My shopping cart is blown by a gust of wind into a parked car, denting it.
ME: Shit! What do I do?!
An angel & devil appear on each of my shoulders.
ANGEL: First of all, watch your language.
DEVIL: C’mon, that’ll buff out. No witnesses. You’re in the clear. Besides, it’s a Pontiac Aztek. You’ve improved it.
ANGEL: You should really leave a note.
DEVIL: Yeah, write: “Your parked car came out of nowhere and hit my shopping cart.” Hurry up, ice cream’s melting.
ME: I’m with the devil on this one. But I’m just going to leave now. Not doing the whole mean note bit.
DEVIL: Okay and one more quick thing.
ME: What’s up?
DEVIL: While you’re taking my advice, I think it might be a good idea if you start keeping up a little more with your …
Devil waves his pitchfork around my head.
DEVIL: … situation.
ME: My what? My dander? What does that have to do with the issue at hand?
DEVIL: Forget I said anything.
ME: Okay, well, I don’t think I’m going to take advice from the actual devil. You’ve got my back on this one, right angel?
ANGEL: I don’t want to get involved.
ME: But you always tell me to get involved! When those guys at the car wash were surrounding that lady’s car! Turns out they were just drying it off, but I would’ve never known that if I didn’t listen to you.
ANGEL: Well, I mean, he makes an interesting point. There’s like A LOT over here. I mean this looks like the snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro. How’s it over there?
DEVIL: Like the snowfall at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life.
ANGEL: Jimmy Stewart?
DEVIL: The greatest. Philadelphia Story?
ANGEL: I’m more of a Vertigo guy.
DEVIL: Different strokes. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington?
ANGEL: Now you’re talkin’.
DEVIL: Always gets ‘em.
ANGEL: They don’t make them like that anymore.
Angel nudges my ear.
ME: Wait wait wait. Aren’t you supposed to give me sage wisdom while you strum a golden harp? You’re mocking my condition.
ANGEL: I don’t know. Something’s telling me not to do that stuff this time. I want to be as straightforward as I can about this. No theatrics. Just between the three of us, how often do you wash your scalp?
DEVIL: Tell the truth.
ME: Devil?! Do you hear yourself right now? Tell the truth! You’ve never said to tell the truth.
DEVIL: I agree with him on this one. We can’t ignore this anymore, it’s out of hand.
ANGEL: Frankly, I don’t see how we can offer solutions to your life decisions in these working conditions. Just an hour ago, you were thinking real hard about whether you should buy off-brand cereal or Kellogg’s for an extra 82¢ so naturally you scratched your head. No harm done if it weren’t for these unfrosted, head flakes that came hailing down on us. And you’re asking us for clarity.
DEVIL: More like low visibility due to asbestos blizzard.
ANGEL: Like a border agent slashed open a bag of cornstarch right above your head to make sure it’s really cornstarch and to humiliate you at the same time.
DEVIL: Like a snow globe without the glass dome or the water or the Dickensian winter scene.
ME: You guys are getting a lot of mileage out of essentially the same joke.
ANGEL: You’re right. It’s more like when you get Styrofoam in a package and it breaks apart all over the place. And then you have to break out the vacuum to really get it all up. Nightmare.
DEVIL: Speaking of packaging, there’s products specially made for people like you. It’s a whole new world.
ANGEL: Really? Can’t get caught buying that shit. You want to get a jump on this today? Take off your overcoat and just wear the white undershirt. Noone’ll know the difference.
ME: I think you’re forgetting that you guys share my likeness, okay? You’re like little versions of me so every time you make fun of me, you’re making fun of yourselves.
DEVIL: Then do it for our sake, bud. We’re like the children you’ll never have.
ANGEL: Yeah, don’t try to divide and conquer us. And I take back what I said about leaving a note. We need to get you home ASAP if you want to keep that dream of ever procreating alive.
The devil and angel vanish.
Robert Criss is a writer from Pittsburgh who writes to save the family farm. You can find his work right above this biography or below depending on where this biography is placed on the page in relation to the work. Follow his instagram @robertcriss