The Night the Devil Came Down to Georgia

I have to thank Robin Graham for her picture of The Porch at the Number 560. I used it for a prompt. This is the story that came. 

The devil shows up at my house last night. Then all hell breaks loose. He knocks on the door. Our door at 560 Wayside Lane. My wife answers. She lets him in. I can’t believe that she invites the dude in. She’s like that. Just invite anybody in. While I’m still at work too.

She sits him down at the kitchen table and gives him a cup of coffee. He’s the devil for Christ’s sake.

They have this discussion. “How much do you want for your soul?” he asks.

She can take a joke. “How much you offering?”

So off they go. Back and forth, back and forth. Till finally she says to him, “I want you to get rid of my husband.”

Geez. I am a nice guy. Why does she want to do that? I thought she loved me.

He laughs that big laugh of his when he knows he’s got himself a deal. “I’ll get rid of him but you have to help.”

“No, sirree,” she says. “No can do.”

So off the two go again. The devil knows he’s got his deal. He just has to wear her down.

“C’mon, Baby, let’s have some fun.” He hasn’t called her Baby before. She kinda likes it. He is a looker after all.

“I would kinda like to be there,” she says.

“Well, you can,” he says.

“Won’t I get caught?” she says, worried a little. She’s never done this kind of work before. Getting rid of a husband, that is.

He reaches over to her hand and assures her. “Of course, you won’t.” Yeah, right. He’s the devil for God’s sake. You can’t trust that guy. “I just can’t do the job alone. How long do you think it will be before he gets here?” the devil asks.

“Oh, a while,” she says. “He gets caught in that Atlanta traffic. You know how it is. Want some more coffee?”

Devil shakes his head yes and watches her walk out into the kitchen, admiring her as he does.

She returns and sits the coffee down in front of him. “Would you like something to eat?”

“I am kind of hunger. What did you have in mind?” He takes a sip of that coffee. “That’s good. Can’t remember when I’ve had a better cup.”

“What would you like?” she asks. “To eat that is. I do make a mean scrambled eggs.”

“Eggs sound fine.”

“Coming right up,” she says and heads off into the kitchen.

He follows her and grabs her hand before she opens the refrigerator. Spins her around and kisses her hard on the lips.

She pushes him away. “Not now. Not until you’ve earned it.”

He steps away from her and drops her hand. “Yeah. You’re right. It’s just that you’re so hard to resist.”

“Now, now, Luke,” she says. “I can call you Luke, can’t I? You know. Short for Lucifer.”

He smiles. “Of course, you can.”

“Well, a deal is a deal. You get rid of my husband and I am yours.”

While my wife is fixing his eggs, Luke heads out to the car and brings back in a small, folded box. He starts opening it up.

She walks out of the kitchen and sees the Box. “We’re not going to do it in here, are we?”

Luke shakes his head. “Of course, we are.”

“No, no, no. Not in my house.” She is insistent.

The devil realizes he has no choice. “Where then?”

“How ’bout the garage?”

“The garage will do fine.” She smiles and heads back into the kitchen.

Luke folds the Box back into a small cube, then carries it into the garage. Unfolding the Box, he opens it out into the empty garage. He takes a look at his work. It’s way too lopsided but what can he do. The Box vendor has sold him another shoddy item. He shakes his head, thinking how hard it is to get good craftsmanship any more. He paid retail for this one too. “Man, I have to get a new job. This soul trading business just ain’t what it used to be.”

He walks back into the house through the side door. Gets to the dining table and takes his place. Being a hungry devil, he is ready for his eggs. She brings out the food. The eggs and bacon and toast and her potatoes. The special ones. The ones with chocolate sauce.
Luke gobbles down the food and cleans his plate. He looks up at my wife.

“Man, I sure do love this southern hospitality.”

“It’s what makes us southern.” She picks up his dishes and walks them back into the kitchen, then returns to the dining room.

About this time, there’s the sound of a car driving up into the driveway. It’s me, coming in from work.

I head for the door all unsuspecting-like. I even whistle a tune. I’m glad to be home. They say a man’s home is his castle. It’s great to be back to my castle. Little do I know what is waiting on me.

Inside I see a man slouched over and falling to the floor. I hurry to Gabby. “What happened?” Then I see the smile on her face. “What did you do?”

She says, “What can I say. He liked my eggs. It’s not my fault he is allergic to chocolate.”

I look at the body again and recognize who it is. “I thought you weren’t going to do this kind of thing again.”

She kisses me, then she says, “It was so easy. I couldn’t resist.”

“Let’s see. This is three. First, Beelzebub, then Abaddon and now Lucifer. You really have to quit this.”

I shake my head and stoop down to see if he’s still breathing. He is.

She looks over at me with that you-just-don’t-get-it look. “He wanted my soul.”

“I know. They all want your soul.”

“And he wanted yours too.”

That was a new turn of events. “What did he want with my soul,” I asked.

“Maybe he figured two for the price of one.”

“Figures.” I stand up, shaking my head.

“He put the Box in the garage.”

