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Bucks County, PA, United States
In addition to her award-winning young adult fiction, Diana Muñoz Stewart runs her own company providing content for websites and blogs on health, writing, and family. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Rowan University and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast, University of Southern Maine. When she’s not writing, she can be found kayaking in her backyard or hiking with her kids and the man who’s made her heart race and palms sweat since their devoted teen years.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Devil’s Door





Cruise crazy needs to be avoided at all costs--especially with today’s kids. You know how they are, one second without entertainment and they begin to growl, foam at the mouth and attack anyone older than them. To avoid being devoured by children on a cruise, you might want to try a scavenger hunt. We did.  Basically we used lame rhyming clues to lead the entertainment junkies on a pointless chase around the ship. Actually, there was a point chocolate, located in my cabin—664.

The final clue pretty much spelled out this fact with, “You’ll find your treasure in the room across from the Devil’s door.” Rm. 666 was across the hall from mine—which would be enough to categorize it as fiendish, but it was also bad news because the Australian gentleman staying there had a nasty temper. He would swing open his door and berate any kids he saw just for being under the age of ten.

Old Aussie: “You, how old are you?”
Wandering kid: “Nine, sir?”
Old Aussie: “Did you say nine? You disgust me.”

Okay, he wasn’t that bad, but he was annoyed with the kids--can’t really blame him for that-- and in room 666. So after running all over the ship, the kids on this scavenger hunt burst into my room. I’m thinking they’ve figured out the final clue and are there for their prize. But no, the clue is too hard for them. They just want to beat me into telling them where the chocolate is.

I didn’t give up the whole answer, I have some pride, but I did give up part of it, because these kids aren’t gentle. They think tickling is drilling for oil in my armpit. It felt like someone was jabbing me with a Philips-Head screwdriver. No kidding. I have scars.

So I pointed to my neighbor’s door and gasped, “That’s room 666!” I assumed they’d then get the point that they were in the room across from the Devil’s door. Again, these are kids. They sprinted away from me and began banging on the Devil’s door. Oh shit. It was too late to stop them.

He opened the door in a huff, spotted the kids under ten, and went off. He berated them as they stood there gaping, hope for the promised chocolate slipping away. I stepped into the hall to apologize to him and explain what was going on. So as I’m explaining the whole Devil’s door thing, I realize, this guy is standing there in a bright red, silk dress shirt! No kidding. It was so perfect. The Devil’s door, bright red, silk dress shirt, and angry old Australian man (from down under as my brother, Rada, pointed out)—who sounded like he was speaking some kind of ancient curse. You can’t make this shit up!

My point in telling this story, other than you can’t make this shit up, is you always see God portrayed as this little old man, grandfather type, or kindly older gentleman. He’s mellow—“Dude, it’s all good!” because being God has chilled him out. It’s like a permanent vaca, but even when the Devil is portrayed as old, he's not OLD looking. He’s I-could-still-kick-your-ass old. So what’s the message? Being good will make you weak, but being bad keeps you young and vibrant? I mean, I guess I can see why. No one is really challenging God. He kicked out his only competitor. But the Devil? Forgetaboutit, people are always challenging him. He’s got to be strong. Just like Khal Drogo in GRRM’s Game of Thrones. Because, when you’re in charge of the worst ilk of society, the second you show weakness, or your wife does by making a bad deal with a slave woman she should’ve seen coming from a mile away, you are history pal.

So, yeah, I get it. But just once I’d like to see a hot-faced Australian man, around eighty or so, aged by life and pesky kids, in a bright red silk dress shirt play the Devil. 

Oh, wait. I did see that. And, it was AWEsome!

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