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John Treuil

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How The Three Little Pigs Got Saved
By John Treuil
Saturday, April 07, 2012

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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A satire on religious fundamentalism based on the Jimmy Swaggart family.

 Once upon a time, in a strange land called Louisiana, there lived three little pigs. They were brothers, their mama having been the Righteous Sister Eula Mae Swagwell. Times were always tough in the Swagwell home. Still, Mama Swagwell held the little family together.

Each boy possessed a heavenly piano playing ability which they used for different reasons. The oldest, Oral, was his mama’s favorite. God commissioned him to use his musical talents to save the souls of sacred sows by preaching the Word. The middle pig, Teddy Lee, was a rebel. He spread the Gospel of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The youngest, whom his mama had named Country, was a simple soul who loved farm life. As a young pig, when everyone else went to bed on Saturday nights, he listened to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio tucked under his pillow. One day, he’d bring his sound to the capitol of country music.

The brothers were hardworking boars. Still Eula Mae hated that the two youngest ones made money playing what she called “the devil’s music”. She couldn't handle them, and told them that they had to leave. Oral to accompanied his brothers on the journey so that they wouldn’t go astray.

They met a man who carried some straw. “Hey, mister, how much is dat straw? Ah need to build me a house”, said Teddy Lee.

Straw ain’t gon’ be strong enough to build ya’ a house”, said Country.

And don't forget ‘bout the big, bad satan wolf”, chimed in Oral.

Ain’t no such thang as a satan wolf”, the man with the straw said lasciviously.

Oral took his brothers aside. “You build a house outta that, it ain’t gon’ last. You need a foundation. If not, satan will breathe the fires ‘a’ hell down upon you. Just blow your house away. Your soul won’t stand a chance.”

And it won’t hold up in the rainy season. The house, dat is”, said Country.

Teddy Lee faced the straw man. “I’ll take all ya’ got”, he said, then paid the man.

Ya’ made the right choice. And ‘bout that satan wolf?” he said as he looked at Oral. “Folks been buying into that fairy tale for centuries. Good luck with your house”, he told Teddy Lee. “Gotta go. Pleasure doin’ business with ya’ll”, the man said, then was on his way.

Teddy Lee deemed the area the right place to build his house. Just far enough off the beaten path for when he wanted to be alone with that special female fan or three, or the occasional underage female cousin.

Country gladly helped build the house. Oral, knowing it would be a house of hedonism, refused. In his mama’s name, he cried out in a loud voice. As his brothers labored away, he pulled out his Bible and while raising his right hoof over the construction site, recited verses as loud as he could.

When the house had been completed, the two littlest pigs admired their handiwork. “Now, the satan wolf, if there is one, won’t catch me”, said Teddy Lee.

My house will be stronger than this one”, said Country.

Mine will reach up to the heavens, and takes souls to the Kingdom of Gawd”, said Oral.

Soon, the brothers were back on their journey. While walking, they encountered many different species. Oral saved the souls of sows and sheep, spread the Gospel to goats, and healed a few horses, while his brothers gypped a few jackasses out of supplies for Country’s house.

Country determined that they should stop in Pasadena. “Something un-Gawdly’s here”, Oral said. “Gotta turn around.”

Suddenly Country acted strangely. “Hold on a moment”, he said.

What is it, Country?” said Teddy Lee.

Evil spirits”, said Oral. “Gawd and Mama wouldn’t want us to build anything here”.

Whad’ya mean ‘us’?” said Teddy Lee. “Apparently, Gawd didn’t want your lazy ass workin’ on my house either”.

Oral prayed over his baby brother, then started reading Scripture again. Trancelike, Country slowly walked away, stopping next to a metallic contraption that resembled some species of animal. He saw the saddle atop it, and said, “The spirits are comin’ from this horse”.

Teddy Lee followed him. “Dat’s a bull of some sort”.

