I was babysitting my friend's precocious five year old girl yesterday. We had to run some errands, and as we were shopping, "Tegan" and I were discussing what sort of behavior is expected of good children.
"Ah hafta be good," Tegan announced dramatically in her deep-fried southern Tennessee accent. "If not, the Devil hates little girls and he's gorna grab my soul, drag it into the depths of hell, and cook it!"
I couldn't help myself. I threw back my head and howled with laughter in the middle of the store while Tegan watched me, bewildered. "What?" she demanded. "What did ah say?"
I wiped my eyes, picturing the Devil hovering over a barbecue grill with a spatula, wearing a "Hell's Kitchen" apron.
"Who told you this?" I finally demanded.
"Mah cousin Angela," she said. "What? It's the truth!"
"Not exactly, little one," I said. "Angela sounds like a particularly nasty little girl."
"Wahl, she is," Tegan admitted. "She useta be purty mean to me."
"Well don't worry about it, honey. The Devil doesn't send children to hell if they do something bad. You believe in Jesus and he's watching out for you," I said. Or that's what I think I said. I had never had to discuss theology with a five year old before.
I called Tegan's dad, and told him what she had said so that he could handle it at another time. I listened to him roaring with laughter before I hung up the phone.
"What?" asked Tegan again. "Why is ever'one laughin'?"
"Well, that's just something that we hadn't heard before," I tried to explain soothingly.
"So he ain't gonna eat it when it's nice an crispy?" she asked.