ell is a funny place. Really. Word of mouth has really given it a bad reputation, but I think everyone should at least give it a chance before saying it's this horrible place where souls burn forever. Granted, there are eternally burning souls, and you can usually hear them screaming at night, but during the day everything's fine. Once you get past the heat.
So, I've been stuck here for about three months now. Well, not stuck. I should rephrase. I've been vacationing here for three months now. Ol' Lucky wouldn't like to hear us talking about his place like that. I'm sure he wouldn't be too impressed to hear that his name behind his back is Lucky either. Whoever came up with it is paying though, I bet.
I don't even remember what my sin was. That's part of the deal I guess. You aren't supposed to remember what you did. Just spend the rest of your life paying for it. Whatever it was I did, I didn't think it would get me here, but like I said, it's not all that bad.
Down here there are all kinds of games for people to play, there are tanning beds, saunas. You can sit down to watch a movie, which always has something to do with Lucky. The ones were he 'dies' in the end usually get big laughs. People are always coming up with all kinds of things to do. Gambling is pretty rampant, as usual. I started this newspaper, which has led me to this public relations job.
'Right now we're offering a special deal for you and your family. If you send two souls down to us for vacation, we'll offer you a chance at a special lottery draw we're having at the end of the summer for a chance at resurrection. The water's nice and the barbecue's flaming, so come on down to Hell for your summer vacation. It's just straight down from exactly where you're standing.'
That's what Lucky had me come up with for our new brochure. You see, he's all worried about people not committing sins in the future and he wants to keep attracting visitors. He's actually considering opening this place up for tours and a possible amusement park complete with roller coasters and other attractions.
Personally, I think it's a bad idea. What with all the burning souls and people who've been sentenced to eternal punishments. I think there's a guy somewhere around here who's been sentenced to jerk off for the rest of eternity. Or until his dick falls off. And from the last time I saw him, that is a strong possibility.
It would take some real revamping of this place to turn it into an amusement park. But at least Lucky's got the manpower to complete a job like this. And it's not like anyone can complain either.
Lucky's got this other idea. He thinks that when we get this brochure finished, we can take it upstairs to someone and convince some poor travel agent to get people to come down here. Lucky told me there had to be at least one of those 'bastard travel agents' upstairs that worshipped him. I agreed with him and that's how I got this shit job.
Well, it's partially good and partially bad. It's good because I get to back to the surface. It's bad because I have to go back into my old body. Which probably doesn't smell, or look too good for that matter. Lucky said there was no other way.
Lucky is sending me up with his second in command, Mr. I. Lucky tells me that Mr. I has been down here since Lucky was just starting out. 'When my flames first started burning' Lucky had said to me. Together the two of them have been plotting some kind of six thousand year plan for revenge or something like that. I overheard something about an army of dead souls or something along those lines. I was caught listening in on the plan and Mr. I told me I was to either keep my mouth shut about this, or join in on their plot. I decided to join in thinking that a revolt against the top-siders would be fun. Seeing as we're dead, and how the Heaven do you kill something that's already dead? Whenever this attack goes down, it's going to be Armageddon.
Mr. I claims also that 'Hey Jude' is about him. I just nodded and went on with my business. I didn't want to tell the devil's second in command he was mistaken.
To tell the truth, I don't like Mr. I a whole lot.
Anyway, getting back to this other stuff. Lucky wants me to get this brochure finished so we can recruit more soldiers. That's the big secret around here right now. But keep it like that, all right?
I'm just about done the brochure now. I've added all the text in and I'm just finishing up adding the photographs today. Lucky gave me a camera and told me to get some nice pictures to attract new souls. He was quite impressed with the shots I took. He picked out the four he wanted in the brochure. I like three of them, but the fourth is questionable. Not that I'm complaining about what Lucky says, but there were other shots I liked more than the fourth.
The first picture is of a group of people having a day at Hell's beach. Some are tanning, some are swimming in the water. It really captures summer days around here. Nothing says summer in Hell like burning souls swimming in water that doesn't extinguish the flames on their bodies. Everyone bright red, surrounded by the flaming sand and boiling hot water. I think it's one of the better pictures I took.
The second is a shot of two newly entering souls and Lucky. He's wearing a big grin and has his arm around each of the new souls. The two souls are smiling and each giving a thumbs up. I think they got a few years knocked off their sentence for the smiles alone, who knows where the thumbs up got them. They'll probably end up working here with me in the next couple weeks.
The third picture is a group of people having a game of volleyball. The flaming ball flying over the net as one soul jumps up for a block. I liked this one too. It's got a good still-life element to it.
The fourth is the one I wasn't too sure about. It was a group shot of Lucky, Mr. I, Hitler and someone else I didn't recognize, but assumed he'd done something really bad. All four of them were giving thumbs up and I'd added a nice caption at the bottom of this picture when I added it. The caption read, "Come on down and visit us. We promise you'll never want to leave."
Lucky really liked it. He said it was one of the best things he'd seen since he helped the Florida Marlins win that World Series a couple of years ago. Which is another long story that started with someone saying, "I'd give anything to win a championship" and finished with Lucky sitting in the front row, in disguise of course, as the Marlins charged the field in celebration. I think the next season they finished dead last, didn't they? They didn't make post-season, I know that for sure.
"You done that damn thing yet?" Mr. I said from behind me. I turned around and he was standing in the doorway with two cups of coffee. He handed me one and we drank them together.
"How's it really going?" he asked, walking over to the computer to see my progress.
"Just about done," I said. "Just playing around with the photos and doing some other small finishing touches."
"Lucky'll be glad to hear it," he said. "We need to get some people down here."
I nodded my head.
"Hey, do you have any other reporters in here right now?" Mr. I asked me, leaning in close and speaking in a low voice.
I shook my head. The other two reporters had been sent away to serve life-time punishments after Lucky read their articles. He said they had terrible use of the language and were a disgrace to the profession. I think they've been sentenced to re-write the dictionary for a lifetime.
"Good, because I've got a tip for you," he said. He sat down in a chair, motioning for me to sit as well. I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen. I looked up at him and nodded for him to start.
"Rumor has it," he continued to speak in a low voice. "Something big is going down. Soon. I got word last night that someone is going to try and overtake Lucky as Hell's patron saint. There's going to be a attempted assassination. Tomorrow night at the ground breaking of the new theme park. That's all I can tell you."
I looked at Mr. I, he looked back with a look of utter concern.
"Why are you telling me this?" I asked.
"Because you'll be able to get the word out," he explained. "You have the power of the press. If you get this out tomorrow morning, and let these people know we're on to them, maybe it will be a deterrence for them to attempt their assassination."
"Good point," I said standing up. "I'll have it out on tomorrow's front page."
"Thanks," Mr. I said.
Hell's Bells Inc.
July 14, 2000
Life of bad deeds turns around
After almost six thousand years of committing some of the most horrible deeds ever done, Judas Iscariot has took his first steps on a path of righteousness.
Hell's Bells was yesterday informed of an attempted assassination plot against Dr. Lucifer Satan Beelzebub. Iscariot told Hell's Bells that he received word from one of his secret informers that our favourite burning soul was going to potentially be killed at tonight's ground-breaking ceremony for Hell's untitled theme park.
Iscariot told Hell's Bells that the would-be assailants will have no chance of harming a flaming hair on Dr. Lucifer's burning skull. Security has been tightened to only include a group of financiers of the theme park and a Hell's Bells reporter.
When asked about his newfound 'goodness,' Iscariot said: "It was the least I could do. Lucifer's been a good friend these past six thousand years. Anyone in my position would have done the same thing."
When confronted about him possibly trying to be a 'goody-goody' and making a feeble attempt at redeeming himself for another shot at Heaven, Iscariot replied with a laugh.
"They couldn't handle me," he said. "No one up there would be able to accept that the greatest carpenter of all time wasn't actually Jesus."