Tom Petty almost got it right
He was, literally, the boy in the corduroy pants, but I didn’t go to the high school dance. I ran with him, or rather, rode with him, sitting in the center of the bench seat of that old Cadillac. He had one hand on the steering wheel and one around my shoulder. I’d grab the cigarette hanging off his lips, take a drag, flick the ashes and bring it back to his mouth. I was his third hand, his second base and his first love.
He didn’t wreck me until much later, when he moved me and broke me in two. He became my reason to be, and I became his reason to run.
(Referencing this song.)
Devil Went Down To Georgia
Johnny leaned against the stump at the crossroads in Georgia, playing on his fiddle. He had no audience but the chickens, but the chickens themselves were mighty entertained. His fiddle playing had the power to cause any creature to move, whether it be man, beast, or other. He chewed on the piece of straw in his mouth and played the fiddle hot.
Suddenly a man in a slick black suit with gold eyes was standing on the stump. He eyed the dancing chickens and nodded to Johnny. Johnny eyed the man cautiously, chewed on his piece of straw, and finished up his tune. As he pulled the fiddle down the chickens went back to their average lives of pecking at the ground and being generally clueless.
“Boy, you got some skill,” the man said, greed glinting in his eyes, “I’m a bit of fiddle player myself.”
“That so, sir,” Johnny said, cautious, “You got your fiddle with you?”
“I do indeed son,” the man said, as he pulled out his case.
He opened it up, the fiddle inside was made of solid gold. Johnny eyed the instrument with raised eyes. It was perhaps the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. The man noticed this and his grin spread wider.
“How do you feel about a wager, boy?” the man asked, “A little friendly competition.”
Johnny slowly nodded.
“What was it you had in mind, mister?” the boy asked.
“Well, you play a pretty good fiddle boy,” the man said, flames crossing his irises, “But you better give the devil his due, because I bet this fiddle of gold against your soul that I’m better than you.”
“Well, names Johnny,” he responded, “And it might be a sin, but I’ll take your bet, which you’re gonna regret, because I’m the best there ever was.”
The devil’s grin widened even more and pulled the fiddle out of his case.
“If you don’t mind then,” he said, “I’ll start this show.”
He pulled his finger across the bow, flames flicking from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow. As he pulled the bow against the string it made an evil hiss. Clouds rolled over the horizon, blocking out the sun. Thunder crashed as a band of demons joined in. As the devil played away on his fiddle the world grew black and twisted, tress caught on fire, hoped seem to fade, and the demons cackled as they played along. Everything seemed bleak and hopeless as the devil finished. He pulled the last string and gave a deep bow to Johnny.
Johnny looked around him, at the sky, the darkness, the flames, and then back at the devil. Then he shrugged.
“Well, you’re pretty good ole’ son,” he said, “But sit down in that chair. I’ll show you how it’s really done.”
Johnny rosined up his bow, and played his fiddle hard. This had become more than a simple bet about a fiddle and a soul, Johnny’s fiddle playing took on something transcendent, had become symbolic of humanities struggle against the devil and his ilk, against evil and pain, the fiddle playing had evolved into the battle between Good and Evil.
As Johnny played the chickens danced, then grew, then became formidable and took on the demons. They scurried away in fear, back to the abyss that they’d come from. The flames extinguished as Johnny played, dancing the whole time, and grew back from the power of his bow. The clouds parted, the sun shined, and suddenly everything was beautiful once again.
As Johnny finished the devil bowed his head, knowing that he’d been beat. He walked over and laid the golden fiddle at Johnny’s feet. Once again the human spirit had triumphed against all odds. As he walked away Johnny smirked and let fly a parting comment.
“Devil, just come on back,” he said, “If you ever want to try again. Cause I told you once, you son of a bitch, I’m the best there’s ever been.”