The Bad Thought

Yeah, do you come up with your own thoughts?

I think so.

Do you? Cause I had a thought the other day that wasn’t mine.

What was it?

F@#k God.

Oh my.


That’s — that’s awful.

Yeah. But it wasn’t mine.

It wasn’t your thought?

No. I didn’t think it.

Who did?

What do you mean?

I mean who thought it? You said it wasn’t you, so who thought the thought?

Probably the devil, right? I mean, that’s the kind of thought he’d make you think, right?

I couldn’t answer, my stomach dropped out from under me. The turbulence was wild. The captain had been on the overhead several times, urging us not to get out of our seats.  Someone said there was broken glass back by the lavatories.

I’ll tell ya, he continued, elbows spilling over into my space, resting as they were on his substantial belly. I been reading Hinduism lately. They got a lot of gods in Hinduism, you know? Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, he’s the blue elephant one. Krishna is the blue handsome one, not the elephant one. A lot of them are blue, I think. I wonder why.

Some of them have lots of arms, too, I said, waggling mine.

Yeah yeah, he said laughing, putting his fist out for the fist bump. We fist bumped. You Hindu?


Anyway, I been like, attracted to Hinduism lately. Reading the Idiot’s Guide for it and stuff. It’s been pulling me.


Tell ya what I mean, I was fishing the other day, called up some Hindu holy music on my phone —

Called up? I said, extending my thumb and pinky, putting both to my ear.

No no no, punched up, on YouTube. Just Hindu YouTubin.

Gotcha. And?

Made my heart flutter, he said, hand over his chest.

Really. Your heart fluttered?

Darndest thing, felt a calling in my heart. Never felt that before. Church never done that, Christian radio neither. Anyhow, I felt guilty. Cause I’m a Christian, see?

Oh, dear.

So I finished reading Hinduism one night and thought I ought to read the Good Book, let God know I hadn’t turned, and all. You know they say there’s 330 million gods in Hindu? In Hinduism?

No way,

Yes way, my man. And I thought I should let the God know, you know, Big Boss Man, let him know I’m still here. I was about to reach for the Bible on my nightstand. That’s when the bad thought came.

Well, who put the good thought in there? Can we call it the good thought? The one to read the Bible?

I did.

You put it in there?

That was me, yes sir.

How do you know?

How do I know what?

Well you’re saying one thought was yours, the good one, and one was put in, the bad one. Put in by — I paused. I didn’t want to say it.



Well, I do know when I think a thought. I mean I can think a thought. I do have my own thoughts.

No I understand, I’m just saying, how do you know the difference?

Well, my own thoughts don’t sneak up on me.

The bad thought snuck up on you?

Oh yeah. Like, wammo. Like lightning.

That’s why you think the thought was placed in your head by —

— by the devil, yes sir.

I see.

You don’t believe me?

I neither believe you, nor disbelieve you. I do not not believe you, because you seem very sincere —

I am. I am most sincere.

— but at the same time, I have a hard time believing you, if that makes sense.

It does. And that’s fair. You want a sandwich? he asked, pulling his backpack from under the seat in front of him.

I’m sorry?

My mom made me some sandwiches. I got a turkey, I got a ham. I also got candy. You hungry?

I’m good, thank you.

It’s not poisonous, he said, unzipping zippers. It made it through security.

I was kind of wondering about that, because usually, you know, usually you can’t bring food onto a plane unless you buy it at the airport.

It’s packed in here pretty good. Sure smells good. You hungry?

No, but it’s funny, I had a professor in college, in philosophy, who mentioned something kind of like what you’re talking about. He said thoughts are like the weather. They just arise when the conditions are right.

No way, he said, biting into what appeared to be two pieces of white Wonder Bread smushed together.

Yeah. He said that. No really, he totally said that.

I’m not saying I don’t believe you, it’s just —

It’s something to think about it, huh?


Because really, if you say the devil put the, uh —

— bad thought?

— what we’re calling the bad thought in your head, then you have to consider, maybe, and I’m just saying, you know, you have to consider that maybe the ‘finger quotes’ good thought was put there by —

God, yeah, I see.

Exactly. Or…

… or?

Well, maybe you thought them both.

No, I said I didn’t think the bad one.

Okay, well… something to think about then. Maybe you didn’t think either one.

You saying some are put there by the evil one, some by God?

Well, I don’t know. I’ve actually never thought about this. I kind of always assumed all my thoughts were, you know …


Yeah. That seems like a reasonable thing to think, don’t you think?

Not the bad ones. Not the wammo fast ones.

You know what they say about Hindu gods, the Christians?


Well, they say they’re demons.

I’m a Christian, I don’t say that.

Some do, I should say. I mean let’s be fair. Some say that. Not all.

Huh. Yeah. You getting off in Seattle?

No. No I’m here for the duration. On to Alaska.

Will you wake me up when we get to Seattle? I’m gonna take a nap and I don’t want to miss it.

I will. I will wake you up in Seattle.

He put his ear buds in, plugged them into his phone, laid back.

Sure you don’t want a sandwich?

I’m sure. Thank you.

He closed his eyes and sighed.

Seattle, he reminded me.

Will do.

He sighed again. I sighed. When the drink cart came by they were giving away those little liquor bottles for free because of the turbulence. I held out my hands, said fill ’em up.

19 thoughts on “The Bad Thought

  1. That’s quite the existential conversation to have – kind of a relief he’s not going all the way to Alaska though :). I find the thought funny that some people will assume all the good thoughts are theirs, all the bad thoughts down to the Devil. Sadly, I think humans prove day in day out how capable they are of thinking bad thoughts and committing bad deeds with no supernatural help at all.
    Nicely written Walt

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you’re probably right about that, Lynn. It’s interesting though to think about thought, so to speak. For me it started with reading the Power of Now, and stopping to ask myself, as the author suggests, “what will my next thought be,” then waiting to see how long it is before one pops up. Makes you wonder where they come from. And helps you appreciate the quiet space in between them.

      Liked by 3 people

      • That’s a really interesting idea. I’ll have to try that! On the occasions I’ve tried meditation, it’s been a struggle to stop the thoughts – pointless, banal thoughts – pinging round my head. It would be interesting to see how long the gap is between them 🙂


        • Yes, that’s a question that can be asked anytime, outside of what’s traditionally considered “meditation.” I like to do it when I’m walking the dogs. Otherwise I’ll just get carried away with a stream of mental chatter — it’s rarely productive and sometimes even stressful! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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