Devil in the Details
What you selling? Asked the young man, or maybe he was old, who could tell under the sweat baked dirt. Every morning for three weeks he asked the same thing when I opened up the lifeguard tower.
He slept under my feet, in the shade. Nobody cared but the cops. They made him move every once in a while. They’d nudge him out of the shadows, his bags hanging from a long pole he balanced across his shoulders––two of them dangling from either end. He’d shuffle in the sand, making tracks like a sea turtle until the cops moved on, bored of watching him.
The last time I saw him on the beach, he was propped up against the wood bracing, drinking a Red Bull. I threw down my pack and stood beside him. We watched the moon fade. The tide curling in and out. We watched skaters and joggers and selfie-takers as the smog burned off. “What you selling?” he asked. This time I answered, “Immortality,” I said. “You don’t look like that’s in your wheelhouse. You the Devil?” he asked squinting in my direction. “Tell me, Chester, what does the devil look like?” His laugh was worn out sandpaper.
Then he said, “I don’t rightly know.” I showed him I could smile. “How much is Immortality going for these days?” he asked. “Whatever you can afford Chester, whatever you can afford.”