Who Needs The Talent When You Got The Tool?

The most important thing to remember is that I’m no artist. No, I’ve been accused of being an illustrator – even a doodler – but my work has never been mistaken for art. This was not a problem, since I didn’t need to be an artist in my original profession. Hey, as the long as the client was happy with the illustration – or graphic, or even doodle – I got paid. Assuming, I was employed – which was not always a safe assumption.

Thus, when I got the call for a job interview in Sedona, Arizona, I was relieved. The job market had been miserable for the last few months, and I didn’t even mind having to drive two days to reach the firm – “Painted Desert Marketing.” My unemployment was almost up, rent was due, and I was getting disconnection notices from most of my utilities – not too mention the thousands of dollars I owed MasterCardTM.

Obviously, I wasn’t going to have money for a hotel, so I’d just have to fold down the back seat in my Colt and sleep at an angle. Not the most comfortable situation, but as long as I could find a safe rest stop, I figured I’d be fine.

I left early, on Maundy Thursday, one of those obscure Catholic holy days. I was scheduled to be interviewed on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. This was odd to me, but, apparently, Painted Desert Marketing was run by some New Age types who didn’t much care for Catholic holy days. Oh well.

After twelve hours on the road, I decided I should get some sleep. I pulled off at a rest stop with one of those 24-hour information booths. I figured that would be as safe a place as any to crash for the night.

The Colt was more cramped than I had imagined. I did not relish the thought of living in this car, especially if I also had to store all my stuff in it. I fell into a fitful sleep and had a series of anxious dreams.

Something hit my roof with a resounding thud. Images of hook handed maniacs from urban legends of my youth dashed through my imagination. It was 4:00 am.

I didn’t move for thirty minutes, except to slowly reach for my crow bar. My palms got so wet that, had I had to fight a homicidal maniac, the bar would surely have flown out of my hands. In my fear, I decided that I would be more likely to get killed if I lay still than if I attacked, so I kicked open the hatch back and leapt out with a fearsome, high pitched yell.

Nobody there. I felt silly, relieved, exhilarated.

On top of the Colt, I found the source of the noise. It was this, well, this pen. It was a good deal larger than your typical ballpoint, with one of those old style fountain tips, like you would use for calligraphy. It was plated with silver, as near as I could tell in the early morning light. At first, it was hot to the touch. I figured a plane must have exploded somewhere overhead, raining debris down on the whole area. I looked around for other evidence of this theoretical disaster, but found nothing. The pen was it. Nice looking pen, though. I figured some dead airline passenger’s loss was my gain, so I stuck it in my briefcase. Maybe it would make a good impression on these New Age marketers.

So, the Saturday before Easter arrives as I reach Sedona for my interview. I had some time to kill, so I stopped in at a local diner and ordered some toast and coffee – the cheapest things on their menu. I reviewed my resume – padded a bit, but basically accurate. Without thinking, I took out the pen and started doodling on a napkin. I drew a muscular, horned demon – basically the same one I’d drawn for my friend’s death metal band.

“We don’t go in much for Satan here,” said the waitress, putting a cup of coffee on my doodle.

“It’s not Satan. It’s just a demon.”

“We don’t go in much for demons.”

I finished my coffee, packed up my stuff and headed out for the Colt.

Glass shattered behind me as the fat short order cook flew through the front window of the diner. A heard a roar like a Speilbergian dinosaur and some very human screams. There, behind the shattered window, was my doodle demon – nine feet tall and rampaging. Our eyes locked. He roared at me – even across the parking lot I could smell sulfur on his breath – then flew off. I could feel the wind from his leathery wings as he flew over me.

“That man! He brought that demon here,” cried the waitress.

Images of townspeople armed with rakes and pitchforks rioted through my mind. I leapt in the Colt and drove off. In the distance, my demon perched on one of those multi-colored Sedona peeks. He was facing south.

To Be Continued

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