Wicked John and the Devil


Southern Folktale collected by Richard Chase available on Amazon

        Adpt. by Marilyn A. Kinsella  www.marilynkinsella.org

   Drama Choir - Theatre Form influenced by Dr. Jack Stokes

STAGING - Rocking Chair (or any chair)

SPEAKERS:  A. Main Narrator; B. Narrator; C.  Child;  D. Mother;  G. Grannie Annie; J. Wicked John; P. St. Peter; S. Sally Jean; T. Tommy Ray; M. Minister; D1. Devil's Baby Son;        D2. Devil's Teen Son;  D3. Devil (Scratch);  E. Everybody (E1 - first row) E2 (second row)  except when on "stage".

(E. Chorus (E 1 and E 2) stands in two rows with their heads down) Most major chorus parts in row E1.

A. (head up) Ooooo...Eeeeee. What's that I see...Could it be....Wicked John?

E. (heads up) .....Wicked John

A. Is he still a-ahauntin' for a place of his own?

B. Place of his own? Shoot, that critter's so mean the buzzards wouldn't claim him

E. Old John a-creepin' in the dead of night

    Old John a-stealin' with hells' own light.

A.  Yup, see that light movin' out yonder, movin' to and fro

E.  ...to and fro, to and fro

A. That's old John and he's a-layin' low...                                                

E  ... Layin' low, layin' low.

E- 2  (back row) Too bad for heaven.                                         

E - 1 (front row) Too mean for hell.                                           

E.  A sad, sad story for a man to tell.

C. (childlike) But, I don't understand. Who was this Wicked John, anyway?

E. (incredulous) Who was Wicked John?

C. That's right, who was Wicked John?

B. Child, where have you been all your life?

D. Oh, don't be so hard on my poor baby. She don' remember. She just a babe, when Old John's clock done run out of time.

A.  Well, child, you're in for an edgie-cation. Cause let me tell how it was with John. Why he was so mean....

E. How mean was he?

A. He was so mean, he laughed when Bambi's mother died.

E. Oooooo.

A. He was so mean, that he'd drink vinegar water, just to sweetin' hisself.

E. Eeeeeew.

A  He was SO MEAN, (look around)...He's so mean, he'd offer a drownin' man a glass of water.

E. Oh, that IS mean.

C. But, I don' understand, Mama. What made him so mean?

D. Well, Child, it was like this. You see, Old John was born mean, natural mean, a low-down, scum of the earth, sure-to-fire - mean!

M. But, that warn't nothin' til he started drinkin' the devil's brew...til he started drinkin'...

E. Rum...

(at first, loud and low to a beat and get softer as the minister speaks and louder when he pauses, keep this part moving with a regular beat)

M. That ole demon rum (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

        Could make a happy man cry (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

That old demon rum (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

Could make a healthy man die (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

That ole demon rum (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

Could do what it naughter (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

That ole demon rum (E - Rum...rum...rum...)

Could set fire to water (E - rum...Rum...RUM!)

D. Yup, that was ole Wicked John. Meanest man to walk this here county...

A. This here state.

        B. This here country!

        E. This here EARTH!

M. Well, he wasn't always so mean.

E. (look at Minister incredulous) Whadya mean...he wasn't always so mean?

M. Now, you remember. He WAS awful nice to strangers. Couldn't stand to look at a person a second time...but he WAS awful nice to strangers. Skeered his wife and kids every mornin' after breakfast...but he WAS awful kind to strangers.

A. (reluctantly) Yeah, well, I guess you're right. Why, I recollect the time old John told us about that beggar man a-comin' to his door.


B. Ahhh, yes, the beggar man and Wicked John. I can see Wicked John now (WJ moves to the front of the chorus pretending to hammer) a-hammerin' away on that anvil, blacksmithin' to beat the band. When suddenly there appeared at the back door, a bent-over, old man lookin' 'bout a hundred years plus. (P is standing in the middle of the front row)

J. (WJ stops hammering and looks over at P standing in the middle of the chorus.) Well, Old Man, what brings you here? Mays well come on in and set a spell, and rest your weary bones by my fire.

P. Thanks, Sonny. Don' mind if I do (walks over and sits in the rocking chair) Been on a long journey, and that fire sure do look invitin'.

