Devil’s in the Details


“Well I was walkin’ home from Willie P.’s one night after knockin’ back a few sixpacks of his homebrew, so make no mistake, I was pretty sloshed. Walkin’ next to Old Man J.’s field, all of a sudden I see the field erupt into flames, and I was thinkin’ maybe Willie slipped a little of the ol’ Lucy D. in there (he’s known to do it, the joker).

“But no, this was the real deal. Stepping up to the flames I could feel them singin’ off my arm hairs. I walked over to the pit and who should jump out but the damned old Devil himself. A bit shorter than I’d imagined, he came about up to my knee.

“‘Make a wish!’ he cried, with a voice like rocks scraping against rocks.

“‘No sir,’ I said, ‘I know how this works, I make a wish and you take my soul. No thanks!’

“‘It’s not like that,’ he said, ‘If you want, you can just do me a favor instead. 24 hours after the wish if the favor’s not done, I’ll take your soul! Now, WISH!’

“‘Well alright,’ I said, and my drunken mind went the only place it could, ‘I wish I had another beer!’

“POOF! All the flames were gone and didn’t even leave a scorch mark. In my hand I held a nice cool Natural Light, maybe the greatest beer on God’s Green Earth.

“In my head, I hear the voice of that damn Devil, and he’s sayin’ ‘In return, you gotta steal somethin’!’ I don’t think much about it though, so I head on home.

“Next day I’m having my traditional day-after-visitin’-Willie hangover breakfast at Waffle House, when I suddenly remember my promise. At this point I’m still half-convinced it’s the onset of the ol’ Delirium Tremens, but just to be safe I stick the fork in my pocket and walk out.

“When I get back to the field, sure enough, flames shoot up, the ground cracks open and out jumps the devil. I toss the fork at his feet, casually, like I’m a movie gangster.

“‘Not quite what I was expecting,’ he growled, ‘But it’ll do. Now, your next wish!’

“‘Well, my car’s a bit shot. How ’bout a nice new Ferrari?’

“‘Consider it done!’ shouted the Devil, and sure enough, when I turned around there was a shiny new car with the keys in the ignition.

“‘This time,’ the Devil grinned, ‘You gotta kill somethin’.’

“I looked down, thinkin’ it over. I started pacing around and I accidentally stepped on a fresh little dandelion, and as you can imagine that made me feel right awful.

“But the Devil was even more upset than me. ‘When I said “Kill Somethin'” I didn’t mean a flower!’ he shouted, grimacing, ‘Bah. You won’t fool me next time! Now, your final wish!’

“‘Well, the car’s nice,’ I said, ‘But what’s a good car without a nice garage to park it in? I wish for a brand new mansion!’

“‘Done!’ shouted the devil, ‘Now, as payment for this, you gotta kill somebody.‘”

“Oh my God,” she said, staring at the storyteller with wide-eyed wonder. “What’d you do then?”

He took a long, slow sip of his beer. “I’m not proud to tell you this, but I thought about that long and hard, and I came to a decision.

“‘Nah, not gonna happen,’ I said, and kicked that bastard right back down the hole and went home to my nice new mansion.”

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