The Devil loved watching children pour down the front steps of the high school like lava from a volcano. Trolling for souls. He posed in one of his favorite guises today, a school bus driver.
Upon climbing the tall steps of the yellow bus, one of the boys eyed him with suspicion. “Where’s Mr. Al?” the kid demanded.
“Your driver’s taken ill after eating a carton of bad egg foo yung,” said the Devil. “I’m the substitute. Move along and take a seat, Morsel.”
“The name’s Pablo,” the kid said, adjusting his backpack on his shoulder.
“I’ll remember that.” The Devil grinned.
At the sight of his pointy, rotten teeth, Pablo decided to sit as far back as possible.
The Devil released the parking brake and set his still, black heart on Pablo. As the bus rolled forward, he reached his mind forward along the possibilities of Pablo’s life. Like all lives, his path resembled a tree. And oh, what an unexpected branching off awaited young Pablo today.
Tragedy, they’d call it. Not the Devil’s own work, no, he would merely be there to witness the unfolding of God’s plan. And maybe scoop up a tasty soul or two in the process.
As his pleasure rose, the Devil absentmindedly leaned more heavily on the gas pedal and increased his speed. With a squeal of brakes he stopped inches from a crossing guard, who now trembled as she lifted a handheld Stop sign.
One of the group of preschoolers waddling over the crosswalk in front of the yellow bus caught the Devil’s attention. Tubby little tyke, aren’t you? Mmm, plump calves. He kept his teeth clenched as he smiled, lest his forked tongue lick his lips. Hullo, little pork sausage, thought the Devil. What might be your name? He reached out his mind. Armando, Pablo’s little brother. See you later, appeteaser.