A History of the Devil 

A History of the Devil is a longer monologue spoken by a young woman, Maria.  She tells us she doesn’t believe in God but she does believe in the Devil.  She is waiting for a doctor to call her about her headaches and wonders why he hasn’t called.  She says she hears voices in her head that may be the Devil.  She knows her boyfriend, the conductor of the orchestra she plays in, is cheating on her.  She once called a phone number she had found in his wallet and a woman with a very sexy voice answered and in the background she could hear a piano playing one of the MephistoWaltzes that scared her as a child because, after her father left and she got sick, she and her mother had to move into her grandfather’s big old spooky house and someone always played that waltz late at night in an upstairs room she wasn’t allowed to enter.  Once she had heard the woman’s voice on the telephone, she had to find out what she looked like.  Maria talks about the irrationality of loving someone, saying that we know romantic love is neurotic, psychotic, and doomed, but we pretend we don’t know because love make us stupid.  Looking through her boyfriend’s address book, she finds the letter M and an address and decides to drive over there to look at the woman.  She says the house had an uncanny resemblance to her grandfather’s house, and she sat in the car with rain pouring down, enduring a terrible headache, until finally a little red car that expensive prostitutes drive pulled in front of the house and a beautiful woman got out and ran inside.  Maria drove off but says she can’t stop thinking about the woman who looks like her.  She follows the woman to a movie, then to a carnival house of mirrors.  She describes her nightmares about being trapped inside the mechanism of a clock and of having intercourse with the Devil.  Her keys disappear and she thinks the Devil has taken them only to find that a little black dog had dug them up.  She thinks the Mona Lisa is looking to her left because she has just seen the Devil in the mirror over her left shoulder.  She tells us that after her grandfather died she looked into the room she had not been allowed to enter and saw a big old clock and a painting of a horrible woman feeding a man with a spoon.  She describes two more nightmares—one about being trapped in an elevator and the other about being unable to change a horrifying television program—and says that she started hiding in the bushes outside the house where the woman plays the Mephisto Waltzes.  One night she saw the woman naked in front of a mirror and realized that she and the woman resembled each other more and more.  She sees the woman’s name, Maria, on her mailbox, and, after the woman turns out the lights, she climbs in the window and goes up to the bedroom and looks down on the woman.  She hears a voice urging her to kill the woman and thinks it is the Devil whispering in her head.  The woman wakes up and smiles at her like the Mona Lisa and she presses the pillow on her face until she stops struggling.  Maria says she doesn’t remember driving home and thinks it must have been a dream.  She thinks the Devil is coming into her house at night and moving the furniture.  Her dreams, she tells us, are getting more and more chaotic and she thinks the horrible woman in the painting is feeding the man rat poison.  She says her boyfriend is coming for dinner and perhaps she will put rat poison in his soup.  When she looks in the mirror she sees the woman looking back at her with an expression of infinite pity, but she seems to be looking past her.  Over her left shoulder she catches a glimpse of something grinning at her:  the Devil who is always there.

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