Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I am feeling a bit on the lazy side this week. But rather than pull some of the solipsistic maneuvers of some bloggers (you can guess what I mean: “Oh, I don’t really feel like saying anything of note, but I HAVE to write something, so, I trimmed my toenails, it’s a gloomy day, I picked my nose…” – you get the idea.)
I pulled this old (and I mean old) ditty I put together well over a decade ago, a short story I wrote but never bothered trying to get published (why? Couldn’t tell ya). Dusting it off, I had to retouch it a bit (I used Ashtoreth as the central character – a FEMALE Babylonian deity, no less, and I had to correct the spelling of Malbolge), but outside of a few minor quick brushes, I present it in its entirety:


The union steward of Hell's Local 666 handed a list of grievances to Asmodai, who received it with a withering glare and a vicious scowl designed to frighten naughty children and make drunkards swear off drink. He'd used it often enough throughout history, and met with wonderful results. That same scowl had caused Faust to deliver his famous monologue to cover his dread (rumors not withstanding, the Big Boss never made personal appearances up above, he used to send Asmodai, who did just fine, till recently), had forced an infamous dictator to kill himself, and frightened a President into resigning.
The steward crossed his fatty arms over his voluminous paunch, tipped his hard hat up with a gnarled thumb, and chomped on his stogie, completely unintimidated by the horned, fanged, bulbous, rotting, sulphurous, leprous, gangrenous Asmodai (and that was just his eyes: you should've seen the REST of him!). With a malodorous, whistling, hideous sigh, The Demon Duke of the Seventh Level of Hell, The Bubbling Magnificence of the Inferno, the, oh hell, the holder of far too many titles to list here, read the demands.
In a dim corner of his mind (one of them, anyhow), Asmodai reviewed the catalogue of events that had brought him to this downswing in his otherwise colorful career.
In the old days, (the GOOD old days, he amended) there was hellfire and brimstone, the cries and screams of the damned, the Byzantine elegance of Hell. He and his cronies spent many a wonderful century in mass torture, devising new and wonderful methods of tormenting the sinners who had descended to their playgrounds. Ah yes, and the great Lucifer spreading his wings over his kingdom gloating in silent glee over his lieutenants, slouched in his many-colored, multi-faceted, ever-flowing throne. In those days, he and his peers had gone to the surface in vast numbers, recruiting. They possessed nuns, desecrated holy places, whispered obscene things in every ear, bent hearts and spirits in the right direction so as to swell the populace of Hades.
The Twentieth Century changed all that.
Before its advent, the world had few people. But, what with the progress of technology, the advancement of science and medicine, fewer people died. No longer did women die in childbirth, and few children were stillborn. Men learned to fight wars with fewer casualties. Just before the Twenty-First Century, Man fought to terrify rather than kill the enemy, and to fight a civilized war. Soon, there would be an end to war in itself (which terrified some of the hierarchy of Hell: they very well could be laid off, an historical precedent unheard of in the Nether Regions). It seemed a boon at first: with the advent of humanism and occultism, the As-Long-As-It-Doesn't-Hurt-Anyone Philosophy, the sins of the multitude blossomed and grew as morals became obsolete.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Hell ran out of room.
True, any Demon of rank above the Fourth Level (and there were a LOT of those) could absorb a set amount of souls into their essence, but it took some time to digest them, and meanwhile their peculiar metabolisms required a great deal of rest. Sloth and gluttony were sins every Fallen Angel held dear to their hearts (no matter the locale), but there were limits to any capacity, and, in the year 2000 A.D, there was just FAR too many souls in direct proportion to the once sizeable ranks of Hell's Hierarchy.
Too many ran free about the place. They'd even re-created (or brought with them: the point was unclear) many of their social structures with them.
And, unfortunately, because of the rules made from On High, there was a limited amount they could turn away (the Big Boss didn't take kindly to questions on this matter, so it was vague in all of Asmodai’s minds).
So, construction on a new Malbolge was in its fifth negotiation. The
Demon Duke of the Seventh Level, the Bubbling Magnificence of the Inferno (and many other titles which may be skipped) became Hell's Foreman. And then, all Heaven broke loose, at least in Asmodai’s opinion. The crew went on strike.
Red-hot shackles chained the souls in the first picket line while harpies picked out their eyes and waited until new ones were grown back, to repeat the process for eternity. The second picket line had their genitals pulled out their mouths and were forced to watch as varied creatures of hell had sex with those same genitals (no orgasms allowed in Hell, as you may have guessed). The third queue was hung by their toes by flesh-eating fungus while simulacrums of their mothers were repeatedly raped by leprous apes before their very eyes. The fourth set were chained to chairs and forced to watch the slide shows of the most boring vacations anyone ever had.
