It always looks so involved when you see it on TV... doesn't it? Selling your soul... making a deal with the Devil. It seems so complicated... so... difficult.
There always seems to be stereo-perfect ambience. A giant, bright, silvery-gray, full moon. Ghostly wisps of ethereal clouds pirouetting slowly past whilst an ominous and haunting church organ harmonizes with a choir of wolves to set the mood. An owl hoo-hoo-ing. Bats in the belfry in the background.
The cliche red devil, complete with horns and a tail pointed like an arrow, presides upon a throne constructed from skulls and bones. The ground perpetually covered by a thick rolling mist. Eery laughter fills the air as a contract, drawn on, what appears to be human skin, is spread out before you on a large round table decorated with a pentagram.
Half melted, black, tallow candles provide illumination as a long, red, boney, finger-like, appendage tipped with a black claw points to a dotted line. A deep and ancient sounding voice slowly says sign here.
A tiny demon, about the size of a chicken, but every inch his fathers son, cuts the palm of your hand, with a jaggedly bladed dagger, and holds it outstretched. Allowing the crimson nectar to slowly drip down and fill a small, dirty, crystal, inkwell. A feather is plucked from a live raven and cut to serve as a pen.
The music of the damned climaxes to a frightening crescendo as you dip the plume. You hesitantly reach forward with trembling hands. The Devil's eyes open wide with anticipation and a fiendish smile grows on his face as you make your mark. Then, at the same second that you lift your quill from the parchment, a giant bell begins to toll.
Lucifer bursts out with a maniacal snickering and wrings his hands together feverishly as he relishes his new prize. Another trinket for his collection. Another shadow to add to the darkness. Your fate has been sealed. You must always... always sign in blood.
That seems to be the way, that more often than not, it is portrayed. If only it were really that complicated I might not be in the mess that I'm in now. I've always been a little on the lazy side. No... it was much, much easier than that for me.
When I was fourteen years of age I started playing guitar. By the time I had reached sixteen I had become a pretty decent guitarist. I practiced a lot. It wasn't good enough.
I wanted to shred. I wanted to play guitar so well that it wood make peoples jaws drop. I needed a big amplifier. I thought that if people could just hear me play... I could be a "rock star".
And so one night when I was sixteen years old, as I was laying in bed, I said something. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time. After all, I was an atheist, I didn't believe in anything. There was no God. There was no Devil. It was all superstitious nonsense. That's how I was raised.
I think I probably said it out of boredom more than anything else. I sure as hell didn't expect any results. It was all a big joke.
I said "Satan, if you give me eighteen hundred dollars to buy an amplifier you can take my soul when I turn forty". Ridiculous... right? I wasn't even planning to live to be forty. I was joking... a random thought said in passing. By the next day I had completely forgotten about it.
The following afternoon my grandmother picked me up to take me to a doctors appointment. I had a wicked sore throat. On the way back she stopped at Carl's Junior so I could get a glass of iced tea.
I got out of the car and walked up three steps to the door. There was a large window on the right. Sitting, about waist high, on the window ledge was a small square, made of folded paper napkins, with rubber bands around it two ways. It was curious looking so I picked it up. As I walked in to the restaurant I opened it. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the first hundred. It counted out to be seventeen hundred dollar bills and two fifties.
I freaked out somewhat. I started looking around to see if anyone was watching me. I got my iced tea and I split. Grandma Carey dropped me off at home where two of my friends, Ray and John-Paul, had been waiting for me. We rented a limousine and spent all eighteen hundred dollars in about three days partying like rock stars.
I wouldn't remember what I had said, the night before, for some years to come. That's all there was to it. It was that simple. No blood, no horns, no tail, no nothing.
And so it was that I sold my soul... for eighteen hundred dollars. Had I realized at the time, what I was doing, I would have asked for much more. If I would have remembered, the next day, what I had said, I would have dropped it like a hot potato.
Eighteen hundred dollars! If I had known what I was doing... I'd never have done it at all. How could I have known. Stuff like this was supposed to be a bunch of hyped up, horror movie, mumbo-jumbo. Yet another device concocted by the church to scare-up an audience.
So I guess the Devil purchased my soul like a suit off the clearance rack. Or maybe it was God trying to teach one of his special-ed kids a lesson. What if the only reason it happened at all was so that I could have something to write about now. I mean, God wouldn't let something like that happen... right? I was just a kid... playing around... right? I never signed anything. There has to be another explanation. God will protect me... right?
Well... whatever the case may be, looking back on it now, I realize that this was the first of many difficult lessons that I would be made to learn over the years. It was also an obstacle that determined my course at one of many forks in the road of life... Or maybe it was little more than a series of extremely unlikely coincidences. Maybe it was all purely anomalous happenstance... or maybe not.
Maybe this was a catalyzing event intrinsic to the formation and strengthening of my character and my belief in God.. Perhaps the lesson there was to never sell out, never settle for less than your worth, choose your words carefully, and above all be damn careful who you climb in to bed with. Think, before, you act.
While this was allegory it doesn't change the principle... never sell out.