seeking samiel excerpt

Some people chase desire wherever it leads.  Warnings won’t help.  Not even if you tattoo them on the forehead, or write them in a golden book and call it The Bible’s Book of Wisdom.  They’ll still follow that disaster wherever it goes.

Desire for the Big Three—money, power, and love—had been planted inside me and well fed on daydreams, wishful thinking and wantonness.  Those tangled roots burrowed deep enough that nothing could pull me free—not common sense, practical thinking, or oncoming warnings.

I loved Eva.

From the back of my throat I coughed up a thick oyster and spat it in Eva’s face.  She didn’t blink.  Her tongue, long and slim, slithered up her face.  With one long sweep, she dragged the hocker into her mouth and swallowed.

I thought she’d kill me, strangle me with that tongue.  But she kept it in her mouth, stepped back, and was gone.  I swear, I don’t remember if she turned her back and walked out the door, or if she vanished in a puff of smoke.  Eva was gone.

Yet I wasn’t alone.  Her face was burnt in my retinas as if she was still there.  I saw bile green eyes and pink sores pock marked over her white skin.  A long nose pointed down to a cartoonishly wide mouth.  Tight lips stretched ear to ear, hiding canines better suited for a jackal.

My crotch felt warm.  The wet stain moved down my trouser thighs in tune with the swish of blood rushing through my head.  No matter.

How could I have ever thought she was beautiful?  How could I have left Caroline for her?  That damn book.  If only I’d seen then what I see now—one sees better backwards than forwards.

The night I met Eva—Caroline’s half-sister—I had asked Caroline as we traveled through the false woods lined with Quiver Trees and Baobabs, and up the mountainside to her sister Eva’s house, “Caroline, have you ever wanted something bad enough to say, ‘I’d do anything,’ and mean it—really mean it?”  Even though the sun had just set in the salmon-tinged sky, the South African heat was baking me alive in my tuxedo and I squirmed on the Town Car’s hot leather seats.  I was having second thoughts about going to her book signing party.  It was the fresh start I needed, a chance to get back what he stole, but my initial desire scared me a little.

“Yes,” she whispered, nodding like a bobble head as the house slipped into view.  I jerked the car to a stop.

Eva’s white wooden home suddenly disappeared in a bright flash.  I closed my eyes against the African sun¾a trickster and master of illusions.  When I opened them, there the mansion stood larger than before, rising out of the mountains behind it.

Caroline gasped, her face aglow.  “Oh, Jeffrey.  It’s more beautiful than I thought.  Wouldn’t you just die to live here?”