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by ryan davis



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I got the following from an ex-girlfriend a long long time ago and I loved it. I’ve kept it around all this time and it is getting so weathered that I thought I should type it in. I don’t know what paper it is from.

The rules to Lick-or-Pay are simple.

Two take part in a series of bids, each player trying to bribe the other into licking an object mutually considered repugnant.

I will quickly run through a hypothetical game using a gourd and two players; Gena and Phil.

“Hey, Gena, I will give you a quarter to lick this gourd,” Phil says. (In Lick-or-Pay, the object in question is always chosen by the visiting team, or player, as it were. So for the sake of this example,

we’ll say Phil is visiting Gena at her house.)

Gena now has the option to either lick the gourd and receive a quarter, or make a bid she feels will entice Phil to lick. “No way, Phil,” she says, “gourds are creepy. I’ll give you a quarter and clean the floorboards if you will lick the gourd.”

Phil decides that gourds really aren’t all that bad, and it’s in his best interest to lick the gourd, and he does.

You should note that this game was simple and straightforward. Both Phil and Gena were reasonable and both benefitted from the exchange. Phil earned a quarter and was relieved of a job he detested: cleaning the floorboards. Gena got a good laugh watching the otherwise demure Phil lick an object that is better off unlicked.

Recently God came to me in the form of a man, and I challenged him to a little Lick-or-Pay in the spirit of Charlie Daniel’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” only in reverse. God, of course, took the challenge.

Because God is omnipresent, He therefore was considered the home team, and the choice of the object was forfeited to me (even though we played in my bedroom). The object I chose was a cat’s butt.

My first bid was $40 and a case of grape Tastee-Freez, a decidedly low bid. I was hoping to slow the bidding process to give me time to evaluate my competitor and construct a strategy.

Got’s bid was a quite spectacular one in comparison. “I’ll bring back your dead dog, Scout, add five feet to your closet space, and wipe out all your fines at the library,” He said.

God’s bid told me a lot about what he didn’t want to give me. All the things he offered were ethereal, god-type things; He hadn’t really offered me anything of value to Himself, which he must in accordance with the spirit of the game. An object of value to God could only be control of part of His universe. And would God give control of part of his universe to a mortal just to see him lick a cat’s butt?

At this point I knew I could make God lick a cat’s butt, or receive god-like control over a portion of the universe. I then had to make a bid quite diverse to discover what God wanted. “I’ll give you,” said I, “my old girlfriend’s dad’s sweater, a coupon for a free car wash and oil change at Elephant Car Wash, a hard cover copy of Lewis Mumford’s Technics and Civilization complete with my notes in the margin, and a promise to sing ‘Kumbaya’ with feeling.”

God started to shake. He’s all knowing and knew the best he could do was receive a little worship and keep control of all parts of the universe. The house started to shake, the sun became dark as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars in the sky fell to Earth like fruit falling from a fig tree when shaken by a gale. God licked the cat’s butt.