Walking the carpeted hallways of Hell always provides me with many varied journeys where I encounter all manner of demon. I am given moments in time to take leave of my daily tortures in order to refresh myself for the new tortures ahead. It’s not all fire and brimstone these days – well not 24/7 at least. You get sick leave and all.
It was just the other day that everything changed. I hadn’t been in Hell very long so I wasn’t quite sure how things operated. I would soon learn.
Anyway, I was on the way to the Ladies’ and it was only early, when she walked past. I was determined to see the good in my plight and try to spread hope so I looked straight into her empty, callous eyes to give a bright smile and a ‘Hi’. It was a strain for her to even look at me. I’m sure that through her beady peepers all she saw was a smiling, walking, talking, dried out turd. If looks could shoot thunderbolts through a girl, I’m sure I could well have been in spasms on the carpet, there in between the bulletin board decorated with stats and the desk where the Farting Lady sat and burped all day long.
I continued on my way and found my safe haven – the cold, bare toilet seat. I listened to two bored hell hounds discuss some private matters. They’d shot darts at me as I’d walked in. One of the tortures in this Hell was making me think one place had one purpose when really it was meant for another. The door of this room bore the silhouette of a werewolf in a skirt, making me think it was a Ladies’ Poo Place, but obviously it was now a makeshift Dome of Silence. No one was meant to enter, look or listen at this particular point in time, as private conversations of utmost importance were taking place in there. Why couldn’t I get it right?
‘She just doesn’t understand what I go through,’ Hell Hound One whispered loudly and urgently.
‘She could never put herself in someone else’s hooves,’ the other one agreed.
I couldn’t pee. Hell Hounds gave me performance anxiety.
On the way back to my cage, I saw Otis the Ogre, with his usual pint of vomit to help get him through the morning. He was a grinning beast, orange and brown with black splodges. He smelled like sewage, but then again so did most things around here.
‘Get back to your seat and do some work!’ he grinned and nudged me, thinking he was the most hilarious ogre to squidge through the carpets of Hell.
‘Back to the torture,’ I grinned weakly.
After a couple of hours of hard labour for Satan, I thought I deserved a mug of hot chocolate. I went to the tea room, and Thunderbolt Girl was there again, with her friend Smiling Assassin. Smiling was very friendly, and made me feel a part of things by having a whinge about the Son of Satan, and how he cruised along gaining promotion after promotion without lifting a finger just because of who his Daddy was.
‘I guess he feels he has a lot to live up to. It would be hard for him,’ I said, defending the lad.
Thunderbolt Girl had lightning emanating from her eyes, and it burned into mine.
‘But yeah, good life for some,’ I added, thinking this might perk her up.
The lightning became stronger and penetrated through to my brain. I forced a smile and skipped away with my hot chocolate, relieved to crawl back into my rusted cage.
As the lava below cooled and the dust in the pits of hell settled for the day, I exhaled a relief-filled breath. I would be able to escape this place once the clock hit five.
I took another well-deserved break, this time to have a quick chat with the flying monkeys. They were pretty cool – they had wings and stuff, but rather than thinking they were better than everyone because of it, they had the makings of modest airborne primates.
I couldn’t believe what I saw when I reached my monkey mates – Thunderbolt Girl was there with them, chatting, smiling, telling amusing anecdotes, the whole lot. She looked up to see me and instantaneously morphed into a Thunder Cloud. I was sick of her, just dead sick of her.
‘Damn her to hell,’ I thought, and then felt disappointed that it was too late.
I glanced at her briefly as though she was no more significant than a piece of ash fallen from one of our many eternal fires.
I didn’t give anything away, certainly not a smile. I was cold, ice cold – in fact, I could’ve frozen this place, downsized it and popped it in a novelty ice tray.
Although it was only a brief glance, I couldn’t help but notice that she looked at me with disdain. Of course she did, but there was something else evident as well – a fleeting look in those devastating eyes that told me that she hated me with a passion, but she respected me for not smiling.
I returned to my cage to collect my pitchfork and cherry red ruched bag. I was learning how to fit in here. Respect. I like that word. One good thing I could gain here was respect.
I placed a notice on the bulletin board on my way out: ‘Soul for Sale’ it read ‘Smile included.’
Surviving the hell of office politics