The Devil Made Them Do it

(Excerpt from the Viglante's Wraith, mystery novel by the Blog's Author.

Detectives Lindstrom and Cruz were driving back to the police station to file their report, with Cruz at the wheel. “By the way, Ted,” Cruz asked, “That preacher you heard on the radio, was he the TV evangelist who was later arrested for embezzling his ministry’s funds? Over 2 million, if I recall.”

“No, that was another evangelist. This guy was the one who got convicted last month on six counts of pedophilia.”

Cruz smirked. “Old Satan, he certainly knows what he is doing. I mean, what better way for him to wreak evil than by possessing a trusted man of God?"

"Yeah, the perfect cover. No wonder the Bible calls him the Angel of Light. But, Hey! Let's not wish him back in chains anytime soon. Without him running amuck us cops would be out of a gig.”

"And defense lawyers, too. Bring a young thug to trial for murder and his lawyer will argue that it was the Devil who made him do it." Cruz said, and teasingly waited a moment before responding to the you've-got-to-be-kidding look in Lindstrom's face. "Not in those terms, of course. What the lawyer will do is portray the devil as a mental disorder, a chemical imbalance, an unhappy childhood, an abusive parent, or some such adversity beyond his client’s control and, as it happens in 85 percent of all criminal cases, the thug will walk to kill again."

“Which fuels the demand for trial lawyers and shrinks and social scientists of every stripe,” added Lindstrom. “Every thug that walks is good for five or more murder cases, a major industry in America."

"The Devil run amuck," Cruz said pithily.

"And don't forget us cops. We benefit, too. As I said, we'd all be out of a gig if the Evil One were back in chains. Whoever or whatever he is, an outside force or the dark side of human nature, he’s our bread and butter, our job security."

As they drove though the seamy side of Dawson, a trailer park community familiar to them for its frequent drug busts and prostitution arrests, Lindstrom turned to Cruz. "I was only joking about the upside of Satan on the loose, of course. Now that I’m going to be a father I want a safer world for my child"

"Same here," nodded Cruz. "As parent of two innocent little girls, I don’t relish the thought Satan running amuck. I may not have the power to put him in chains, but I can certainly make life difficult for the thugs and scumbags who do his bidding, even if I have to bend the rules a little."

"Yeah, us cops have been known to do that, bend the rules, when the rules don't work. In fact, we, I mean, they, do it all the time, if they can get away with it,” Lindstrom said, lowering his voice, as if there was someone in the backseat listening in. Then grinning wryly. “But forget I said it.”

“You never said it, and I never heard you say it,” chortled Cruz.

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