Thursday, October 20, 2005

Divina Comedia Reduxio

A man dies and goes to Hell. When he arrives he is met by the Devil who informs him that, yes, Hell was sort of like that which Dante described - except that Hell, keeping up with earthly trends was much more modern now, having moved away from most of the Medieval punishments depicted by Hieronymus Bosch. The truly wicked sinners still end up suffering the torments of the 5th and 6th rings (with the 7th ring reserved for politicians and prelates) but most run-of-the-mill sinners get off with an eternity of annoyance and frustration.

The Devil takes the man to a dimly-lit corridor and shows him three rooms. “You will spend eternity in one of these three rooms,” said the Devil. “You must choose one.”

In the first room a group of people in their late-twenties and early-thirties sat on concrete blocks talking. “These people are new parents and will spend eternity discussing every aspect of having and raising babies,” the Devil explained. “Would you like to join them?” The man thought for a while and asked to see the next room.

In the second room a group of gray-haired people sat on a cold bare floor talking. “These people are new grandparents and will spend eternity discussing the joys of being a grandparent and showing you pictures of their grandchildren.” Before the Devil could speak again, the man quickly moved to the third door.

The Devil grinned and opened the door to the third room. In the room a number of middle-aged people sat on fluffy cushions talking and laughing. “These people are pet owners. They will spend eternity talking about the cute things their pets do.”

The Devil closed the door and asked: “So, now that you’ve seen all three, which room do you pick?”

The man thought a moment and then said: “Listen your honor; I know that I've led a life of sin and depravity and don't deserve any special privileges but isn't there anything else?”

The Devil scratched his chin and considered a moment. “The only other thing we’ve got is treading water in a boiling sea while Harpies continuously rip out your eyeballs and monsters devour your lower limbs - it’s kind of old-fashioned.”

“Sounds good to me,” the man said.

“We’re talking eternity now, you understand?” the Devil asked.

The man glanced back at the three doors and nodded his head. In a flash the man was gone.

The Devil smiled to himself: “Nobody ever takes the three rooms.”


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