Chapter 1, The Blame Game
A seed of doubt, a little sin
Small temptation, big chagrin
Turns chicks to chickens,
through loathsome pox
Won't somebody catch that fox?
Shame: The spit of Satan's insult, caused by sin.
The lights were dim, the outlook grim at Lousy Lou's Down-On-Your-Luck Cafe. Stuck in the driest crater of Pitsville, Under-USA, it served a steady round of poison to worthless losers void of hope. Many homeless wraiths flocked to the tiny joint, drawn by its ever-hating motto, "Eat, stink and be scary, for tomorrow we cry."
At the bar sat evil do-no-good Shame, sipping a rancid cup of coffee while he and criminal mastermind Blame Game enjoyed a stirring chat on how to best snuff out the life of Jane Seeker, rare desert bloom extraordinaire whose destiny it was to destroy them both.
"So," sneered the Chief of SID (Satan's Insecurity Division), whose laptop boasted all the latest DISS (Demonic Insecurity System Spyware), "they say you have a potion powerful enough nip that little daisy in the bud. Let's see it."
Shame took his straw and blew into the piping beverage. A sudsy froth of bubbles boiled up, bursting like popcorn in Blame's face. Shame watched the fiend's warts turn to balloons, then popped them with his claws - a game more fun than bubble wrap! He laughed at Blame Game's stunned chagrin, while watching him search frantically for dirty rags with which to wipe his freshly splattered mug. Laughing wickedly, he sneered, "Does that answer your question?"
Rubbing his face on the shoulder of a short, gangly devil known as Self-righteous Hypocrite Backstabber, Blame grumbled "Humph! Okay for a beginner."
"And I suppose you can do better?" quipped Shame, as Backstabber turned a knife on the SID chief. Without blinking an eye, Blame backhanded it into Mister Hypocrite's own heart, then used his spaded tongue to dump more pooh-poohs on the head of the snickering scum hunched before him.
"I have no interest in mere child's play. Army-level chemical warfare is more my style."
"Just wait," boasted Shame. "By the time I'm finished with her, the little minx will be history."
"Minx, jinx, long as it stinks," rasped Blame Game. "And I get all the glory."
"Who says I'm doing it for you?" sneered Shame, disappearing in a backlash of black smoke.
"Cripes!" grumbled Blame Game in the aftermath. "The lily-livered chicken spilled coffee all over my keyboard!" He shot the rebel a quick airmail shriek-gram shouting, "You'll pay for this!"
"You'll pay for this," mimicked Shame, who was halfway down the street already. "Hah! I'll show that nag!" He turned his head toward Blame, stuck out his tongue, and...
Splat! Straight into a telephone pole!
The sleazy devil did a syrup drip down the post, wallowed in it for a moment, then pulled himself together, a nasty glob of arms, legs, claws, and wanted poster.
"Grr, that bag of pond scum!" he cursed. "Always trying to put me in the doghouse. I'll get even if it's the last thing I do!"
With pounding head and bloodshot eyes Shame flew to the target house in such a frenzy his wings got all tied in a knot.
Grr razza frazza splickelty hen! Of all the bad luck!
He crash landed on the red-tiled roof in a tangle of sulfur and black smoke, vowing that his soon-to-be flying-colored success would earn exceeding honor from the "Great Horned One."
"Hoot, hoot!" A bird of like description smacked his face.
With violent curses Shame raised his fist against the pecking beak (which had mistaken his nose for a bat), stubbed his toe on a loose shingle, and fell spiraling down the side of the house into a row of bramble bushes.
He rubbed a scaly claw across his itching back. Dang! This was worse than poison ivy! If any of his fellow fiends found out...
Ping! A grotesquely dark idea splashed upon his forehead like a drop of acid rain.
He slipped around a corner of the house and found the room where the four-year-old was sitting up in bed, listening to her mother read a story called "The Scared Chicken."
"Aha!" cried Shame, taking it all in. "Fear lays the perfect snare for my dirty work." Rubbing his hands in glee, he seeped through a crack in the wall.
Jane had her eyes covered. For some reason she couldn't bear to look at the page before her.
"What's the matter, honey?" asked her mother, putting an arm around her daughter's shoulder.
The girl could barely speak for sobbing. "Oh Mommy, it's - it's that mean man with the fork. He wants to pluck the chicken's feathers!"
Her mother tried to laugh it off. "Oh that's just the farmer, dear. He's eaten chicken all his life. He doesn't know any better."
"Yes, but those chickens didn't talk," moaned Jane. "And this one does. Bad farmer!"
Jane's mother held her tight. "He doesn't know it's a talking chicken. He really means no harm. Besides, the chicken will be fine," she said. Trust me." But even as she spoke those words, she had her doubts.
Meanwhile the warty glob of black tar slid along the carpet, oozing guilt and pain. It raised its ugly head and...
acid rain: like vinegar to your eyes or smoke to your teeth
backlash: a little boomerang "reap what you sow" (see Galatians 6:7-8)
chagrin: another word for embarrassment
dirty rags: another word for self righteousness (see Isaiah 64:6)
mug: a slang term for face
shingle: a tile that covers a roof; also singular for shingles, chicken pox leftovers that may flare up many years after the initial sickness
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