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The Plastic Man


The following is a poem sort of thing I wrote about a figure I saw over the summer who, to me, represented the devil.

This summer, I met the devil. He had tightly gelled back sugar brown hair, white skin like mine, and a shiny, toothy grin that never left his face. His entirety, hair, head, body, and all the rest was made of a hard plastic. Despite this, he didn’t seem to suffer anatomically. He had a jaw a bit pointier than mine and was a little it shorter but we looked as if we could be related. Even though he was made entirely of plastic, it was the fact that he had no eyes that gave me unease. What would normally be creamy pools with centered, colored islands were instead jet black holes that led directly to the back of his fabricated skull.

He began to approach me, at times struggling to keep his head (which was entirely too large for his body) upright. He wore a wrinkle-free three-piece that would traditionally be associated with the uptight. When he first spoke to me, it reminded me of how it used to sound when you tried to talk through your mask while trick-or-treating as a kid. The smile never moved from his face as he joked with me. He had a certain charm about him and told me that if I ever felt I needed advice, to come visit him at his office. And so I did, time and time again I visited him.

He would tell me about the money was the most important thing. How the vanity was what you should absorb yourself in. Not code, not notes, not jokes. The appearance was all that mattered to him. It was hard not to let part of me fall for it. Anyway, he was always smiling why wouldn’t he be trying to help me?

But eventually I grew skeptical. I started trying to read him for myself. I started paying closer attention. To the echoes of his voice. To the fact that I couldn’t tell his intention from his eyes or lack thereof. What did all of this mean in context? And I realized it. He was every Wall Street banker and corrupt congressman. He was part of the perpetual misery machine. He was the recruiter assigned to me, he was my own personal devil.

But if he was the devil, who was god? I was. In my own flesh and blood, I was the one with the answers. I was god. Why had I been looking for advice and answers from someone who was totally empty? Echoed his own words internally as he spoke? Why? Because of his charisma? Because he always told me what I wanted to hear? He was not trying to help me right my wrongs. In fact, he was helping me write them. I needed to look inside of myself for answers. Myself, the one who was full of life. The one who had stretchable skin and internal organs, and a conscience. I was the one I needed to rely upon, not the empty.