The Diabolical Chords


It was a horrible day when I discovered that my talent and passion was playing the guitar. I had always been a boy of many interests, swaying from one activity to another in spurs of ten days, fifteen sometimes. My parents did not pay much mind to this issue, but they did call it an issue. Every day I was told: “Juan, you should not waste so much time on so many things”, but I did not care, and neither did they. To them, I was just being a happy child even if the whole church told them otherwise. It was actually the school principal who compared everyone to his son, the amazing “math wiz”. One morning my inconspicuous friend was playing chess with a boy even plainer than he was. They laughed and tried all sorts of funny plays with which to amuse themselves, but it was not okay to laugh openly when the principal was nearby. So, he came up to them that hot morning and said: “don’t waste your time on such foolishness, it is not wise”. My friend, who was of a feeble spirit, stopped playing chess so adamantly, and his other friend later turned to drugs, and even though I blame the principal, he probably was just a dumb seed.

That school belonged to the church I attended in my early years. It is now closed but back then it was an unstable catalyst for kids. The principal was trialed for child labor, and they had to shut the school down. He always thought he was such an industrious man, of progress and wise decision-making. In the end, he was just a damaged child who did overcome poverty but lived poorly for the rest of his life because he thought everyone was miserable like him, except for his son, the amazing “math wiz”.

It was on that horrible, hot day that Mauricio, the math genius, introduced me to Queen. I remember it perfectly, but that was not the moment when I discovered my talent, that would come later that day, at night to be precise. He was standing tall, looking athletic and strong, and him being three years older than me always struck me as if I were looking at a defiant, muscular legend.

“Everyone says that you’re very smart, but you cannot beat me at chess anymore, what happened?”.

I wanted to shout to the whole school that it was his father who stopped the chess fever and made us as truant as Christian teenagers can be. This inanition would later get us all into so much trouble, but I only blurted out: “well, you’re just smarter than me”.

“Bullshit, you’re just lazy”, and I stood up in shock when I heard him say a curse word, “are you scared of a little bad word?”, Mauricio said as he put in a CD into the portable boombox he had taken from his parents’ room, “now bask in the unholy glory of Brian May!”.

He played Bohemian Rhapsody, obviously, but back then it was not obvious to me. It was an experience of pure ecstasy. When I heard Brian May’s guitar solo I knew that I wanted to play like him. It was a feeling that I could not shake, no matter how much I tried. As I sat back in silence, Mauricio was watching me as if he had taught me instantly how to program computers. He smiled at me, stopped the boombox, took out the CD, and handed it over to me.

“Now you know what life is all about”, he said with that histrionic tone he loved, “don’t give a shit about what my father says, or the whole church, for that matter”.

When my mother picked me up from school I asked her to play the CD in our Chevy Malibu 2001. We were fortunate enough to have a car with a CD player, and I always felt proud of my father for buying that car. My mom smiled when she heard Radio Gaga come in. She asked me where I got this Queen CD. I told her that my friend Mauricio gave it to me. She grimaced and stopped the player. She took out the CD and said:

“You give it back to him tomorrow”, and as soon as she saw me open my mouth, she added: “I’m ordering you. I don’t want to hear you complain”.

I put the CD back into its beautiful, metallic case, and looked at it the whole trip home. My mom was trying to have a conversation with me, to distract myself from Mauricio. I had heard not only my mother but many señoras complain to the pastor about Mauricio, that he was getting bad ideas into the minds of their children. The pastor was a wise man, unlike our broken principal. He would listen to the señoras, one by one, and tell them that if they kept their house in order, that if they meditated and scrutinized the Word, their children would fare well and become men and women of faith. But nobody could help these poor women, nobody could heal them from their daily household abuse. We called these sad creatures señoras. I had a girlfriend back then, and I would sometimes visit her, and although we were pretty good at keeping it secret, we noticed that her mom knew, and she started resenting her own daughter. And I also remember how her husband always said: the man is the head of the family, his voice being the reverberation of the Pastor’s shrieks. It was cruel to see this because he did not take responsibility for being an exemplary Christian man. This lascivious, short, balding man, that did not care for his wife’s feelings when saying in front of her that a girl was pretty, or that this other girl was wearing a very short skirt at church, was the reason I vowed to become a great husband. I will not marry a woman and make her a señora.

