Spoken by the dark-eyed stranger you didn’t notice slumped across the piano until you you wander over to take a closer look at the worn keys and battered wood that seems to hum softly when you’re not looking straight at it.
I see ye’re clever enough ta poke around some. Not take anything fer granted.
That’s good. Might serve ye well. Might even keep ye alive, if yer lucky and not too rash.
Now I don’t know how well ye know the song. Heck, I don’t rightly know if ye’re a warbler or not. But ‘less you got yer head buried deep under somma that dirt been droppin’ outta the sky all regular-like, ye probably know somethin’ ain’t right round here. Maybe ya noticed that people and places ain’t where ye left em. Or that things don’t always keep fallin’ when ye knock em off the table. Sometimes ye can’t tell if yer awake or sleep fer days on end. Or maybe ye just have trouble carryin’ a tune these days.
Now I know what the holy-holies say, ’bout it bein’ the Devil cuttin’ the legs outta the good Lord’s plan, but I ain’t so sure about that. I’ve got a touch of the song myself, ye see. Not so much as to be all impressive-like or nothin’. ‘Xact opposite, fact. When things get hoppin’ I can get all low and quiet-like, and singers just sorta, well…gloss over me. Real useful.
So anyway, I’m walkin’ down the track the other night, and things start to go all red and brimstone-y. I maybe ain’t the wisest a’folk, but I know how ta watch my hide, so I starts hummin’. Just in time, too, cause this smilin’ bastard comes saunterin’ round the corner aheada me. It is just as happy as can be, laughin’ to itself and pattin’ its briefcase. Musta been a real raw sucker it got hold of at the crossroads, cause it was chucklin’ somethin’ good. And I’m just standin’ there hummin’ under my breath and hopin’ that the devil’s distracted enough by the payday that it don’t notice the twist in the song or the fact that my knees are knockin’ together loud enough ta keep time. Course I got no luck to speak of, so that don’t happen. It gets close enough to smell me and it just knows somethin’ ain’t right. They don’t rightly enjoy bein’ spied on, so I’m about to piss myself as it opens its maw to start singin’.
And that’s when things get weird. ‘Steada some song comin’ out, or that faint ache behind the ears ye get when ye hear somethin’ you can’t actually hear, there’s just this bursta noise. Like when yer changin’ the radio, ye know? Between the stations. Weird as hell ta hear. And then my song gets caught in my throat and I pop outta hidin’ thinkin’ I’m done for, but the devil goes flyin’ backwards like someone hit it in the chest with a sledgehammer. Then it gets up and just starts runnin’ off. Little furry legs goin’ like nobody’s business. Darnedest thing I ever saw. Funny lookin’, too.
Might evena laughed at my good fortune, if I hadn’ta seen its face.
Damned thing was scared.
What kinda thing can scare a devil?