“There’s imagined monsters invented in backyard tents, then there’s fiends walking on two feet wearing smiles, nice as can be, getting hints from the devil himself.”

We had our stories and monsters as kids, sitting mesmerized in tents with flashlights under chin trying to outdo each other with tall tales. Seems like silliness now, but times change and minds can rot like a bunch of bananas slowly turning black.

Who knows what starts it all maybe a drunken abusive father, touchy-feely uncle, neighbor or priest but values can dissolve like the top scoop of ice cream dropped from a cone onto hot summer pavement.

I see them in crowds, their eyes darting to and fro like someone real interested in a fast tennis match. Yeah, they’re out there alright, quiet plotting ogres who breathe deep sighs daydreaming about twisted fantasies, living vicariously through history’s villains, chomping at the bit to one-up them all.

They might be your next-door neighbor, your convenience store clerk or even that city or school bus driver. You can bet they’re out there sniffing the air, drooling like Pavlov’s dog. True evil sports a grin while figuring misery and death like a gourmet chef plans a six-course meal. Yes, there are jackals out there with thousand-yard stares, lurking, seeking to satiate a sick appetite; with motives that are beyond the darkest nightmare.

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