…continued from part 1
As we walked past the gates, I noted they were simple and unordained. Not at all what I’d been given to expect from Rodin’s famous sculpture. I looked at my host inquisitively and he shrugged.
“We didn’t get Rodin,” he said as a chill breeze whipped past.
“oh that is mean,” I said, as I shivered off the cold.
Old Nick smiled his toothy, charismatic grin, “Right? I spend a lot of time trying not to give people the ‘devil they know’.” We bypassed the line of people stuck shivering outside the velvet ropes next to a red carpet and I noticed some D-list celebrities waiting miserably as a fat man with headphones and a neckbeard seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.”
“What’s his deal?” I asked, pointing to the bouncer.
“He’s on loan from above. We’ve managed to pervert the whole ‘last shall be first’ thing by playing the ‘as above, so below’ card. My favorite part is that when their managers try to get them special treatment, they get pushed farther back in line.”
“So, part of his heaven is making people stand in line waiting to get into hell?”
Satan shook his head at the foolishness of mankind, “yeah, but he’s not totally immune from the knowledge that even with power the ‘cool kids’ can’t stand him.”
“But wait, do they know they’re still outside hell?”
“yeah. We’ve combined the whole ‘anticipation heightens the experience’, with letting their imaginations run wild so we can figure out the most appropriate punishment thing, plus everyone born outside the UK hates waiting in line.”
“So what do you do to British celebrities?” I asked.
“We make them cut line without allowing their apologies to come out. A lifetime of conditioning makes them fight it. Oh and we make them think they’re being disapproved of by other people they’ve never met.”
“You know, last time we spoke you seemed to be frustrated at your reputation, but here you seem to enjoy it.”
“Well, I am the just reward of the sinner, am I not? So how could I also be the great tempter? That would be like a District Attorney working entrapment to get more cases.”
“Oh yeah, and they’ve got a special punishment” he said, but refused to say any more on the subject when I pressed him further.
We walked right past them behind a group of nobodies and made a left to a counter where a small bespectacled demon with reading glasses on a pearl strand. She looked up and her look of utter non-reaction at her boss showing up unexpectedly indicated that if she hadn’t had a hand in designing the concept of the DMV, she had been a dedicated student of their dark art.
“Hello Agnes,” said Old Nick.
She grunted and handed him a clipboard, “Fill out the forms completely, and when you’re issued your don’t let it out of your control for any reason. You will not be issued another.” she said, in the tones of a flight attendant giving a safety demonstration.
“You guys get a lot of visitors here?” I asked.
“Not really,” he said. “Just another way to add red tape and misery to anyone trying to game the system.”
“I have to hand it to you,” I said, as we walked in “You really know your business. Why was I invited here? Surely you don’t need me to spread word of how things work here, that would only complicate things further.”
“Follow me into my office,” he said, “I’ll explain when we’re away from prying eyes.”
(For the story about how I first met the Devil by the roadside, read ‘Every Soul is For Sale’)