Trying to convince Miss7 to do something for me suddenly had me thinking about a book I’d read with the lights on a few years ago.
There’s a premise in Needful Things which basically states the devil can buy your soul, or at least have you doing his bidding, for a lot less than you might think. He doesn’t need to dip into his bag of Apple stocks or play matchmaker or even convince death to look away for a few extra years.
Not that I was trying to secure Miss7’s soul. All I needed was for her to take her little sister into prep class in the morning because Tracey had to stay home with a vomiting Miss3 and I needed to get to work.
I’d explained my reasons to Miss7, finishing with, “So would you mind taking your little sister to class?”
“No,” said Miss7 after listening patiently to my request and giving it due consideration. “I don’t think I want to.”
Now before you start thinking my daughter is a bit of a brat, understand – this was my own stupid fault. I’d made the rookie mistake of posing my request as a question and not a direct order.
But now the damage was done and we moved on to the negotiation phase.
“Well, what will it take to make you think you want to?” I asked her.
“What are you offering?” she countered.
“I’ll let you buy a lolly at lunch.”
“I have chocolate chip biscuits in my lunchbox.”
“I’ll let you chose a movie on the weekend.”
Still she didn’t budge.
“You can come to the tip with me on the weekend. I’ll make your brother watch Winx with you. Do you want to wash the car?”
None of the usual enticements were working, and I mumbled something about children should just do what they’re told or they might find themselves uninvited to their own birthday party in a few weeks.
“Don’t give up, Daddy,” said Miss7, encouragingly. “You’ll think of something.”
And I did!
And, without overstating things, it was genius!
It was at this point I remembered Needful Things and asked myself, what is it that Miss7 gets most excited about? Filling our phone with computer game apps? Holidays to the coast? Diamond tiaras?
“How about,” I said in a tone which suggested I was about to offer a lifetime supply of uncut gemstones, CEO of a male model agency and a personal physician, “I buy you a lettuce.”
Her eyes widened and her mouth formed a perfect O.
“I can have my own lettuce?” she stammered. “All to myself? I don’t have to share it?”
After which she went skipping off to the prep room hand in hand with Miss5, dreaming of a world where good deeds are rewarded with green leafy vegetables.
You even wonder how deep the devil’s pockets would have to be to buy a soul? In this case, he only needs to get a finger into his trouser coin pocket. One lettuce set me back $1.99.
And where I’m concerned he wouldn’t even have to extend his finger that far.
“Change the nappy and take the bins out so they don’t stink up the kitchen,” Tracey instructed me last night.
“Why can’t you?” I wanted to know. We were both watching the same show on telly.
“If you do it I’ll show you my boobs,” said my wife.
You’ve got to hand it to Stephen King – he sure does know what he’s writing about.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs”