There is a part at the end of No Country for Old Men, where Tommy Lee Jones’ character, a sheriff, gives up and, over his morning coffee explains to his wife, that he is out-matched by the evil in the world. It is a weary, resigned and grim assessment of the world around him.
In my Catholic upbringing, all evil was neatly ceded to the devil or the Communists who, of course, didn’t believe in god. Years later, reading philosophy. I was told that evil is a small, banal thing. I think one must become a grown-up to realize that it is volitional; it is a choice, and it is very human. In nature, I believe there is no right or wrong, merely consequences. With us, it is an action and we know it when we do it.
I kissed off the idea of a merciful god in about 4th grade. I’d found a skunk that had been hit by a car and was suffering and dying. I picked it up and brought it into the Catholic school I was attending (there were a few). I rushed down the hall to find a nun or better, a priest, to bless the skunk before it died. I believed all of the horse-shit the brides of Christ had said about “all god’s creatures. . . yadda, yadda. . .” At the entrace of the church, I found Sr. Anisia and presented the skunk to her, explaining that he needed to be blessed before he died so god would know he was a solid skunk and let him into heaven. I was sincere. I wanted this skunk to latch onto a little mercy on his way off this mortal coil.
The nun lost her fucking mind, screaming at me to remove that filthy creature at once. I told her that I would after she blessed his ass and said “Really Sister, how hard is it just to bless him?”
She had the custodian carry me and the skunk outside and I decided right then they were liars; the whole merciful god fairytale was one big hand-job. They tossed my ass out of school and the nun called my mother and had another melt-down. I told my mother I thought Sister Anisia was a lying sack of shit and that the skunk deserved a little kindness and Christian treatment. My mom didn’t say anything, but I’d noticed I didn’t get punished at home for this. My mom and dad had to go up and meet with the twat nun to get me back into school, and this crazy old bitch would light me up every chance she got. I didn’t take it laying down though. Many a bag of dogshit found its way into her Chevy Impala; usually under the driver’s side seat. Her side.
I started to make drawings of naked devil girls and leaving them out on my desk and also pictures of nuns being attacked by eagles only to be carried to a great height before being dropped like a bad sack of guts.
Needless to say, this would make the nuns spot their shorts and they sent me to the school shrink, who would leave his pack of Newports on his desk, only to have them stolen by me. He was also a religious dip-shit of some kind. A brother or friar or some shit.
I came to the decision that if this group of fuck-heads were God’s ‘A’-team, then he was truly screwed.
This piece is called, “The Devil’s Songbird.”