Stand back”, Oral said as he approached them. He examined the metallic beast. Temptation made him drop a coin into a slot, and climb onto the fake animal’s back. He took the reins with one hand while holding the Good Book in his other. The bucking bull bounced him every which way, including onto the ground. He fed the machine another quarter, and took another ride, to meet with yet another spill, and another, and another, believing that reading scripture verses all the more intensely with each ride would tame the evil beast.

His brothers started building Country’s house. Oral just knew that riding that beast was a sin, but didn't know how to stop. The beast threw him one last time. When he looked around, he saw that his brothers had not built a house around him, but a bar instead.

Thank you, Teddy Lee, for helpin’ me. And you, Or’l, for prayin’ so hard”, said Country as he and his middle brother had finished their work.

Thank you, Teddy Lee, for helpin’ me. And you, Or’l, for prayin’ so hard”, said Country as he and his middle brother had finished their work.

This is still gon’ be a house ‘o’ heathens”, said Oral.

Teddy Lee leaned on Country's shoulder. “I got a great name for the place. I wanna be the debut performer at ‘Swagwell’s”.

You ain’t gon’ put my name on the outside ‘a’ no den ‘o’ debauchery”, said Oral.

His two brothers glared at him. “ O’rl, accordin’ to Mom, Dad was a heathen, too. This ain’t no different”, said Country.

Because Dad was a heathen I gotta reclaim the name”, said Oral.

It’s my name, too, Or’l. And this place will bear my name.”

Hopeless. Simply hopeless”. Oral pulled out his cell phone and punched in a few numbers. When nothing happened, he tried again.

Who you callin’ from out here?” said Country.

The two younger brothers followed Oral outside, where he finally made his connection. “Hey, Eddie. Yeah, this is Oral. Remember that favor you owe me?”

I can’t believe it. He’s callin’ Edwin Edwards”, said Teddy Lee.

..

He’s in prison, ain’t he?” said Country in reference to the four time former Louisiana governor who was incarcerated in a federal luxury hotel-slash-prison located in Texas.

Yep”.

I need you to pay now”, said Oral to Eddie. “That land you ‘sold’ me in Baton Rouge? Call the contractors and construction folks. I want the biggest church in the world there, and an amusement park. We’ll be the Disneyland of religion. Get me some of that VeggieTales crap for the kids. And an athletic complex, an apartment complex-hotel combo, and a Bible college. No, not a mall, not yet anyhow. You’ll get a cut. And don’t worry about that pretty, young, lonely wife of yours, staying in that big house all by herself, now.” He smiled at his brothers. “That’s one reason why I’m building in that

area. I know she gets a little depressed, and needs to know she can count on the church for comfort. No thanks are necessary, glad to help, Eddie. I gotta go. Yes, you are still saved. Once saved, always saved, no matter what you’ve done. You’ve paid the price for your salvation. Bye.”

Teddy Lee and Country looked at their older brother with steely-eyed stares. “We go through all ‘o’ this trouble to build my house, and Country’s bar, when all we needed was for you to call Edwin Edwards?” fumed Teddy Lee.

I’m the one he paid for his salvation”, said Oral. “It’s all for Gawd”.

We gon’ leave mama alone in the old house?” said Country.

I’ll take ‘er in to the house Eddie'll build me”, Oral said. His brothers looked angrily at him. “C'mon, fellas. We're on this little trip 'cause she don’t wanna live with ya’ll.”

It’s okay, Country”, said Teddy Lee. “Let Eula Mae live with her Mama’s Boar.”

Oral tried showing some contrition. “No matter what, we’re still brothers. It’ll take us awhile to get to Baton Rouge. The construction crew should be ‘bout finished by the time we arrive. Let’s go now.”

No”, said Country. I gotta get some phones in here, call some vendors, get some supplies, get this place ready for openin’. And get me one ‘o’ them ‘lectric signs, one that says ‘Swagwell’s. Sorry, Or’l, but that's what I'm gonna call the place.”

