This story originally ran on June 8, 2009. It’s one of my favorites. We take you inside a day in hell, thanks to Satan’s Little Helper, Andy.

The alarm rang at 3 AM.  There is no such thing as a snooze button in the nether regions of Hell, so I forced myself out of my lumpy bed.  Someone had to manage the fires.  The union recently had an uprising and the result was that work weeks were capped at 120 hours.  The resulting shortage of manpower meant that even those of us in the inner circle had to take our turns keeping the home fires burning.  The Great Freeze of 2004 had occurred when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series.  Satan brought a bunch more nuclear reactors online and we managed to get through the crisis with substantial portions of the Great Fire still intact.  However, we still fear the Freeze to end all Freezes that will occur if the Chicago Cubs ever win the World Series.  That could result in the end of Hell as we know it.

I quickly ate my breakfast gruel and packed my lunch.  Braunschweiger, a bit of leftover blood sausage, somewhat moldy rye bread, broccoli, and prune juice.  Definitely one of my better lunches in a while.  I jumped in my Yugo and headed off toward the main fire pit.   The pot holes seemed a bit worse and a bit more frequent than they had been yesterday.  I quickly joined the assembly line and began to shovel molten fire into the box cars.  The train would take this load to an outlying region, where men would offload the fire in order to restart the dying fires in those regions.  The offloading was usually left to the young hellions, to get them acclimated to the heat slowly.  I’m really not sure why the union had fought for shorter work days – fire duty was a great job.  Lots of wonderful heat at the pit.

Finally, my shift was over and I jumped back into the Yugo and headed back to my studio apartment.  I had to check my email for messages from the boss.  Not surprisingly, my computer showed me the familiar Blue Screen of Death.  Satan kept promising to get us some Macs, but I wasn’t holding my breath.  I expected Windows to be the dominant operating system in Hell for many more years. After a few reboots, I managed to get into my email.  Just one message, but it was a bad one.

Andy,

Adolf and Eva are causing trouble in A-7 again.  I’m hearing that he’s trying to take over the sector and eventually march against me.  Run over to the Hitler home and have a chat with them.  Use your own discretion regarding punishment for this latest round of misbehavior

- Satan

I Yugo’d my way over to A-7 to have a little chat with Hitler.  After a contentious discussion, I finally got fed up and banished him to sector G-14 (telemarketers) for the next six months.  Adolf and Eva were obviously glutton for punishment, as they had been sent to G-14 at least five times in the last six years.  I can’t imagine what could possibly be worth that sort of punishment.  When Hitler had arrived here in the 1940s, he had been ushered into the inner circle and had Satan’s ear.  However, his repeated insubordination had caused him to lose his privileges, and he wasn’t even invited to the good parties any more.

The Yugo stalled a few times getting out of A-7.  Probably vapor lock.  When I got back home, I sat down in front of the computer and went onto eBay.  eBay was a bit slow over dial-up, but Satan had promised to install broadband soon.  eBay had been great for Procurement Services.  While at one time it had been necessary to wager a golden fiddle against Johnny’s immortal soul, the supply of souls on eBay had really brought the price down.  I bought fourteen souls for a grand total of $12,314.  Satan would be pleased with the purchases, although he’d be upset at the shipping charges.  Hell was outside of the normal delivery zones, so the shipping charges were out of this world.

My day’s work was over.  Time for some leisure.  I settled down on the futon and flipped on the 13 inch black and white TV.  142 channels, and all of them C-Span!  Could life get any better?

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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