I Saw Satan at the 7-Eleven – Chapter One
Christopher Brett Bailey
Hello folks, today we bring you the first chapter of I Saw Satan at the 7-Eleven by Christopher Brett Bailey. And the chance to win one of 5 copies of the book. Details on how to win the book can be found after you read this exciting first chapter.
I Saw Satan at the 7-Eleven – Chapter One
I was born in a one-horse town.
Two miles north of Hell.
Nothing much ever happened…
well, except for this one thing…
I saw Satan at a 7-Eleven one time. He was dressing low profile, but it was definitely him: red skin, horns, barbed tail, cloven hoofs, black goatee. He was unmistakable. Satan was buying soy milk and forty bucks’ worth of unleaded.
‘Which pump, sir?’ said the clerk.
‘Pump 6,’ said Satan, obviously.
The clerk looked up from his jerk-off magazine and started whimpering and sighing and sobbing and crying and pissing at the same time – liquid shooting from his tear ducts and his dick hole like a water feature. Satan took this as an indication that his gas was on the house. Satan tossed a coin onto the counter to pay for the soy milk, the coin was red-hot and glowing. The clerk picked it up off the counter. The coin sizzled, burning the skin from his hand. Shocked, my mouth fell open and I dropped the toilet paper and the eggs I was carrying.
Outside in the parking lot, Satan was polishing his windshield. Satan drove a Corvette, obviously. I went outside, kept my distance, eyeballed him wiping dead bugs from his wing mirrors. Clocking me, he struck a rebel pose, one foot up on the bumper, and called out, ‘I’m not a hippie. I’m lactose intolerant.’
‘What?’ I said… to Satan, ‘Are you talking to me?’
‘Yes, I’m talking to you. I saw you eyeing up my soy milk and I want to set the record straight. I’m. No. Hippie.’
I smiled. That seemed to tick him off.
‘Do you even know who I am?’
‘Yes, I, I, uhh, think I do. Yes.’
‘Think? You think? I’m one of the two most powerful beings in this universe! And you think?’
I looked at his greying beard, his receding hairline, and thought, ‘Sure buddy, maybe you used to be all-powerful but these days…?’
Satan glared, offended, like he could read my thoughts. He growled in a tar-black voice, ‘Get. In.’
Unsure how to respond, I cleared my throat. He beckoned me forward with a claw. I thought about my options. Weighed up all the pros. Weighed up all the cons.
I got in the car.
We sat for several minutes in an awkward silence, him revving the engine and doing breathing exercises. Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out.
‘I’m not a hippie… I have respiratory issues.’
‘Satan, I’m starting to get the impression that you’ve lost your edge.’
Indignant, his nostrils flared and he put his pedal to the floor. We tore out of the gas station, tires screaming. He ran 100 red-lights in a row and swerved in order to hit an old woman who was crossing the road; the grill of the Corvette sliced her in two, her dentures flew up into the air and the windshield wipers squeaked as segments of her face smeared against the glass.
‘You don’t stop for red lights, huh?’
‘I don’t stop for anything,’ Satan cracked a beer and loaded a crackpipe and shifted gears and greased his pompadour. All at the same time. ‘But I expecially, I expecially don’t stop for red-lights. Cause red don’t mean stop to the devil. Look at my skin? Would you associate the colour red with the words no, stop, slow down, if you were born red?’
Satan explains that stop signs and stop lights both being red is an anti-communist plot, an anti-Native American plot too. Satan, it turns out, is a communist. Satan, it turns out, is part Cherokee.
The engine beats like a petrol heart, gasoline flows thru it like blood, pistons pump like Dave Lombardo, tires squealing like pinch harmonics.
‘Think about it… red doesn’t mean stop… it means GO!: red lipstick, red light district, red embers on the lit tip of a cigarette,’ Satan huffs his crackpipe as he tells me this, ‘Go! Go! Go!’ he pounds on the dashboard with cloven fists, ‘Red equals go!… your brain knows that, your heart knows that, your loins know that.’
I look over at Satan’s lap and see that his jeans are now full. The devil is DTF, obviously.
I ask Satan to please pull over for me to piss.
He says, ‘That’s what windows are for,’ motions for me to unbuckle.
Just as I am unbuckling and standing up on the seat, to piss out the window into the rushing wind, Satan pulls a lever, and the convertible top goes down. We hit a speed bump and I bounce up out of the car and get tangled in the electrical wires above. (Like a low flying bird in a recurring dream I’ve had since childhood, a bird which probably represents freedom or self-actualisation, which in some languages are the same word.)
I am gently electrocuted by the power lines I am tangled in. It is not unpleasant. A weaker man would have given up the ghost and become an angel just then, but I’ve got the constitution for electrocution and am drawn to power in all its forms.
Satan points and laughs and lets me sizzle. A bird perched on the power lines waddles over and starts pecking at my freckles, mistaking them for seeds.
‘Ow ow,’ I giggle cause it tickles, ‘Satan, Satan, look at this bird.’
