Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Hell, Hades & Purgatory, Ltd.

Good afternoon and welcome to the lower levels of The Pearly Gates Corporation. My name is Hecate, Miss Tress for those of you new to damnation.* I'd like to take a moment to review the intake process with you before I begin the tour.

When we begin the tour, please mind your step and keep your hands - whatever may be left of them - in your pockets. If you are without pockets, then you've obviously misjudged the needs of your afterlife attire and should have paid more attention to your fashion sense while alive. If you're without hands, just wave a stump and we'll see what we can do for you.

Now, to your right is the hallway leading to Hades and his subsidy company, the Aelysian Fields Agricultural Volunteer Group, or AFAVG for short. Please note that the AFAVG is behind the Great Green Door, not the red door. Do not open the red door unless you fancy starting out the afterlife as a pile of dog poo in the morning, as Cerberus has absolutely no sense of humor and believes everything standing in front of its three heads is either a bouncy toy or a midnight snack.

To the left are the primary offices of Hell and Purgatory. These include the Minion and Demon Lounges, both Lucifer and Mephisto's offices, all training classrooms, and the lower level kitchens. Some of you may have been given forms to fill out regarding head size and overall posture. Please report to the Quartermaster to be outfitted with horns and tails - this is to your right, the first door on the left.

Those of you who will not be joining the demon ranks, please note the color coding on your index cards. This will tell you which door to knock on. For instance, if you're holding a blue card, please move to your right. You'll be joining the offices of Purgatory. These offices are easily recognizable by the number of faces bearing bored expressions and the fact that the doors are blue. If you're unsure of whether or not an office is associated with Purgatory, you're not trying hard enough.

Now, if you're holding a yellow or purple card and have the nagging feeling you forgot to repent your sins whilst you were still alive, you'll be joining the offices of Hell. These are the doors that are neither blue nor green nor red nor paisley. And before you ask, no one has a paisley card but yes, there are paisley doors.** Yellow and purple card holders should knock on the yellow and purple doors corresponding to the number indicated in the upper right hand corner. If you knock on a door that does not match the number on your card, you will be politely referred to the taxidermist at the end of the hallway and your head will be fitted for a coat rack. Or some other handy piece of home decor, depending on the mood of the taxidermist.

Now, I believe you've all got index cards and have some idea of where you're heading. If you're still unsure of why you're down here instead of upstairs, you should take a minute to consider your most recent actions and ask yourself if you could have done anything to prevent your current predicament. Not that asking yourself this question will help - you'll still be standing in the Underworld - but it might help you to better understand just how big a shit you were when you were alive.

Now, should any of you have any questions - any questions at all - please hesitate to contact me and remember it's Hell. It's hot, it's uncomfortable, and there's the greatest possibility you'll be bunking with a horned demon whose idea of a good time is ripping you limb from limb. And for anyone preparing to question anything I've just said, please read the fine print on those index cards.

There is, indeed, a special room in Hell for complainers, corporate executives with spending accounts, and people who talk loudly on their cellular phones while standing in line at the grocery store.

* When God assigned positions in the Underworld, She didn't realize just how seriously Hecate would take her job. Nor did she realize just how much of an acquired taste the goddess' humor was. Ellie supposes that's what ambivalence gets you.

** They're bathrooms. Paisley doors, paisley walls, and paisley fixtures. Nothing screws with your head more than attempting to pee while in a room completely decorated in a swirling multi-colored pattern.

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