Oral looked at Teddy Lee, who said “I gotta get the band over here. We ain’t rehearsed in a while.”

His brothers’ rejections hit Oral hard. Since Teddy Lee hated rehearsing, he knew they were lying. He hugged his brothers and was on his way.

Sadness over parting with his siblings dampened Oral’s spirits during the journey. But he found occasional joy on his way to his new home, converting Catholic cows, Baptist boars, Semite snakes, and the occasional dogmatic dog of the wrong religious pedigree.

Once he arrived, his sufferings disappeared. His creation was awesome. On his left were the apartment complex-hotel combo and the athletic complex. On his right stood the Bible college, the amusement park, and the crown jewel in the whole enterprise, the largest paean to proselytism ever created-the Family Ministry Center. All of that alone would have made the preacher pig proud. However, in the tradition of the Great State of Louisiana, Edwin Edwards included a little lagniappe, a little something extra, in the deal. Behind the church was the world’s largest NASCAR track, bearing the name “Victory Over Sin Lane”, host of the “Holy Ghost 700 Club Championship”. A tear came to Oral's eye.

The Pig ‘o’ God looked over his vast creation, and saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning followed, the first of

many mornings spent in the House That Swagwell and Edwards Built.

Satan watched the Swagwell brothers’ activities with great amusement that day. It was tempting to move in on them then, but watching each of them twist in the wind was too much fun. Besides, their deeds played into his hands and furthered his evil agenda.

Days turned into months and months turned into years before he took action. The three brothers settled their differences, and stayed in pretty regular contact with each other. Teddy Lee often performed at Swagwell’s, and had all of his weddings at the Family Ministry Center. Each wedding not only gave the preacher pig the opportunity to speak of the evils of divorce, but the goodness of God’s redemption. And Country held fund-raisers for Oral’s ministry at his bar.

The preacher pig’s notoriety took him the furthest from his home base. Time spent with his brothers became rarer down through the years. Still, they could see or hear him frequently. He was on TV in every country in the world, and was on the radio almost as much as their hits were.

It is said that the Lord works in mysterious ways. The devil believed he did, too. For many years, each brother unknowingly assisted that satan wolf in doing his dastardly deeds. Eventually, though, they went whole hog living off the fat of the land, and that fat showed in their waistlines.

Satan sensed that they each were growing lazy. To him, he had done much for them down through the years, and hadn't received proper gratitude. So he made his move.

He first visited Teddy Lee. The aging rock ‘n’ rollin’ pig spent much of his later years in the rocking chair. But after over seventy years on the planet, seven wives, and a couple of IRS audits, he wanted to get the old band together again. It was time to reclaim past glory, and make serious money.

The satan wolf embarked on his trip into the woods. The notes coming from the old straw house were music to his long ears. A sudden banging on the piano, and a singer’s anguished howl brought a tear to his eyes, almost making him regret what he was about to do.

I shook your head and I rattled your brains

Your eyes rolled ‘round like you were insane

Then you I killed

You left no will

Goodness gracious great balls ‘o’ fire!”

I was tried, but I passed the test

Got the best of the IRS

They followed me

I had to flee

Goodness gracious great balls 'o' fire!"

The porker pounded the piano more passionately than he had in a long time, playing like a pig possessed. Through a window, he saw something he never thought he’d see. The satan wolf that his mama and Oral had warned him about was outside dancing to the music. The devil spun around, a leering grin on his face. Teddy Lee played more ferociously, almost to the point of exhaustion.

Bravo! Encore!” shouted out satan.

Thanks”, said Teddy Lee. He thought he saw a kindred spirit in the wolf’s eyes.

Play some more!”

I will in jes’ a bit. I’m getting old. I gotta take a little breather.”

Play some more!”, the devil barked again, nearing the open window, his gaze turning from jolly to serious.

