Then she Bethany made the old woman pause. That hesitance you give to a storyteller. Maybe it’s simply a yawn a breaking away of eye contact the hint of a smile or frown. Or maybe even a more subtle vibe indistinct from body language the yes and no of verbal communication. Maybe the old woman knew she was impatient. Looking among the faces for that of her husband who then at that time was taking a walk heading north to Rampart Street maybe he too pausing for a moment breaking step with the man who was taking him there. How all deals are made really. That one should lead and another follow. That one speaks while another listens. You sign your name to it like any other contract. The proverbial future which we all expect to be better a time of prosperity for all and only the glum prophets among us ask, “Will it make you happy?”

There’s at least two ways to look at a thing–maybe more. There’s the observed and the observer and from this opinions abound. For are the silent wise? Or are those which talk little with little thought? Are those lines around your eyes from worry or from laughter? Sometimes a story doesn’t lead to a logical choice. To the answer you’re looking for. Sometimes they are without specifics. And this is a good thing–perhaps the best of things. For in the story of your life you can’t cheat and read the end. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and this can fill you with a terrible dread or a resounding joy. The fact that your free will is a process. You learn and grow from what your daddy was and his daddy and on down to your children and your children’s children and on it goes to the last moments the final dregs of your life–the transformation the renewing of your mind never a done deal. And what do you say to your death? Well, that’s what others say. For the stories you tell the stories you’ve heard will someday be told about you. Let’s hope there’s a little love in it.

And it’s movement. Time is measured that way. But what if you don’t move? Don’t move long enough and people consider you dead. And time slows down. It slows down to the infinite. Move fast enough and it’s like you never age. At least to the observer standing still—to the dead. For they’ve gone deep—still waters run deep. And you know them by their smell—their stagnant smell. Just as you know shallow waters by the noise they make… You know the deal. You’ve always known it. This old woman didn’t need to tell Bethany a story for her to relate to it, and it’s when you deny the deal that you lose. Only when you acknowledge it do you have the chance to win. This chance your grace. Your chance to know your evil, and rather than being afraid you make a move. A move that makes time begin again, and the observer, the observer in the deal—frozen. They are frozen as they always were, hoping you will freeze, and go deep… But that is their reality. Their knowledge of time, and what’s funny is you can pass them by—you can run by them in your race—and while they’re here you’re there, at another corner. And that’s when you know. You know they were always strangers. It’s only when you stop do you have time to make friends. Only when you stop is the deal lost. You stop to start, and that’s what Bethany did what her husband David did. And that’s how you win the deal—that old deal with the Devil. That deal David made long ago in Mississippi. What Bethany already knew about. It’s that chance you take. With how you know time ends, and what grace is.

And so it was with the story. The story this old voodoo woman was about to tell Bethany. The power in them. The power in words. Not necessarily in the words themselves, but your faith in them. For have you ever been encouraged? Has one little comment brought you down for the rest of the day? Bethany knew this all too well. She knew her husband listened to her. She saw her own power in guiding him. How if she wanted him to go one way all it took were a few positive words, and if she wanted him to go a different way it took just few words to discourage it maybe even just a shrug. And that’s the trick of it. The trick in any story you tell in any bit of advice. If you have a person’s confidence if they trust you and God forbid if they love you you can tell the most outlandish story and they will believe it. And they may not even be aware of how you manipulated them. It’s such a delicate thing to know what another knows they did not come up with themselves. You can look so selfless in the matter. That’s when you know you’ve got a good story when words take a mystery and make them plain as day. You know you’ve got a good story when someone else wants to tell it when they want to make it as their own. And in the retelling the possibilities are endless… So anyway about the puppy. And the old woman says: