Devil Went Down to Georgia

By Brant Goble

“U.S. salmonella outbreak count hits 666 people sickened” — February 24, 2009, Reuters

s-bigatan never planned on going into the commercial food business; it just happened. And he’d never gotten along with management, either (perhaps you’ve already heard that story), so it was with a certain chagrin that he stood on the catwalk at GooberCorp, overseeing the production of the legume paste that would eventually destroy humanity, and dreamt of his retirement, when he could return to his real passion.

He had always loved music.

Music (and, to a lesser extent, his notoriously poor circulation) was the reason Satan had moved down South. Southerners felt their music, unlike the cold Northern intellectuals, and Satan was nothing if not feeling. Yet he could never quite make it on stage, his overly involved basslines drawing boos from crowds far rowdier than any he’d seen in Hell, where at least they didn’t over-serve customers quite as badly, and his pretty boy looks drawing leers and propositions (mainly from older men) that made him shiver.

So he became a roadie.

There are only two places a seven-foot tall demon with fiery shoulder-length hair and the strength of an army can blend into the crowd (and easily pick up women), and the Lynyrd Skynyrd tour bus was one of them. Working night after night wrapping cables and stripping fried chicken grease from Les Paul strings, he became a lightning-fast guitar tech and devoted friend of the band.

After the crash, it seemed only natural that Satan become road manager. He thrived at first, but greasing palms, screaming at vendors, and trying to hustle away groupies that were 15-going-on-45 before they got within suing distance of the band started to wear him down. So when he met a half-stoned fiftyish peanut heiress with plastic breasts and unnaturally white teeth in Atlanta, he knew he had to act fast.

Satan’s job was a cakewalk, and the factory practically ran itself. His office was nice, the workers were nice, and even his wife was nice (and aging nicely as well). In fact, everything was so damn nice that Satan became convinced that he would die in a sugar-fueled fit. Some demons, it seemed, just weren’t made for mint juleps and endless soirées on the veranda.

So he started drinking, and that’s when he hatched his plan.

Peanut butter had to be good for something. And after a hard night of plying Atlanta’s most desperate CDC rejects with tequila Jello shots, Satan had a list of no-questions-asked laboratory supply houses and a recipe for groundnut-loving super-salmonella-something guaranteed to turn the entire planet into a horde of bloodthirsty maniacs. Any idiot could whip this stuff up, and the former persecutor of Job was no idiot.

Breaking his reverie, Satan peered down into the vat, and it occurred to him how hard it would be to buy his way back into the music business if half the population was disemboweling the other half.

Wait, he yelled down to the scientist, we’re switching formulas. Let’s just give ’em the runs!


Brant Goble is a writer, editor, and perpetual (graduate) student. His works have been published in Words-Myth, Prick of the Spindle, Burst!, and ken*again. Like Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Brant was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Unlike Dr. Thompson, Brant’s never been to bat country.

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