Ancient religious texts talk about Lilith, the Seductress. Her job on Earth is to sleep with as many men as possible and bear children. In men, this manifests itself in the form of wet dreams. Lilith collects the semen, impregnates herself, and bears children. Demon children.
One old myth casts Lilith and Samael as a dementedly happily married couple whose coupling is portrayed as the “Angel Satan” or the “Other God”. The myth goes on to say that God would not allow the two to procreate. He castrated Samael. Since Samael could no longer get it up, euphemistically speaking, Lilith was forced (she said) to couple with men in their dreams. Their nocturnal emissions.
Lilith would invade the marriage bed to collect semen. This is the main reason early marriage ceremonies evolved to include strict prophylactic rituals. And extreme modesty. Even with these precautions, Lilith often succeeded in gathering seed for her spawn.
You get the picture.
Some myths say that Lilith and Samael, her partner in cosmic crime, are two sides of the same coin. Androgynous. Double-faced or two-faced devil. Male and female. Yin and Yang. Yada yada and blah-blah.
Ah, Lilith…she of the many faces. Seductress, succubus, screaming bird of prey, serpent of the garden, murderer and kidnapper of infants, bearer of sickness and death, demon of the wind and night.
Her first conquest was none other than Adam, himself. When he attempted celibacy, trying to stay away from that curly quagmire, Lilith came to him. Adam, thinking God wanted him to be chaste, wound up being chased by the original hussy. Adam, being a man, was weak. The first demon was born. The rest is history.
According to the Bible: "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.”
In reality, they were merely a couple of Watchers. Like me, but different. They made the decision that more and more Watchers make with each passing day. Bored with immortality, bored with never really feeling anything, bored with no highs and no lows, bored with knowing all of this would never end; they decided to take matters into their own hands…that free will thing you humans like to philosophize about…and end it all by making (in their case) the irrevocable decision to become human; more accurately, semi-human. Sarko.
The Bible says Lilith and Samael came to rest in the desert. I say they came to rest in Dudael. I say they came to rest in West Texas and changed their names to Sam and Lilly Barden.
I cannot begin to tell you how sweet Sam and Lilly Barden look. Almost everyone in Alpine (in all of West Texas, for that matter) knows them and loves them. From three-year-olds to ninety-three-year-olds. In some measure, it is because this part of the Earth is so sparsely populated for its vast size; people here like to think of almost everyone living “West of the Pecos” as extended family. In larger measure, it is because Sam and Lilly do that Sarko thing: drawing people near. The citizens of Alpine think of Sam and Lilly as their grandpa and grandma. They actually call the Bardens that: “Grandpa and Grandma”. They look so cute scooting around town on their little matching yellow Vespas, wearing those silly looking crash helmets, groceries on the back of their silly motor scooters. The folks in Alpine actually say, “Aren’t they just the cutest things?” West Texas folks, as sane as you can find in this world, worshipping clandestine demons. A sign of the Apocalypse, no doubt.
You cannot blame the citizens of Brewster County for loving these two creatures of darkness. They look harmless. They smile. They say the nicest things. As a Watcher, I know the ultimate Achilles’ heel in humans: the flaw of failing to read other humans, and now, Sarkos, for what they really are until the damage is done. On a common level, how many marriages result in disaster due to this human weakness? How many friendships go awry? Your prisons are full of people that “fell in with the wrong crowd”. How many innocent lives are lost or destroyed by unrecognized evil? How many hearts are broken?
On a grander level, throughout history your wars are based on humans failing to fathom other humans: Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein...the list goes on and on.
One would be tempted to blame this human flaw on the Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Like most passages of the Bible, this one is often taken out of context. I will not even get into how the Bible has been mistranslated, misinterpreted, and twisted to fit the needs of those who long to wield power over others.
1 Corinthians 6:2 and 6:3 says, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?"
God fully expects all of His free will beings to judge evil in this world. Time after time, evil goes unjudged until the damage is done. What God really means: “Judge not and ye shall have ye asses kicked.”
Here is a universally dangerous irony: Sam and Lilly Barden think they are sweet. Demons do not think of themselves as demons. Which makes them all the more dangerous to you humans. They are believable, because they believe.
Azazel is drawn to Alpine,Texas, like a moth to an inferno for several reasons, Sara Baker nee Iole and the Bardens topping the list. Jamey Maxwell is a close second with a bullet, so to speak, on Azazel’s hit parade. The Virgin Maria is coming up on the outside, and still could win, place, or show.
To Azazel, finding his way to the Bardens’ junkyard feels like a pilgrimage, a once-in-a-Sarko-lifetime sacred duty. The Bardens are the unholy grail. Azazel walks through the falling down gate. They have named their West Texas Mecca “Yunque R Us”. The locals, especially the Latino locals, love it. They get the Tex-Mex joke. Sam and Lilly have endeared themselves to every possible demographic in West Texas. These two are good. Real fucking good.
