Steven King gets it right.
You read that right.
In his book “Needful Things” he tells a story of a town in Maine that is like any other town for it is filled with people who have bitterness, secret resentment, and envy but they hide it from each other.
Then he introduces a new charter into the story, a person that isn’t a local. This person opens a store and begins “selling people fantastic items – things they have only dreamed of owning.” Like, a pair of elvis’s glasses, a sliver of wood from Noah’s ark, an autographed baseball card, etc…
These items are purchased but not with money. They are acquired only by doing specific “tasks” the store owner wants them to do.
He calls them “pranks.”
The pranks include things like:
Throwing mud on laundry that is hanging out to dry.
Skinning someones favorite dog.
When these “pranks” take place ( because of the underground current of bitterness, resentment, and envy) people began to assume that their rivals, neighbors and even their friends have done these things to them to get even.
Soon the whole town erupts with violence and everywhere across the town people fight to defend their precious dignity. By the end of the story they are using guns and sabers, and begin to hack each other “to bits.”
And the store owner? Well, you find out that he is the Devil (of course) and is seen at the end of the story standing on a street corner with “his hat cocked and smiling”…
He’s the only one that is happy…
because if you can get people fighting each other, its easy to destroy them.
You know that fight you’re waging…
you know that one… with that person?
The Devil is on the corner with his hat cocked, watching you and he is smiling…
he loves to see people destroy themselves in a good ol “fight”.