Part 1, The Demon's Tales
The story the man tells is of a famous woman who tried to live up to all public expectations, but could not and so she left it all behind.
There once was a woman who sang in a rock band. She was very famous and loved. You know who I mean. But there was one flaw she had for being a popular singer and that was she had no faults at all. Or at least no faults that would land her on the covers of magazines amid cries of scandal. She was a quiet person and terribly good and kind. This upset her managers very much because rock singers and all famous people should have some scandals because people like their heroes and they like even better when their heroes fall.
And so she began to pretend. You may have seen the pictures of her with her many lovers. Heard the story of how she lived for five months in a menage a trois. The cheating, the break ups, the screaming man on the lawn who was hospitalized, crazy for the love of her. None of this was true.
You may have seen the video of when she was pulled over by the police for driving erratically and she got out of the car with an open bottle of cheap whiskey and drank half of it down before the cops managed to pull the bottle away. And that she got out of the charge because they couldn't prove if she was drunk before while driving or became drunk from drinking the whiskey on camera. After the camera stopped they undid the handcuffs and she gave each of the policemen and women gift baskets full of fruits and cheeses and her homemade strawberry and grape jam as thanks. The whiskey was truly iced tea.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, didn't she die a few years ago? There was that tragic fire. You were there for the public viewing and you saw her body in the casket, so still and so pale. You heard the moving tributes and saw the roadie who was burned trying to save her. Saw the scars from his burns and listened to his tale of the last painful moments of her life. This will anger you, because she caused so much pain by these actions, but she faked her death. She was tired of pretending and went to a small town in Montana to live a quiet and sober life. She got married to the boyfriend she'd been devoted to all along. They have three children, two of which are adopted.
She gives guitar lessons at the local music shop and those in the village take no notice of her and do not realize who she is, or who she was. But sometimes someone does notice, perhaps a turn of the head or a look in her eyes, and says, Hey, you look like her. To this she simply smiles and says, yes, she gets that a lot.
This story always makes the demon quite happy and she likes to hear it on her difficult days. She feels it ends so perfectly, with the woman being punished and going into exile for being so very good. Undivine Retribution. The opposite of karma. And it is by this story that the man is allowed to keep his tongue and lungs and larynx.
Part 3, The Second Sinner's Story Prologue
Part 4, The Second Sinner's Story
Part 5, The Last Sinner's Story
Part 6, The Demon and the Bookstore