from "Deadly Angel" by Damian Serbu


THE FULL STORY APPEARS IN THE JANUARY 2009 ISSUE!

“Can the devil act as an angel?”

Nick looked at me as if I’d lost my mind, which I’d wondered for the last hour, too.

“Listen, I know that drunks get philosophical,” he said, “but this is way over my head. You’ve got to keep that theological stuff for when I’m sober.”

Here I sat in Sidetrack on Halsted, my favorite bar, listening to great music and watching hordes of men saunter by, thinking about theological issues on a Friday evening. So Nick was right. So right that I giggled, finally falling into peals of laughter.

Part of me found this funny, but I also laughed to entice him toward me. His 6’3” frame hovered over as his long arms engulfed me, pulling me into a kiss. I closed my eyes and lost myself in the passion, even though I knew that he looked back at me, green eyes open, the whole time.

I still grinned like a school boy when he sat back on his bar stool.

“I thought you were a history professor, anyway. Why are you talking about the devil and angels?” he asked. “I’m just a cop. We can’t keep up with these deep things, especially after two Cosmos.”

An eight-year-veteran of the Chicago police, Nick pretended he had nothing to do with intellectualism but in reality had deep insights and incredible knowledge. He often complained about the bad habits and stupid behaviors of too many of his peers on the force.

“What do you think three Jack and cokes did to me?!”

“Made you into some sort of crazed monk.” Nick poked me in the stomach. “Dr. Sean, the crazed monk is your new name.”

“Okay, okay, but answer my question. Can the devil act as act as an angel?”

“Are you smoking something?” Nick asked, even though I had never done an illegal drug and he knew it.

“Seriously, answer me.”

“Okay. But first explain what in the hell you mean.”

“I don’t think I can.”

“Alright, the devil as angel, an exposé by Nick,” he said in a mock reporter’s voice. “Can the devil become an angel? I suppose he can. Isn’t he a fallen angel to begin with?”

“Yeah. I guess that’s not what I meant. Can something bad or evil do good?”

“Listen, you’re a little nuttier than usual tonight. It has to be a possibility, unless you believe in moral absolutes – good and bad would have to be totally separate, which is something you don’t believe. You always defend people I’ve arrested. You talk all the time about how you could never do what I do because you don’t believe in a black and white world, the world of a police officer.”

Nick had me thinking. His logical, rational approach to everything really helped tonight because I had to describe something in my mind that defied explanation. I needed to hear him affirm what I had always believed, otherwise my mind might spin out of control through no fault of the whisky.

“Now,” he continued, “tell me what in the hell this is about!”

“Promise you won’t think I’ve gone insane?”

“No more than I always wonder.”

“Seriously, promise.”

“Alright, relax, just tell me.” He grabbed my hand under the table and squeezed tightly.

“I think I met a vampire,” I said. Nick raised an eyebrow but thankfully didn’t smile.

“Someone who drinks blood? I’ve told you about some of ‘em we’ve arrested.”

“No, I mean a real one.” The tension became too much, so I reverted to humor to relax myself. I affected my Anthony Hopkins as Professor Van Helsing voice: “Nosferatu, he lives beyond the grace of God.”

Nick laughed, then leaned over to me. “Listen, you never have trouble telling me anything, so spill it. I won’t make fun of you. Just tell me about this and we can go from there. Angels, devils, vampires, whatever, let it out.”

I took a deep breath and thought through the entire story in my mind, for probably just a minute though it felt like an eternity, making sure that I had all of the facts right. As a cop, Nick always required that I give him extremely detailed and accurate witness accounts.

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