Satan reverses his car into the post, the wood splinters and falls like chopped lumber. I come crashing down.
‘That’s not a bird. That’s a camera with wings. Get away from it.’ Satan plucks all of the feathers off to prove it is a camera. It squawks in agony the whole time, to prove it is a bird.
Satan says, ‘If you’re a bird…fly away’ and launches it into the air.
The bird cannot fly because it does not have any feathers so it just kind of… falls onto the ground, and writhes. I don’t have a stomach for cruelty against animals, so I choose to believe that Satan was right: that that thing writhing in agony is probably just a camera. I feel the urge to cry but think I probably shouldn’t, in front of his royal lowness and all.
We drive a few more miles, me sulking.
Satan says, ‘You’re sulking.’
I say, ‘I’m not sulking.’
Satan says, ‘You wanna hear music? We’ll hear music,’ and opens his glove compartment. He has a vast collection of cassette tapes: thrash metal, rockabilly, gangsta rap, dubstep, country and western, and a compilation of classical music pieces all deploying the tritone, the devil’s interval. Satan’s taste is post-genre, obviously. All the tapes play backwards, of course, making psychedelic sucking sounds like ‘thhp thhp thhp thhp thhp thhp’.
This goes on for an hour. Satan singing along. He knows all the choruses in reverse. ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ sung backwards becomes ‘on on on, noitcafsitas on teg t’nac I’ and ‘stand by your man’ becomes ‘nam rouy yb dnats’.
Eventually I switch the tape deck off, ‘Can we just listen to the dang radio?’
‘The dang radio? Why? The radio is nothing but jingles and sloganeering and mind control and prank phone-calls.’
‘And music,’ I say.
‘Yeah. And music. Look kid, if you’ve got something to say… just say it.’
I want to tell him to go to hell. So instead, I just say, you know, I just say, ‘Go home.’
‘Fine,’ Satan says, ‘we’ll listen to the dang radio.’ And he reaches under his seat and pulls out a tin foil hat. It is a Stetson. It is a tinfoil Stetson hat. He pulls it on over his horns.
‘Where’s yours?’ he says.
‘Your tinfoil hat.’
‘I don’t have one.’
‘The AM/FM receiver goes both ways! Don’t you know that? The radio won’t be transmitting my deepest darkest thoughts to the whole world.’
‘Yeah, whatever man.’
‘And if you die of brain cancer? I am not coming to your funeral,’ Satan says, tipping his tinfoil Stetson hat and turning the radio on.
The radio says, ‘-ay tuned to this station for your chance to win five hundred-’
‘KEEOW’, I switch it off, ‘You’re right, the radio is crapola.’
‘Atta boy,’ Satan says, ‘let’s celebrate.’
He swerves and runs over a pair of hitchhikers.
We get out to check they are dead.
Satan says, ‘I hope the police get here soon, I love having my mugshot taken.’
The police don’t come. Satan sets off an emergency flare hoping it will attract the authorities. It doesn’t.
We wait around for an hour or so, ’cause Satan wants to take credit for the hit and run. He wants the world to know that these dead hitchhikers are his doing. Satan uses his backup emergency flare to set his car on fire, in the hopes that the burning automobile will attract the police. It doesn’t.
We scream into the starry night, ‘Police! Police! Come and get us!’
So, we decide to thumb a ride to the nearest police station to confess. Standing on the shoulder of the road, waiting for destiny to slow down and pick us up. It starts to rain. Satan rips off the brim of his Stetson hat and fashions me a tinfoil beret. I slip it on. I feel the protective layer of tinfoil capping my skull like a second skin, a layer of crinkly metallic flesh, a barrier between me and the world. And for the first time ever I feel completely sure that my brain is safe. That my deepest, darkest thoughts are not being broadcast to the whole world.
So thank u…
Thank u Satan.
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I Saw Satan at the 7-Eleven by Christopher Brett Bailey
Outside in the parking lot, Satan was polishing his windshield. Satan drove a Corvette, obviously. I went outside, kept my distance, eyeballed him wiping dead bugs from his wing mirrors. Clocking me, he struck a rebel pose, one foot up on the bumper, and called out, “I’m not a hippie. I’m lactose intolerant.”
“What?” I said… to Satan, “Are you talking to me?”
“Yes, I’m talking to you. I saw you eyeing up my soy milk and I want to set the record straight. I’m. No. Hippie.”
Fear and Loathing meets South Park in a screwball horror novella. Part romance, part buddy comedy, part body horror, I Saw Satan At The 7–Eleven is a dark-as-night tale from a phenomenal new name in literary fiction.
Two miles north of Hell, a nameless deadbeat narrator spots Satan buying soy milk at the 7–Eleven. Satan’s a washed-up has-been, who’s totally lost his edge. That is until he falls in love with our narrator, and the two embark on a debauched misadventure, by turns slapstick, violent, whimsical, dreamlike and tender.
A film adaptation by Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Monty Python) is currently in development.
Spender Books is an independent publisher based in Bristol. We are distributed by Turnaround.