J. You're doin' all that travelin', you must be hungry. Let me go and get you some vittles off the stove. (walks to the back of the chorus and returns pretending to be carrying a plate and a glass)

P. That'd be right nice of you , Sonny. You shore do know how to make a stranger feel welcome.

J. (handing the plate and glass to P...) Here you go. Some fat back and collards, a sweet tater, and whole mess of black-eyed peas. And, a glass of sweet milk to wash it down. You just help yourself. I get plenty of food (pats belly) three times a day. Guess one meal can't hurt me. (stop action)

E. Then a Strange and Wonderful thing happened. (Beggar man rises tall from the chair)

C. Oh, lookee, Mama, look! It's an angel, an angel of the Lord!

D. Now hush, that's no angel, That's Saint Peter as I live and breathe!

P. John?

J. (Turns back to P, shading his eyes) Whadya gone and done to yourself?...And, how did you know my name?

P. John, it I, St. Peter, keeper of the gates of heaven, who knows all. I come to earth once a year in search of a kind person. You, John, are that kind person.

J. KIND!? Well, if'n that don' beat all. I been called many a four letter word in my day...but never kind.

P. Yet, you were kind to me John. You offered me a fire, when I was chilled; a chair, when I was weary; food, when I was hungry. Therefore, I will grant you three wishes...any three wishes your heart desires.

J. (sarcastically) Three wishes, eh? Well, now, let me see...

E. (falsetto voice) I know what you should wish...I know...

J. Huh! I got it. See that ole rocky chair you been sittin' in? Well, I'm sick 'n tired of people comin' in here and ploppin' themselves down without even askin' and rockin' in my chair. Then, when I wants to sit down, I got to skeer 'em out of there. I just wish that anybody sits in that chair'll get good and stuck, an also get themselves a good rockin' to boot a-fore I tell 'em theys can get out.

P. Well, John, if you're sure that's what you really want. But, think about it, John, most people like to think about their souls, and you do have two more wishes.

J. Don' have to think about it.

E. (hgher falsetto) I know what you should wish...I know...

J. You see this here hammer? (E. oooh) That's my fav-o-rite hammer. And, dad-gummit, neighbors come bargin' in here and take my hammer without sos much as askin', and then they go a-leavin' it someplace that I has to go out and fetch it. I wish anyone so's much as touches this here hammer won' be able to let go. And let that hammer give 'em a good hasslin' with it 'sides, 'Til I tell them that they can let go.

P. But, that was your second wish, John. Now, surely you'll think of something good and wise for your soul for your third wish.

J. Oh, it's wise alright and good (heh-heh)...good for me!

E. (falsetto) I know what to wish...I know what to wish...your soul, John...YOUR SOUL! (look at John with anticipation and then with disgust as he says about looking at the apple tree.)

J. You see that ole apple tree out yonder? Well, would you believe it...people just come from miles around - fancy dukes and earls to dirty lil street urchins, and they just climb up that tree as big as you please, pick themselves an apple, and chomp it right down. Well, I just wish that anybody climbs up that tree gets good and stuck and won' be able to get out til I says they can get out. And, let that tree tease 'em a bit too.

P. (shaking his head) So be it , John. You have used up your three wishes and nothing was said about the salvation of your soul. So, until we meet again...(disappears into chorus)

J. (to audience) Confoundest thing I ever seen'. (goes back into chorus)

E. Gave him three chances to redeem his sin                          

Now he can't get out, and he can't get in                                      

E-1 : Too bad for heaven

E -2  Too mean for hell                                                                    

E. A sad, sad story for a man to tell.

C. But, how did you know he was tellin' the truth? Maybe he just made the whole thing up.

D. Oh, it was the truth alright.


A. You'd a-thunk that after meetin' up with the number one saint and keeper of the keys and all, that you'd at least try to be good and kind, and sweet as honey, but not John...no-sir-ee, he just got meaner.

E. That Wicked John was meaner than a junkyard dog.

B. He just thought it was a big joke and all with his new conjure ways. Tried to trick people whenever he could.

E. Mean dirty tricks...from a mean dirty ole man.


D. I recollect the day Grannie Annie came over for one of her social-izin' visits with Wicked John's wife.

A. You know, I almost forgot about that. John had been drinkin' again, and he felt nothin' but meaness a-coursin' through his veins as he met Grannie Annie at the door.

G. (John and Grannie walk to front of group) Well, John, see you been drinkin' again. That demon rum is gonna lead you down the path of destruction, the road to nowhere , the highway to degradation and sin!

J. Good mornin' to you too, Grannie Annie. My wife's too busy to see you so why don' you make a tree and leave?

G. What happened? You skeered that poor woman again or somethin'? Where is she...hidin' somewhere?

J. Nah, I only skeered her a little bit this mornin'. She's out back gettin' the fire wood like I told her...ifn' you really must know.

G. So what's the matter with you gettin' your own firewood?

J. Well, I would, but it's my back. My sciatica and rheumytism is been actin' up. Sides, she don' have nothin' to do all day.

G. Huh! Nothin' but waitin' on you hand and foot. And, those pains of yours are in your head...not in your back.

J. Say, Gannie, why don' you just go ahead and leave. All you want to do is set around and talk that silly woman talk. Fillin' my wife's head with all kinds of foolish, liberated, woman's-lib notions.

G. Don' think you're gonna get rid of me that easy. I think I'll just wait right here till I see her for myself.

J. Stands there all you want, but don' you dare park that bony butt in my rocker.

G. Why, what's so big about your rocker?

J. Nothin' It's just mine, and I don' like nobody sittin' in it...especially meddlin', self-righteous, nosy female-types like you.

G. Well, if it's good enough for your royal hine-ess, it's good enough for me. I think I'll just sit in that rocker and wait.

J. (to audience) Heh-hey-hey, that be good...that be REAL good. (smiling at Grannie)

G. What you grinnin' about, you ole polecat? Oh drat, I forgot my crochetin' (tries to get up) Why, what's the matter with this thing? I can't get up, and it won' stop rockin'!. I'll be blamed if'n this thing ain't witched. Whoa! Help me, I can't get outta here. Wicked John, you make this thing stop, you hear!

E. And all the while Grannie rocked and rocked and rocked                

Wicked John laughed, and scorned, and mock.

J. You go what comin', you set in my chair                                            

A-peddlin' your gossip with your nose in the air.

E. So Grannie rocked and rocked and rocked about                              

She rocked so hard, her false teeth fell out!

J. What's that DIS-gustin' think on the floor?                                           

You don' say your sorry, I'll give you more.

G. (talk like teeth are out) I'm sorry, sorry, do ya hear?

A, Finally, bout three to four hours later, John got tired of his trick.            

B. Sides, the sight of Grannies toothless gums, made him sick.

J. Whickedy-whackity, whickedy where                                                    

Stop your rockin, ole rockin' chair.

D. (Grannie staggers back into chorus) All bug-eyed and loopy, she headed for the door. And she never came back...          

E. We know that for shore! (John laughs a deep, evil laugh as he goes back into chorus)


A. So, that's how it was the way with Wicked John. Gettin' de-light in the misery he could cause another human bein'.

B. Stackin' up, mean tricks like they was sodi bottles on a fence...and laughin' as he shot each one to smithereens.

C. But, maybe he just didn't like Grannie Annie.

D. Chile, It didn't make any difference whether he liked you or not. He didn't dis-criminate! Young or old, pretty or ugly, Republican or Democrat. He was just plain ornery-mean to everybody and every thing.

B. Yes, even to poor little, sweet Sally Jean.

C. You mean, he was mean to Sally Jean?

B. That's right. I'm meanin' to mean                                                             

     He was meaner than mean to Sally Jean.

E. Poor Sally Jean.

A. With pins and badges and goodness galore,

     She brought cookies to sell at his front door.

S. (Sally and John walk to front of the chorus) Good morning, Mr. Wicked John, sir. I've got some cookies to sell to help pay my way to the Chicago's World's Fair.

J. Well now, what kind do you have?

S. Let's see. Let me look at my list (unrolls a long list)

We've got:                                                                                      

Superfudge kisses and chew macaroon ties.                                     

Peanut butter newtons and scrumptious moon pies                             

We've got:

Honey-coated wafers and caramel crunchies,                

Animal crackers and marshmallow munchies                           

We've got:                                                                                          

Sugar-coated lady fingers, and, if that's not enough,                  

We've got:                                                                                 

Chocolate dum-dingers, and other good stuff.

J. How about some graham crackers?

S. Graham crackers? (looks over list) No, Sir, no graham crackers, but we do have...superfudge kisses...

J. Yeah, yeah, I know...and scrumptious moon pies. But, I had my heart set on some graham crackers. Nothin' better than to let two or three sit overnight in glass of beer in the ole icebox to soften up a bit. Just had my mouth set on it, too, and now you a-tellin' me you ain't go no graham crackers. I thought you scout-types always did your best!