And then word came down from the Big Boss, and Asmodai was flabbergasted.
Another historical first: don't torture the help! In all the centuries, the hierarchy had excelled at: torture, agony, eternal suffering. What they had no conception of whatsoever: skilled labor. Lucifer could not retract the orders
Asmodai had placed on the first four groups, which was poor management in anyone's book. So, in his infinite wisdom, the Fallen Archangel simply ordered him not to do it anymore. The other word came down, causing Asmodai to bristle (it was fairly hard for him not to bristle, for he was full of them): work with them. Hang tough, but give them anything they want for now. The only aside was this (and this made the Demon Duke of the Seventh Level fairly salivate from all of his mouths): wait till we have all the room we need, we'll deal with them then.
Oh, how he could hardly wait! In seven of his twenty minds, he devised inventive, brilliant torment for these sanctimonious, self-righteous souls. Oh, how they would writhe! How they would scream!
In the meantime, his eyes slid down the list. After picking them up and reinserting them (although not in their original locations), Asmodai read the grievances. One particular item caught his eye (he promptly caught it back), he read with increasing rage and utter disbelief.
"YOU WANT WHAT!!!!????", he bellowed, causing the very foundations of
Hell itself to rumble.
"Which one is dat?", asked the steward, chomping his stogie with a complete lack of fear. Asmodai wanted to light the cigar and shove it in a particular part of the steward's anatomy. Asmodai pointed a taloned, gnarled putrid, hooked, maggoty, warped finger at one underlined paragraph (you should've seen his hands, if you think his fingers were bad!).
Placidly, the steward chomped, squinted at the grievance, and nodded.
"Yeah, just what it says. Wouldn't be askin', if youse guys kept the temperature at a decent level."
Grinding his fangs in anger most foul, Asmodai snarled, "I'll have to clear this with the Boss."
The steward smiled a half-crooked smile, and said, "You go ahead and do that. We'll wait till you get back."
Asmodai grew in size until he dwarfed the steward. Smoke belched from his many nostrils, his singed body hair stood on end, and his multiple horns gleamed wickedly in the crimson light of the Underworld. He was fell to look upon.
The steward pulled his stogie out of his mouth, spat a little of it off to the side, replaced the cigar, and looked up at all fifty feet of towering demonic rage, and very calmly said, "Well? Whaddya waiting for?"
Asmodai lifted one gargantuan leg, making ready to stomp this little toad into roadkill, when a little voice chimed in all of his heads: "Give them anything they want for now." No demon, Duke or not, could disobey a directive from the Archangel.
Imperiously, Asmodai shifted his bulk to move off, trying very hard to make it seem as if his departure was the reason for lifting his hoof off the ground (and not pulling it off very well). He pivoted on his other hoof (he had only two legs, surprisingly enough), and stormed off to the Throne.
"Make it some time today, wouldja?" called the steward after him.
An imp capered across his path, gleefully calling him a foreman, among other choice phrases. Imps are not renowned in Hell for their intelligence.
Asmodai simply looked at him, and the imp blew apart. He stomped on the pieces as he went, and the individual pieces screamed in agony.
Asmodai was sorely tempted to scream to the heavens above "DID YOU
KNOW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!? IS THIS FUNNY?!?!?!?" But he didn't. You didn't address Up High directly, not if you were smart. He hoped that Armageddon would never happen.
Where in Hell was he going to find ice water?
The moral: You just can't argue with a Teamster.

I hope that it serves to tickle some funny bones. Hope you enjoy it. I do aim to please.

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HairlessMonkeyDK said...

Very, -very- well written.
Short and funny.
Shades of Adams.
I laughed out loud... which is a rather rare occurrence.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Oy, & thank ye, sir. If I can make folks laugh a bit, I've done the world a wee service, I have.
Thnx, friend.

say no to christ said...

Ra, you should have it published! I would read it to my kids and incurage(sp?BF)kids to read it.

Krystalline Apostate said...

& again, my esteem-deprived ego swells beyond logical proportion.
Thanks, dear.

beepbeepitsme said...

I have added you to my blogroll. Please add me to yours if you so wish. :)

Krystalline Apostate said...

'Tis me pleasure indeed, consider it done.
I've put it under 'Friends of mine', albeit we've just met. I've not had the opportunity yet to read it.
Your blogroll, BTW, lists me as the title of 1 of my older posts. Just so you know.
And thank you.