“Three Eyed Devil” by Richard F. Yates
Under cover of rocks and trees, we slunked into the woods, trying our ding dang darndest to surprise the unsuspecting lake. Lakes, however, are notoriously prescient, and we really had no chance of catching this particular body of water unawares. Still, we had to try! We took off our clothing, folding each article counter-clockwise and then arranging them in alphabetical order; we whispered the chant, BACKWARDS, (it works best if it’s backwards), then each of us had a sip of iced coffee from a thermos, and then leaped, screeching, into the cool, dark water.
The lake shook its finger at us. “Naughty humans!” it seemed to say, but we could tell that it liked us because it let us live. Once we’d frolicked for the recommended 23 minutes, we walked, crab-style, onto the bank opposite our clothing and lighted a fire using dry rocks and spicy thoughts. Then, AND ONLY THEN, did we start to dance.
Three hours later, he arrived!!!
The THREE EYED DEVIL!
We offered him an imaginary glass of ice cold pumpkin beer, (our own addition to the ritual), which he drank with a frown, but because we’d tried something NEW he agreed to validate our parking. Suddenly realizing we were all naked, except him, the devil’s third eye began to blush. We offered him a pirate’s patch, but he politely refused.
After seven full minutes of a staring contest, the devil waved, wiping a tear from his eyes (perhaps brought on by hay fever) and vanished in a puff of smoke and the smell of roasted ox. We called for a taxi to drive us back to our clothing, then kissed the lake goodbye, and floated home. Two weeks later, we all agreed that it had been a frank and productive Thursday night.
—Richard F. Yates
[Originally posted to The Primitive Entertainment Workshop, May 2014.]
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