Fear overtook the aging rocker. He frantically hit the keys, not caring about melody. Again, satan danced deliriously. Teddy Lee played until his hooves bled, then could go no more. The devil smiled, baring all of his sharp teeth. Teddy Lee stood helplessly. The wolf drew a deep breath that sucked most of the life from the atmosphere. He exhaled, leveling the house completely, and shaking the earth violently. Teddy Lee’s gun collection and gold records, along with some IRS documents, flew faster than pigs can fly. When the tremors exhumed the bones of wives number three and five, he hauled ass. If satan didn’t get him, the police would, and their punishment might have been just as bad.

He had to run to God, and realized there was only one place for him to go.

Swagwell’s became Pasadena’s party place. Teddy Lee’s Grand Opening performance gave the club instant recognition and status. Over the years, Country attracted many major musical stars to his place. He even became hit recording artist himself and launched the careers of others.

But at no time during the club’s history had it shone as brightly as it did at that moment. A major motion picture, “Urban Cow Boar”, was filming in and around town. Swagwell’s played prominently in the film and on the soundtrack. Still, there was one fly in the ointment.

SINNER! My UNCLE, my FLESH and BLOOD, takes money from EVIL Hollywood studios so they can film PORNOGRAPHIC acts in his club”! Lonnie Dee Swagwell was a young preacher full of the vim and vigor possessed by his father Oral in the older pig’s earlier days. He and his entourage of about one hundred pigs dressed in their Sunday finest proclaiming the Word of Gawd at the top of their lungs would've made his dad very proud.

Country approached his nephew gently. “Lonnie, we can be reasonable ‘bout this”.

Did Jesus REASONABLY turn over the tables in the temple? Did Jesus REASONABLY confront the Pharisees and Sadducees? I don’t think so!” Lonnie Dee said, the crowd’s shouts of ‘Amen’ punctuating each phrase that

came from his mouth. “And you got a movie star in there teachin’ folks ‘bout SCIENTOLOGY! An ex-

CATHOLIC, at that! It would be better for him if he REVERTED back to his old ways!”

Now, Lonnie Dee, ain’t nobody teachin’ nobody nothin’ in thar’. Well, ‘cept for my dance instructor. She’s teachin’ the actors how to line dance.”

Teachin’ them how to LINE DANCE! LINE DANCIN’ leads to FAST DANCIN’! FAST DANCIN’ leads to SLOW DANCIN’! SLOW DANCIN’ leads to FORNICATION!”

Country buried his head in his hooves, then looked at his nephew. “The director wants to call the cops on you.”

I would be HONORED to be arrested like Jesus was arrested!”

Lonnie Dee stopped when he noticed a pig approaching rapidly from behind

Country. “EVERYBODY!” he yelled as he faced the crowd. “Break open Gawd's Word! My uncle has brought the mark of the beast upon this land!”

Country turned to see what distracted his nephew. “It’s Teddy Lee!”

It’s the devil. He plays that evil rock ‘n’ roll music!” said the younger Swagwell.

No, not always. Lately, he’s recorded some really good country songs.”

REALLY GOOD COUNTRY SONGS? Don’t you mean CHEATIN’ ‘N’ DRINKIN’ SONGS?”

Teddy Lee collapsed as he reached the club. “I-I s-s-seen the d-d-devil!” he said.

I see ‘im right here, right now!” said the young preacher.

LONNIE DEE!” the rock ‘n’ roller exclaimed.

TEDDY LEE! SATAN INCARNATE!”

Come on, Lonnie Dee. If he says he seen the devil, we gotta listen to him. What happened, Teddy Lee?”

The satan wolf mama warned us ‘bout? The one I said didn’t exist? Well, he does! I seen ‘im myself”. Teddy Lee explained everything, how satan first appeared, tricking him by enjoying the music that he played, then when he couldn’t play more, demolished his cherished straw house.

If this really happened, where is he now?” the nephew said snidely.

That don’t matter. I know he’s on his way.”

SO”, Preacher Pig, Jr. said as he faced his congregation “my deluded uncle, after a life of sin and debauchery, says HE’S seen the devil! Does he stay and confront Lucifer? No, he RUNS! What would Gawd’s pigs do if they saw satan? We confront evil, like we’re going to confront the evil in this wretched house of hell!”

How did you piss ‘im off?” said Teddy Lee to Country.

It’s those movie folks filmin’ here. Hey, there’s gonna be a soundtrack album. I’m on it. You want in on it, too?”

Soundtrack rhymes with comeback. I’m in!” He then heard a familiar rumbling sound fast approaching. “That’s him! That’s the satan wolf!”

Country stood with his jaw wide open as the creature came into view. “L-L-Lonnie D-Dee, he’s right. I see him now.”

The preacher’s praying pigs cowered as they saw the devil approach. “Just be calm. We’ll face him down. Read your bibles, and he’ll go back to hell.” Lonnie Dee faced the devil, and read loudly from scripture. “Ha! Look, we’ve stopped him. We’ve stopped satan in his tracks”, he said as the satan wolf rested for a moment.

Don’t play with ‘im, Lonnie Dee. This is serious”, said Teddy Lee. The preacher pig and his minions were too busy celebrating their ‘victory’ over satan to hear Teddy Lee's warning.

I just stopped to catch my breath, Lonnie Dee”, said satan. The young preacher’s quivered as he faced satan. “You still a jogger?” the devil asked as he meekly nodded his head. “I gave that up a few years ago. I’ve been around a few thousand years. Thought I didn’t need it, know what I mean?” He then

got closer to Lonnie Dee. “I stopped by Willie Nelson’s on the way here. Smoked some good stuff, but it ain’t easy on the lungs. And running through South Texas and Louisiana? It really does seem hot as---well, you know where”, he said with a big, wide grin, his eyes staring directly into Lonnie Dee’s. He was about to inhale the preacher and the congregation through his nostrils when the sound of automobile ignitions startled him. The caravan of expensive cars, presumably transporting the Hollywood crowd, went east at amazing speeds, led by Country’s Gold Hummer SUV.

Family Ministry Center telecasts gave the viewer the impression that the church was packed to the rafters every time the doors opened. But since Oral succumbed to sins of the flesh years before with female swine that he was not married to, the Reverends Swagwell and Swagwell had to deceive the viewing audience in many ways. Visions of empty seats meant fewer donations. The upper area of the half-filled church was cordoned off, forcing all worshipers to praise the Lord while sitting in the lower portion, where they could pack in to the tightly focused TV camera lens.

The Swagwells had only succeeded in deceiving themselves. The cash flow had dropped considerably. The amusement park shut down, the NASCAR track had never been used, and the apartment complex-hotel was less than half full most of the time. But the radio and television shows, even though their popularity had waned, were the Swagwell empire’s financial bread and butter. Many grew weary of Oral’s Bless-A-Thons, or Beg-A-Thons, as the more cynical pig referred to the ministry’s fundraising broadcasts. Still, the Senior Preacher Pig retained a certain level of charm and charisma that made the more forgiving pig open his wallet.

On that particular Wednesday night, Oral was at the top of his game. His tone was mostly subdued, setting the stage for a closing number that would light up the phone lines with three and four digit donations.

He silently walked the stage, hooves folded in prayer and held close to his face, his head bowed in false humility. The band and singers joyfully belted out one of his compositions that sounded just like the rest of his compositions:

"If you’re not saved/You’ll burn in hell

If you’re not saved/You’ll burn in hell

If you’re not saved/You’ll burn in hell

Burn in hell, burn in hell, burn in hell!"

"I know the Bible/I won’t burn in hell

I know the Bible/I won’t burn in hell

I know the Bible/I won’t burn in hell

No, I won’t burn in H-H-H-E-L-L-L-L!"

Come to altar call/You won’t burn in hell

Come to altar call/You won’t burn in hell

Come to altar call/You won’t burn in hell

You won’t burn in H-H-H-E-L-L-L-L!"

Willy, bring it down”, Reverend Swagwell told his musical director. He stopped and faced a television camera. “Brothers and sisters, as you know, many a year ago Jesus brought ole’ Oral face to face with his cross”. There was always a new spin he could put on the story of his fall from grace. He'd rearrange a few words while he put on another show of fake contrition just to raise some money. There were always a few pigs in the church who bought the act of artificial spontaneity that he, his band, and singers put on. Oral Swagwell wasn't ethically opposed to using any of them.

I wasn’t concerned ‘bout SALVATION!”

Amen!” shouted the singers.

I wasn’t concerned ‘bout eternal DAMNATION!”

Amen! Amen!”

I wanted more camp meetings and revivals and books and

records and radio and TV STATIONS....”

Amen!”

All over the whole DAMN NATION!!!”

AMEN!”

His voice dropped to a whisper, then built to a crescendo. “I wanted them all over the whole world. But INFATUATION got me into a SINFUL SITUATION!!!”

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!”

There was that night”. The TV cameras caught him gazing tearfully at his wife. “That fateful night when my beloved Francine, my wife of thirty-seven years at that time...she met me at the back door of the house, the Good Book in her left hoof and a dull kitchen knife in her right. She'd been going through MENSTRUATION, and was contemplating CASTRATION! I dropped to myknees. I begged her forgiveness. I realized.....I had done her wrong. I had sinned against her.” By then, he reached the point in his performance that recaptured the most infamous moment from his life. He looked up to the heavens, eyes glistening with water, and uttered the words “I have sinned against YOU! I am sorry, and I have sinned against YOU!”

The cameras focused on Francine Swagwell’s teary face, with the ministry’s 1-800 numbers and local phone number splashed across the bottom of the screen. “But I’ve been SAVED! I’ve been HEALED! Because I’ve been shown my CROSS! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Pa-raise the LORD!” “Hallelujahs” and “Amens” then rang through the building. “Oh, pa-raise Jesus! Willy, bring the music up again”, he commanded his music director, then started to sing.

If you like porno-

You’ll burn in hell!” sang the singers.

If you’re a baby-killer-

You’ll burn in hell!”

"If you’re ‘Piscopalian-

You’ll burn in hell!”

If you’re a Lutheran-

You’ll burn in hell!”

Burn in hell! Burn in hell! Burn in hell!”

If you’re Assemblies of Gawd-

Heaven waits for you!”

But, if you are a Jew-

There is a hell for you!”

If you’re a CATH’LIC!-

There’s a hell for you, too!”

You’ll burn in hell! Burn in hell! Burn in H-H-H-E-L-L-L!”

Alleluia! Praise the Lord! Somebody gimme a shout out for GAWD-UH!”

While praising Jesus, Oral saw some scraggly looking pigs burst into the church. He wondered how the long-haired hippie types got past security. Then he saw his two brothers and beloved son amongst them. Lonnie Dee, Teddy Lee, and Country all ran to the stage.

Son!”

Daddy! We saw the devil!”

And ya brought him here!” Oral said as he held his Bible up in the direction of the Hollywood pigs. “BEGONE, SATAN! LEAVE THESE PIGS! LEAVE THIS HOUSE ‘A’ GAWD-UH!”

Uh, Daddy, none ‘o’ them’s him. He ain’t here yet. But he’s comin’. He detoured towards New Orleans. I heard him say he was stoppin’ by Anne Rice’s house for a cup of blood.”

Bring out the big guns”, said Oral. At that command, three white baby grand pianos rose from beneath the stage. The concert style lighting system was tested. The three brothers assumed their positions at the keyboards.

The Junior Preacher Pig, who didn't inherited his father’s musical ability, acted as emcee. “Ladies and Gentlemen, at the Family Ministry Center, watching at home and listening on the radio, you are about to witness a historic event. Satan will be here. I saw him! He’s scary! We

need your help. We can’t do this alone. Pick up that phone. Call in that donation. If you’ve wanted to call, but kept putting it off, do it now. I know there’s a thousand dollar or a five thousand dollar gift out there. What are you waiting for? What are those phone numbers, Daddy?”

1-800-424-3980 in Canada, and 1-800-354-8821 in the United States. Locally, it’s 273-2839. Every one hundred dollar donation gets them our brand new Biblical commentary, or they can get four music CDs for a fifty dollar donation. Oh, and if you donate ten dollars, you get the beautiful prayer handkerchief.”

Lonnie Dee spoke again. “Remember that's 1-800-424-3980 Canada, 1-800-354-8821 U.S., and 273-2839 locally. Pick up that phone and call. And since the devil will be here shortly use your credit card. You know, we can process credit card payments more quickly. And your credit card information is secure. And now, to help us battle the satan wolf, praising

the Lord together for the first time anywhere since they were little boys, my uncles Teddy Lee and Country Swagwell, and my dad, Oral Swagwell”.

The captive audience roared their approval. With the triumvirate pounding the ivories, and the congregation clapping and shouting enough to move heaven and earth, Teddy Lee launched into song, one of his early hits that Oral adapted for his own purposes:

Come on everybody/A whole lotta prayin’ goin’on

I said come on, everybody/Gotta get some prayin’ goin’ on

To get rid ‘o’ that devil/Let’s get some prayin’ goin’ on”

Ev’ry man, woman, and baby/Let’s have some prayin’ goin on

Don’t tell me maybe/Can’t have no sinnin’ goin’ on

Take it away, O’rl/Help the people sing this song”

All my years a’ preachin’/Never felt like this before

Fifty years a’ preachin’/Now the wolf is at my door

Now, we gotta pray/Pray more and more and more”

The congregation was now worked into a fit of frenzy. The TV and radio donations were pouring in. Even the Hollywood heathens got into

the Holy Spirit of things. Lonnie Dee sensed that the west coast Fat Cats brought their fat wallets with them, and passed the collection basket.

The singers ratcheted up the excitement level a notch. Country stood on his piano, placing a cowboy-booted hoof on the keyboard. He segued into another familiar rock song that Oral had rewritten years before in a desperate attempt to woo a younger crowd. His cousins, the singers and musicians, and the congregation joined in singing the refrain.

Shout it out, baby, now-

Shout it out, baby”

Shout it out, loud-

Shout it out”

Shout it for Jesus, now-

Shout it for Jesus”

Cast the demons out-

Shout it out, baby, now-

Shout it out, baby”

Shout it out, loud-

Shout it out”

Shout it for Jesus, now-

Shout it for Jesus”

Cast the demons out-

Cast them out, whoooo!”

Shout a little louder, now-

Shout a little louder!”

Loud and clear-

Loud and clear!”

Tell that ole’ devil now-

Tell that ole’ devil!”

That you got no fear!”

Got no fear!”

Satan was getting closer. He was pissed off at himself for not having kept in shape down through the years, and for having given in to his addictions to weed and blood. At some point, he would have to pay special attention to Willie Nelson and Anne Rice. But the tricky Swagwells and their minions demanded his wrath at that time. They had taken advantage of him, and he didn’t like that.

As the sound of heavenly music drew him closer to the Family Ministry

Center, he got discouraged. “Damn. From hell, this place don’t look that big. It’ll take a hell of a lot of hot air to blow it to pieces.”

He needn’t have worried about that. With the Swagwell brothers leading singing, and Francine and Lonnie Dee leading prayer, as much hot air was being generated from inside the church as the devil mustered up from outside. He huffed and puffed, and blew against the building with all of his might, but to no avail. The warm wind on the inside helped the building resist his efforts. A second time also failed, but satan noticed a few cracks in the construction.

