One day, however,

Jimmy sold salted worms at a day camp for children whose parents were too religious to put up with their shit all summer long. They stood there in knee-length, anti-sexual blue shorts (knees sweating and tempting the breeze to tickle them and confuse their loins) waiting for Jimmy to dig around in his dirty, plastic bag for his latest catch.

Every other time, he had taken a dozen or so night crawlers (big fuckers fit for a back road bait shop) and covered them in salt in order form a paste before molding them into some edifying shape. He brought out crosses and moons, pentacles and unicorns, holy virgins and sacrificial doves.

The adults knew. He knew they new. It didn’t stop him. And they never interrupted. There was an angel smiling through Jimmy’s eyes, they would say to each other, the kind of angel that knows things and takes blood for milk. So they let him play at his morbid sculpting, knowing that most of the children would be taken for imaginative liars when they returned from camp and told their parents.

One day, however, Jimmy dragged three bags from this cabin and set them on the big rock by the sewer.

“Hey, what are the other bags for?” asked Michael, a braggart and bully.

“Well, my brothers and sisters,” began Jimmy, “there is a poison in this land. It takes God’s creatures, great and small, and turns them against one another, tooth against flesh. And I deem to purge it. I have been foraging all summer for the ingredients to this sacred balm.”

“How ya gonna do that, weirdo? You can’t even kick a ball!” asked Sally, a complainer and snitch.

Jimmy held his hands in front of him, “It is not I that will anything.”

“Get on with it! Lunch is almost ready,” said Tom, a glutton and sadist.

Jimmy took two of the bags and up ended them. From out fell stones of various size and shapes. A few quart crystals blinked in the sun. Jimmy began to hum as he took the third bag in his hands. The piles of rocks at his side began to give off a heat so great that the front row of spectators were forced back by it. Jimmy continued to hum as he pulled from the final bag a worm the size of a tree branch, which wrapped around his arm with a sucking slurp. His humming turned to chanting, words none of the children knew, and the worm unfurled until it stood straight and towered over the screaming crowd. From its belly, a crevice began to unzip and out stepped Jimmy, now with blue skin and yellow eyes, with six arms all clutching knives, skulls, and satanic wands.

He stood for a moment, breathing in the humid summer air. And when he spoke, he said:

“See? Don’t you feel better now?”

Indeed they did not.


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