Bob combs his hair. Then he combs his fake hair and affixes it to the top of his head. Despite the aid of adhesive tape, it fits awkwardly. His head must be getting bigger. He grunts. Old man noises. The delusion of confidence and a stiff upper lip.
Once upon a time he’d call his pastor to obtain his blessing, and the luxury of humility would’ve been his: the advantage of consent and hands gifted with the work of God. Oh yes, you are possessed, it is clear. Jezebel, Abbadon, an ex-wife, fear not. We’ll exorcise, no problem. It’s like calling a plumber, calling Bob. Maury’s team is on the phone and he wants an interview with you and the Satanists.
He doesn’t need permission now. He’s the best of the best, though still at the mercy of hairpiece adhesive. His worst nightmare is his head melting right in the middle of deliverance. A toupee tragedy. My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust, hath given authority to tread on snakes and scorpions. Hair goes plop, slipping over the sweat of his brow on to the face of a hostile demon. The crowd laughs. Total humiliation. The thought of it makes his ears hot. If his performance is not perfect, tone exact, anointment applied at just the right moment, the illusion shatters. The audience shifts, coughs, revert to their phones and don’t donate. It’s bankruptcy.
“I smite you in the name of God,” he tells the motel mirror. He juts out his chin and clutches his tweed lapel. The fabric is thick, scratchy, mustard. Then he pats his belly. The body of a jelly-bean: part mesmerizing, part sad, part defiance of gravity that borders on impressive.
How far he has come. How he has fallen, risen, and fallen again. Travelling America, the backwaters of SoCal, Utah, Wyoming, the occasional skip through Alberta, cobbling together something of a reputation. Bob Larson, The Real Exorcist; founder, International School of Exorcism. American enthusiasm is stuffy, whereas across the pond, in Ukraine, he’s a hero. They’re receptive there, so much more willing to let go of their stuff. He gallivants the grandest halls, swills the finest wine, and basks in the adoration of impoverished followers.
It stinks. Festers. If only … if only he had … enough. He shoots finger guns at his reflection. He’s the best there is, he knows it. He knows it without looking. Maybe he should look in to a follicle transplant.
Pish, tosh! There’s work to be done. The war against evil is never won. There are deliverances to be delivered, tempests to be tempted, and spiritual authorities to be realized in the name of God. “I stand with the power to bind Satan and all demonic forces, dark prince of terrors. Which witch is which? Peter Piper pecked a pickled pecker.” Flawless.
He’s going to do this. He’s a professional. Despite all obstacles, the nonbelievers, the tourists, the curious goths, the mentally ill, he’ll charm them all. Stick around folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Let’s stick it to The Man, those conniving cucks in Vatican City.
Let’s summon the Devil!