S. We do, sir.

J. Then, why don' you have no graham crackers? I don' know what this world's a-comin' to. All I do is work, work, work, slavin' away in this blacksmith shop. For what? What's my re-ward? No graham crackers...that's my re-ward! (dramatic) Just take a look at my hands...look at these calluses on my hand. You don' get hands like that by peddlin' no cookies, no siree. It's all that liftin' that big ole hammer over there, day after day, without any help! Say, do you scouts still pledge to help others at all times?

S. All the time, sir.

J. Well then, since you ain't got no graham crackers, why don' you help me finish roundin' out this horseshoe?

S. Wh-what I gotta do?

J. Just take holt of that hammer...

E. Don' do it, Sally Jean...(SJ picks up hammer)

J. And swing.

E. (SJ swings around with hammer) You see what I mean.

S. (twirling around with hammer) Hey, what's wrong with this thing? It won' let go. Please, Mr. Wicked John sir, tell it to let go.

A. Too late now, the hammer's swingin' round                                  

     Pretty soon Sally Jean'll be throwed to the ground.

J. No graham crackers for me to eat                                                        

   Then, let's see what else you got for a treat.

B. So, he set himself down in his chair                                                   

    And ate every last bit of Sally Jean's ware.

J. Those cookies ain't half bad, and, oh, by the way,                           

    It's too bad I ain't got no money to pay. (slap leg and laugh)

D. And then, as the last crumb he did finish,                                        

    He stopped the hammer with a foolish grinnish.

J. Whickedy, whackedy, Whickedy, Whammer,         

    I say, you can let go of my ole hammer.

A. Then, Sally Jean stopped, an' she wasn't any stronger,                                      

     But her arms were about six inches longer!

B. She stumbled out the door, but turned to say...

S. Goodbye, Mr. Wicked John, sir, have a nice day.

J. (laughs as he pulls her hat over her ears and throws her bag at her and pushes her out the door. SJ and WJ go back into chorus)

       E. Mmm-mmm-mmm...meanin' 'n porcupine pie!


C. Liberated grannies and little girl scouts! Why doesn't he pick on somebody his own size?

D. Oh, he did, chile, believe you me...he did! You see, 'sides bein' mean and ornery, he also had to have what everybody else had. He was known far and wide for his fits of...

E (whisper loudly and slowly) Jealousy...

M. Jealousy - that green-eyed monster that resides in the dark recesses of one's soul and rises hand in hand with avarice and greed.

E. Jealousy......

M. That monster that once let loose wreaks havoc amongst friendship and fair play.

E. Jealousy...

M. The monster's whose only words are: are:                                      

  1. Is that all?                                                                                      
  2. Gimme more!                                                                               
  3. That one's better better!                                                                   

D. Why me?

 E. (pointing to each other) You love her better than me!

A.  It finally got to the point that he was so jealous of his wife that he took to lockin' her up in the closet by day. One day, though, she snuck out, packed up her kids, and never came back!

B. No use tryin' to teach an old dog new tricks.

D. Especially, if that old dog is Wicked John!

A. Pretty soon all of his friends left him alone, cause he was always cheatin' at cards or runnin' meaness off at the mouth. Pretty soon, hardly nobody came round no more.

B. Nobody left to play tricks on. Nobody til...the tax assessor came by to reassess John's house. (WJ and Taxman come forward)


T. Good day, Wicked John. you remember me, don't you? Tommy Ray from down the road a bit. I used to play with your boys afore they up and left.

J. Why, little Tommy Ray...just look at you all growed up. Why, I remember, when you was just a snotty-nosed kid always pokin' your nose into business it didn't belong. (T wipes his nose on his sleeve, WJ looks at the audience...) Looks like some things never change.

T. Oh, but it has. I got me a good job with the county assessor's office. I reassess old places like yours that may have fallen through the cracks. You wouldn't want to cheat the county out of its taxes, now wouldja? For instance, take a look at this aerial photo, this shed wasn't here, last time you was accessed. That'll be about $2000.00 added on to your assessed value.

J. (to audience) Like I said...some things just never change. (to T) Ah, that's right, just, ah, built this, ah last year, Must not have caught up with the books, yet.

T. (smart aleck) Ah-yeah. And what's this? Another fire place...tsk, tsk, tsk...that's another $500.00.

J. How do expect a fella to keep warm, if'n he don' have no heat? Now what's that your a-writin'?

T. Oh, I just noticed that you put asphalt of your driveway and you added central air, didn't you? By the way, does this place have a basement?