When we arrived home, I quickly picked up my Bible because I felt that I had sinned by hearing the devil’s music. I remember being so shaken that I cried for hours, until the evening, and did not eat lunch. I overheard my father say that it was not right to cry all the time, and my mother said that I was a lovely, fearful-of-god boy and that he should be proud of me. Then they started arguing about the same, daily stuff. I fell asleep feeling at peace, and I was also exhausted because of the mental struggles to give up this feeling of wanting to play the guitar like Brian May.

It was 1 a.m. when I woke up and saw him standing by my bedroom door. In fact, I still do not know if she even has a sex, or a gender, for that matter. The devil was smiling at me, fuming from his nose like a goblin just about to slit an elf’s throat, and I could not move or make a sound, let alone yell.

“DO NOT FEAR”, the devil said with a crackling voice like a forest fire, “I TOO AM A SON OF GOD”.

It came closer and I stuttered when I tried to say: “stay away from me in the name of the Lord”. It sat right next to my feet, still smiling, with a face like that of an excited friend with a new toy inviting me to play.

“I AM LUCIFER, THE MORNING STAR”, and it chuckled when it said MORNING STAR, “some heathens dare to call me Venus, the nerve! Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you, I’m not like your pastor says. In fact, he doesn’t even know me at all”, its voice was now sweet and mellow.

“Wh… what do you want?”, I muttered, still scared stiff, “I command you to leave this holy house, in the name of the Lord!”.

“Kid, I’m here because you consider me your friend now! Listen to this”, it said as it morphed his mouth into a perfect oval, showing me the inside of his toothless, fiery mouth, “shut up and listen”, it said, as if anticipating the annoying question I was going to ask, and I saw some flames that started dancing to the rhythm of a beautiful orchestral composition. I was amazed.

“How are you doing that? I’ve heard that before, it’s Mozart or something like that, right?”.

The devil grinned with its now normal-looking mouth and quickly morphed it again into a perfect cube. Its hands had long, white fingers that danced as it raised them on top of its cube head to the sound of a bass line. I was about to say something when it started playing a harmonious rock song as if telling me to shut up again and listen. Sounds of guitars, drums, trumpets, and horns filled my bedroom and lit it tenuously with little dancing symbols and tiny, flying creatures. I saw a flaming host of devils, tiny as flies, moving rhythmically to the sound of the rock song. Later I felt scared because I thought my mom would wake up, come into my room, and faint to the sight of his son having a grand time with the devil. But at that moment I was in a trance, thinking that this ill-described creature was the most talented being to ever come out of the Bible. It all stopped abruptly, and the streams of dancing devils were pulled back inside the mouth of the devil, which was slowly morphing back to its normal-looking humanoid shape.

“And that, my fellow son of God, was Fifty-fifty by Frank Zappa. His fellow Americans accused him, at that time, of being inspired by me. I wish I could take credit for it, though. Sometimes our Father does miracles among his sheep. And you can refer to me as the devil, I don’t mind. I am he that walketh around like a roaring lion, seeking whom to devour!”. And he winked at me in the middle of that moonlit night and disappeared. I fell asleep instantaneously.

I ate breakfast that morning as if had just finished a fasting session imposed by the church. Still shook, and a little pale, my mother asked me what was wrong. I said I had an important exam but told her not to worry because I had studied all afternoon and night for it, and she could not help but smile at her ‘diligent’ boy. She drove me to school, and all the while all I could think of was that song the devil interpreted, and I had to ask Mauricio about Frank Zappa, he was my only chance of finding out who that magnificent musician was. I waved goodbye to my mother and ran to the school’s entrance door, eager to find Mauricio there. I looked around but did not find him, so I had to settle with my friends that were sitting under a little structure with a thatch roof. They were talking about Guns N’ Roses, and I asked them about Zappa, and they said they did not know who he was.

“Man, all you need is Welcome to the Jungle. Quit hearing that sissy Christian music or you’ll never hook up with Karla”, a short boy said, feeling grandiose because he played the electric guitar trying too hard to be like Slash. The sort of person that goes around telling everyone that he is a Rockstar because he says ‘Fuck’ and knows the name of a couple of drugs. Also, they can play the guitar a little. “In fact, don’t go hearing Guns N’ Roses either, you couldn’t handle that rock with your pansy-ass ears”.

All the idle characters in this wicked holy middle school were laughing at me, but I did not care. I was about to tell them about my encounter with the devil when Mauricio smacked the short Rockstar boy on the back of the head.

“Man shut the fuck up”, the tall, muscular Mauricio said, “you don’t know shit about Slash, let alone rock. Fuck all these bitches, Juan, let’s go”.

As we were walking toward a tree, Mauricio told me that it was pointless to tell them about the devil, that the only thing they would say was either: “Yeah, the prince of darkness, yeaaaaah!” or “Don’t talk about him, the pastor will get mad”. They would not understand the importance of it appearing to you at night. I told him about the little light concert he threw in my room and the way he morphed his mouth and head. “It”, Mauricio said, “is a being of supreme knowledge that has now given you a chance to learn how to play the guitar. It’s true that it can play every sound imaginable, but the best it does is teach us humans how to play”. I kept wondering why he called the devil “It” and not “he”, like he had told me the night before, but Mauricio said that it did not really matter because its appearance and manners would keep changing the more I knew about “him”. I was surprised about Mauricio. Up until that day I thought he was just the principal’s son, mad at church and mad at the school, but he really knew more about the Bible than my teachers and maybe even the Pastor. I felt a strong connection with him that day, like a forging of souls, and he told me he felt the same.

The bell rang and we went to class. He was already in the third grade, and he just wanted to get out of that “ignorant hellhole”. I was only beginning middle school, but I had loved it until then and even more so when I became friends with Mauricio. Everyone thought he was the coolest guy in school, including me, but I considered him cool because he was the smartest, most acerbic student. All the girls loved him, and they all wanted to go out with him. “I wish he’d ask me to be his girlfriend”, the cutest girl in our class would say every day when she saw him jog in PE class. One day she felt more daring and said to her friends: “I wish he’d caress my face and kiss me while he grabbed me from the waist”. One of her friends told Mauricio and he said, verbatim, “I don’t give a shit about any girl in this school”. The little rat felt bad because she too was infatuated with him, so she told the whole school what Karla, her friend, had said, and this marked the beginning of Karla the whore. The little Rockstar would throw kisses at her in the middle of a reading session, or he’d say to her that he knew how to ‘rock her world’. One day he grabbed her from the waist and said: “I can caress your face if you’d like, Karla. I can caress other parts too…”. She let herself loose and went away crying. This all happened, I believe, one month after the day Mauricio told me not to tell my classmates anything about the devil. I could not believe what had happened and how no one in our class, including myself, did anything or at least say anything to the little Rockstar. Word got out quickly and Mauricio felt furious. Years later he told me that the reason he beat the crap out of the little Rockstar was that one of his cousins had been raped by a boy that started saying the same shit, in another school. So later that day, when the little Rockstar finished being scolded by the principal regarding what had happened, we all went and told him that Mauricio was going to beat him up. He laughed and said that he did not ‘give a shit’, and we were all amazed at his bravado. It lasted for about five minutes. Mauricio came sprinting at him, like a guy that chased you when you went home after a game of basketball in a public park, struck him with his gigantic, third-grade fist on the mouth, and started kicking him on the ground. The last kick was the most brutal. We all stood there, aghast, watching how the coolest guy in school blew out the little Shit’s lips. That was his new name, apt for a piece of shit like him. And Mauricio was now known as Famine, for multiple reasons that I might tell you later. The principal had no choice but to pull out his son from his own middle school, and he was enrolled in a private school, far away from ours. And just like that Karla went from being a whore, a name that lasted for around a month, to being Famine’s sexy girl, even though she had not even kissed him yet.

Mauricio and I continued communicating that year mainly through MSN Messenger. Sometimes we spoke at church, too. By then I could play the guitar amazingly, as it became my obsession. Mauricio told me he became interested in hip-hop by listening to Me Against The World, and soon that was the only genre he listened to. Illmatic was his favorite album, and he shared some of its verses with me, such as:

Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined
I think of crime when I’m in a New York state of mind.

