Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

The Devil went prospecting in Ohio Amish country, but found the going very rough. Virtually none of his regular, routine come-ons worked in the least. He tried illicit sex and alcohol and fame. He tried mercenary greed and avarice, cheating, lying, and offers of gold and money. Nothing he did enticed any of the Amish folk to sell their souls, even the very young and gullible. After four days of hard work, and burning through nearly a month’s worth of his expense account, he added only one poor rotten soul to his account - the daughter of the local sheriff, who hardly counted at all since her daddy had already been on his rolls for years.
“What the Hell am I doing wrong?” he wailed to the sheriff over a beer in the sheriff’s kitchen. “You’d think this would be prime territory here, with almost everyone calling themselves Christians, and poor simple folk.”
“Well, the Amish are sort of a special case.” said the sheriff. “You see, they might be uneducated and poor, but they have very strong faith in each other. They know as long as they are in the community everyone will look out for each other, including them. They grow their own food, make their own clothes and they don’t need or want TV’s or cars, nor nothing like that, and each one of them believes it’s uppity to have more than their neighbors. Heck, they don’t even want electricity. I’m not surprised at all you can’t come up with recruits here.”
“And you know, I have to tell you the damned Amish sure make my job very hard here. it’s really hard to justify your job when you don’t have any business to report. The only crimes I can come up with are tickets for not having the lanterns lit on their buggies at night. Sometimes I feel guilty taking my salary, crooked as I may be. I tell you, it’s enough to make you arrest yourself for something.”
“But, what should I do?” complained the Devil. “I can’t go home with just one soul on the books.”
“I was you, I’d find me another prospecting hole.” said the sheriff.
The Devil agreed. And, having no better way, and no good access to the internet in Amish country, he simply closed his eyes and stabbed his finger on the map.
“Macon, Georgia.” he announced.  The sheriff drove him to the Greyhound Bus station and he bought a ticket.
Happily, he made six converts on the trip to Macon, which took two and a half days what with changes and all. In fact, he was so successful he almost bought another ticket there to continue prospecting on busses, but he didn’t. He got off the bus as planned. The Devil believed in planning.
Looking up the local county sheriff, who he knew he could count on as a previous convert, he asked about local prospects.
“Wal, I just don’t know,” said the sheriff. “Folks ‘round here is mighty Christian like.”
“Overall, I’ve had pretty good luck with Christians.”said the Devil, trying very hard to look at his glass half-full.
“Yeah but, these here folks is hardshell Baptists and primitive Southern Methodists and Holiness folks and all such as that. They’s mighty strong Christians, them is.”
“I guess I’ll just have to take my chances.” said the Devil as he headed out.
The first prospect he tried was a local lawyer and deacon of the First Baptist church.
“Hell, I’ve been signed up since ’64.” said the deacon. The Devil checked his database, and sure enough the man was. He’d have to do better than this.
“But, I was you,” continued the deacon. “I’d check with Miss Sally, the organist. She’s been putting on the airs lately. She might be a candidate.”
And, she was. Miss Sally had decided she didn’t really want to live her life out as the wife of the local druggist, member of the PTA and a mousy church organist. She wanted to live a little, enjoy fine clothes, travel, wine, great food and the nicer things in life. She signed on the dotted line eagerly and immediately. She also referred her friend, the local undertaker, who she’d been sleeping with during the day for several years while his wife thought he was working down in the embalming room. The undertaker also signed - and referred someone else.
And, so it went. Within three days the Devil signed up the entire membership of the First Baptist Church except for two, and they were the two mentally challenged people the church kept on their rolls for show. And, many of the the new recruits referred people in the other churches in town, the Methodists, the Holiness, the Church of Goders, Assembly of Goders and so on, even the Latter Day Saints. Within one month, the devil signed up much of the population of metropolitan Macon, Georgia old enough to sign.  
The only ones of any real challenge at all were the atheists and agnostics, who said they didn’t believe in all that hellfire and brimstone bullshit. And, even there the Devil made his offers so attractive some of them signed.
The Devil made a few quick prospecting trips to Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. Based on the results, the Devil immediately rented office space in downtown Macon for a regional headquarters, hired some lawyers and preachers for help, and entered into the most successful run in his career of many thousands of years.
And, that’s how the Devil ended up with a vacation home in Georgia.

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