This is Part 3 of a trilogy loosely built around the music and lyrics of Robert Johnson. Legend has it he traded his soul at a crossroad in exchange for learning to play the guitar in a fashion that has become the most copied and least attainable of the blues players who came out out of the Delta in the 1930's. He was said to have been haunted by a Hellhound, a mythological being who is said to portend death to those who come in contact.

Other than that the series does not have anything to do with Robert Johnson. An expression of gratitude for his influence on an entire genre of music however should be included here.

Part 1 of the trilogy can be found by hovering over and clicking on the words "right here" >>>>right here

Part 2 of the trilogy can be found by hovering over and clicking on the words "and here" >>>>>and here

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He pulled out onto the highway feeling a sense of relief. It was a comfortable ride through the high desert for another hour at least before he needed to take the west bound turn that climbed over the Cascades. Pride filled him in belief the Hellhound had been stopped.

It appeared in many shapes and forms but the one that had chased him for so long was the one that wanted to know all about him. The one that seemed innocent enough but then tried to get into his head and heart. He recognized it easily now and put a stop to it quickly, glad to know that the next time it would be even easier. There would be no hesitation at the crossroad.

He popped his favorite Robert Johnson CD into the rental car's player and began his cruise back to his home town. The road laid out flat for the most part. Western Juniper, Manzanita and sage competed for the small amount of water that fell on the rocky outcropping which rose above the highway.

Small settlements, not really towns were here and there. Ramshackle houses and double wide trailers set back a couple hundred yards from the asphalt beckoned travelers with handmade signs. There were places to buy chain-saw sculptures of bears, raccoons and Sasquatch. Across the road another one might lure some one interested in polished agates and jasper belt buckles. A 1965 Buick station wagon had been helicoptered and set on the roof of a gas station converted into a taco breakfast joint. It was supposed to be attractive.

As the road came closer to the Columbia River it rose to the crest of the basalt cliffs and followed its winding edge. The state had never been budgeted to include guardrails and environmental groups had long fought successfully any effort to place them there. It was a completely unfettered and natural pathway glorious in its beauty and danger. No restrictions. It was perfect. He pushed the gas pedal closer to the floor to enjoy it properly.

At the crest he thought of the Native American legend of the coyote carrying fire on its tail to spread to those who needed it. The tale seemed quaint and more than coincidental as at that moment a large dark beast of a canine, its fangs dripping in blood and its tail ablaze flew across the hood of the car. He laughed at himself. Surely it was his imagination. It looked like the Hellhound. He resolved to pull over at the next opportunity for some coffee.

The vision had startled him enough that he dropped the CD cover he had just grabbed to select disc number two. Johnson's tune "Me and the Devil" was ending. Bending down to get it he heard the back wheels hit the red cinder gravel right-of-way. Quickly sitting back up he looked forward past the hood of the car and the road had disappeared.

"That is so beautiful" he thought. The panoramic view took in the sky, clouds and off in the distance the ever flowing river. "Next time I'm through here I'm going to take the Greyhound and leave the driving to them. I want to see this without any distractions."

The front of the car began to point downward. The rocky desert floor rushed at him.Fast, then faster hurtling towards him and his fate. He saw the jaws of the Hellhound agape and looming  just below; the desert floor that was about to swallow him.

Seconds became minutes became hours became days became weeks became months became years became decades became centuries became millenia became eons as he pushed through the desert floor into the jaws of the beast. The molten eternity he had always tried to escape but which in reality was his own unavoidable truth and destiny took him in as he succumbed to its power and possession.

His journey had just begun.

 

Early this morning
When you knocked upon my door
Early this morning, oooo
When you knocked upon my door
And I said hello Satan
I believe it's time to go

Me and the Devil
Was walkin' side by side
Me and the Devil, woooo
Was walking side by side
And I'm going to beat my woman
'Til I get satisfied

She said you don't see why
That she would dog me 'round
(Spoken:) Now baby you know you ain't doin' me right don'tcha
She say you don't see why, whoooo
That she would dog me 'round
It must-a be that old evil spirit
So deep down in the ground
You may bury my body
Down by the highway side
(Spoken:) Baby, I don't care where you bury my body when I'm dead and gone
You may bury my body, woooo
Down by the highway side
So my old evil spirit
Can get a Greyhound bus and ride

~Robert Johnson

 

 

 

Views: 328

Comment by koshersalaami on February 28, 2013 at 7:32am

Good finish

Comment by JMac1949 Memories on February 28, 2013 at 7:34am

Most people make their own particular version of hell and a lot of us carry it around with us every day of our lives... R&L

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on February 28, 2013 at 7:36am

I have enjoyed this short series a great deal.

Comment by Out-on-a-limb on February 28, 2013 at 7:47am

The devil never goes looking for folks.  He simply waits by the roadside until they drive by.

Great mini series indeed!

Comment by alsoknownas on February 28, 2013 at 7:50am

koshersalaami,

Thanks for reading all the way through.

Jmac,

Your loyalty to reading and commenting is greatly appreciated. Good insight....

Comment by alsoknownas on February 28, 2013 at 8:48am

Jonathan Wolfman,

Thanks for saying so. I know you appreciate the works of R. Johnson.

Comment by Zanelle on February 28, 2013 at 8:58am

Oh  This is wonderful music.  I'm playing it loud here this morning.  Thank you.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on February 28, 2013 at 9:09am

Chilling in a rather gorgeous way, this : “Quickly sitting back up he looked forward past the hood of the car and the road had disappeared.’That is so beautiful’ he thought. The panoramic view took in the sky, clouds and off in the distance the ever flowing river”

~

I’m not a fan of conventional ideas of Hell. However, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The idea came from somewhere , somehow, right? Watered down religious creeds assure us there is no hell except the one we make here, but who is to say that we miraculously are excused for our misjudgments when our personal destructive swath of ignorant self-protection is done?

 

The final paragraph , by the way, describes a particular ‘hell hound’ of mine: a meme I picked up somewhere, somehow, that the moment of death is like entering a black hole: time slows down infinitely, and the finite experience of it is everlasting.

Comment by alsoknownas on February 28, 2013 at 9:22am

Out-on-a limb,

Careful now. Don't be so sure.

Thanks for reading and complimenting.

Comment by alsoknownas on February 28, 2013 at 9:25am

Zanelle,

I've been doing a good deal of re-listening the last couple of weeks. The nuances are endless.

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