I'm still on holidays and having a fabulous time off blogging.
A very rough guide to Hell
Hell is steadily losing adherents. The Infernal Tourist Board (chief field-researchers Dante Alighieri and John Milton) has therefore produced a promotional flyer.
|Wish you were here?|
Hell’s landscape is unrivalled. Its bottomless ravines, towering mountains and fiery floods have inspired artists for centuries. Pandemonium, the capital (formerly black Dis) has a strikingly cosmopolitan buzz and, as a bonus, is crime-free.
An exclusive resort for centuries, Hell is a place where kings tend to wear their crowns and popes their tiaras. Everywhere you look, you will see famous faces. Spot the celebrity! Overweight and out of form? Hell offers the ultimate workout. Shed those extra pounds, and keep on shedding them! If you like to travel light ’n’ easy, Hell is for you. Get all your jabs on site, and don’t bother to pack the sun cream. Only hypocrites wear clothes; fiery serpents and fat maggots are often the only attire. In a charming tradition, each visitor is presented on arrival with hot metal chains as a lasting memento of their stay. Get yours personally engraved at no extra charge.
Time stands still here, as the ocean boils and the great abyss yawns before you. Feel the hot sand under your feet, watch the chimeras and gorgons frolic, take a trip on a demon’s back, smell the brimstone on the breeze! You know how you always hope holidays will never end? This one never will.
The quickest route is to sin big and persistently, and refuse to show remorse. The sin against the Holy Ghost gets you there in one, though no one knows exactly what it is.
The way to Muslim and Jewish Hell lies over a high bridge as thin as a hair. Primrose paths of dalliance (Shakespeare, “Hamlet”) offer a slower but more relaxing approach.
Money may well be the reason you are here; especially if you come from Cahors, the city of usurers, or worked for Lehman Brothers. But don’t bring cash or cards, unless you want them melted down and poured into your mouth through a funnel.
Hell Gate. In fact nine layers of gates, three of brass, three of iron and three of burning adamant. Don’t miss the famous inscription on the first: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”. Satan’s paramour, Sin (aka “the Snakie Sorceress”), keeps the key and will make a scene, even though—since Christ harrowed the place in 33AD—the gate no longer shuts. Beware belching fire and three-headed dogs.
Satan’s palace. The architectural marvel of Pandemonium, made of pure gold (Hell’s major export, and the world’s bane). Its council chamber can accommodate “a thousand Demi-Gods on golden seats”, with 26 standing. Raised above it is Satan’s throne, far outshining “the wealth of Ormus and of Ind”. Photography is not allowed.
Satan himself. Frozen in ice at Hell’s core, gnawing on several sinners at a time, and with his three horned heads weeping gigantic tears of frustration, this extraordinary sight amazes everyone. Staggered entry at peak times, or when sated. Not suitable for vegetarians.
Chez Tantalus: See your dinner hover over you, but never quite get close enough to eat!
Bar Lethe: A popular, even crowded, establishment, despite the slow and surly service of barmaid Medusa. You’ll soon forget everything, including why you came.
Fresh ‘n’ Fruity: Hell has several branches of this surprising chain, where you can experience the fresh-picked fruit of your choice turning to ashes in your mouth. Fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil in season.
Holes of the Simoniacs: Dive head-first into these funnels of fun, and let a devil set the soles of your feet on fire!
The Sacks@Malebolge: Ten delightful mini-ditches in the trendy 8th Circle, specially designed for liars and flatterers. Enjoy an in-room massage from attentive demons.
Angel Rocks: A cheap and charming perch from which to brood on your circumstances.
The Third Circle Spa (M. Cerberus, prop.): Wallow in perfumed mud for as long as you like, and longer!
Il Sanguineo (7th Circle): Watch your body turn as red as this river of blood, in an exceptional toning experience!
Gay and LGBT scene
Much improved in recent years. Continual cruising is the norm in the 7th Circle, where anyone who stops encounters an intriguing rain of fire.
To sum up: “Hell: Your first resort, and your last!”
Next Post: "Food for Thought for a Summer Sunday Morning (and Music, too!)", to be published on Sunday 25th August at 10am (GMT)