The Devil’s Troubadour by Michael Parker

(Inspired by the motion picture, The Wind Journeys [Columbia, 2009], directed by Ciro Guerra)

The desert was thirsty. Its face, cracked and peeling. The wind’s blast was hot, even the setting sun burned the horizon a brimstone red and stoked the land’s furnace. The Devil’s laugh was the screech of wind. Ignacio Carillo heard Him as he dug the grave that would hold the body of his beloved wife.

Ignacio knew misery was the harvest he sowed. He desired fame and women and got it making a deal with the troubadour who beat the Devil in a duel, winning His accordion. “I’ll take your place so you can be free to live your life.”

The Devil’s troubadour agreed.

Ignacio traveled Colombia for ten years. Wherever Ignacio played, he was never want of food, drink, or women.

But in a small town, Ignacio found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He vowed then he would never play again. And he didn’t. The Devil, in his fury, took the life of Ignacio’s wife. Devastated, Ignacio chose to return the cursed accordion to his mentor.

One morning, Ignacio left the town of his wife on a donkey and headed north to the shore of the Caribbean sea. After a half-day’s ride, he sensed another presence. Turning the donkey around, Ignacio saw a young man following. “What do you want?” Igancio bellowed.

“Are you the troubadour who plays the Devil’s accordion?” the boy asked confidently.

Ignacio’s heart grew heavy. Coincidence, he pondered. No, the Devil doesn’t play that game.


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Filed under Michael Parker

9 responses to “The Devil’s Troubadour by Michael Parker

  1. Well done; the voice, the lesson, the setting, the character, all nicely presented.

  2. Ahhh. Fabulous (both ways), terrifically accomplished. (No easy feat, to say the least.) Marquez, all right.

    And a perfect pop, the ending: “Coincidence, he pondered. No, the Devil doesn’t play that game. ” Mm, mm, mm!

  3. Kim Hutchinson

    Love the voice, the imagery, the whole package. A very big story in a small space.

  4. I love the fable feel of this and how cyclical it is.

  5. Melissa

    I was going to say what ganymeder said — about this being like a fable. The name Igancio fits so well in the story, too. This is what I call storytelling. I imagine sitting on the floor while this is being read to me and me leaning in “oohing” and gasping. Great storytelling.

  6. Maude Larke

    Such a dark folk tale. And even with the Devil in it, it works.

  7. I love the simplicity of your piece this week, Michael, and the use of another medium for inspiration (as was mine, from Annie Lennox this week, too!) The spare details and dialogue and setting all made this seem cinematic again. Have you ever tried screenwriting? It might be a great fit for you.

  8. yes, loved the fable feel of this, it’s the sort of story handed down over years. read this three times, because it was so satisfying to do so. peace…

  9. Pingback: Week #41 – Coincidence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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