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Volume 3, Number 3
March, 1998

Oh, Hell!

by Jonathan Lowe

 "And now an unusual story. We have a news crew, live from hell. ...Hello? Are you really there?"
 "Oh yes, and this isn't Hell, Arizona or Devil's Hole, Wyoming either. This is the actual place, Lynn, and it's truly interesting! We got here by running our camera van into a telephone pole next to a taco franchise. We didn't even know this place existed. Wish you were here! But in case you're wondering what it's like, I can give you an idea... or you can drink a six pack, hit the road, and join us!"
 "Be serious, now. What are you doing there?"
 "DOING? Well, while waiting to be cast, we're watching military types play 'We Shot our Scuds Into The Air'. It's played with a world map and two sets of multi-colored darts, see. Both teams get 24 yellow Cruise Missile darts, 24 red ICBM darts, and 24 orange Hellfire darts. This game sure is a favorite of former Iraqi and Serb generals, but anyone who's bored waiting can join in. Points are scored by calculating the number of casualties represented by the color and placement of the darts on the map. But, in hell itself, I'm told, the biggest game is calculating the value of pi. We're not sure why."
 "So you see other people. Anyone you recognize?"
 "I'm told the chances of bumping into a buddy are remote. The chances of bumping into your mother-in-law is not so remote. But the chances of bumping into that Hollywood script writer who said "I'll see them in hell first" is highly likely!"
 "Is know...painful?"
 "Let me put this way, Lynn. Club Med it ain't"
 "How do they cast people into the flames?"
 "You mean the demons? Lots of actors have to be bound and cast screaming 'one for the money, two for the show' but we're seeing quite a few with a flare for show biz. The Nielsen Swan Dive is the most popular with this group, followed closely by the Gratuitous Cannonball, the N-word With a 1-and-a-half Twisting Pike, and finally, the Long Jump with a Rebel Yell."
 "Can you actually find your way around?"
 "You gotta remember 3 things:
  1. All the UP escalators are out of order.
  2. Right of way goes to anyone with a pitchfork.
  3. No one gives a damn because nobody knows where in hell they're going in the first place. To them this is just another scheduling blunder."
 "People have their memories too, then."
 "You'll be pleased to know that travelers to hell experience total recall. Personally, we're remembering violent shows we've forgotten for YEARS! And the same is true for all the interesting people we've talked to -- celebrities, corporate bosses, lawyers, politicians, daytime talk show hosts. They don't play favorites here. If you've got something you'd like to forget, it'll probably haunt you like a bad soft drink jingle."
 "Can you tell us yet...can one ever get out of there?"
 "You can't get there from here. That's what they all say. Funny, huh? Gotta go, now. Time's up, and they're coming for us. Tell all those Saturday morning cartoon execs they're saving a cliff for them here too, now."
 "Well, there you have it. First, factual, and on time. Around the world, and below it, this is CNN!"
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