The Devil went down to Ayrshire…He was looking for a soul to steal.
He walked along the River Ayr passed the Auld Kirk and headed towards The Auld Brig. He had a snigger at the dead people and came upon a park bench where a Gentleman Of The Road sat.
“May I sit?”
The old man in the donkey jacket looked up at him.
“Bogs are over the other side of the bridge but I think they are shut. Council cuts!”
“I asked if I may sit?”
He studied the well-dressed stranger. There was nothing remarkable about him. He wore a blue pinstripe suit, very black shoes, he was clean shaven and well groomed. The old man was wary of his attentions. There were strange people out there who liked to tramp bait, tramp box and tramp hump.
“I’m a bit deaf son. You’ll need to speak up. But have a seat.”
The old man held out his hand, “I’m Tommy by the way.”
The suit accepted his greeting. Tommy felt a coldness even though the man’s hand was very warm without being sweaty.
“I am…The Devil!”
“Sorry son, I didn’t quite catch that.”
“I am The Devil…The Lord Of The Flies.”
“What? Are you a baker son? So was I many years ago. I still remember, two holes for onion and one for plain.”
“No you old tramp, I am the Fallen Angel.”
“Was that not a Nazareth song? Look son, I’m slightly deaf.”
“I’m The Devil you fool!!”
“Don’t call me a tool!!”
“I want your soul”
Tommy pulled his donkey jacket tight around his legs. He knew it…Tramp shag!!
“You want ma what? Everyone to their own son but I’m not that way inclined.”
The Devil reached out and rubbed both of Tommy’s earlobes. He shied away but the heat from his hands was rather pleasant.
“Is that better?”
“Jesus son, you don’t need to shout!! What was that?”
Tommy started to look around himself.
“The birds, the river, the traffic. You can hear them now.”
“Jesus! What are you son, some kind of healer?”
Tommy was becoming a little nervous.
“No! As I have been trying to tell you, I am The Devil.”
His eyes widened, “Jesus!! Is that a fact?”
“Yes it is. And while I am here I would appreciate if you didn’t use the J word.”
Tommy tried to regain some bravado.
“In the name…I have just touched your ears and cured your hearing. Don’t you think that something strange may be going on?”
Tommy thought for a second, “Well I suppose so, but it doesn’t prove that you are anything really…Except being good with ears”
This had happened before. The evil one let out a sigh of irritation.
He leaned over and whispered in his ear. Tommy’s eyes widened.
“How the fuck…”
The Devil sniggered, “Only The Devil could have told you that!”
Tommy’s heart pounded as he tried to act nonchalant, “So what do you want then?”
“Are you a betting man?”
“Jes…Sorry son. What do you think I am? A stereotype? A gambling tramp who smokes roll-ups and drinks Super Lager?”
“…OK, I’ll give you that! So go on, see if you can tempt me.”
From nowhere the Devil produced a case. He opened it. It was full to the brim with one hundred pound notes.
“A million against your soul.”
The old man touched the money; there was a little electrical charge that ran through his fingers.
He frowned, he knew that he shouldn’t get involved but it would have been impolite not to ask.
“And what are we betting on?”
“I will give you three chances to argue the case of these times against olden. Let me explain. I want a scenario where you could defeat someone from Biblical Times.”
“Like a riddle?”
“Well not really but for the sake of telling the story…Go on then.”
“So, for example if I could beat Goliath in a fight then I would win the money.”
“For example, yes but is that your first answer?”
Tommy held up both his middle fingers. Disrespecting the Devil was fun.
“Do I look that much of a dobber son? It was an example. I will need to give this some thought.”
“Do you accept the challenge?”
“How long would you give me?”
“Until this time tomorrow. You come up with three scenarios and if one of them beats my biblical all-stars then the money is yours. If not, your soul is mine. And you can only imagine what I am going to do with those two fingers!!”
The old man leaned back and said, “My name is Tommy and it might be a sin but I’ll take your bet, you’re going to regret…Cause with riddles, I’m the best there’s ever been”
The Devil looked him up and down.
Tommy went back to his own Bench & Bucket to contemplate.
The Devil kept to his word. He was there waiting for Tommy the very next day.
“Well my old friend, are you ready. I take it that you have been reading your bible looking for weakness.”
