James Davis

Sunday Service

James Davis Poem

Spiritual Warfare

–for the Nintendo Entertainment System, by Wisdom Tree, Inc., 1991, unlicensed

Your enemies are not killed; they are converted.
Occasionally, a convert will leave behind Spirit Points,
which you can use to purchase things like fruits.

Each fruit has its own unique method of attack.
Pears, though weak, come in handy in the Slums,
since they can destroy large weeds and junk piles.

Vials of the Wrath of God: these are basically bombs,
purchased in groups of three or seven. Samson’s Jawbone
acts as a boomerang. You’ll need this to get the Raft.

To begin, enter the red door and receive an apple
from the Christian Helper. The basketball player
you come across in the Park is of no consequence.

Do not go into the Bar in the Shipyard; you will lose
the Belt of Truth and have to go to the Pawn Shop
in the Slums to retrieve it. Using the Raft, cross the lake

and search out the Grey-Haired Man in the Airport.
He is slow and weak; it takes only three Vials
to convert him. He will drop the Helmet of Salvation,

which renders you invulnerable to dynamite.
The Church is to the east. Here you can buy grapes
for 75 Spirit Points. Grapes travel through solid objects.

Once you have beaten the Man in Black Robes
and obtained the banana, pass through the Woods
and enter the Prison, under which lies the Demon Stronghold.

The demons are vulnerable only to the banana.
You will now be in a blue room (aren’t you glad
you brought that key?) with the Demon Master.

He can be defeated with persistence. You will know
you have damaged him when his color flashes from red
to a lighter red—an almost imperceptible change.

James Davis was Mr. December in American Short Fiction’s Pinup Series. His interview with Idra Novey will be up on the Subtropics website any second now. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Florida.