by Chris Milam
I’m going to tell you a story. You can choose to believe it or not, that’s totally up to you. I know it’s true because I AM the story. Grab a wine cooler, a box of Triscuits, and lend me your attention.
One year ago, I was shopping at McDougals, a big box store that sells everything from groceries to lanterns to quarts of oil. Some good deals there, you should check it out. Anyway, I needed a discounted hoodie for work because the factory I was employed by kept the temperature level somewhere below arctic death. I found one in black and went to pay for it. It was past midnight, the lines were dead.
The clerk had a mullet. That’s an Ohio thing, a kind of midwestern chic. His name was Howard. He scanned my item with a laser gun.
“Any coupons, sir?”
“That’ll be $6.66. Also, if you dont mind, I would like to purchase your soul.”
Truth be told, I was a bit freaked-out by Howard’s query.
“Funny stuff. Just give me my receipt, dude.”
“Look, I’m not trying to hassle you, but the Faustian bargain racket is floundering. Humans want to be pure and noble and shit. They feed the homeless. They save whales for crying out loud. I’ve got a quota, man. Help me out here.” He sighed a plume of steam. I was intrigued.
“Alright, Howard. Is it okay if I call you Howard?”
“It’s fine. Lucifer, Beelzebub, Prince of Darkness. Whatever.”
“Cool. Honestly, I don’t have much sympathy for you. All of us are struggling right now. But solely out of curiosity, what are you offering for my soul? You can ballpark it.”
“A flute, a violin, an accordion, and a bucket of chicken. You can choose one.”
“What the hell. I was thinking a money tree, a villa in France, maybe a golden codpiece. You gotta do better than that. Jesus.”
“You don’t understand. Those items will bring you all the wealth you desire. You will become a virtuoso of whichever one you pick. It’s a fair deal, Karl.”
“What’s so special about the bucket of chicken?”
“Okay, you’ve got me there. It’s just really crispy and juicy. Best fried bird around. Add a dash of hot sauce and you’ll swoon.”
My toughest challenge was choosing the slickest instrument. Would a flute impress the ladies? Dear god, no. An accordion seemed too cumbersome.
“Let’s go with the violin.”
“A wise choice. Thanks for shopping at McDougals. Tell your friends.”
Right now you’re shaking your head at my tale. You’re probably lounging on the couch watching a reality TV show. Or playing a board game with the little heathens. Your sink is crammed with filthy dishes. Yawn.
Where am I you ask? Wembley stadium. Thousands of orgasmic fans are waiting for me to grace the stage. A bunch of cultured marionettes controlled by the arc of my bow. I own them. I might even take a few of the prettier ones to my castle in Marseille when I wrap up the tour.
Sorry, there is no moral to my story. Well, besides the fact that having a kind soul is for suckers. Go help your fellow man. Kneel and pray. Save the big cats of Africa from extinction. It’s all good. But I prefer a future of not caring about anything. A future not dictated by the judgemental hand of a fictitious God. A future that’s all about ME.
So, if you ever run into a somber gentleman named Howard, choose the violin and join me in paradise. We’ll club a baby seal to death and throw it on the grill. Maybe we’ll accost and steal from the panhandlers. If you’re sultry, maybe you’ll get on all fours and howl for me. See you soon, do-gooders. Free yourself.