Drew Payne’s Website
The Devil to Blame
“The devil made me do it,” the words simply leapt out of Anthony’s mouth. He didn’t know where they came from, he just opened his mouth and the answer came out.
There he was, sat in Pastor George’s office, that Saturday lunchtime. Anthony thought his life was over, well he would certainly be up to his neck in hot trouble. He still had two more years before he could leave home, two more years before he turned eighteen, two more years of tip-toeing around his mother and her Christianity. Now his cover had been blown and here he sat in front of Pastor George, who was also his mother’s brother.
Two hours before he and Dan had been weeding Pastor George’s garden. His mother had arranged this. She felt it was her duty, as his sister, to make sure Pastor George was looked after, because he was a single, middle aged man. So, Anthony had been given the job of maintaining his garden. That Saturday he had brought Dan along with him, Dan from the music group at church.
They’d had no intention of doing any weeding. Pastor George’s garden had a summer house, at the end of it, which had a large and comfortable day-bed. Anthony and Dan, as soon as Pastor George had left for the church, retired to the summer house. There, on the day-bed, they had begun to make love, the way teenager boys with their first lover make love.
They had been resting, post-coital, covered only by a cotton sheet, Anthony on the verge of falling asleep, when the voice rang out:
“What on earth!”
Pastor George was stood on the summer house’s deck, staring straight at them.
Dan screamed and leapt up from the day-bed. In mere seconds, Dan had grabbed his clothes and fled past Pastor George, Dan’s naked body running across the garden.
Anthony had snatched the cotton sheet to cover himself.
“I think...” stammered Pastor George. “I think you had better get dressed.” Then Pastor George had turned his back while Anthony dressed.
Barely speaking, Pastor George had taken Anthony to his car, driven him back to church and once there Pastor George had hurried Anthony into his office. Once inside, Pastor George sat down, next to Anthony, on one of the two old armchairs in the room. Then Pastor George asked:
“Now, what was happening back there?”
That’s were when the answer just sprang to his lips.
“The devil made me do it.”
To Anthony’s surprise Pastor George had lent forward, his face wearing a pained and concerned expression.
“The devil tempts me in exactly the same way,” Pastor George said, to Anthony’s growing surprise. “The important thing is not to give into the devil’s temptation. It’s not easy but the rewards are great.” Pastor George then told him a long and winding story about his own “struggles” with “temptation”. Anthony quickly realised that Pastor George was queer too but Pastor George hated his queer side, unlike Anthony who couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
As he listened to Pastor George he realised how screwed-up his uncle was, but with that he could also see a way out of this mess. It was so simple. All he had to do was appeal to Pastor George’s guilt, to act as guilty of him (even if Anthony didn’t feel it) and to beg him not to tell anyone. To act the way Pastor George felt about himself.
“I’m so sorry, I just gave in to temptation,” Anthony gabbled. “Please forgive me.”
“Naturally,” Pastor George replied as he patted Anthony’s thigh in a parental manner. “The devil and his ways can be so seductive.”
“You won’t tell anyone about me or Dan? You won’t tell mum?” He asked, trying to keep the pleading tone in his voice just right.
“I won’t tell anyone about you two boys, I won’t want your whole lives stained by this one, youthful lapse. The same thing happened to me.”
“Thanks,” Anthony replied; God that had been so easy, nothing to it.
“You and I will need to meet for regular counselling sessions, at least several times a week. With my help, I’m sure we can overcome these evil temptations of the devil and you’ll be able to lead a normal life.”
“Yes, sure, I want that,” he told Pastor George, nodding sincerely.
Pastor George started to tell him about his “youthful temptation”, with someone called Charles, when he was eighteen. Anthony just wanted to zone out from this boring and self-loathing story, but he told himself to listen because in this story there was bound to be things he could use later. God, everything had turned around so quickly. Instead of disaster he was now looking at things actually being comfortable. All he had to do was say the things Pastor George wanted to hear, act all guilty and sorry and he could carry on as he wanted to. If Pastor George caught him at it, again, then all he had to do was blame the devil’s temptation. God, it would be so easy.
“Yes, I’ll do that,” he told Pastor George, in reply to his uncle’s description of his nightly prayers to be saved from his sexuality, but all he could really think about was going to find Dan and to carry on their love-making.