Chapter Fifty-Three: Anthony and the Demons Part Two

Editor’s Note: The story of Vine cannot only be one of Elders vs. witches, Preachers explaining away monsters, and land itself performing magic. The story of Vine exists within its people. Sometimes, I like to go to Gentleman Jim’s and simply write down what people say. For a guy who quit drinking, St. Anthony of Vine sure came back to Jim’s enough to merit a sequel.

It had only happened a couple of times when Sheila wasn’t home or when the door and curtains were closed in his office: Tony had banged his hand on his desk, or a table. Slammed was not the right word. Hit was not the right word. Banged described it—too light for damage or fear, but hard enough to release some frustration. 

Was release the right word? Was he releasing frustration or opening his heart a little more slightly to the demons? Should he invite the demons in, to challenge himself? He had made a lot of progress and could recite some Book of Vine passages that Preacher’d taught him. 

At the lot, there had been a sales contest—most commissions in the month of May got a thousand dollar bonus, due to Q1 being unusually high. Tony and Jeff had been neck-and-neck, a real nail-biter of a race playing out on the whiteboard in the break room. By the end of the day Friday, Jeff had a small lead on him. But Tony did not lose hope: he had a handsome Ford F-150 that had been barely used. He had a father-and-son contractor duo who were very interested in the truck until, right at the last minute, they had pulled out of the deal. Tony could feel a circle of bats an arm’s reach above his head and knew that an angry bear loomed on the horizon. 

The father and son returned and bought the truck on Monday but by then the contest was over and Tony had lost and the demons had won because Tony had banged his hand on his desk. 

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