“Brace yourself cuz youre going to see Satan tonite”, Mauricio messaged me.

“The devil is my friend, y would I brace myself?”, I replied.

“Oh, ul see”.

I was writing music that evening, and my parents told me they would go visit my grandmother, and that they knew they could trust me because I had become a man. I barely heard them. I was in a trance and sometimes the devil would stand next to me and tell me how to write lyrics. With every new song. new thoughts appeared in my mind. I wrote:

You are sick and deranged,
the only way you know how to be of age
is to go out with the youth and act cupid, stupid.

And as I finished this song, the devil disappeared, and my bedroom door burst wide open. A black shadow with a four-headed humanoid shape came inside and I said to him: “Mighty Morphin’ again, Lucifer?”. The shadow slowly floated toward me, bellowing, roaring, screaming, and talking at the same time.

“Man, what’s with the noise, clam it!”, I yelled among the dissonance.

The shadow turned his back, and a beak pecked me on the forehead, making me bleed. I covered the wound with my hands and the shadow ceased all three animal sounds and started talking:

“Up until this day you have proclaimed to be a Christian because you have not realized the true nature of God. Your faith would cease in a second if I were to take your hands in this moment. You are playing our music. Do you not know that God will spit you out of his mouth because you are lukewarm? You should be afraid of the Lord you call your Father. He can shred you to pieces if you fail to follow even the simplest of His instructions. He has been merciful, watching you play our diabolical chords with such carefreeness. The next time we will not be so kind”.

The shadow disappeared, and the bleeding on my forehead stopped, but I could not shake this pain inside my head. I was looking around the house in a blurry haze, worried that the shadow might still be somewhere inside the house. I heard some noises coming from the living room and I tiptoed through the hall. Sitting, amid a pensive calm in the air, was Lucifer. He started floating, smiling at me with an avuncular gaze. I started crying. He laughed and said: “I see you’ve met the Accuser. Welcome to religion”.




Shortly after the incident with the Accuser, I spoke with the youth Pastor and asked him many things regarding religion. With every question he grew more nervous, worrying that I would be another Mauricio questioning our fathers’ faith. He was horrified when I told him that I was friends with the devil, and he did not give me a chance to explain just how it had happened. He soon called the Pastor and they both started saying that I was in a very dangerous situation. I looked around their office with beautiful ochre walls. On the coffee table, with a glass surface supported by four lion paws, there was a bible. Next to the bible, there was a pot of coffee. They were heavy drinkers of coffee, and one would say they found a new meaning for tippling. I had just graduated from middle school and I thought I would never have to smell the coffee breath in the air. Now two pastors were cramming three years of coffee breath stench into a one-hour session of frantic bible teaching. They both lost it when I said the devil had been a great teacher, especially in music. I too could not contain myself anymore, especially in front of this youth Pastor that loved to play cupid.

“What would you know!”, I yelled, looking intently at Cupid, “all you do is laugh around and say to us that one day we’ll get married and we’ll give our money to our wife”.

And Cupid burst out laughing, glancing at the Pastor as if making sure his fake laughter would not get noticed.

“It’s true, I do talk about that”, Cupid said, “but don’t forget that is what the youth cares about. Fornication is a grave sin”.

“I thought all sins were equal”, I replied.

“What he means”, the Pastor interrupted, “is that one can be more destructive than the other, but they’re all equal in the eyes of God”.

“The reason you are here is that you’re afraid of the devil, right?”, Cupid continued.

“No, I’m here because the devil has taught me more stuff about the bible, and life, for that matter, than all of you in this house of god you so proudly claim membership of”, I was now fuming like a bloodthirsty goblin.

