There’s a regular at my bar who I believe is the devil.
He sells tickets for boat rides to the Statue of Liberty. He lives with his mother who pays the rent.
The devil (let’s call him Danny) is 26 years old. Danny always wears a baseball cap representing his favorite hockey team (The New Jersey Devils). He has manicured facial hair, fake-diamond earrings, and expensive basketball shoes (which he bought with money he stole out of his mother’s room).
After an hour or two of selling tickets in the morning, Danny gets sick and tired of the daily grind and comes to the bar to drink beer. He spends all his money on drinks for himself, on strangers that listen to him talk about himself, and on girls who aren’t interested in himself. He does this 5-6 days a week.
While in the bar Danny likes to play his favorite song on the jukebox. This is it:
Danny knows all the lyrics and likes to dance (sway and snap fingers) and look at people while he says them. I’ve heard this song over 50 times.
Danny says he doesn’t get drunk.
Sometimes, I see Danny standing outside the bar hitting on girls. He always uses the same line. “Hey girl, are you trying to get on the boat?” Believe it or not, I’ve heard numerous girls respond with the same retort, “Is that the best you can do?” Danny invariably mutters under his breath, “Stupid bitch.”
Three, recent experiences with the devil which provoked this post:
1.) A week ago Danny was telling me a story about “some faggot this morning that butted in on a ticket sale I was trying to make.” Danny wanted to beat him up or say something, but decided the faggot would have started shit and that it didn’t really matter.
Ten minutes after telling me this story, I saw Danny walk outside bar. He passed a senile, homeless, insane old man who was sitting on a vent. This old man is a regular in the terminal. It’s obvious that he is out of his mind, decrepit, and on the edge of death. I saw Danny pause next to the old man.
“What did you just say to me?” Danny yelled.
“Are you talkin’ shit to me?”
“Fuck you! Who do you think you are?! I-” Police eventually arrived and led gesticulating Danny away. No physical violence had occurred. Danny returned to the bar. “Yeah,” he said to me. “I told that man what was up. I don’t take shit from nobody.”
2.) Most of the time Danny is friendly, gregarious, and outgoing. He frequently puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “Yo, bro, I got you.” Danny does charitable things like help arrange tables and push in chairs after other people have left. During the Copa soccer games he approached groups of strangers and cheered whenever they were cheering. Despite these acts of altruism and festivity, Danny never leaves a tip.
Two days ago, Danny arrived in the afternoon and apologized to me for not arriving at the bar earlier.
“I had to go the hospital,” he said.
“My brother has this disease…ah…—–disease.” (I can’t remember…I don’t like talking to Danny.)
“It’s when you’re real short, like a midget…and can’t understand what people are trying to say…I mean he understands English, but he doesn’t really know how to act with people-
“He can’t read social cues?”
“Yeah yeah, like he’ll be with a group of people who don’t like him, but he won’t know. I have to be like, bro, they don’t like you. And so his body is real weak too, and my mom just found him bleeding in our house, and she called me and was like, you should go to the hospital to see your brother, so I did.”
“Yeah, and his medical bills are so much money, bro.”
“So you think you could buy me, like, two shots of fireball? Cause you the manager and can hook me up?”
“No Danny, I can’t do that.”
3.) Yesterday, a simple experience occurred which was the catalyst for this post. Danny was intoxicated (to everyone around him, but not to himself) and gorging himself on Wendy’s hamburgers (his daily meal). When I walked by he pulled me aggressively towards his chair. This was unusual for Danny. What was he about to say? His bleary, empty eyes stared vacantly at my forehead. His smelly breath invaded my nostrils. The sparkle of his crucifix necklace twinkled in my eye.
“Yo…yo…yo bro…I gotta tell you something.”
“What’s that, Danny?” He paused for dramatic effect.
“I’m not meant to be a regular person.” A shiver crawled down my spine and rotted in my stomach in a pit of disgust. I didn’t reply and walked away. It was at this moment I thought, No, Danny, you are not meant to be a regular person…
You’re the devil*.
*Two months after this post I discovered that Danny has a daughter. She’s 6 years old.