On My Attempts
to Become Pure Evil

(It's Only Steak)

Alec S. Scott

One. I’m glad you guys came; I get chills being here alone.

Two. His horns were sharp, but his teeth were sharper.

Three. They walked with their toes pointed inward, for this meant their genitals were large.

Four. It’s creepy out tonight. (All those psychic vibrations?)

Five. No, no, don’t touch that; it’s "Sanguine Information".

Six. It’s "Sanguine Information".

Six. No, no, don’t touch that, it’s

Eight. I will sneak into your bedroom and grab your toes, to see if you are strong


In a dim basement bedroom in a tattered wingchair sits a man called the Dokktor. (He isn’t a real doctor, oh no, certainly not.) Despite his advanced years and elegant, Victorian attire, he is rather severe-looking, menacing if you will, with a shaven head, a black goatee, and an inverted pentagram that hangs from a cord around his neck.

"Heed these lessons, my children," he’s saying, "and learn them well—for if you do, you will never be caught unawares…"

Across from him sit his son and daughter, Christian and Hope. Christian is three years old, perched on a tarnished iron bedstead in a miniature of the Dokktor’s suit; Hope is five or six, situated on the floor before her brother in a lace-trimmed pinafore and dress. Both wear inverted pentagrams, and both listen eagerly to their father’s every word.

"Now," continues the Dokktor, "who wants to hear a story?"

"We do! We do!" cry the children.

The Dokktor chuckles (or rasps, rather) and picks up a slim, oversized book from his lap.

(Cover of book, newly visible to young eyes, sporting the title "The Simpsons vs. the Bubonic Plague"; below this, in Sunday Funny brush strokes and day-glow colors, Bart Simpson is shown as a shirtless, muscle-bound man, cloaked in a black executioner’s hood and wielding a large axe, while his father, Homer Simpson, cowers fearfully before him with head and hands restrained in stocks.)

The Dokktor opens the book and clears his throat; he reads aloud the following:

"Though it was sunny, though it was May,

The children would not play that day;

A sickening smell drifted in the street,

And excrement clung to the passerby’s feet…"

(On the opposite page is a pen-and-ink illustration on yellow-orange paper, in which Bart and his friend Millhouse are depicted as Archie and Jughead, circa 1954, crouching over the curb of an empty city street, peering down into a barred sewer with knowing, mischievous grins.

A glowing green mist, real and reeking, floats out from the crosshatched sewer, past the flat drawn figures and through the room; it rises to a real barred window in an alcove behind the children, beyond which two male teenagers, unknown and unnoticed, huddle and smirk from the city street above.)

"…There were calls outside of ‘Bring us your well! Bring us your well!

(Awkward pause.)

"And we’ll send you fuckers straight to Hell!’..."

(Slant of sunlight through barred window—teenagers and mist now gone.)

"…‘We’ll send you fuckers straight to Hell.’"

(Snaky swirl of dust to dark filthy floor below…)


Then the Dokktor finds himself alone, standing before the alcove with a strange pitchfork/shovel in his hands and a wild look in his eyes. To the empty room he continues the story—it has become a rhythmic, guttural chant, you see—as he savagely spears the recess:



He stops chanting and jabbing and discovers the pitchfork/shovel is now a kind of face: From the center of the spade blink two cartoon eyes (though I bet they cry real tears and bleed real blood when you poke ‘em), while silver horns and a few strands of black, wiry hair protrude from either side. (Stained teeth, long and sharp, jutting down in silver-enamel grin.)

The pitchfork/shovel has eaten a large hole into the recess, just below the barred window, revealing two eyes, a number of teeth, a tongue and a nose—all from a human face, all half-exposed in the black soot and soil that make up the alcove walls.

With agonizing slowness, the eyes crawl away from the teeth, tongue and nose, down the sloping side of the hole; simultaneously, from somewhere in the street above, a car radio plays Neil Diamond’s "Turn on Your Heartlight":

"Turn on you heartlight,

Let it shine wherever you go.

Let it make a happy glow

For all the world to see

Turn on your heartlight,

In the middle of a young boy’s dream.

Don’t wake me up too soon.

Gonna take a trip across the moon...

You and me…"

The eyes fall from the hole to the bottom of the alcove with a wet, echoing thunk.


Nighttime on an empty city street, as crickets chirp and a handsome young man, clad in a tuxedo, climbs out of a ’59 Chevy. He is called The Doctor, or maybe he really is one; with the confidence of a doctor (MD means Medical Doctor means Minor Deity means Meta Physician), he walks around the car to the passenger side, opening the door for a pretty young thing (a full-grown woman, actually) who is clothed, of course, in scarlet shirtwaist dress, fishnet stockings and red high-heels.

As she steps onto the pavement and he closes the door behind her, someone whispers "Lilith"—it is, in point of fact, her real name.

A block away, above the entrance to a flat-topped restaurant, a purple-and-red neon sign blinks "It’s Only Steak".