“You are making these preposterous claims based on stuff you have heard superfluously, without scrutinizing”, the Pastor said, calmly, “and you must have forgotten what following Christ is all about: his love. You think that you have matured by rebelling against your father’s faith, as almost all people do, and what is worse is that we, as humans, do it out of spite. Out of spite because of your father’s imperfections. You think that by claiming you are friends with the devil you are proving to be smarter than your father, smarter than your Pastor, and smarter than the whole congregation. This love we have all felt is something that you have been instructed in since you were a child. Instructed, that is the perfect word for it, don’t you think?”, I nodded just so he would finish his damned point, “but you do not love Christ anymore, because you think He has given you your musical talent as a curse. You are not rebelling against your family or your church… you are rebelling against the Son of God, the one who died for your sins so you would not have to perish for all eternity amidst flames of eternal suffering. He cleansed your body and your mind, and now you are soiling it. God is your Father. Belial, sometimes confused with the devil, can be understood as a demon that will make the Children of God turn their backs against their own celestial Father. But you have become Belial”.

At this point I was confused, feeling worse than the time my mom told me not to hear that Queen CD anymore. I started crying, and now I know that it was exactly at that moment that the Pastor changed his tone to a more melancholic one.

“I had a dream where the Children I taught since they were little were coming back as broken men and women, some missing an eye, some missing an arm. Others had their hearts so broken they were crying out loud for God to give them another chance. And I embraced them all, one by one, and told them that if they repented God would give them another chance. That they would be saved again from the brooding abyss filled by flames of darkness”, at this moment I was crying loudly, “so now you can make the decision to escape from the infernal claws of the fiend you call your friend, the devil, who will torture you for all eternity, laughing because he knows he has done his job. Do not be astray anymore, come back to your God, the shepherd of your father, and the Father of humanity”.

I burst out crying, sobbing loudly, sniffling, and calling out to god saying: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. Cupid sat next to me and grabbed me by the shoulder, and I hugged him, and he hugged me back. I thought I was the stupidest person in the world, having known god’s grace and dismissing it for a fiend, swayed by his nefarious schemes, driven down by the infernal hosts and their cruel machinations. I was confounded by the devil, but I felt I was given another chance thanks to the Accuser, who warned me before it was too late. I talked to both Pastors about my conversations with Lucifer and with the Accuser, and the Pastor told me that the Accuser is known to be a godly device for helping test the faith of the sheep.

“I have heard from your mother that you are quite adept at playing the guitar. This gift from God is not the curse you think it is. You can use it to help guide more souls to the path of the righteous. I know you think that you are young and that you doubt your ability. But imagine this: you believed in the devil being your friend and teaching you, as the great musical being that he is, and you progressed at an astonishing rate. Also, Mauricio told us that you are ready to be a part of this great project one of my friends is doing: Foundation Shakers. This is a band that will drive more and more youth to God’s way. My friend, the Pastor of Chihuahua, has told me that they are in dire need of a guitarist. Would you be interested?”.

I did not even ask why the band was named Foundation Shakers, I instantly agreed, knowing that it was the only way to feel at ease with my talent. I went back home feeling at peace, riding the bus like any other Saturday. The hot wind would enter through its windows, the foul smell of sweaty armpits savagely danced in our noses, and even the constant thumping and swaying of hips did not make me lose that smile I now had because god was back in my life.

I prayed so hard that evening and wailed so loudly that I overheard my parents in the other room saying: “I miss the silence when he wrote music”. But then I felt the love of Jesus Christ embracing me, seeing me like a messed-up canvas, gently painting over me a whole new picture of hope and compassion. I sang for hours, and I played my electric guitar with my headphones on. I called for him, and I tried so hard to see him with my own eyes as I had seen both Lucifer and the Accuser, but he did not come into my bedroom. I read the Bible, and I specifically read Job that night, two times, looking for an answer in the character that found redemption amidst his misery. Bereft of his family and riches, Job learned to worship God even in a time of hardship. I then chuckled and thought: “I’m here whining because I feel bereft of my musical exploration, even though I have my health and my family”. I started praying honestly for the first time in my life:

“Oh Father, You have watched over me ever since I was inside my mother’s womb. I now see Your grace and Your holiness. I felt stupefied by Your church, but now I am astounded by Your glory. Thank You for holding me in Your arms, protecting me from the evil that lurks around every corner. Even though I was rebelling against You, You never let go of me. And now I realize that it was in Your divine plan to have me know the world so I won’t have a longing temptation of it. Cleanse me of my sins, I beg of You”.

