The Devil On I-80

Every time I drove past the Devil on a lonely stretch of Interstate 80, he popped up again, a few miles west, with his ratty crow-wings, pointy gray beard, and unforgiving stink-eye. I spied him perching on the knuckles of a dead tree, poking his head out of a haystack, peeking through the slats of a dilapidated barn — or hunkering over roadkill, because even the Devil needs to fuel up over the long haul.

He avoided cities, places where he found too much competition. It was the same reason I never lingered. But the road was no kinder. Once, outside Des Moines, a storm swept him into one of the gigantic turbines towering over the plains. But that old bastard always found his way back.

I thought about breaking the cord around my neck, tossing that gold tooth out the window, and just being done with it. That’s what he wanted: what I knocked out of his jaw the last time we tussled. But he would never call us square. If he wanted his tooth back, he’d have to make a deal. And he’s got nothing I want.

He finally caught me in a cornfield, answering nature’s call, and he made me an offer: one day out of my past as a re-do. Well, I thought that over for all of ten seconds.

“The day I whupped your ass!” I said.

So now I got two gold teeth around my neck. Don’t ask me how. I ain’t Stephen Hawking.