Mr. Stevens was one of the fortunate ones, an heir to generations of good looks that were handed down to him. Like a rose rises up through the ground and flaunts itself before the sun, the seed of his forefathers blossomed in his self and molded his physique as he rose up and flaunted himself before the ladies.
He attended church regularly where he met and courted many beautiful women and charmed them with the bible verses that he memorized. He impressed the preacher even though he didn’t know what the verses meant. Because he had such a wonderful sense of humor, he was a lot of fun to be with. He knew exactly how to captivate an audience, mostly of the female gender.
Stevens was quite wealthy through his inheritance, so he could wine and dine them without emptying out his bank account. Good fortune came to him and he made the most of it. His good looks brought him beautiful women to keep him company. They were drawn to him because he was so lovable and fun. He was quite amusing and knew exactly what to say and how to flatter them. He would walk down the street with them hanging on his arm as if they were his trophies.
All through his life he never married, because he had so much fun trading each woman in for an exciting younger model. The genes that were passed down through generations stopped when he refused to pass them on to the next. He was a bit selfish, but he did it upon his own choosing. He wasn’t about to let past generations dictate his lifestyle to him. His parents kept after him to get married, but he preferred not to. After all, he had to honor the creed of the playboys: “Do not get married and do enjoy yourself.” Life was a playground to him, and he had a marvelous time living the life. He never made plans for the future, because he had so much fun living for the present.
The women loved him and seemed to gravitate toward him. Good fortune followed him through his life until his mounting years started turning them away. The older ones still hung around, but they weren’t appealing to him. Now as he was approaching his eighty second birthday, all he had were pleasant memories to amuse himself with and forget about his loneliness.
At the nursing home he would fool the nurses, sneak outside on his own, and go on long walks along the perimeter of the grounds at night. In his mind he was still twenty five years old, but his body didn’t agree. His legs were a bit wobbly, but he wouldn’t let that bother him. He fought the years away with his vanity.
One night, he walked outside the perimeter and followed a path that led into the dark woods. While walking along the path, he looked up and started yelling and cursing at the sky.
“Why have you let old age weaken my legs? Why did you send the beautiful ladies away from me? Why can’t I stay the way I was fifty years or so again? Why do you torture me like that? I’ll give anything to be like that again. Can’t I go back in time? Can’t you hear me up there?
A moment later, a big eerie red face with no body attached to it, appeared in a burning bush. Stevens got scared and started to move away, but his curiosity told him to turn back to it. In a deep penetrating voice it said, “If you give your soul to me, I can help you return to your youth. All you have to do is swear your allegiance to me. I am on your side. I want you to be young again. I can send you back in time.”
“Yes, yes! I’ll do anything to go back again,” Mr. Stevens said. Then he heard a deafening noise that sounded like thunder. He blacked out and came to in total darkness. His heart was
pumping at a furious pace as he stood up and started screaming at nobody but the frigid air that engulfed him. His whole body was shaking. “Is there anybody out there? Is this a dream or a nightmare? Who turned out the lights? Why can’t I see? Did I go blind?” He couldn’t even see the outline of the sky. “Am I in a room? I’m so-o-o cold.” His feet were getting numb.
He felt young again, but couldn’t even see his new body. In his frantic state, he shouted at the top of his lungs, “What happened to me? What did I do to deserve this? Will I ever be able to see again and get warm? Help me somebody! Please help! as he was shouting alone in total darkness.
Finally there was a fire, so he could see something and warm himself. It was that same burning bush and that same face of the devil again. He now could see what his hands looked like, his youthful hands. The face said with that familiar voice, “You wanted to go back in time, but didn’t say how far back. That God of yours that you pretend to know hasn’t created the sun yet. It will come tomorrow. By then you will be frozen to death.”
His fiendish laughter shook the cold desolate earth. Then the fire went out and it got colder as his egocentric life came to an abrupt and merciful ending.
as featured in "GLVWG anthology book