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The Devil’s In the Details

Sucker Punch                                                  (Hear the Character-spoken VOICE Post HERE)

It’s not like Ias actually usin’ it.  At least, not that I’d noticed, ya feel me?  I mean, what do ya ever really do with a soul, anyway?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t sayin’ I hated muh life.  Lookin’ back on it, act-shly, I guess I had it purdy good.  Married muh high school sweetheart, as folks ’round these here parts do.  Renee’s a helluva woman, I’ll swear by that . . . she genuinely loved me — was good to me.  Gave me 2.5 kids ’fore the end.  Devin an Lucius was a handful, sure I’d guess they’d be somethin’ wrong with them if they wasn’t.  But they was mine, an them’s good boys, I still say . . . don’t ever let nobody tell ya no different.

The 7 – 3 grind ain’t the most glamerus a’ lifes, but I’as never really one fer the 9 – 5 type.  My pappyas a workin’ man, an’ his afore him . . . we’s all been brung up grunts, an’ ain’t nothin’ wrong w’that.  A hard day’s labor’s what makes a man respect-able, muh daddy tol’ me, an’ lets him know the meanin’ athangs, the value’v honest livin.’  The fact’ry let me be home for muh boys when they needed me, an that’s important, ya know . . . having a daddy you can count on, an’ all that.  Course, drivin’ a loader sho ’nuff ain’t nobody’s idea uva dream job, but it was steady work I never had to bring home wimme, an the union made dang sure it kep the lights on an’ the roof from cavin’ in, kep the boys in shoes that fit an the town doc in his place . . . an padded the family’s spare tires all around — packin’ on a few here’n there every year.

An we weren’t set up in no castle in the clouds, lemme tell ya.  But what we had was ours.  There was milk from the cow, eggs from the coop, an greens’n beans from the land.

Yep, mine was a purdy good life, all right.

I guess I shoulda jes left well enough alone, I see that now.  But, you know, there was sump’n in me . . . sump’n bigger, sump’n special . . . sump’n jes dyin’ to get out, an ain’t no way it was ever gonna see the lighta day with a noose a “normal-like” stranglin’ the everlovin’ love-a-life outta me, an’ on a everyday kinda turntable, too, sos I never had any kinda reprieve from the unrest of uhvit.


I s’pose, lookin’ back on it, I prolly knew him as soon as I seen him.

I’ve had some time to think things over from here amidst all this heat
an jes’ what the heck IS that smell, anyway? an’ I can see where’s I went wrong.  I shoulda jes left him there, where I found him.  I shoulda paid him no nevermind, an went on muh merry way, back tthe humdrum life uhva downhome, Southern country boy jes’ a hardworking,’ blue collar nobody.  But he knew all the right buttons to push, ya know?  Really got under muh skin, askin’ what he could do to make muh life complete.  Guess that’s why he’s so good at what he does.  An that Charlie Daniels feller had gone an given me the impression that maybe I’d even get a gold fiddle outta the deal, so, I figured, eh . . . what the hell.

What the hell is right, I reckon.

What could be done to better my sitchy-ay-shun, he wanted to know.  What could be done, indeed.  Well, I let him know, I did.  I tol’ him I’d been dreamin’ muh whole life a one day writin’ the world’s best ever Country music song.  And, I wanted tbe rich an’ famous, too.  He tol’ me that weren’t no tall order, it were a pisa cake, then he snapped his fingers, an said, “Done, and DONE.”


Now, I can’t say as I knew what I were expectin,’ rightly, but I know’d I didn’t think he was gonna tell me to jes’ go on home an wait.  I don’t know what I’as supposed tuv been waitin’ fer, but it were an awful frustration, all that waitin.’  In time, it began to take a tol’ on me.  I hung out at the bar after work more offn then not, started havin’ fitful nights a tossin’ an’ turnin.’  Had a hard time gettin’ up in the A.M., an started to come in late fer work on more than a few occasions.  Purdy soon, I lost muh job.  Then muh kids started actin’ out in school, cuz’ they wasn’t afraid I’as gonna whup ’em no more, cuz I jes’ stayed in bed sleepin’ all the time.  Muh wife tol’ me she’d had it, said this weren’t no way to raise up a family, an she took off to her mother’s place, an took muh boyz wither.  Wit no one else to look after him, muh hound got tired a’ waitin’ too long in the morning fer his breakfast, so then the dog done up an’ run off too.