J. Now you wait one cotton-pickin' minute. You mean to tell me....

T. I mean to tell you that all his is very taxable. Your next tax bill should be a real shocker.

J. And, just where does all this tax money go to anyway?

T. Don' tell me you haven't ridden across our county roads...some of the finest in the state. And then there are the work programs and special services, and let's not forget the upkeep on that airport out there in the middle of that corn field. All that adds up to a pretty penny, and you have to do your share or...

J. Or what?

T. Or, the county may just come in and claim eminent domain and take this nice piece of property for the general good - like a new casino or something. 

J. (holding back his temper) That's right. I forgot all the good things that the county provides. Must have had a moment of temporary amnesia or somethin'. Say, by the way, are tree houses taxable? I wouldn't want to cheat the county our of anythin' it deserves.

T. Yup, they sure are. You got one?

J. Sure do, Prettiest little hut. Fit it with electricity and runnin' water afore my boys (sniff) up and run off.

T. What would the measurements on that be?

J. Measurements" Gosh, I don' know, Tommy. It was one of those do as you go operations. But it is plenty big. See that apple tree out yonder? Built it right inside that tree.

T. Well, let's go have a look.

J. Here, don' forget your measurin' tape.

T. (climbs tree - chair or stepping stool) I tell you, Wicked John, I do believe somebody done run off with your tree house. I don' see board one up here. But, I got to tell you that these apples are mighty fine. Just like I remember them, when I used to sneak up here and bring home a basket for my fambly.

J. Best apples in the county.

T. Guess won't have to put that tree house down in the books after all.

J. Guess not.

T. Best be on my way, now. I got four more house on this...hey, what's wrong here? I can't seem to make my way outta here? Ouch! Hey, your apple tree just poked me and what's that vine doin' wrappin' itself around my foot" Hey, let go! Let me outta here! (T periodically says "ouch" and "ow" etc... as the chorus speaks...)

A. And so that tree grabbed hold of Tommy Ray                                 

And kept him at bay...all day.

B. And Wicked John just stood below below,                                            

With evil eyes...all aglow.

J. What was that?  You want to reassess?

Go right ahead, that is unless...

T. Unless, what, Wicked John?

J. Unless you want to get outta that tree.                                   

You better shape up and lissen' to me!

T. Anything you say Wicked John, sir. Just let me outta here.

J. All you gotta do is change a few facts,                                         

So's I end up payin' no tax.

T. You got it! No central air, no driveway, no shed...no nothin'! Yes, it's right here in black and white.

J. (to audience) That be good...that be real good.                            

(to T) Now don' go thinkin' about changin' your mind mind                       

Or my conjure ways will me find find                                          

Where you're hidin' or where you're at                                            

And I'll whup your hide with a baseball bat.

T. Don' worry, sir, I promise. Nobody'll ever know... it'll be our little secret.

J. That's all I want to hear. hear.                                                  

Whickedy - Whackedy, Whickedy whee,                                                      

I say you can climb outta that tree. (J and T go back into chorus)


C. But, Mama, I thought you tole me nobody got of payin' taxes and dyin'.

D. Guess I was wrong. Wicked John cheated outta payin' another tax bill...and he almost cheated death.

C. How's he do that?

A. Well, little one, it was like this. You see, all that ornery stuff didn' go unnoticed, no siree! Somebody was watchin'...

B. Somebody was makin' note...

D. Somebody was just as pleased as punch...

C. Who...who was it?

M. He was the Prince of Darkness, the keeper of sin                                

He was the demon of all that is evil within.

He was the epitome of avarice, lust, gluttony, and pride.                             

He was greed, envy, and jealousy, all personified.

C. But who?

E. The devil, that's who!

C. (gulp) You mean...

D. Yup, the stoker of the fiery furnace. Ole Scratch...

E. Natch!


A. Now, Scratch didn' foresee any problems bringing' John down. In fact, he had a real nice place all picked out for Wicked John when he arrived...a real hot spot. if you will. So, Scratch sent down his little devil-son to do his dirty work. That way, at least, his fire wouldn't go out whilst he was gone. (J and D1 make their way to the front)

B. Wicked John was workin' away on his anvil when Devil # 1 arrived.

D1 (Sassy, demanding little kid's voice) You can put that hammer of yours down. I got orders from my papa to take you back down with me. So, let's go.