And I saw the Holy Spirit in front of me, a radiant light of hope that gave me the strength to surpass my rebellious self. I felt an intense need of writing music to praise the Lord, and it was in that moment that I knew I could turn my curse into a blessing.


It was the summer I turned 18 that I got to play in Europe with the band. Three years of hard work had flown by. Mauricio and I kept the band in tip-top shape. They started calling us “perfectionists”, mocking us behind our backs. We gathered the band and said to them: “If you give anything but your best to God he will spit you out for being lukewarm”. And I would remind them about my encounter with the Accuser so they would get their act together. Three years… it all happened so quickly. Sometimes I forget that in that lapse I was profoundly afraid of Mauricio. I heard from other people that he had become a religious zealot, but in reality, it was more like a situation in which a junkie uses Christianity as therapy. Mauricio knew everything about the Judeo-Christian faith, and he was the best guitarist I had ever heard live. People used to ask him two questions back then: “Why are you playing rock progressions and jazz improvisations if that is known as diabolical music?”, to which he would answer that it was his right to use whatever kind of music to praise the Lord since He had created sound. “How did you learn to play the guitar like that?”, to which he would answer that his mathematical genius translated directly into music. He knew it was a blatant lie, but it shut everyone up and stopped further curiosity.

In those three years, up until the night before us leaving for Europe, neither the devil nor the Accuser presented themselves to me at night. The Holy Spirit was with me every single moment. Mauricio and I spoke about this constantly, saying that those demonic revelations were nothing more than immature manifestations of rebellion, but there was something in his statements that made me think he would recant them soon. Whenever he prayed, he started like this:

“Heavenly father, you hear us claim for your salvation as if salvation were not here already. Yet you are patient, and you have shown us that you can smite, and that you can forgive. I pray that we do not fall unto temptation… that we do not stray. Have mercy upon my soul, my sinning soul, because even though I can renounce my Heavenly Gift to pursue the passions of the flesh, you never grow weary of me”.

These words always made me wonder whether he was pursuing the passions of the flesh all the while asking for forgiveness, every day. I did not mind much, and I certainly did not want to pry, but I knew there was something in his life that he was concealing. Since I thought we were friends, I asked him about it that night before leaving for Europe, and he said that upon seeing and hearing many worldly things, he became fatigued by constantly running away from God.

We were in Ciudad de Mexico, in a hotel near the airport, laughing and playing fun songs. Mauricio felt like he could give the band a break, and we all certainly enjoyed it. We played Have You Ever Seen The Rain so cheerfully that the Pastor from Chihuahua knocked on our door. He said that we should not be playing any worldly song, even if the song were harmless. Mauricio said: “It’s okay, we just wanted to chill for a little bit. This song reminds us of our fathers”. He then left and Mauricio told the rest of the band to go to their rooms.

It was around 1 a.m. when I panicked because I noticed that the Holy Spirit was not there with me. I asked Mauricio: “have you fallen asleep yet?”. And he said that he had something to confess, but that he would wait for Belial to come. I was petrified. I could not say a single word and Mauricio told me not to worry, that the demons were also our brothers as Children of God. Three years had happened since that encounter with the Accuser, and I did not want to panic and cry again, not in front of Mauricio. Meanwhile, he told me that it was hard being a Christian and be unencumbered by cognitive dissonance. It makes you prone to harsh reactions, he said solemnly. “Do you remember when you introduced me to Queen?”, I asked, and I noticed he nodded in the dark, “I never thanked you for that. My mom told me to stay away from you”. He chuckled.

“Belial is here because we both want him here. Deep inside you miss him, even though you haven’t met him”, Mauricio said.

And Belial appeared, like a fiery compound of twigs and fallen leaves. This demon was sobbing, cursing, and lamenting himself.

“I am here today, Belial, because I need your help for the last song I will play as a member of this group”, Mauricio said, “and maybe, if he wills it, Juan will help me too”.

“Why are you doubting Juan?”, Belial said with a crackling voice, sobbing, “you know he is one of us, the Belial”. I stared at the burning twigs and fallen leaves, and they kept staring back at me. I was terrified.

“He knows it, but he has chosen his side of the dissonance. I can peer into his heart and know that he has chosen God. Belial, give me the strength needed to part from the band with graceful character. I chose you because you were the first reject. We are rejects, sons of Belial. Lead us with your diabolical chords”.

