“I’m a little nervous,” she said, frowning a little. “I’ve never done this before.”
“To tell you the truth, me either,” he said, grinning sheepishly.
“Oh!” she said, brightening considerably, “Well that makes me feel a lot better.”
“Why?” he laughed, “It makes me a hell of a lot more nervous to know neither of us know what we’re doing.”
“Well,” she said, grinning devilishly, “At least I know if something goes wrong it’s not my fault.”
“I guess that’s true,” he laughed.
“Besides,” she said, “It can’t be that hard. Total morons manage to do it just fine all the time.”
“Maybe it’s because they don’t think too hard about it,” he said, “We might think too hard about it and mess it up.”
“I guess that could happen,” she said.
“It’s something that has to be done though,” he said.
“Oh definitely,” she said, “It’s not something that you can just not do.”
“And you know, with you, I just…it just seemed like the right thing to do.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she laughed, “I wouldn’t be able to do it by myself after all.”
“Well, I guess we should get it over with,” he said, sighing.
He turned back to her car and stared at the front wheel. “Let’s get this tire changed.”
“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.”
“Hey man, you OK? You look a little down.”
“I guess you could say that.”
“You know what your problem is?”
“Yeah, I know what my problem is. My problem is I have a terrible sense of self-worth. I constantly harp on my failures while ignoring my successes. Causing, of course, a never-ending spiral of failure because as I trust in my own abilities less and less I succeed less and less. Of course, it’s not really my fault. When I was young, nothing I did was ever good enough for my parents. I was the only child so all their attention was always focused on me. Whenever I screwed up, I got it big time, when my father was even around. Most of the time he was off on ‘business trips’ (at his funeral I found out he had at least 50 mistresses) leaving my mother to raise me. I mean, she tried her best, but she didn’t have the masculinizing influence that a father would have had. Plus I think she knew what he was really up to so most of the time she would just cry herself to sleep watching TV, leaving me to eat stale crackers and tuna. Actually, the tuna probably didn’t help either. There’s a lot of heavy metals in that stuff. Probably disrupted my brain real bad, probably all sorts of chemical imbalances up there now. ‘Course, things didn’t get much better when I went to college, my mom wasn’t willing to cut the apron strings, they’d call me every night. I tried sometimes to ‘accidentally’ leave my phone in my room but then I just got chewed out. Honestly it was basically like having someone watching you all the time, do you know what that’s like? Of course now that they’re gone that’s not a problem anymore and I feel relieved, but I really feel sort of guilty for feeling that way too. And honestly after having someone there all the time to force you to achieve and to support you when you fail…it’s sort of hard to deal with actually being independent. Honestly, all in all I’m pretty much just a basket case.”
“Sorry, what were you saying?”
“I was gonna say that your problem is it’s been too long since you’ve gotten drunk.”
“Yeah, actually, you’re right, that’s probably what it is.”
“Hey Bill? You know that psycho killer you testified against?”
“Yeah, what about him?”
“Well he escaped from prison.”
“Oh that’s nice, I heard prison sucks.”
“Uh huh, anyways, there’s a good chance he’s going to come after everyone who put him in prison. Including you.”
“Awesome. We’ve got some extra food left over from that party. We should have one of those “I put you in prison” reunions.”
“I don’t think you understand the seriousness of the situation.”
“Oh I understand perfectly. We have extra food. My friend can help us eat it. What’s so difficult about that?”
“Nothing, look, the cops are going to be parked out front all night. If anything happens, they’ll be able to help us.”
“I bet they’re bored. Do you think they like to drink?”
“What? No! They’re on duty, they’re here to protect you!”
“That sucks. Ah well, I’m going to order a pizza.”
“No! Don’t do that! It’s not safe!”
“Whatever, the phone’s dead anyways. No dial tone.”
“And now the power’s out.”
“The milk in the fridge is going to spoil!”