Sam and Lilly are seated on an old green metal glider, their little metal throne-built-for two, like two sweet peas in a chartreuse pod. Azazel smiles at them. Sam and Lilly, self-appointed king and queen of the Sarkos, welcome Azazel with open arms, and with what passes for love at first sight, in their Sarko hearts.
The new earthly triumvirate…Sam, Lilly and Azazel…enter the Bardens’ crumbling habitat. The interior is furnished like a demon’s folk art museum…as featured in Hell’s Better Homes and Gardens. Paintings and carvings of Satan and his cohorts vie for attention with those of various patron saints. Above the doorway to one of the small interior rooms hangs a sign identifying the merchandise within: “Ropa – Nueva y Semi-Nueva.”
A relief clay sculpture hanging on the wall says, “Welcome to Hell. B.Y.O.B and stay awhile…or forever. It’s a dry heat and it never snows.” On a table next to it is a primitive woodcarving of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of the blind. She was martyred by having her eyes gouged out. If you lifted the carving and looked at the writing under the wooden base, you would see these words:
Carved by Jamey Maxwell
Dos Cruces, TX
On another beat-up wooden table stands a chalkware statue of a green demon playing with himself. On the wall behind it is a painting of Saint Catherine of Siena, the patron saint of firefighters, engulfed in red and orange flames. A high school letter jacket which says Presidio Blue Devils hangs on the opposite wall. Below it on a primitive hand-built pedestal sits a large plastic Jesus. He is wearing sunglasses.
Displayed here and there are the stuffed frog musicians, sapos mariachis, once ubiquitous in curio shops across the border. They were once living things. One is playing the saxophone; one is picking on the bass fiddle; another one wearing tiny fake Ray-Bans is singing into a small fake microphone. Together, the little frog band appears to be playing jazz-laced rock and roll: the devil’s music.
If you were objective, and if you could see the junkyard for the junk, you would see a cosmic chessboard inside and outside their haute-Hell hut. In the front yard, commingled with hundreds of hubcaps, stands a hodgepodge of large concrete statuary: La Virgen de Guadalupe; various gargoyles; San Francisco de Assisi; a satyr with a goat’s body and horned human head. Juxtapositioned junk signifying good versus evil. God versus Satan…all very forked tongue-in-cheek. Sarko irony. Azazel gets it immediately and laughs just a little too long and just a little too loud.
Finally, they wind their way through the junque décor and sit down on the multi-colored metal chairs gathered around the old red Formica and corroded chrome kitchen table. Three cold bottles of Shiner Blonde beer, condensation still dripping, sit open in front of them. Like magic. Like voodoo.
There is no small talk. Azazel gets right to the point. He has a plan. Man, what a plan! He tells the Bardens about the Virgin Maria and his plan to impregnate her. How she does not even know it yet. How their “little savior” is still just a gleam in his eye. For now, he is content to amuse himself by having her as his companion. He does not mention Sara. I wonder why.
Azazel tells them that he is taking no chances, nor prisoners, and that he already has his eye on several other West Texas ladies, not all virgins. “They’re pretty tough to find around these parts,” Azazel says in his best John Wayne voice. “Besides, a guy’s gotta have a little fun; a man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do,” he adds. Azazel has acquired the manly art of bragging, especially where sex is concerned. Sam and Lilly laugh in unison and in a frequency which could be heard only by other Sarkos. “This is just the tip of the shitberg,” Azazel adds.
Sam says, “You know Azazel, Jr., and any others, will be Nephilim. Our Old Friend ain’t gonna like that. Your little ones will be subject to termination with extreme prejudice. What about that?”
Azazel answers, “I’m not so sure they will be Nephilim. I’m here permanently now. Let’s go with the worst case scenario. If the child is…if the children are… Nephilim, we’ll set more modest goals. We’ll take it on the lam. I’m still around, right? I’m pretty sure how the Big Fellow feels about me. If can project my seed, I should be able to protect my seed. And when little Azazel comes of age, if he can’t be the ultimate savior, he can at least be King of the Sarkos, don’t you think?”
By this time Azazel is standing up, strutting and swaggering as he grabs another beer. It is very unseemly. I want to remind him that pride goeth before the fall. But that is not in my job description.
Sam smiles, lifts his cerveza and says, “¡Salud, el Rey de los Sarkos!” Azazel and Lilly join in the toast, “¡Viva el Rey!”
They bask in the glory for a few minutes, and then Lilly, ever the devil’s advocate, asks, “What if it’s a girl?”
Azazel doesn’t miss a beat. “Then we’ll say ¡Viva la Reina!”
Lilly isn’t finished yet. “And what if God banishes you to Hell?”
Azazel replies, “I’ll just say, don’t throw me into that fiery briar patch, Br’er God.”
Sam and Lilly look at each other, raise their bottles once again in a demon toast, and smile their too wide demon smiles. They think their day has come. They think that soon they can step down from their Sarko thrones and just sit back and watch. They are mistaken. As you humans say, “Be careful what you wish for.”