I started to panic when Mauricio said that we were rejects, sons of Belial. Was he referring to me, or Belial himself? I imagined the three of us burning for all eternity, in flames of darkness where the screams of pain suffused your own, and the maggots ate your eyeballs, for all eternity. But the eyes of Belial kept staring at me, and I could feel the heat of its gaze inside my soul, like a kindling of a rebellious moment, evaporating the fear of hell in my heart. I felt a sudden urge to help Mauricio in his endeavor. That night our souls were reforged together, and the two of us were branded by the mark of the sons of Belial.

“You are my sons”, Belial said, still crying, “you know that you do not belong anywhere. I will grant you the inspiration you seek, and you will bask in the glory of the host of hell. The pain that is seething inside your entrails is the cost of seeking the truth. If you embrace it, you will conquer the minds of those that are still lost. Go on and preach to every creature the pain of not belonging”.

I heard the roaring, bellowing, screeching, and yelling of the Accuser, and Belial vanished, leaving Mauricio and me in the darkness. I fell into a deep sleep, and I figure Mauricio did too, but I never got to ask him. I dreamed of our past. I saw the little Shit crying in a corner, being scourged by his drunk father. I saw Karla the whore, crying while her father told her that she needed to go, yet another night, with an unknown man so that she and her family could eat for another day. I smiled when Mauricio ran away with Karla, with the beautiful Karla, and they danced all night in an abandoned house. I saw him as Famine, devouring Karla all the way to her soul, and understood why they called him Famine. And in all of these visions, the Accuser was there, along with Lucifer, and Belial. Then I saw myself in the middle of them all, and a ray shined upon us like a strobe light, and we saw god. We all kneeled, including the demons. And we all held hands and said to ourselves: “this too shall pass”.

The next day was tiresome. After flying for thirteen hours all I wanted was to leave the band and write my own music. Mauricio told me he felt the same, and that he had this song by Belial stuck in his mind, begging to get out. The pain inside my heart kept seething, and it took me a while to figure it was the song Mauricio was talking about. When we arrived in Madrid we did not have any time for sightseeing, as the concert was to start early in the morning. The concert, in reality, was a youth revival. This meant that many bands would worship and lead all the young attendants into worshipping. The Pastor from Chihuahua gathered the band that night in Madrid, and told us a short anecdote about himself:

“Band, I want you to know that we all choose a side whenever we encounter the love of God. Many people get to know God when they worship Him in spirit, and in truth. Tomorrow we will start with the Bible passage about the earth shaking thanks to Paul and Silas singing and worshipping. People need to know what our name means. Finally, and I will be succinct because I know we are all exhausted from the flight, I want you to know that some people grow up in church and get accustomed to it, and rebel. I grew up obsessed with obtaining political power, until I behaved in an ignominious way, many years ago. I was hopelessly lost. Then one day a friend of mine preached the Gospel to me on the phone, and I remember falling on my knees, crying with sorrow, knowing that God could cleanse me. That is the sentiment that we should always transmit with our songs: God loves you and wants to help you. Thank you all for your service and your devotion, God will bless your lives, and Jesus will build homes for you in Heaven. Good night”.

“Pastor”, Mauricio said, “before you leave, I want you to know that Juan and I will play a duet with our guitars only. The song is something that we have both felt for a long time, and it deals with what it means to be a Christian. It’s going to be a beautiful experience of sincere revelation”.

The pastor stared at him suspiciously, looked at his Apple Watch, and agreed.





It was a hot morning in Madrid, and it was even hotter inside the auditorium. The people were ecstatic, eager to spend a whole day looking for salvation. Hours passed and we finally got to play. To my amazement, everyone clapped and cheered for us. We were the most popular Christian band in the Hispanic world, but I did not think it was real until that moment. We played our planned repertoire, and I could see the people transporting themselves to another realm where they were probably seeing God. Their faces reflected a peace they since long needed. And I looked at the Pastor, who was standing right next to the set with his eyes closed, and he was worshipping with his arms and hands pointing to the sky.

