The Four Fucking Crossroads of Hell and Waiting on the Devil

My brother Phil uttered that sentence while we were stopped at a flashing red light in some boondock flat part of Ohio.  It laid me out.  I mean gasping for air laughing so hard that I thought I might pass out.  Yeah, I know it's not that funny out of context.  To me, it was pure genius.  

Little did I know that I would be standing at the real Crossroads a couple months later.  Not the metaphorical crossroads.  But THE Crossroads.  The junction of US 49 and US61 in Mississippi.  Let me back the story up.  When Phil uttered that sentence I had never heard the legend.  I heard it from a waiter in Memphis last Christmas while I was at Rum Boogies chowing down on red beans and rice and fried green tomatoes.

Story is that famed bluesman Robert Johnson met the devil at that crossroad and traded his soul for fame and his mad guitar skills.  A number of other blues legends hail from near there lending credence to the idea that the devil makes this deal frequently.  That was too good to pass up.  So I trekked down to Mississippi to check it out.  Dusk fell as I found the right junction.  Sadly a McDonald's sits there now.  And a little bar which feels more in keeping with the legend.  

No devil.  No promise of fame.  No mad guitar skills.  But I do wonder how Phil knew about the legend.  Or did he?  And should I have met the devil, would I have made a similar bargain?  If a demon had offered me a Man Booker prize, or a Stephen King like popularity, or a poetic voice like Mary Oliver would I have taken it?  What if he had offered me something closer to my heart?  What if he held out the hand of love?  Would I have danced with him then?  

I don't know.  Because on that dark night there were no specters.  No carpetbag full of dreams.  Just the same flashing red light where we had paused in Ohio.  

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