I was so down in the dumps over everthang about muh state-uv-affairs, I went out one night with a 6-pack in me, an’ went an’ wrapped muh pickup ’round a telephone pole.  I thought I’as a gonner
then, fer shore, but that’s when he showed up again.

By that time, I’as in no mood fer his shenanigans, an’ I had nuff mind ta tell him so.  But he jes’ laughed, an asked what I thought he’d been doin’ in muh life this whole time.  I had no way to know what to say.  He tol’ me evry artist has got to suffer fer his work, an how’d I expect to write great Country music when I’d always had it so dang good?  He tol’ me all he’d done was plant the idea in muh head that I needed sump’n mor’n what I had, an purdy soon, I didn’t know what I had anymore, an’ I threw it all away.  He said that was all on me.  But then, he said, now, I had everthang I needed to write the world’s best Country music song, so what was I still doin’ hangin’ round there fer, when I should be gettin’ to it.  He tol’ me to go on home an’ do what I had in me, an’ he’d take care a the rest.

That night, shore ’nuff, I went home an crawled into a bottle, then turned it upside over an’ poured alla muh heartache outtuv it.  ’For long, whooda thunk it, but I’d gone an’ written the world’s greatest Country music song.  And then I promply passed out, an drooled on muhself the rest a’the night.


After that, I got muhself cleaned up, got some confidence in me, an’ went back in to get muh old job, an tol them they ought to take me back.  Good small town folks, they said they’d give me another chance, an brought me back on as a maintenance man.  It weren’t as much dough, but I’as in no place to argue.

I started workin’ again that afternoon, determined to take that song tthe local Country music makinman in town as soon as muh shift ended, hopin’ I could get me a reference to sumbody with some pull in Nashville, or maybe even Branson.  I jes’ knew I was gettin’ muh life back on track.  Soon, there’d be wealth, an stardom, an ’fore long, I could see usin both to get muh family all together again.  Things were finally startin’ to look up.  The world’s greatest country music song down, step one, now, fame an fortune, here I come.

I could hardly wait fer the whistle to blow.

But, as fate would have it, I ended up “gettin’ mine,” even before quittin’ time was upon me.  Yep, jes’ like I wanted, I’as famous, all right.  Got muhself landed in a book of records . . . for the craziness that was my one-in-a-gazillion misfortune uhva accidental, haphazardous departure from this plane.

As I understand it, some random rusted out bolt in a one-ton fact’ry robot arm had become loosened by a unnoticed steady drip a oil directly on it.  The loose joint knocked the dang thing jes 3 degrees off its platform, which is not so much that you’da seen it withe naked eye
lessen you’da happened to’ve been lookin’ right at it jes’ then but jes enough to set it to goin’ caddywhompus from its intended course.  The misdirection compounded upon itself as the motion picked up steam,’til over time, the dang thing had swung a full 8 inches off track.  It was that last half a centimeter what done me in.  The arm got hung up on a fire extinguisher mounted tthe support beam — readily available there in casea fire, a’course but in jes’ that moment, that particklar safety device became stuck getting’ itself smushed, in fact ’tween the arm tryin’ tdo what it wanted tdo, an’ that support beam, what weren’t goin’ nowhere.  Now, you try tellin’ a one-ton factory robot arm that it can’t keep doin’ what it was built tdo, an yer gonna be on the losin’ end’a that argument.  It jes kep’ on hitting that flame snuffer, buildin’ up extra pressure on that pressurized container, ’til the poor doohickey jes’ went off like a bottle rocket.

So, if that were the whole story, I’d jes leave it there, an be happy to say that I’as beaned in the head by a flyin’ fire extinguisher, an maybe be okay with a somewhat noteworthy demise, but that ain’t what act-shly happened.  No, my ending was a little less distinguished.  You see, as that bottle rocket went flyin’ overhead, dousin’ everything in its path with flame retardant foam
muhself an the floor around me included I jes happened tbe in the process a’ changin’ a light bulb in the break room.  The missile finally crashed into the wall a the break room, right against the light switch.  That alone wouldn’ta been so bad, ’ceptn the mess on the floor had caused muh footin’ to slip, an I’d accidentally stepped backwards, landing with one hand in the break room sink, where there’as a leak comin’ from the faucet, while muh other was jes screwin’ in the bulb, when the light went on.  Then, with a loud pop! an’ the smell a sizzled fangers, it was lights out for me.

I guess I’m only the second person in history what got himself killt whilst tryin’ to change a light bulb.  I s’pose there’s a bad joke in there somewheres.

