Tales from the Gallery : The First Image : Ventricle

As the devil continued its gross epic of itself and its ridicule of the human race, completely wrapped up in itself, I glanced at the two other devils who in the meanwhile had been following our conversation and apparently were ecstatic with amusement at their companion’s rich self-glorification. The devil in the tears was snickering and slapping its thighs and the munching devil was chewing on its own hand to stop its laughter. I gave a quick sideways nod at the babbling devil and rolled my eyes. It was all the encourage they needed …

‘Show off!’ cried the muncher.

The other devil commenced giggling hysterically, almost forgetting to keep itself afloat, and they both began shouting a series of “boo”s and “phooey”s.

The narrating devil stopped abruptly, glaring viciously at its companions.

‘Shut up! I have a customer!’ it bellowed.

‘Oh-hoo! He has a customer!’ the muncher mocked.

‘Watch you don’t bore her to death!’ the devil in the tears shrieked, tears of laughter bounding from its eyes.

Exasperated, the head devil jumped up and charged the muncher who with all haste grabbed an upper eyelash and swung itself up on top of the eye. From its current safety, it started to nag the furious head devil below, calling it frightful names that I shan’t repeat here. The devil in the tears chimed in. It was so abundantly pleased with its own wit that it eventually couldn’t stop giggling and thus keep its big mouth shut and limbs in check, and consequently drowned in the tear and blood ocean in which it so merrily had played all day.

That was one.

The two remaining devils did not notice their companion’s demise, however, for the head devil had got itself up on top of the eye as well and the two were now locked in a lethal struggle. One had got hold of the other’s tail and arm, the other its horn and leg and neither would let the other go. I watched silently, and with no little relish I assure you, how the two wrestled, moving ever so closer toward the rim of the eye. An eyelash twanged and both plunged into the depths. Still they wouldn’t release one another and they drowned as had their companion before them in the tears and the blood.

That was two and three.

I smiled contentedly at the completion of my scheme, but then I noticed the appalling state of the unfortunate eye. I believe that it was dying; dry and lustreless, its upper lashes drooping, the lower thick with clotted blood and it seemed to have run out of both that and tears.

Not at all sure what could be done or how to console a disembodied eye, I stroked the eye’s lashes gingerly, speaking soothing words of comfort. I told it to hang on and that I would look for a remedy. The pupil stirred painfully in understanding and I departed upon my mission.

© 1994, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2010, 2019 Kirstin Sørensen

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