“Nick, I am giving you an A plus for this project, but please don’t ever, ever write children’s books.” This was the alarmed warning from my step-son’s high school teacher after he turned in his children’s book project titled “Baa-Baa Billy”. Of course I was intrigued. I am the title character. I felt a swelling of pride and asked Nick to tell me the story:
Baa-Baa Billy wandered a lonely road far from the tiny farming village that was his lambhood home. But his heart was full of wonder and his fluffy tail twitched with glee as the rocky road before him stretched into the distant hills.
His tiny hooves had carried him through the village gates with a soft click-click in the dark deep black of night while all the other farm animals slept and dreamt of buckets of oats and grain. But Baa-Baa Billy had bigger dreams. Dreams that were bigger than his simple little sheep’s brain: A pasture of his own.
“Why hello!” a deep voice called. The click-click of Billy’s hooves stopped and his little pouf of hair stood on end.
“Who’s there?” Baa-Baa Billy bleated.
“Lucifer’s my name, but you can call me Luke.”
Now because Baa-Baa Billy was so simple and could not concentrate hard enough to keep his eyes from crossing. He failed to see that his life had suddenly taken a terrible and horrifying turn.
“I’m Baa-Baa Billy!” he bleated with glee.
“Well of course you are and you are seeking a pasture of your own! I happen to own a pasture that is of no use to me.”
Baa-Baa Billy began to dance and kick up his mud covered hooves as he baa-baa’ed with abandon and joy. It was such a horrible happy sound that Lucifer covered his leathery ears and shouted:
“Quiet you stupid little piece of mutton!”
Baa-Baa Billy had no idea what mutton was but there was something in the way that Lucifer licked his pointed teeth that even poor little simple Billy could understand.
“The pasture can be all yours for such a small price.” Lucifer said this slowly so that Billy could understand.
“Baa, baa-but I have nothing to give you” Billy said as huge tear drops gathered in his wide eyes.
“The price is your soul: A pittance.”
Poor Billy had no idea what a soul was, but in a moment of confidence strange for such as small lamb he said:
“My soul is quite lovely, certainly worth more than your pasture.”
Lucifer scratched his scaly head and in a moment of pure inspiration said:
“Take this Hannah Montana CD as a down payment and give me your soul”
Poor little Billy was such a big fan that he snatched the CD in his mouth as Lucifer’s terrible smile stretched from ear to ear. Just then the village farmer spotted Billy and came running down the road.
The earth began to tremble and shake and just below Billy’s hooves the road split in two.
“Your pasture? Why of course it’s your pasture, but your soul is mine and must be stored in hell. I will let you leave if you give me 99 human souls. A sheep’s soul is so tiny that it is only worth that Hannah Montana CD.”
Billy’s eyes grew wide as the farmer reached for his neck. Billy spit out the CD and clamped down hard on the farmer’s leg with his crooked buck teeth, soul number one. The earth swallowed them both whole. The stretch of country road stood empty, save for a Hannah Montana CD. Billy’s soul was devoured and the world never noticed the difference.