(At least I weren’t standin’ wimuh feet in the tub like the first guy.)


An’ after that, would’nchya know it, I ended up rich after all.  The factory paid out a huge settlement tmuh family to keep thems from suin’, an’ to cover up that whole mess best they could.  Course, ya can’t really keep somethin’ that crazy a secret for long, ’speshly in a small Georgia town.  These days, you can find my name listed on the interwebz somewheres, along with a long list a other crazy ways to die.

I guess I should jes be grateful muh wife is gonna be able to bring up muh boyz — an that new baby on the way I ain’t ever gonna meet now — without havin’ to worry fer nuthin.’  It’s enough to fix the truck... hell, it’s enough to buy a new one, pay off the house, an send all three a the kids to college, sos maybe they can have a better life than I did.

An’ I even hope that ol’ dog finds his way back home fer them, one a these days.


I know ya can’t really expect to hold Ol’ Scratch accountable for givin a false impression, seein’ as how that’s purdy much the business he’s in, an, he certainly can’t say I didn’t get eh’zackly what I wanted, if’n maybe not eh’zackly in the spirit a’ what I was thankin’ uhv.  But we did in fact have a few choice words bout the manner in which the first part came about, seein’ as how he were the one himself what pointed out he didn’t act-shly have to do nuthin,’ coz I jes’ did it all muhself.  So, I challenged the deal, an said I do believe he didn’t live up to his part.  He grudgingly had to gimme that.

Oh, Ima still be here fer a bit... he don’t much like the notion a sumbody gettin’ the better a him, least off sumbody as lowlife as me, but, he’s gonna have to let me go here in another century or two.  Ida hoped itd be a bit less, but, apparently, he's got a powerful aversion to paperwork, so, seems Ima jes have to sit tight fer a spell.  Until then, guess I’ll jes have to hold muh breath an make the best uhvit.

I jes hope, whenever I get around to comin back, that they still have Country Music.



LJ Idol | Season 9 • Week 22 - Topic: SWEEP THE LEG
This post has been brought to you by an association with the online writing community forum, LJ Idol.
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Comments

( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
bleodswean
Sep. 26th, 2014 02:51 am (UTC)
Well done. This is really satisfying and you've done justice to the "deal with the devil" genre!!
karmasoup
Sep. 26th, 2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It wasn't the second time The Devil Went Down To Georgia, but it was close enough. Glad you enjoyed it.
lapis_lazuli615
Sep. 26th, 2014 04:26 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh - I was rolling all the way through this! Brava! :)
karmasoup
Sep. 26th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
Ha! Glad you found the humor in it... I was hoping it would be fun! Thanks!
adoptedwriter
Sep. 26th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
I love the southern speak " voice" in this! AW
karmasoup
Sep. 26th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I pretty grew up with that voice. My folks are actually (act-shly!) from Memphis, Tennessee, but a great deal of our family is in Alabama and Mississippi, as well. I grew up in Florida, myself, where it's not quite as bad, but having the family I do, "ain't no way I were gonna escape it!"
tatdatcm
Sep. 26th, 2014 04:37 pm (UTC)
I love the way you used the topic. I also admire the consistency of his voice and dialect throughout the piece. That had to be hard to maintain.
karmasoup
Sep. 26th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I wasn't as hard as you might think... I know that voice better than I'd care to admit. Did you get the chance to check out the voice post link? You can HEAR it HERE.
tsuki_no_bara
Sep. 27th, 2014 01:56 am (UTC)
this was really fun. i love the voice - kind of matter-of-fact and nicely self-aware, and with a dry sense of humor. i really like the voice post, too. it sounds just like someone being interviewed.
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
Thanks! I was hoping it sounded more like someone telling a story than being interviewed, but I suppose it could sound like one of those reality TV after the fact crime and punishment story documentary kinda interviews. I'm glad you enjoyed it. ;)
mamas_minion
Sep. 27th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
Great story this is hilarious and the voice you use for this character is spot on. I guess you should never trust the devil, I would love to hear or read the lyrics for the song he wrote.
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 03:18 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah, so would I! But, you know, it's country music... it's one of those songs that sounds better in reverse - his truck gets fixed, his dog comes back, his kids shape up, he gets his job back, and his wife renews their vows! I would hope the voice should be spot on... I've spent enough of my life in Alabama I've got a pretty good notion for that neck of the woods. Glad you enjoyed it! ;)
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fodschwazzle
Sep. 27th, 2014 03:56 am (UTC)
The audio track is really well done, helped me ease into an accent that I have a hard time reading. I especially loved the normal-go-lucky attitude towards death and hell. Nailed the tone.
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 04:09 am (UTC)
I can imagine anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time around Southerners might find this hard to hear in the head at first, though, for anyone who has, it should have come second nature. I know one reader later told me that he was on the phone when he read it, and the voice became so ingrained in his head that it started coming out in his speech, and the caller picked it up... I could not help but laugh my butt off at that. I'm glad you appreciated the audio track, though... I had a lot of fun recording it.
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halfshellvenus
Sep. 27th, 2014 07:04 pm (UTC)
This was a little hard to read (respelling some of the vernacular would help), but utterly hilarious. There were SO many parts of this that utterly cracked me up:

here amid all this heat — an’ jes’ what the heck IS that smell, anyway?
Hahaha-- I never even saw that coming. The delivery was perfect.

He tol’ me evry artist has got to suffer fer his work, an’ how’d I expect to write great country music when I’d always had it so dang good?
Ouch! This is where the Devil always gets you, the fine print of the "how" and exactly what you traded for. Writing the best Country song ever didn't specify how that would come about, and unfortunately it also didn't say that the man would actually sell it, perform it, or become famous for it-- only that he'd write it. D'OH!

an’ the smell of sizzled fangers
That really got me-- the dialect works perfectly there, partly because it sounds so funny and the truth is so terribly, terribly bad!

Loved this one. :D
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it, I had a lot of fun writing it. I got the concept for a guy who wanted to write a country song, but whose life ended up having to suck before he could do it on Wednesday, but when I went to bed Wednesday night, the devil entering the picture came to me in a dream, and then it pretty much wrote itself in my sleep.

I also had a lot of fun recording the vocal performance (gave me a chance to go back to my original speaking roots, having been born and raised in the South myself, and honestly, I've had a bit of a hard time washing that out of my speech pattern ever since!).

I can certainly understand how it would be hard to read if you're not accustomed to the Southern dialect (feel free to check out the character-spoken voice post version HERE), though I am confused about the respelled vernacular statement, as I would have guessed that most of what would have made it hard to read would have been all the misspellings that are already peppered in it throughout?

Some of them I didn't question including because they've already worked their way into acceptable common language, so I didn't figure they're'd be any problems about them (ex: gonna, lemme, kinda, prolly, purdy, shoulda, s'pose, sump'n, whup, etc. — a few of which were popularized by Mark Twain), but, besides them, there are at least 32 other separate examples of words intentionally misspelled to match the vernacular, and the rest of the misspellings are simply dropped consonants, indicated by apostrophes.

I briefly considered leaving the apostrophes off, thinking perhaps they were too distracting, but unless you had my Southern drawl in your head, you might have mistaken the words that would have remained (when some portion of a word is removed without an apostrophe to indicate that something is missing) for other words legitimate words in some cases, and that could have been a whole other kind of confusing.

Outside of those two categories, though, there wasn't really any area where I could misspell any more words, as all that is left would be spoken out loud just how it looks, even with an intense Georgia accent (you can hear it in the voice post), so I don't believe it would have been possible to have misspelled any more of the vernacular than I already did... perhaps I'm not understanding what you mean?

In any case, I'm certainly happy you got some enjoyment out of a piece I thoroughly enjoyed putting out there (though sorry it was such a challenge!) :)

Edited at 2014-09-27 11:19 pm (UTC)
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shimmerdream
Sep. 27th, 2014 10:19 pm (UTC)
I felt rather sorry for the main character but, at the same time, this was hilarious.
karmasoup
Sep. 27th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! He is kind of a humorously tragic figure, isn't he? Definitely an enjoyable write, and glad you liked it!
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alycewilson
Sep. 28th, 2014 12:31 am (UTC)
Loved this piece. I wasn't sure about the dialect at first, but I got used to it and it does fit the character. Did you really find a story like this, doing your research about strange ways to die?
karmasoup
Sep. 28th, 2014 01:33 am (UTC)
Technically, no, and, if I had, I wouldn't have used it... I wanted his outcome to be unique.

I found three stories like this, and combined them all together. There was one story of a man being killed by a fire extinguisher (though, when I just Googled it, it seems like there's enough of those out there that it's not as uncommon as you might think), another of a man being crushed by a one-ton factory robot arm, and then there was the infamous story of Claude Francois for the lightbulb contribution.

