Book the Second

God is a wheel and the devil is a wheel of many colors, red to green to blue to red again. Carl stands upon a high stone tower, shivering in the wind, and watches the devil tear down the round to grind to a halt at his gate.

“Who are you?”

“Don’t be sophisticated. You know who I am.” The devil unhoops himself and stands up. If they’d been toe to toe, he probably would have dwarfed Carl, but Carl’s on a high stone tower and so from here the devil is a tiny capering speck with a big voice.

“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m Christian,” Carl tells it, and lights a cigarette because it’s been six hours since his last one and it keeps him alert even in the wind and besides no one’s ever told him he shouldn’t smoke while on duty anyway so why should he feel guilty about it? It’s just a cigarette. “Hey, why can the Jews make jokes about themselves but I can’t? Does that seem fair to you?”

“You’re a very serious man.” The devil dances, glows brightly yellow, brightly purple. “A very serious man. Are you a saint? You reek of stale bread and plain water.”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“Should you be exempt?” The devil hoops himself, unhoops himself, hoops himself.  “Don’t you deserve to be mocked? That doesn’t seem fair to me.”