As an unseen presence follows the pigeon-toed couple down the street, toward the restaurant, the Doctor hears the Dokktor calmly say (presumably to an interviewer): "The first time I let a spirit enter me it was quite exhausting. After all, I’d only been practicing for seven days and I was still weak…"

A country house at night.

A darkened bedroom.

The Doctor lies naked and face down on a bed, while a pale, genderless being—two black holes for eyes, one black hole for mouth, and henceforth known as The Spirit—straddles him from behind. Glancing nervously at Lilith (she lies next to them, asleep), the Doctor wiggles and squirms beneath The Spirit and demands: "Okay, fuck me in the ass! Fuck me in the ass!" Wiggle, wiggle—wiggle, wiggle. "Fuck me in the ass! Fuck me in the ass!…"

Then a cartoon living room, as a cartoon dog, Hannah/Barbera’s Droopy, walks up to Marge Simpson. Marge is too big for the room (her blue hair is bent against the ceiling) and looks worried; Droopy is missing his nose.

"Do you have a pencil?" he asks her. "I accidentally lost my nose."

Huckleberry Hound steps into the living room behind Marge, a live-action human nose held out in his paw. "Here," he drawls, "ah drew you a new one—but it’s bigger so you can win the surf competition…"

Meanwhile, on another invented plane, colossal block letters spell out "DAWG EAT DAWG".

The entire world blinks purple-and-red, as from an unseen neon sun, while a collection of cartoon dogs (all of them male and scrawled in the jazzy freeform style of a 1950’s cocktail napkin) pass before the letters.

Smeared with blood-red lipstick and blue eye shadow, hands on hips like beauty contestants, they smile surreptitiously and saunter by as Marge’s nervous, unsure voice announces (presumably to an audience): "The Dog Eat Dog Show, starring Droopy D, will return after these messages…"

Then Doggy Daddy, profiled before endless red, the human nose now jutting from his face, looks directly at me (or you, maybe) and shrugs.


The Doctor and Lilith find themselves in the country, inside a chain-link fence maze that runs parallel to the backyard of a dark, dilapidated house from which a cat is meowing in shrill, whiny, and slightly panic-stricken tones. (Behind them, their Chevy sits on the shoulder of a dirt road; ahead, beyond a pair of rustic railroad tracks, the restaurant has become a quaint country shack, its purple-and-red neon sign blinking "It’s Only Stuck".)

Upon hearing the cat the Doctor asks, "What the hell is that?"

"It’s just Squiggy," drawls Lilith, "whining for some food. Let’s feed him before we go to the restaurant, okay?"

The Doctor frowns resentfully. "All right."

Followed closely by the unseen presence, they attempt to reach the backyard by walking the maze to the end—but find there is no exit.

Lilith chuckles good-naturedly, as if this is an amusing game; the Doctor sighs with annoyance.

They turn around, going back the way they came, but find there is no entrance, either.

Lilith laughs again.

Then, following the same exact course they have twice already, the couple passes through the maze one last time to discover and opening that was not apparent earlier—a narrow, jagged tear in the chain-link fence—and squeeze through it.


As they enter the backyard through the open side-gate, the invisible presence rushes past them to the back porch, where a shadowy figure has appeared and is throwing a hot, dark liquid at them.

The couple jumps back and the liquid misses them; the figure, it turns out, is only an old lady in a tattered house robe, an empty coffee cup wielded like a weapon in her hand.

"Jesus, Mama," cries Lilith, "you scared me!"

"Well you scared me, too!" scolds the old lady. "What are you two doing out here?"

"We were just going to feed the cats—Squiggy’s hungry."

"Well you better do it quick," warns Mama, peering up at the sky; "it’s dark outside!…"

The couple ascends the porch steps and passes the old lady, entering the cavernous house beyond.


In the kitchen, Lilith pours a bag of "Smitty Bits" into a small blue bowl and a big fat black and white cat named Squiggy runs in from the living room, snapping down the tiny red morsels as if they are his last meal.

Lilith sets the bag aside and Mama pours more coffee into her cup. "You want something to eat?" she asks. "We’ve got liver and onions but they have to be cooked."

Lilith yawns, feigning fatigue. "No," she answers, "we’re not hungry—we’re just gonna go to bed."

Behind Mama, the Doctor looks at Lilith as if to say, "We’re what?"

Lilith hugs the old lady, silently shushing the Doctor behind her back. "Good night, Mama," she says.

"Good night."


Mama, tense and agitated, now talks to herself as she paces the living room. "If I had a bad stomach," she’s saying, "you couldn’t make me eat." She chuckles nervously. "That’s how holes happen—and tears, too!"

Back and forth she goes, while in a large bedroom just off the living room, the Doctor and Lilith, having undressed, climb into bed.

"I think Mama saw Doyle Smith’s daddy," explains Lilith. "He gets up during the night and it’s probably got her upset."

The Doctor nods, utterly disinterested, and murmurs a noncommittal "Hmmm".

They turn out their bedside lamps, settle into their pillows and get comfortable.

In the living room, Mama continues talking to herself; outside, very far away, a man starts to scream…


The Doctor awakens abruptly, alone and face down across the bed.