I lift him up and throw him over my shoulder. He’s not so heavy. When I get to the garage, I open up the door on the Box and set him down, then I close the Door and lock it. It’s a glass Box. I can see inside. He isn’t going anywhere so I head back to the kitchen. Gabby is waiting. She hugs me and asks, “You still love me, don’t you?”

We kiss like the lovers we are. Then I give her the a-okay. “Of course, I love you.”

She sighs her relief.

“But you have to quit this,” I say, releasing her from my arms. “This has got to be the last one. Otherwise you are going to have to see someone.”

After dinner, and it was a fine dinner too, Gabby and I head on out to the garage. There he is in the Box, slamming himself against its wall.

“Luke, you’re not going to get anywhere that way.” Then I laugh.

He stops and yells at me, “Let me out. You can’t do this to me.”

“Oh, I’m afraid we can,” Gabby says. “You were about to do this to us.”

“That was business,” he says. “I was just doing my job. This is personal.”

“That’s what Hitler said,” I say. “You ought to know better.”

“You  can’t do this, Michael,” Luke says. He turns to Gabby. “You know you have a real problem.”

Gabby doesn’t take it personal. She knows she’s on top of things. “Then I’ll just have to see someone. In the meantime–” She goes over and pushes the button. A humming sounds starts.

“No, no,” Luke screams. He falls to the floor of the Box. He’s in agony.

“Say bye bye Miss American pie to that soul of yours.” She walks over to me. Arm in arm we watch as his body shrivels up and then goes still. A few minutes and the Box finishes its job. All that is left are some ashes.

Gabby goes over to a shelf and takes a metal urn. Then she scoops Luke’s ashes into it. She tops the urn and takes it over and places it on top of a shelf beside two others. On the way inside, she hums “Another one bites the dust”.

I dismantle the box and shrink it to a small cube, then I drop it into the garbage can and go inside. Gabby has a cup of coffee waiting for me. I take the coffee, then I sit down at the table.

She joins me with that smugness on her face she always has when she’s done something well. She looks at me and says, “You have to admit, Michael. This sure beats all that sword and shield stuff you used to do. You never really got anywhere with that, did you?”

She’s right. I never got anywhere that way. Gabriella was always the smartest one in Archangel School. Now she is proving it at Number 560 Wayside Lane.

Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick: It’s a Man’s World

It’s Thursday again. You know what that means. Uncle Bardie’s Weekly Music Pick. Uncle Bardiie gives a double thumbs up to this week’s selection: James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti performing James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s World”.

It don’t get any better than this. Two great musicians from two different genre do a song. When I first heard this one, the shivers ran up from my toes through my spine and out the top of my head. This one goes deep. No matter how many times I listen to James Brown and Luciano they still blows the top of my head off. Now both of them are with the angels, blowing God’s head off too. I can hear the Big Guy telling anybody who will listen, “I made these guys.” It just don’t get any better than this. Enjoy.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: The Hardest Working Band in the World

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Commitments” (1991):

When I think of soul music, I think of Sam Cooke, Sam and Dave, Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding , Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and a long list of other African-American musicians. And The Commitments. The Commitments?

Ireland is not known for soul music. Oh, sure. It’s had its share of blues musicians.  Van Morrison and Rory Gallagher come to mind. But soul music? Nope. That is, not until The Commitments.

If you were living in a working class neighborhood of Dublin, what kind of band would you want to put together? Maybe a blues band or something folky. Surely not a soul band.

The thing is that Soul isn’t just about music. It is about the feeling that comes with the music. A feeling that no other music brings to a person quite the way Soul does. It rises up from the toes through the body and comes out a thing of beauty.

If ever there was a movie about the guts and the bravado of creating a band from absolutely nothing, “The Commitments” is it. Jimmy Rabbitte has no musical ability. But he’s in love with the music. So why not form a band and manage it? That’s just what Jimmy Rabbitte does.  It’s his way out of the working class trap of a neighborhood he lives in. He’s walking around Dublin. All he hears are bad imitations of bad imitations of folk and rock ‘n’ roll. Pop bands, playing weddings, like And And And.

He wants his band to “speak the language of the street and it should be about struggle and sex.” There’s only one kind of music that does that, according to Jimmy Rabbitte. Soul. He’s going to get his band. There’s nothing that’s going to stop him. Not the singers who audition, some okay and some really bad. Not the lack of musical instruments. Not even the resistance of the band members themselves.

To paraphrase the Blues Brothers, Jimmy Rabbitte is “on a mission from God”. He’s out to bring hope to the working class streets of Dublin in the form of a music that can save the soul and quench its thirst for something better. To help Jimmy out, the Good Lord sends him a trumpet player name of Joey “The Lips” Fagan. Before you can say “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, he’s put together him a band, The Commitments: The Hardest Working Band in the World ‘cause Jimmy Rabbitte is the hardest working manager in the world. The band is on its way and there is only thing that will stop it. The band.

Roddy Doyle gave us the novel. Alan Parker gives us the movie.  So say it loud and say it proud. The Commitments are out to conquer Dublin. Or at least their neighborhood.

Who is your favorite soul singer?