Jacob Lawrence, "The Party," 1935
Jacob Lawrence, The Party (1935)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

Dialog with the demon.


Imperative: with authority: "Go into the bedroom and go to sleep right now."

Surprised: "Why?"

"You're in danger. Go to sleep."

If I'm in danger, I'm not going to sleep...


"She isn't here right now."

"Yes, I understand that."

"If you hurt her, I'll hurt you."

"I don't want to hurt her. Who are you?"

"[Her most recent ex-boyfriend]. If you hurt her, I'll hurt you."

"I don't think [her most recent ex-boyfriend] has the occult ability to inhabit her body."

Sly smile. Approaches me. Lowered voice. "You know who I am."

"Do you have a name?"

"You know my name. There are thousands of us."

"Thousands of you without names?"

"You know my name. Say it! Say it!"

"Alcohol. Far as I can tell."


"She isn't here. She's asleep."

"Why do you torment a weak girl?"

"It gives me pleasure."

"How pathetic can you get."

Sly. "You've given me a great deal of pleasure."

"I'd prefer to steer that toward her, but, seemingly sometimes I fail."

Laughing "You think you're strong? You think you're smart? You can never outwit me."

"They tell me I'm smart. I don't know if it's worth much."


It insists: "What's your name?"

"You know my name."

Demands: "What's your name?"

Bored: "Mark."

"Well, 'Mark'..." Sarcastic.


"You know what I love so much about you?"

"What?"

"You're so full of hate."

"Hate? Really? I'm aware of anger. Dunno about hate."

"You're a pathetic pantywaist. You're feeble."

"I'm not the one who torments helpless girls."


Sneering: "She wants to help the people. She wants to help the homeless."

"That's one of the things I love most about her."


"Call her! Call the one you love. She's asleep. She's in there." Nods toward the bedroom. "Go look."

OK. Just blankets.


"Do you want me to smoke?" Blows smoke into the house. "You and your precious property."


"There's no hope for her. Or for you."

"I was feeling hopeless, honestly. Until you turned up. Now I know who's winning."


"She has HIV. Do you know that?"

"I know she's worried about it."

"I've put her through everything." Meaning, everything there is to go through.

"Why? What's the point?"

"I'm going to kill her. I'm going to kill you, too."

"The only way you can achieve anything is through alcohol. That's not impressive."


It grabbed me by the collar and got into my face. But its grip was weak.

Later it tried to trap me in the bedroom, but I shoved it quite feebly with two or three fingers and it fell onto the bed. Too drunk to stand up.


I showed it the phone. "If I have her arrested, you realize what that means? No alcohol for months."

I can't remember its response, except that it was feeble. Not long after that her eyes snapped to and she returned, bewildered and disoriented, asking where the sun went.