Devil has not been pining away

By Karen Zautyk

Regular readers of this column are aware that the Jersey Devil is a personal friend whom I’ve featured here in the past. The last time, however, was more than a year ago, and I have received inquiries about his absence. Easy answer: He has been out on the campaign trail.

[No, I will not reveal his candidate of choice.]

In any case, over the weekend he paid me an overdue visit, driving up from the Pine Barrens in his Lamborghini.

“Hey!” I said. “I saw you on TV a few nights ago.”

“Oh, you caught my post-election political analysis on Fox?” he asked.

“Nope. Sorry. I am so sick of politics, as soon as the winner was declared, I promised myself I would not listen to the election news for at least two weeks. It has been blissful. [No, I will not reveal my candidate of choice. But the Devil and I are on the same page.]  I saw you in a movie, ‘The Barrens,’ on the Chiller channel.”

“Puh-leeze,” said the Devil. “Yet another horror flick in which I am the villain.”

“But it was so bad, it was kinda good,” I said. “This family from Philadelphia – although the father inexplicably has an English accent — goes camping in the Pine Barrens and is stalked by YOU. I liked it because 1) you know I detest the great outside; humans do not belong there, especially at night, and 2) unlike other Jersey Devil portrayals, whoever played your role actually looked like you: head like a goat, face like a horse, wings like a bat, body like a kangaroo, legs like a crane, front legs with paws, back legs with hooves.”

“I’ll share a secret,” the Devil said. “That WAS me. They were supposed to list me in the cast but they didn’t.”

“But … ’’ I said. “I know,” he continued, hanging his goaty head in shame. “I sold out to Hollywood. This was a few years ago and times were tough. I was losing big in Atlantic City .…”

“You had a gambling problem?” I asked, astonished.

“In a manner of speaking,” he said. “I had invested heavily in a couple of casinos.  Anyway, the movie producers led me to believe I’d become a star.”

“But you ARE a star!”

“Not everywhere,” he said. “I thought I’d be making the rounds of late-night TV. Maybe even get a gig on ‘Saturday Night Live.'”

“So, instead you went into politics.”

“I didn’t go INTO politics,” he answered. “I just became politically active for the first time in my 281-year life. And I did get that guest commentator job on Fox. Who better to talk politics than a Devil? We have incredible insight into how that world works.”

“Do you think you might run for office now yourself?” I asked.

He pondered a bit and said, “Despite my background, I really don’t know if I’m ready for the hell that is politics in New Jersey. However, I hear there is a tempting Trenton job opening up soon. And I’ve been told I’m more likable than the current office-holder. Last I heard, he has only a 20% approval rating.”

And then he asked me, “Aren’t you going to explain the photo that accompanies this column?”

Explanation:  The gentlemen in the photo are the members of a mid-’60s rock group called The Young Rascals (later, just The Rascals) who hailed from Garfield, N.J.  I saw this image in an issue of Weird N.J. magazine – and the really weird thing was, the mag did not even mention the amazing resemblance between one of the guys and a prominent Jerseyan. Look at the one on the far right. Does he not look exactly like a young [insert name yourself] … ?

The Devil gasped. And said, “Poor guy.”

We then bid each other farewell. “Back to the Barrens?” I asked.

“Yes, he said. But before I forget, let me borrow your phone. I have to cancel my ticket to ‘Hamilton.’”

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