Immediately, a spirit (the Spirit) steps in through a doorway next to the bed and grabs the Doctor’s toes, simultaneously touching the bedside lamp. The light-bulb flashes and pops, its filament fried, and the Doctor jumps away from The Spirit, half-facing it, as it leans over him and hisses: "Turn on your light! Now you can fart!"

The Doctor tries to scrabble away but The Spirit leaps onto his back and straddles him like a horse.

The Doctor struggles desperately, frightened and laboring to breathe under the apparition’s weight; soon, however, in the hopes it will become bored and leave, he goes completely limp and just lies there—but The Spirit continues pressing down on him…

Panicking again, the Doctor stiffens and squirms and begins to wiggle his ass, attempting to buck The Spirit off.

Finally, gazing helplessly heavenward, he cries out: "Okay—I give up! I give up!"

The Spirit suddenly leaps into the air and the Doctor twists around. All he can see is the white ceiling above.

After a moment he sits up and studies the room.

The Spirit is gone.

"No I don’t," he recants.


Then he hears, from outside the bedroom, what sounds like Lilith speaking to someone in confidential tones.

He faces the doorway next to the bedside lamp: the front porch beyond is glowing with soft yellow light.

"…Day that play not would children the,

May was it though, sunny was it though.

Feet passerby’s the to clung excrement and,

Street the in floated smell sickening a…"

The Doctor slowly stands up. As he walks through the doorway, onto the porch, the voice continues:

"…Hell to straight fuckers you send we’ll!

Hell to straight fuckers you send we’ll and!

Well your us bring! Well your us bring!’

Of outside cries were there…"

Arriving on the porch, he peers past a black-lacquer entertainment center into the living room.

Lilith (or at least a woman who looks like her) is standing at the center of the room in a sheer-black nightgown, holding a thin, oversized children’s book in her hands; next to her, intently focused on the blank open pages, is a white three-and-a-half foot tall figure, an ugly young thing with no eyes, ears, nose or mouth—in short, with no face.

"Now this will count for seventy percent of your grade when it’s completed," Lilith is saying, "so please pay close attention…"

"Hey!" shouts the Doctor, unreasonably angry, "what the hell’s going on here?"

Lilith looks up with a smirk—as if to say, "Whoops, we’ve been caught"—and the figure turns toward him.

Then Lilith slams the book shut, spins around and sprints, impossibly fast (as in an accelerated film or a fast-forwarding videotape), in the opposite direction, toward the dark kitchen doorway that waits like an open mouth and swallows her whole and then she’s gone…

Simultaneously, at the same incredible speed, the white figure scampers up to the Doctor and leaps like a cat (for he isn’t a real Squiggy, oh no, certainly not) onto his head.

The lights in the living room and on the front porch suddenly burn out, and all the Doctor can see is blackness as hears screams, shouts, animal growls and then silence…

A moment later the screams and growls resume, but now they’re coming from the Doctor himself; terrified, he manages to blurt out (or maybe he just thinks it): "Turn on the light! It’s in my ear! Turn on the light!" (Awkward pause.) "Turn on the light! It’s in my ear! Turn on the light!…"

There are more grunts and shrieks, coming from who knows where now, which soon die away to be replaced by a thick, moist silence; then eerie wailing and muffled moans, and a glowing purple-red vapor that spirals into tunnels and funnels and spheres before the Doctor’s unseen, unseeing eyes…

After what feels like an eternity there is a flash of blue light across the Doctor’s frightened face…then two flashes…then three…

He is no longer inside the house.


As the speed of the strobing light increases (where in God’s name is that coming from?), the Doctor slowly comes to realize he is now restrained beneath the barred window of a black, greasy alcove in some kind of basement bedroom—a silver, claw-like contraption holding his mouth wide open as he whimpers in fear and pain.

A small, pale hand, neither male nor female, emerges from the blue-flickering darkness and reaches deep inside his mouth, pulling out, with exquisite slowness, a long, bloody chunk of raw meat.

Then another.

And another…


An uncooked slab of meat, commonly called steak, sitting on a plate on the kitchen table…








The world (yes, that world!) blinks on and off like a light bulb or a neon sign, accompanied by a single staccato church-organ note, which is being struck over and over by someone somewhere very far away. The note gradually grows in volume and resonance, or possibly it’s just getting closer (or bigger!), and soon it becomes an abundant, redundant, earth-shaking thunder; and then, after an eternity, maybe, the world and the note suddenly vanish—no warning, no reason, they’re just gone—and all is finished, all is done, and that’s it, that’s that, that’s all there is—Finito Mussolini…

And then silence. Real silence…

And then a chrome-plated car radio being clicked on and the tuner twisted past crackling dots and dashes behind a long narrow strip of green-glowing glass. Soon it lands on a dot (or is it a dash?) whose signal, it would seem, is stronger than the others and whose station, in fact, is playing Neil Diamond’s "Turn on Your Heartlight"—a wonderful song, by the way, in good times or bad, whether you’re happy or sad, young or old, male or female alike.

You should check it out sometime, if you ever get the chance.

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