J. Orders, eh? From who?

D1. My Pa. He says you been mean and low down long enough on this earth, and we can use your type down below.

J. (sarcastically to audience) I guess if the Big Boy says to jump, I better ask how high on the way up. (to D1) Well, what if I'm not ready?

D1 Don' have to be ready. Now, let's get goin'. I want to get back to my video games.

J. Hold your horses. Now, you just set yourself down, cool your jets...so to speak, while I clean up.

D1 Okay, but just hurry, (starts rocking) Hey, what's wrong with this thing? It won't stop. I feel sick.

J. And, it won't stop neither, lessen you promise to go away and never come back. Do I make myself clear?

D1 (still rocking) I promise, I promise, please, Mr. Wicked John, sir, let me go!

J Whickedy whackedy, whickedy where

I say that devil son, can get outa that chair!  

(D1 goes back into chorus as J laughs)

A. That po lil' devil son went right home and told his pa all that happened, and I mean to tell you, the Big Boy was fiery mad!

B. Called his teenage son to go on up and haul his sorry self down.

D2 (struts in front of the group - full of himself and with attitude) Hey, you! Yeah, you. Let's go. My ole man is waitin', and he wants you...right now.

J. Now, jes hol' on. I'm almost done. Why, don' you sit yourself down and cool your heals while I...

D2 Hey, man, you can't fool me. That was a good one you pulled on my nerdy little bro, but I'm too cool for you...let's go!

J.  Pardoni, my faux pas, I can see I am talkin' to a sophisticated sort. But, I don' know what you are in such an a-fired hurry for, though. Jes' let me finish this here wheel. (struggling) Almost have it done...Hand me that hammer and I'll be done in a flash.

D2. Jeez, Here you go! (starts to hand him the hammer when it throws him around) Hey wait! What's wrong here? I can't let go!

J. Can't be fooled, eh. Well, you lookin' pretty foolish to me.

D2 Let me go! I promise to leave you alone. Let me go!

J. Well, that'd be downright obligin' of you. Seein' as you ain't got no choice in this here matter.

Whickedy, whackedy, whickedy whammer,

I say that devil, can let go of my hammer.

(D2 walks away with his arms drooping down and WJ laughs)

A. Mmm-mm, I can tell you one thing, Scratch wasn't any too happy, when he saw his second son arrive with no Wicked John.

B. No, no Wicked John - Only arms that reached down to his hooves!

A. That Scratch was so mad, he had steam comin' out of his ears, his nose, his horns, and even both hooves. Finally, he put about a ton of coal on the back burner, gave strict orders to his boys to stoke it every ten minutes, and commenced to prepare for his journey.

B. In a puff of sulfuric smoke, Scratch appeared before Wicked John.

J. (looks up at D3 and says non-chalantly) Oh, it's you.

D3 Who were you expectin'...the Avon Lady? You don skeered every last human being in this county and two counties over includin' my two boys. Don' like it when my two boys are outwitted, especially by a lowly, two-bit, earth-scum like yourself. But, now your I've come to deliver your comeuppance. It's time to serve the eternal flame.

J. Guess there ain't no use in arguin"

D3  Nope

J. Then... let's go. (start to walk together when J points to the apple tree.)

Hey, Sctatch, do remember this tree? It's an apple tree, just like the one that was writ up in the Bible. Now, that was a neat trick. You climbin' up that tree and temptin' Eve and all.

D3 Yup, that was one of my finer persuasive speeches.

J. Course, Eve was a woman and all. Couldn't have done it so easy, if you'd been talkin' to a man.

D3 What are talking about...wouldn't have made any difference, Adam or Eve, neither could've resisted my slick salesman pitch.

J. Nah! you couldn't tempt a man into doin' somethin' that stupid.

D3 You think so! Well, I'll just climb this tree and find a good apple. (groaning sounds like climbing a tree) Ah, here's one. Look what I have for you John, the perfect apple. Go ahead, take it for a spin. (J takes the apple) That's right take one bite...it can't...

J. Why, don' mind if I do. (chomp noise and saying with his mouth full) This is pretty good.

D3. Oh, you're too easy. You didn't even try to resist like Eve did. Took all the fun out of it.

J. Too easy, eh, You come down here and say that to my face you two-timin', flea-bitten, horny toad!

D3 I will, just as soon as I...Hey, what's that? Let go... ouch... oooh...ah!