Then I heard Mauricio say that we were going to play a special song, a duet where two people converse with their guitars sincerely, talking about what it means to be a real Christian. The audience went nuts, and I wondered if this was how Brian May felt when they played at their peak. Mauricio started playing a jazz improvisation, and he looked at me as if I had to reply with my guitar, and I started playing a bolero part, communicating back and forth, for ten seconds each. After a minute of only playing, Mauricio started singing:

“Oh Father, oh Father, we come before you today
to see the glorious array,
of pure and free thoughts
who did get us caught
right there were we laid”.

And I started singing too:

“Oh Prince, oh Prince,
you held our hands when we suffered,
sustained by your freedom,
and the fire that you offered”.

“Curse that holy kingdom,
it made us lose our sanity,
yet you showed us mercy,
oh Father Belial, yours is the wisdom”.

And as soon as Mauricio sang that verse, the Accuser appeared floating above the audience, causing a quadraphonic turmoil of beasts. The people started screaming and crying, and I saw Mauricio smiling, still playing his guitar, with Belial right behind him, glancing at me. I wanted to stop playing too, but I knew Lucifer was behind me, and I was certain this time people could see him with me. The Pastor started yelling at us, and I could see his face of terror as if betrayed by his own host of the heavens. I stared at the Accuser and started crying. I knew in that moment that God would not forgive me for causing people to go astray.

Our sound got cut off, and the lights went out for ten seconds. The Pastor was speaking, trying to mend the situation by saying it was the conversation of two people asking for forgiveness, and that these demons wanted to mar the holy presence. Meanwhile, some guards dragged Mauricio and me off the stage. The rest of the band was told to play while the Pastor kept speaking. I was sobbing uncontrollably, knowing that Hell could be in my future if I did not repent. So, I fell to my knees and asked for forgiveness right there. After I opened my eyes, I felt Mauricio shaking me by the shoulders, and saw the terror on his face. He stood up, walked backwards away from me, looking over my head. He had the same face the Pastor of Chihuahua had earlier, that of betrayal. But he smiled at me, opened the emergency door. He became a dark silhouette waving goodbye, with the sunset behind him. I never saw him again.





Now, ten years later, we are seeing Juan teaching children and teenagers how to play the guitar. He looks happy, but deep inside I know we all still live in his heart. I, Lucifer, still morph from now and then and he gladly receives me at night to talk, to discuss the Bible, and to remember the past. Just last night he received a letter from Mauricio. A letter from his best friend, ten years later… imagine his heart!

Dear Juan,

I’m writing to you from La Plata, Argentina. I’m sorry I did not say anything, but you must know I had to leave immediately. After we finished that song, I saw your face of horror and knew right there that you had chosen your side. I’m not your adversary — your Ha-Satan, remember? I lived in Paris for a few months and then left for Chile. I have traveled all around Latin America.

I will do my best to provide freedom to Christians here, in La Plata, and in all of Latin America. With my idea of freedom. I will always reproach the way people impose their ideals on children, but that’s just the way it is for everyone. We got Christianity, others got Buddhism.

I love you, and I will always keep you in my heart, and our souls will always stay joint, although in constant conflict. You must know that I am well and that I release music in anonymity so that people will experience that spark we both felt one day, that day when we discovered our musical vessel and set the course toward intellectual freedom.

I know in my heart that you still write music. Do not be afraid of your talent. Like our Pastor used to say: ‘it does not have to be a curse’.

Lastly, the reason I cannot be a Christian is that I find it impossible. A rhyme from Method Man comes to mind:

“Brothers want to hang with the Meth,
bring the rope,
the only way to hang is by the neck”.

I always think people don’t realize this when they think Christians of themselves. I hope you fare better.

Your friend,

One of the Sons of Belial.

P.S. Karla says hello. We have been living together ever since I ran away.


Today, Juan sheds a tear and smiles. He starts playing Bohemian Rhapsody, without telling his students the name of the song. He has been praying every day for Mauricio’s salvation, regretting the day he misguided the youth in Madrid. But today he is playing, looking to sow the spark Mauricio once shared with him into the minds of his students, and he is regretting that moment he vowed not to compose music again… a promise he made to God for fear of failing him again. And yet, he smiles!



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