by Brett Pribble
Lana’s husband Chuck only allowed her to wear conservative outfits. He criticized her body, prevented her from having a career, demanded breakfast and dinner by 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.—sharp.
She dreamed of running away and starting a new life in a foreign country—but he’d track her down and punish her. So, rather than put a fork through her eye, Lana bought a Ouija board and confided in satanic spirits about her misfortune. The demons had fantastic listening skills.
The next morning, Chuck made her breakfast in bed. He also spoke in a language she’d never heard before, but she overlooked this when he brought in a basket of clean laundry.
When she put on a short black dress for her job interview, Chuck didn’t tell her she looked like a whore. Instead, he levitated three feet into the air. This concerned Lana, but she relaxed after he told her, “You are an extremely intelligent individual who deserves a great career and all the respect that comes with it.” His eyes were blood red, but Lana found him more handsome than ever.
He mowed the lawn, fixed the mailbox, and washed the windows. He even planted daisies in the garden. Word about his abnormal behavior traveled fast around the neighborhood.
While Chuck served her wine after an exhausting day, she spotted a priest through the window. He knocked on their door. Chuck offered to answer it, but Lana told him to stay in the kitchen.
Lana hid her smile as she opened the door. “Yes, Father?”
The priest held a bible in one hand and a jar of holy water in the other. “There are rumors that your household is experiencing a disturbance.”
“No disturbance here, Father,” she replied.
“Let me be the judge of that, dear.” He crept inside and examined the living room. “You keep a tidy home.”
“Actually, my husband—” She caught herself and laughed awkwardly. “Of course. I live for my husband and home.”
“I see,” the priest said, slanting his eyes at her. “Can I talk to him?”
“No, he’s not feeling well.”
But Chuck walked into the room. “Hello, Father. I didn’t realize we had company.”
His eyes widened. “I understand you’re under the weather, sir?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Your wife just told me about it.”
“In that case, maybe I am.” Chuck nodded. “She’s very intuitive.”
The priest frowned and held up a cross. Chuck recoiled in pain. The priest stepped closer.
“Out, ye demon!” He pushed Chuck down into a chair.
“How dare you?” Lana cried.
“The Lord’s work, child. Now, stand back.” The priest opened the jar of holy water and splashed it on Chuck, who hollered in anguish.
“Hold on, Chuck. I love you,” Lana said.
The priest chanted, “Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus.”
“Lana, you deserve to be treated like a real person, not an object,” Chuck growled in a demonic voice, and then vomited blood.
The priest threw more holy water.
“Stop it,” cried Lana. “There is nothing wrong with him.”
Waving the cross in the air, the priest continued, “Out, ye demon. The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!”
Chuck’s head spun in circles, but his neck didn’t crack. “We need to go to the courthouse, Lana, and have our surnames combined. You shouldn’t give up your identity for me.”
The priest roared in fury and pressed the cross onto Chuck’s forehead, searing the flesh. “The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you!”
Chuck vomited one last time and fell to the floor. His irises green again, he glared up at Lana. “What is going on here, woman?”
“Chuck, darling, the priest—”
“What is another man doing in my house?” Chuck asked. “You whoring?”
“No,” she replied. “He came over uninvited.”
Chuck laughed. “Sure he did. Go make me a sandwich.”
The priest let himself out and smiled. Looking up to the heavens, he whispered, “My work here is done.”