J. (insincere) What's the matter up there? Thought you was comin' right down?

D3 Now listen here, Wicked John, this ain't funny. If'n I don' get back home, my fire will die out. You can't trust kids these days to do what you tell 'em, and my fire will be stone cold. And, it's the devil to get it started again. Now, let me outa here!

J. (sing songy) I don't hear the magic word.

D3  Please..(begging) Please... let me outa here.

J. You promise me that you and none of your sassy-faced, snotty-nosed youngin's will ever so's much as darken my doorstep?

D3 I promise. Me nor none of my fambly, will ever so's much as cross your path. May the floodgates be opened to hell, if'n I don' speak the devil's honest truth.

J. Reckon, that's what I  want to hear.

Whickedy, whackedy, whickedy whee

I says that devil can get outa that tree.

(laughs as D3 runs back to chorus)

A. When Scratch got home, shore enough, the fire was out. Took Scratch three days and three nights to get it up to its proper temperature. By that time, he was steamin' mad, and he yelled a curse so loud that the wall of hell echoed for a week.

D3 You tricked me three times, Wicked John, and I'm out.

      I'll never bother you again...have no doubt

      But, if you should ever so much as dare

      To set a foot in hell and foul my air

      I'll turn you away and all will be well

     For now I know, you're too mean for hell!

M. And now, Wicked John was truly alone. No friends, no family, no anybody,,,

A. No one to say "Howdy,"

B. Or "pass the butter please."

E. Alone...alone...alone...

C No one to send cards...

D. Or bless you when you sneeze.

E. Alone...Alone...Alone

A. Just an empty chair... where a friend used to stay.

B. A closed door... where the dog used to stay

E1. No one here

E2. No one there.

C. Just Wicked John, and he don' care

D. He just don' care.

A. Then, finally, one day, he just up and died.

D. (childlike) How did he die, Mama?

C. Some say he got so frightful lonely that one day he looked into a mirror... and skeered himself to death.

B. Others say he couldn't take his meanness out on anybody, so he swelled up like a balloon filled with bad gas and downright ex-ploded.

D. But, whatever, Wicked John's hour glass done run out of sand.

E. Like sands through the hour glass...so are the days of our lives.

C. Then, what happened, Mama, what?

D. Well, John's soul traveled through that dark tunnel into the light. But, the first person he saw was Saint Peter.

J. (J and P walk to the front) Well, here I am. Just like you said, "Till we meet again."

P. Yes, John, but I'm afraid you can't stay here.

J. Whadya mean?

P. I gave you three chances, John, to wish for your salvation, but you didn't. Now, look at this book. You see over here on this side? This is where I put marks for the times you were good, decent, and honorable. You don't exactly need a calculator to add these up. In fact, your right hand should be more than sufficient. Now, take a look at the other side, John. The side with all the red marks for being low-down, evil, and downright nasty. Notice how it goes all the way across the page and down the other side? In fact, I ran out of room and had to use most of the next page. Sorry, John, but there is no place here for you in heaven.

J. Then, where will I go?

P. You just back up through that tunnel till the light disappears. Then turn around. I think you will find the right place.

J.  (P goes back into chorus as John backs up and runs into devil as he turns around)

D3 And, just what makes you come on down?

J. I just thought that since Saint Peter didn' have a place for me, I'd just kind of surrender my soul...so to speak.

D3 Well, you thought wrong! There ain't no place for you here neither nor will there ever be.

J. What do you expect me to do?

D3 I don' expect you to do nothin'.  Just git!

J. But, but...you don' understand. St Peter won't let me in. Now you won't. Where should I go?

D3 I don' care where you go. So, long as it's not around here. But, I tell you what, hold out your hand (J hold out hand) Here, here is a piece of coal from the fiery furnace. Now, you go out and start a hell of your own!!!

J. (walks away...stumbling back and forth slowly across the stage)

A. So, Wicked John came back to earth. Some people say they can still see him out there in the shadows of the night a-hauntin' for a place of his own.

(J back into chorus)


E. Old John a -creepin' in the dead of the night

Old John a-stealin' with hell's own light

A. See that light movin' out younder? Movin' to and fro?

E. To and fro, to and fro...

A. That's Wicked John, and he's a layin' low.

E. Layin' low, layin' low.

E1. Too bad for heaven...

E2 Too mean for hell

E. A sad, sad story for a man to tell. (heads down)


Little Eight John