Hot Stuff

OK, Here is a little pre-Halloween warm-up:


John was dead, and he knew it as soon as he appeared before the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter processed him quickly; Stating there was no appeal in his case and directed him to the staircase leading downward. So down he went.
He found himself in front of a standard corporate reception desk. It was the very type of reception desk he had stood in front of thousands of times at the many corporations in which he had worked. He even thought he recognized the demon/man behind the desk. He idled while the demon receptionist signaled he’d be with him as soon as he finished the call. Hanging up, the demon glanced at John, gave a smile dominated by sharp fangs, and said: ” Bosses, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” John found his nervous laugh sounded a bit more panicked than he wished.
“Oh, I’m not a very good host, am I? I failed hospitality services when I was alive. But working for large hotel chains was great prep for this job. So let’s look at your file. What sins of omission and commission sent you to us? Adultery, theft, treason, gluttony – you’re too skinny for that one – false gods? He read silently for a while. Looked up and said: “Oh, you’re one of those.” John meekly assayed a question, ” what do you mean one of those?” ” You know, one of those who could never decide. You lusted after your neighbor’s wife but never did anything. You wanted to embezzle at your place of employment but were to chicken to do more than take pens home. You know the type with great plans but never does. You’re an ommissions man. You lacked the fortitude to do anything evil or good. You just stood by, unable to make up your mind. You couldn’t even give your son the Birds and Bees talk. Could you? You’d have had to commit to something. Oh yes, here it is. You were always volunteering to serve on committees, weren’t you? But you rarely showed up.” John gave a wan smile by way of an answer ” Well, there’s nothing wrong with that; you can always point at the someone else and say that they made the decision; you just went along.” The demon sniffed and expelled a slight whiff of sulfur. “One of the residents down here likes to say that there is no monument dedicated to the memory of a committee.” the demon laughed and then said. ” Right! Let’s get you sorted out. Walk this way.”
They entered a large room with three iron-bound doors against the far wall. “Here’s the deal. We’ve modernized around here. No more Dantesque circles; it was an administrative hell. So you get three choices. You get to choose your torment. Dramatically he waved his hand – ” will you take what is behind door number one? Door number two, or door number three?”
Walking up to the first door, he pulled it open and shoved John through.
Inside there seemed to be the classic situation illustrated in thousands of cartoons. Demon’s chased the damned through the flames while sticking them with long pitchforks. “Oh no, please not in here!” the demon lead him out and into the entry room. ” So, John, how about trying door number two?” Opening door number two, John entered. The scene inside was as disturbing as the first chamber had been. Here the dammed crawled on their bellies through fields of broken glass while demons whipped them to go faster. John bolted through the door shouting out -” not there, Please!”
“OK, John. We are down to the final choice after you see that you’ll have to decide which you choose for eternity.” the demon leads John to the final door, opened it, and gestured John through. On the other side was a vast garbage-filled space. The smell defied description, but many demons and humans were sitting around drinking coffee out of elegant and dainty cups within the room. On large garbage piles sat a mighty demon reading aloud from a copy of the Wall Street Journal.
John looked, he considered. At last, he took a cup and sat down with his fellow damned.
As he took his first sip, the gigantic demon folded up the paper, grabbed a bull horn, and shouted, ” OK, coffee break is over! Everyone back down on their hands and knees!” As one, the damned began sifting through the garbage. A banshee like wail of despair filled the air as the damned picked up their endless task. Demons, softly jabbing with laser pointers, offered encouraging snippets gleaned from motivational posters and TED Talks.

5 Replies to “Hot Stuff”

  1. What a chilling story! I couldn’t have begun to choose which hell I got assigned to, quite in keeping with the waffling nature of the main character! Wow! You wove in the Word of the Day with great skill too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never would have imagined in my wildest dreams😂 Some administrative hell was the maximum I assumed when I was halfway through. But coffee break meaning this was just insane… And the Ted talk bit was cherry on top ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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