Tommy was feeling rather nervous, “Not really. I am a fallen priest so I know my way around the book.”
The Devil began to laugh, “This is even better! A fallen one, just like me.”
He leaned down towards the ground and roared, “WHY WASN’T I INFORMED!!”
The Devil shook his head, “Tssk!! You just can’t get the staff! Blonde bimbo! What with those insincere sincere glances, it gets right on your tits…Seventeen fucking years…Oh…I’ve said too much! Please Tommy, what is your first scenario?”
The Devil saw the smirk on his face.
“I decided to think outside the box.”
Tommy tried to hold back his laugh.
“I believe that I could piss further in the snow than Mary Magdalene.”
He began to giggle, “I told you that I was thinking outside the box!! Yes! Yes!! Give me that money now!!”
The Devil exhaled loudly.
“Tommy, do you think that I have never done this before? I have a picture.”
Tommy’s smile stuck but he wasn’t happy. He began to feel nervous.
“Wh…What is it?”
The Devil held out a Polaroid of a woman peeing eighteen feet from where she stood. Six meter sticks measured the stream.
“Sorry but Mary had a huge Boaby! It just wasn’t ever written about.”
Tommy couldn’t take his eyes off the picture. It was the image of the so-called woman in the painting of the Last Supper. He didn’t even want to contemplate what was in her hands. For want of anything else to say all he could ask was, “Why not?”
The Devil shrugged.
“Well it would have pissed off all sides of our Christian fellowship. You see she and him were…Very close friends…If you know what I mean! Oh sod it! I just love saying it! She was his Lady-Boy! Only he was the lady if you get my drift!! Anyway one lot will never admit that they approve of that sort of thing and she wasn’t circumcised so need I say anymore!”
Tommy eyed him suspiciously, “How do I know that this is the truth, I mean you are the Devil. Aren’t you supposed to be a liar and a cheat?”
He put his hands to his heart, “Tommy I am hurt! If I want a repossession then I’ll lie and cheat until the cows come home. But this is a bet! I invented gambling so no, I wouldn’t cheat. I love and live for a flutter. Me and him are always at it. How do you think that I ended up with the blonde doe-eyed bitch in the first place? That was a milk race between him and me. I lost. Remember a gambling debt, is a debt of honour so in turn, gambling is all about honour. So I ask you as a gentleman to take my word for it.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Then I will be quietly sad. Feel very hurt and disappointed. I may even shed a tear. I will go back to my kingdom and contemplate the error of my ways. Oh, just before I do all that I’ll rip your spleen out, eat your soul, shit it out and then I’ll go really mental!”
Tommy smiled through gritted teeth, “So Mary had a huge Boaby…Who would have thought!!”
He was now panicking. He knew that it was his own fault that he had got involved in such a hellish bet. All he could do was carry on and hope for the best. He thought about praying but decided that would have been really ripping the pish.
“OK then. I challenge your man Je… you know who…To a drinking contest. I choose Dragon Soup as the drink of choice.”
The Devil looked surprised. Tommy hoped he was looking worried but he began to roll about laughing.
“Are you kidding me Tommy? Really!! That is the best that you could come up with? Let me explain something to you. The bible isn’t always a hundred percent accurate. You know about his-nibs changing water into wine?”
“Of course I do!”
“Well, he changed fuck all! That whole amount of wine was his carry-out. He’s a piss-head. Even I have to tip my hat to the amount that he can put away… But if you want to give it a go I’m quite sure he would be more than happy to prove you to be a lightweight.”
Tommy wagged his finger at The Devil, “But to save my soul?”
The Devil nearly fell off the bench, “He wouldn’t give a fuck. If his Da’ would let him away for the day, he’d be quite happy to sit here and drink with you until you were dead. I know!! I have seen him do it!! Why do you think that so many Alkies claim to have seen Jesus?”
Tommy swallowed heavily. If he called the devil on that one at least he would go out with a bloody good drink. But no, he decided to go on.
“Last one Tommy!”
The glint in his eye was pure tiger balm. Tommy could feel the heat.
He leaned back and composed himself.
“OK, I want to see who can pick out most fluff from their belly-button between me and Adam.”
The Devil’s smile disappeared.
The Devil Disappeared.
Tommy picked up the case of money and headed towards the nearest off-licence…Jesus watched him from above and smacked his lips.