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79 Devil in the Details

For March 19: Day 79/366 of the Story-a-Day Challenge

By Gerard DiLeoPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Shuffling for the Lord.

“They called us stupid. Hollywood, Rolling Stone magazine, New York Times. But the Lord doesn't agree!”

Affirmations affirmed, and adorers adored. Hallelujahs resounded.

“Night before last, I was on my knees praying for this country and you.”

“Hallelujah!” they cried. More affirmations, some in tongues.

“I sensed a presence. An evil presence," he whispered. So I prayed harder. I looked up and saw the devil.”

“Fuck the devil!” a teenage girl shouted, who otherwise wore her Sunday-best of innocence. Audible gasps from the congregation erupted, for either the devil or the expletive.

He stopped and looked at her. “You said that?” he asked. Slowly, tentatively, she nodded.

“I’m sorry,” she said nervously. “But isn't it alright to swear if it's at the devil?”

He eyed her low cut dress. Man, I’d like to— he thought lasciviously, then he looked more closely at her and remembered. Oh, I already have!

“Yes, my lamb,” he said, winking. She blushed. “Cursing the devil's never wrong.” She looked around and smiled. He looked up to Heaven.

“I said, ‘Be gone, devil!’”


“But he didn’t leave. God wanted me to represent, so I challenged him. This devil asked, ‘What’s the wager?’ And I said, ‘my soul.’

"We fought all night, like how living righteously is a struggle with the Devil. I thought I might falter, like our country has.”


“Yay-a, I thought I'd lose, like our country did.”

“You’re better!” someone amen'd.

“I fought hard. Harder! But couldn’t beat him.”

“That can’t be!”

“As hard as I tried I couldn’t beat that ol’ devil. And I said, ‘Be gone, devil. You can’t beat me. I have the Lord on my side.’”


“And Jesus, Archangels, and my followers.”

“We’re here!" from his faithful; and "Fuck off, devil!”

“But…I'm sorry to say…I’m a sinner. I didn’t prevail.”


“Just like our great country didn’t.” Gasps and denials. “He laughed at me. ‘I’m not the devil, sinner,’ he said.”

"Then who?" a man demanded.

"I'm the Grand Jury."


"You can beat the devil, but not the government," he said, eyeing the deputies outside.

"Fuck the government!" several shouted.

"A-choo! A-choo..."


AUTHOR'S NOTES: Word count (excluding notes): 366

Submitted for Tuesday, March 19, 2024

2024: A Story-a-Day for the whole year. This one is #79.


About the Creator

Gerard DiLeo

Retired, not tired. In Life Phase II: Living and writing from a decommissioned Catholic church in Hull, MA. Phase I: was New Orleans (and everything that entails).

email: [email protected]

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Comments (2)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    "Oh, I already have!" That line was sooooo creepy and disgusting! Loved your story!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    Great invective. There is a tension coming from North American writers at the moment...

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