’t so hot. The moon
cold. The moon is evil. Be careful on nights when the moon in high.
Because me and everyone else will go crazy. Sugar is sweet.
Mustard is the devil. Man is the day. Woman the night.
And then her eyes rolled up in the back in her head and she began to
talk more rapidly still. “I’m glad you’re young. I hate talking to old
tricks because you always have to repeat everything you say. Doughnut
holes. Screen doors. Waffles. Between you and me. East of the sun and
west of the moon. Urgent matter. Coal–the devil’s diamonds.
Coffee–the devil’s brew. Kerosene. Machinery–Satan’s mills. In the
country, God is everywhere you look. Shakespeare was a bad boy but
he turned out well. You expect a boy to be a little bad. Woe forbid a
girl be so. She is ruined forever after. What’s sauce for the gander
ain’t no sauce for the goose. Six of one or half a dozen of the other.
I’ve certainly been cheated. Things that happened yesterday. Trip the
light fantastic. Nobody’s having much fun these days. I’ve been jinxed
by the ghost of Mamie O’Rourke. God is one. The devil is in the
number zero. Never sell for an even number. Hot Cross Buns,
nine-a-dozen. Nobody’s giving away twenty-dollar gold pieces that I
“In the city, forget about it. Never mind that. The Kiddies are
poor–oh so poor. And they see such bad things. Useless to preach
thrift. Tell them to go away from that place. You might as well tell
them to stop eating. They take the slum wherever they go. Bad
practices. The girls and young women know of no better example. Man is
a wicked angel. Fallen Woman is fallen angel. Therefore Woman is
devil. Trees are God. Vines are the devil. Flowers are God. Weeds are
Satan. Seeds are God. Roots are devil. In the well-tended garden is
Godden. The forest is God and Devil both. That weed-strewn lot where
the sumac grows. The empty waste spaces of the city. The rubble-strewn
dump. The garbage under the bridge. All on account of Satan. Wherever
you smell the smell of rotten eggs, there bides He. Useless, useless.
His name is Legion. Please…don’t let them take my soul.
“Those smokestacks yonder on the horizon? Who but Satan. The time
clock, the printing press, the Zoo? Satan, to be sure. In a fly’s eye.
In the gills of fishes. Goose egg. Winter and the fall is the devil;
spring and summer is God. To stand upright is Godly, to crawl on hands
and knees is a disgrace in the sight of the Lord. Do take care that ye
live beautifully, or not at all. A day in the country. Look out for
coppers. They’re often a sight no better than crooks. They’re paid
to not guard us.”
Red Mary then grew melancholy as she concluded her litany. “Can is
God. Can’t is the Devil. The sound of coins clinking on a counter is
the devil’s farts. The shuffle of bills. Get back in my pocket, Mr.
Penny–you’re with the Yaller Boys. Doctor God and Attorney Satan.
Venetian Blinds. Bundt cakes. Knotholes. Though some see the eye of
God in a knothole. I can’t believe that God has the time to be
watching me from a piece of wood. But the devil is a peep artist as
has all the time in the world, and that’s why I say that knotholes are
the mark of the devil. Most wallpaper is devilish–especially in cheap
hotels. An empty cradle. One pair of baby shoes, never used. Ditches.
Empty graves. Doorknockers, believe it or not. Hair, once it is cut
off. Don’t kill busy little Mr. Bee. His wee life is sacred. But the
buzzing of bees is the voice of Satan. Beehives are hosts of The Evil
One. Tenement buildings are hives. The United States Congress. Most of
all! The two-dollar bill. The eye sockets of a skull. Missing teeth.
Dentures. Eyeglasses are Satan’s mirrors. Lightning rods, as are
contrary to God’s will. Let me finish! Conical hats. Feather dusters.
Paper fans. Bats. Cellos. Kettle drums. Apothecaries. Snakes. Bad
fumes. The clear blue sky in heaven. A stormy day in hell. “
Here, her overburdened mind began to finally slow down. Ketman got her
to drink a draft of warm hop tea, and she finally lie down on her bed,
to sleep the sleep of the demon haunted. But before she shut her lids
she looked us both in the eyes and said “Stolas. Stolas Stolas Stolas.
Never forget: He’s the very Mayor of Hell.”
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11A BOOKS READ AND REVIEWED
100 OF THE WORST IDEAS IN HISTORY. SMITH & KASUM. ***1/2
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN 1. ***
ARNOLD NEWMAN: THE EARLY WORK. ****
BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN/RORSCHACH. ****
BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL/DR. MANHATTAN. ****
BEFORE WATCHMEN: OZYMANDIUS/CRIMSON CORSAIR. ***1/2
BLACK PATHS. DAVID B. ****1/2
BOUTS OF MANIA. HOFFER. ****
BRUCE GILDEN. ****
CHARLES DICKENS. SMILEY. ****
DETROIT. LEDUFF. ****
DIAL H FOR EXCHANGE. ***
FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF SHADE. ***1/2
GREEN RIVER KILLER. JENSEN. ***1/2
HOWARDS END. FORSTER. ****
IRON MAN: BELIEVE. ***1/2
INCORRUPTIBLE 2. WAID. ***1/2
INCORRUPTIBLE 3. WAID. ***1/2
INCORRUPTIBLE 4. WAID. ****
INCORRUPTIBLE 6. WAID. ***1/2
THE JUNGLE. KUPER. ***1/2
JUSTICE LEAGUE 4. THE GRID. ***
MAN ON THE RUN. DOYLE. ***
MARCEL PROUST. WHITE. ****
NEW AVENGERS 5. BENDIS. ***
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY. DICKENS. ***
PICTURING WILL. BEATTIE. ***
RAND HOLMES: THE ARTIST HIMSELF. ***1/2
THE SEDUCTION OF HILLARY RODHAM. BROCK. ***1/2
SUPERIOR CARNAGE. **
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN 4. ***
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM UP. ***1/2
THE TRIPLE PACKAGE. CHIA & RUBENFELD. ***
WEEGEE’S WORLD. BARTH. ****
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
750. WHAT IS PUNK?