Glad you enjoyed this!

Edited at 2014-09-28 01:34 am (UTC)
jem0000000
Sep. 28th, 2014 06:43 am (UTC)
Aw, poor guy.
karmasoup
Sep. 28th, 2014 07:06 am (UTC)
Yes... an object lesson to us all. ;)
veronica_rich
Sep. 28th, 2014 11:41 am (UTC)
Somebody else knows what caddywhompus is! And it's rough to write accent, so kudos to your efforts.

Nice one. My sister has always remarked how the Devil is the honorable one in the song because there's no jury to decide which is the better player and he gives Johnny the fiddle anyhow. Even though it's pretty clear his number sounded better than Johnny's. ;-)
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 03:49 am (UTC)
You know, your sister actually makes a valid point. I would think the same could more or less be said here, as he's willing to have his "deal" be "undone," when, really, if he wanted to be a jackass about it, I'm sure he could enforce it. In some respects, I think he has a bizarre sense of "honor and integrity" over his deals, I suppose. Glad my Southeastern clicked with you! ;)
i_17bingo
Sep. 28th, 2014 04:56 pm (UTC)
I knew the devil was going to screw him, and I suspected that the wealth and fame wouldn't be the result of the greatest country song, but I had no idea he would be so exuberantly creative about it. Dang.

I s’pose there’s a bad joke in there somewheres.

Ha!
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC)
He's a showman, he is... likes to do things with a bit flair, show some panache. I'd actually be interested to hear that joke... I suppose it would be in the form of a limerick. ;)
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roina_arwen
Sep. 28th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC)
Very fun take on the Devil dealing, and you kept a good line on transcribing the accent so that it was still easily understandable. Nicely done!
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 03:46 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad to know that someone found it easy to get through, and thank you, too, for enjoying the devil's handiwork! ;)
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beeker121
Sep. 28th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
The devil is in the details indeed. Though I do think he should take a little pride in dying in such a ridiculous way.
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
I imagine he does, a bit, actually. I mean, he did want to be famous, and, he has at least achieved a minor spot of infamy, so, that's something more than nothing. ;) Thanks for reading.
rayaso
Sep. 28th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
This cracked me up through the whole thing! I didn't have any trouble following the dialect, and I loved the Rube Goldberg nature of the accident. Very well done!
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! I had a blast piecing that together, both coming up with the concept, and then telling the story in that ridiculous accent, which is a lot more fun than normal speech. Glad it works for you!
cheshire23
Sep. 29th, 2014 05:32 am (UTC)
Great story! Except now I have The Devil Went Down to Georgia stuck in my head.
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
Funny! I'm not so much a county fan, myself, but I wouldn't complain about that one. It's got enough of a kickin rockin beat to it that I jam about every time I hear it... knew every word to it when it came out when I was only 5 years old, and have cranked it every time it came on in the 35 years since. I suppose it's only right that I eventually wrote my own "Devil's Return to Georgia."
eternal_ot
Sep. 29th, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC)
Ha!This was FUN..:D..I really liked the details and consistency of the voice used..Wonderful take on the prompt..Good Job!
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The details were the best part to write, and the voice came as second nature in my head, but was a little hard to translate to the written word. I think I eventually got it figured out, though. Glad you enjoyed it! ;)
swirlsofblue
Sep. 29th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
AWESOME, absolutely love this, the character voice was brilliantly done, and the story was amusing and I loved the aspect of him 'doing it to himself' and the whole concept of having experiences change what/how someone creates. And his whole regard for the devil was fun.
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I can't entirely take credit for the idea that experience changes one's writing ability... I took it from commonly held themes around singing the blues, and an old joke about country music. But, it was a lot of fun for me to take that notion, and create the story that personified it. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
kajel
Sep. 29th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC)
Poor guy, but, way too funny!
karmasoup
Sep. 29th, 2014 06:10 pm (UTC)
I suppose he'd probably tell you "he had it comin!" Glad it gave you some lolz. XD
xlovebecomesher
Sep. 29th, 2014 10:44 pm (UTC)
I love how you can really hear his voice/dialect - enjoyable read!
karmasoup
Sep. 30th, 2014 03:24 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
talon
Sep. 30th, 2014 03:09 am (UTC)
That is some dedication with the accent :)

A well written yarn!
karmasoup
Sep. 30th, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
Thanks very much! It was easy enough to stay committed to... it's pretty close to my first language. I'm glad you liked it!
( 58 comments — Leave a comment )

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