On the third try, the pressure coming from both the inside and the outside was too much. The building blew up, blasting preachers, piano players, pianos, and pigs and piglets of all stripes into the high heavens before all eventually crashed back down to earth.

Miraculously, the blast killed no one. Still many lost consciousness. Teddy Lee regained consciousness the quickest. He looked to see if everybody else was okay. Teddy Lee found his older brother. “Oral”, he whispered, trying to rouse him. “You gotta be alive. Everyone needs ya. I need ya’, Oral. That devil, he’s still here. I know it. I can feel it.” Oral slowly woke. Teddy Lee carried him to where the devil hovered over a poor, dying soul. Looking closer, he saw that pig was his other beloved brother, Country. Teddy Lee picked up a tattered Bible, then drug Oral

as quickly as he could to where the satan wolf was about to kill Country.

  • You folks don’t give up easily. I admire that”, satan said.

Begone, devil”, Oral said weakly.

I like it here. I may stay for a while.”

Slowly, other pigs gathered around, including Lonnie Dee, and Francine. The devil snickered at them, and then finished killing Country. Lonnie Dee took the Bible from his dad, but he had no voice. He gave up. Satan had won, and certainly had him.

Suddenly, a small voice came from the back of the group.

Jesus loves me/ This I know

For the bible/ Tells me so.”

The grown pigs turned to take a look. A girl piglet walked amongst the ruins. As she approached them, some of the injured lifted their heads to glimpse at her. She flashed them a tender smile as she sang. Then, she stared and smiled directly at Satan. He saw in her eyes the look of innocence, an innocence which reminded him of the One who is most innocent. Her smile grew broader and more difficult for him to bear. He let out a loud, piercing, pained shriek that shook the earth, knocking those who had been standing down again. Within a flash, he was gone back to hell, defeated.

Oral and his family regained their composure. The girl approached him. Her bright blue eyes shone through the ashes adorning her face. In looking at her, Oral saw the innocence he once possessed, and was yearning for. “What can I do for you, sweetie?” he asked.

What’s wrong with him?” She pointed to Country. Oral just wept, unable to tell her. The child walked over to where Country laid. Too young to know too many prayers by heart, she held her head close to his right ear, resuming her song. The simple old country pig, responding to the child slowly opened his eyes. Everyone around him rejoiced, and joined the girl in singing.

The grown pigs turned to take a look. A girl piglet walked amongst the ruins. As she approached them, some of the injured lifted their heads to glimpse at her. She flashed them a tender smile as she sang. Then, she stared and smiled directly at Satan. He saw in her eyes the look of innocence, an innocence which reminded him of the One who is most innocent. Her smile grew broader and more difficult for him to bear. He let out a loud, piercing, pained shriek that shook the earth, knocking those who had been standing down again. Within a flash, he was gone back to hell, defeated.

Oral and his family regained their composure. The girl approached him. Her bright blue eyes shone through the ashes adorning her face. In looking at her, Oral saw the innocence he once possessed, and was yearning for. “What can I do for you, sweetie?” he asked.

What’s wrong with him?” She pointed to Country. Oral just wept, unable to tell her. The child walked over to where Country laid. Too young to know too many prayers by heart, she held her head close to his right ear, resuming her song. The simple old country pig, responding to the child slowly opened his eyes. Everyone around him rejoiced, and joined the girl in singing.

The devil’s visit left a profound impact on all involved. Teddy Lee left behind rock ‘n’ roll, while Country closed his bar. They both joined Oral and Lonnie Dee in ministry. The four of them saw potential for a Christian entertainment enterprise based in the city that they all came to adopt, Baton Rouge. Their partners in that venture would be the newly relocated movie crew, all of whom underwent dramatic conversions of their own. And every Sunday, the Swagwells held services in a building that was notable for its’ simplicity, a simplicity inspired by the kind act of a five-year child.


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