Grant Me Serenity — Paul



Five points.

That is what it takes to make a pentagram.

A basketball team.

That’s all it takes to stave off the worst of the demons, she said.

At least five people, she said.

Hey guys, I’m Paul, and I’m an addict. Normally I tell you a bunch of things that you want to hear, or that you expect to hear. Whichever it is, nothing I’ve told you has ever done more than touch the truth. Some bits are true. My girlfriend is the reason I’m here. The same could be said for many attendants of twelve step groups. Her motives are entirely selfish though. She figures, by sending me here, our extracurricular activities can be absolved, leaving us free to commit further atrocities.

The best way I can think of to describe her is as a philandering husband confessing his infidelities at every Mass. He exits into the bright Sunday afternoon, his slate wiped clean of this week’s sin, and drives his wife and children home. As he pulls into his driveway, he suddenly remembers several emails he was supposed to have sent Friday afternoon. His family clambers from the car, the kids run to the house yelling and his wife kisses him goodbye. An hour, maybe two, he says. She smiles and nods, her attention already on the holy hell the kids are wreaking inside. He reverses down the driveway and heads downtown, already horny in anticipation of the fuck he’s going to get from his secretary.

I met my girlfriend when she was nineteen, and already well on her way to full psychosis. What can I say, she appealed to the side of me I had never indulged. Before I knew it, we were doing it everywhere. It had started as furtive meetings in dark places with fumbling, sticky engagements and a hurried attempt to hide any evidence in the face of reality. Soon it mushroomed like a nuclear cloud into haphazard trysts in which our indiscretions were sometimes only hidden from public eye by fractions of a second. We would do it in broad daylight, in front of someone if she thought she could get away with it, and it was never difficult to get me to go along. If I was feeling particularly stubborn she would just scream and sometimes she would hit me. I would give in. After all, I thought I loved her. But now I can see she was using me. Small as she was, she could never have done what we did alone. I always forgave her for abusing me, because she always forgave me for making her do it. Big of her.

After a while, we had enough close calls to convince her it was in our best interests to return to the dark, and this time, to retreat to seclusion for our fun. I wholeheartedly embraced this, never having relished the exhibitionism in which she seemed to revel. I never considered the effect solitude would have upon her. She became an animal, vicious and increasingly perverted in her desires. I would occasionally watch her, wondering who she had been before some hellish circuit had been connected inside her head to make her the creature I thought I loved. Then she would look at me that certain way and I would cease to wonder, falling back under her spell, to continue being used until I awoke with a mouth which tasted red and a hangover in my head. But of course, it was my job to clean up while she slept the clock around.

Around this time, she had turned to devil worship, which is what prompts me to insist we sit in a pentagon. Five points. That’s all it takes to ward off the worst of the demons, she said, and whether or not it’s true, it can’t hurt. Who knows, they could be after me. I went along with her, no longer drinking virgin blood just for fun, but in the name of Satan(I jokingly referred to him as the Dark Lord Stan once and earned a withering glare), and chanting gibberish while crouched around a fire. I didn’t mind. I still got my fix, and still got my fix of her.

Until she brought my sister to serve us both.

That’s why I’m here tonight and why I’m a bit late and likely smell a bit gamey. I came home from work with the intention of dismembering someone, taking a shower and joining you all here tonight. I hadn’t counted on my girlfriend greeting me in her play clothes and escorting me to our playroom where my sister lay, unconscious and bound in the customary position, ready to begin our games. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bitched about my siblings as much as anyone, and there was never a lot of love lost between me and Sally. But there had been a lot more love lost between me and my girlfriend, and as I said, I was in the mood to dismember someone.

“So since I was late, and disturbed Jerry’s sharing by my untimely arrival,” I finish, beaming around at my friends, “next week, coffee and doughnuts, on me!”


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