Current and forthcoming titles from RUDOS AND RUBES

* Devil Born Without Horns

by Mike Lucas

Devil Born Without Horns

Although I’d often been told that a college education would prove useful regardless of whatever else I did in my life, my bachelor’s degree was of no help whatsoever in making up my mind to shoot someone. Perhaps I could have made my decision more quickly had I majored in philosophy instead of film theory.

Despite a lack of suitable academic preparation, I was able to make my decision in time to cripple my target (from nearly twenty feet away: not too bad, I think).

Before my brief stints as criminal and deliverer of fine furniture, I’d planned to become a professor of English Literature for no particular reason other than that I liked books. I soured on that career path in my first semester of college when I found that my literature instructors, professors and grad students alike, were only somewhat more intelligent and marginally less doctrinaire than the high school teachers whose buffoonery I’d barely managed to endure.

In an attempt to get as far away from academic literary dogma as possible, I opted into the film program. Successfully immersing myself in the less familiar dogma recited therein, I was eventually rewarded with my precious B.A. in Film Theory.

Excited to be clear of olive groves and ivory towers, I considered my prospects. Since I’d been taught that only experimental films were artistically valid, I planned to devote my time to reperforming the cinematic experiments of others, perhaps in an effort to discover just what those original experiments had proven. As muddled as my thinking was, at least I had no illusions about my forthcoming artistic endeavors producing any revenue.

I thought it essential that I find a way to earn money in a manner that would not deplete my cherished creativity, however low a value the rest of the world placed on it. More importantly, I needed to find gainful employment before the meager remains of my college funds were spent.

I started by buying a paper and checking the classified ads, starting with “F.” There were no film related jobs listed, not surprising since this was late Nineties San Francisco, but an ad for “Furniture delivery: moving experience, organizational skills required,” caught my eye.

Other than having spent my early years as a frequently relocated army brat, my moving experience was limited to having hauled my scant possessions between a few places and having assisted a few friends in moving out of their dorms: nonetheless, that technically qualified me as experienced.

I noticed that the store was only about fifteen blocks from the in-law apartment that I rented from an elderly Russian lady; since I didn’t like the idea of wasting a lot of time going to and from work, the job immediately struck me as promising.

I put on my least ragged v-neck sweater and walked to the store. Before going in, I looked in the front window.

The only piece of furniture on display that made a lasting impression was a chair of unevenly poured cement, which I recall because its mass and apparent weight (as well as the rebar that stuck out of its back and sides at jagged angles) gave me second thoughts about delivering furniture.

“Isn’t that chair something?”

I turned to see a small, very neat man with short red hair and thin mustache peering at me through some probably fashionable wire rim frames.

“Well, I was thinking of applying for the job delivering furniture but it doesn’t seem too appealing any more,” I replied.