Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Devil and Daniel Webster

"The Fiddle is the Devil's Instrument: And Other Forbidden Knowledge"

Good grief, it's been a little bit, hasn't it? As Lucifer said to John Constantine, "Busy, busy, busy, busy!"

I took a little time off for the Holidays. Like most of you, I've been feeling the fatigue of our times and it hasn't felt good. But you do what you can to mitigate the toll on body and mind so you can keep moving forward.

And then January. The longest five years, crammed into thirty-one days. 

That's what I was up to. Did some upgrading to my personal space at home. Binge-watched Supernatural. Did some reading. Found some new (to me) fan fiction, and some new fiction to lose myself in.

One of those fics was a fun twist on the Daniel Webster legend we all know and love so well. It happens after Daniel wins that fiddle of gold. Because there had to be an after, right? I mean, we know the Devil has got to be the sorest loser, ever, right? Like all narcissists, he's got to blame the winner for his misery, somehow. He's got to be wondering what the rest of the world is going to think about one cocky fiddle player beating him at his own game.

What will people think?!

They'll think they can just get away with stuff like that all the time, and that is never the right answer to a capital-N Narcissist. It will never sit well.

A Cornstalk Fiddle's writer, notbecauseofvictories, explores this idea and takes it in a delightful, delicious, direction. Our hero, renamed Johnny, is living in the aftermath of that famous musical challenge, but the experience has changed his youthful overconfidence into something calmer, more thoughtful. He finds that fiddle of gold isn't the instrument he thought it would be. It's actually as cold, cruel, and cutting as the Devil, himself.

And as he goes about his musician's life - playing gigs around Georgia, having the occasional drink in the bars in which he plays - the Devil finds him again. And while he's not so uncouth as to back out of the terms of Daniel's win, he is interested in a little payback, just to make Johnny sweat.

He starts out with a sip of the Devil's own whiskey...

A Cornstalk Fiddle, in my opinion, is one of those true, Southern Gothic stories, all draped with wispy Spanish moss and underlaid with the tinge of things which rot in the swamp. Johnny knows himself to be in the deepest of shit because he attracted the attention of the one being (aside from God, of course) whose attention you really don't want to settle on you, to fixate on you.

And all because of that damned Fiddle of Gold...

Head on over to read this engaging tale. It's free!

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