Abner an’ Buford wus awalkin’ along, their han’s deep in their pockets, on account of it wus so cold. They done heerd how in Minnesota six feet a snow wus dumped on them people. That wus real cold! Still. Din’ make no difference, it wus mighty cold where they wus as well. No snow, but no picnic neither.
‘Abner, you with all yore book larnin’ they’s sumpin I bin meanin t’ ask you.’
‘Whut’s thet, Buford,’ asked Abner, the steam comin outa his mouth as he spoke. I tol’ you it wus cold!
‘I heerd tell one a them city fellers done sold his soul t’ Santa. Now ain’t thet jes’ plumb foolish?’
Abner, he looked at Buford like he jes done sprouted another haid. ‘You crazy?! Don’ you know nothin’ at all?’
Well, Buford, he wus mighty upset ‘bout thet, Abner callin’ him stupid. ‘That ain’t fair, Abner, I on’y asked you a question: you ain’t got no bizness callin’ me stupid!’
Abner shook his haid. ‘I’m sorry I called you stupid, but you gotta lissen when folks is talkin.’ He sighed, real deep like. ‘That there feller, an’ he ain’t alone, I tell you, he done sol’ his soul to Satan!’
Buford looked at him in horror. ‘Ya gotta be joshin me!’
Abner shook his haid. ‘No, I ain’t.’
‘How in tarnation y’ gonna git yore soul outta yore body and sell it t’ Satan? An’ how much dya thank he’s gonna pay? Gotta be at leas’ a thousand Dollars!’
Abner sighed agin, real heavy like, an’ showed Buford a rock, asettin there in the sun. ‘Let’s git over on that rock, I’ll ‘splain it t’you.’
The pulled theirselves up on that big ol’ rock, bright sunshine spillin’ down on them, not makin’ a whole passel a difference, but still a bit warmer. ‘T’ sell yore soul t’ Satan, why even ten thousand Dollars ain’t enough. Here’s how she works. Y’ gotta wait till the full moon, an’ wait fer a dawg t’ start howlin’, then y’ know the devil’s somewheres nearby. Then y’ gotta walk out, bold as brass, an’ wait fer him t’ show up.’
I tol’ you before, Buford’s eyes wus big, but you ain’t seen nuthin’ like his eyes that day. They wus bigger’n saucers, I swear. ‘If I seen the devil, I wouldn’ even run away, I’d plumb soil my britches, thet’s whut I’d do!’ said Buford.
‘Yeah, but y’ see, them folks want sumpin’, an’ they thank they kin get it f’um the devil.’
‘Whut could they want so bad?’ asked Buford, mighty agitated.
‘Well,’ said Abner, glad t’ be showin’ off his book larnin’. ‘Some a them want wimmen, some a them want money an’ some a them jes’ wanna be bad an’ hurt other folks.’
‘But how you gonna git yore soul outa yore body?’ asked Buford, mighty puzzled.
‘That ain’t the way it works,’ said Abner. ‘Y’know when y’ go t’ the store an’ y ain’t got money and you sign a IOU?’
‘Well the devil, he tales a IOU fum you, but y’ gotta sign it with yore own blood.’
‘Who in tarnation would be so stupid?’ asked Buford. ‘Whut ifn the devil don’ show? Whut then?’
‘Then y’ jes’ gotta go back another night when they's a full moon and wait fer th’ whole rigmarole t’ start agin’,’ said Abner.
‘Whut ifn the devil don’ want yore soul?’
‘Well, then y’ jes’ gotta go back t’ bein’ normal, like us.’
Buford shook his haid. ‘I thank yore joshin’ me, Abner, cause ya thank I’m stupid.’
‘I swear I ain’t, Buford, that’s zackly how it happens!’
‘So that means y’ cain’t ever go t’ heaven?’ asked Buford.
Abner wusn’t so shore now, y’ could see. ‘I ain’t shore ‘bout that, Buford. Ifn ya try t’ sell yore soul an’ the devil don’ want it, I thank y’ kin still go t’ heaven, but ifn he pays fer it, why you gonna go straight t’ hell when y’ die.’
‘But if yore gonna go t’ hell, why would a body sell his soul?’
‘Cause some people is dumb, Buford, real dumb.’
Buford shook his haid, ‘Y’ said a true thang there, Abner, y' shorely did.’ Then he looked at Abner, sharp like. ‘Yore joshin’ me, jes’ like the Cambrian ‘Splosion.’
‘No, I ain’t!’ said Abner, his feelin’s mighty hurt.
‘Yes, y’ are, ‘Said Buford, ‘an’ I kin prove it.’
‘How in tarnation y’ gonna prove that?’
‘Cause Santa brings presents, right? An’ he’s gonna give you even more ifn’ y’ sell yore soul t’ him, but you ain’t gonna go t’ no hell, yore gonna go t’ the North Pole!’
‘I tol’ you you wusn’ listenin’ proper like. It ain’t Santa, it’s Satan!’
Buford wus laughin’ now. ‘Oh, y a’most had me there, Abner, y a’most did, I swear. That’s a plumb good joke. Wait till I tell Hiram, he’s gonna wet his britches!’ He lay back on thet big o’ rock an’ laughed till the tears wus runnin f’um his eyes. Man, that Abner wus a card!
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