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10 June 2013 @ 10:55 am
LJ Idol Exhibit B: "Come On Down..."  

Come On Down…
LJ Idol Exhibit B | week four | 990 words
Give 'Em Hell

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The Devil swept into Torment Assessment with a swirl of his cape. "All right, let's get down to business. Who have we got today, Pendrick?"

The processing minion checked his slate clipboard. "Richard Taylor, an investment broker who swindled thousands of elderly people out of their retirement funds."

The Devil stepped up to the podium. "Cue the lights."

"Yes, your Vileness." The minion scrambled to obey.

Theme music filled the room as a man reluctantly edged around the corner. A demon followed close behind, using its pitchfork to prod him forward.

"Richaaaard Taaaylor!" the Devil bellowed. He leaned toward the microphone, and added a touch of false camaraderie to his voice: "Welcome to Hell."

"Hu-uh what?" the man stammered.

"Hellllllllllllll," the Devil intoned.

Taylor tried to run back out of the room, but the demon barred the corridor. "Uh," Taylor started to say.

"As your generous host, I offer a selection of ways to choose your fate." The Devil gestured upstage and the spotlight followed. "Roulette wheel, dart board, or Concentration?"

Taylor gaped at the display for a moment. "Concentration," he croaked out drily.

The Devil smiled. The smart ones nearly always made that choice—not that it helped them.

Taylor began working the board, revealing the hidden entries: cat-o-nine-tails, pit of fire, Black Friday sale at an electronics store… He paired one set after another until he reached the final two, and then paused, gleeful at knowing they would obviously match. Finally, he turned over one of the remaining cards, which appeared to show someone holding a bedpan.

"What?" he said.

"That looks about right," the Devil said. "Fitting, don't you think? You'll be cleaning up after nursing home patients, and witnessing their despair."

"Back on Earth?"

"No, of course not. It will be one of our simulations."

Taylor blinked dazedly. "For how long?" he asked.

"All eternity, of course." The Devil examined his talons. "That's how it works."

"But… don’t you ever re-visit past cases, see if they've done well enough to deserve something better?"

The Devil sighed. "Your chances for atonement and redemption expired when you did, Mr. Taylor. And I haven't the time. Besides, it would dilute the whole point of the 'Hell' brand. So there you have it. Off you go."

The demon herded Taylor toward the exit door.

The Devil turned to his minion. "Who's next, Pendrick?"

"May-Ellen Mayhew," the minion announced. "Serial poisoner. She killed her parents, a coworker, and two husbands."

"Been awhile since we had one of those," the Devil mused. "All right, crank it up."

The theme music began again as another demon escorted the woman into the judgment chamber.

"May-Ellen Mayhewwwww," the Devil boomed. "Welcome to Hell."

The woman eyed him suspiciously. "Why am I dead?"

"Someone poisoned you, dear lady. About time, too."

"About—wait, why do you care? You probably tempted me into doing it!"

"Nonsense." The Devil waved his arm at the vast room surrounding them. "I have far too much to do just running the place. I think you'll find that jealousy and the lure of easy money had far more to do with the choices you made." He leaned forward, grasping the sides of the podium. "And now begins the game of Fate. How will you let yours be decided? Roulette? Dart board? Or Concentration?"

May-Ellen frowned in thought. "Dart board," she said.

"Excellent. Please step forward." The Devil ushered her toward the throwing line, and offered her three darts.

May-Ellen threw the first dart, which landed just outside the target. An image followed.

"Quicksand," the Devil said. "Quite nasty."

May-Ellen aimed the second dart and threw harder. It hit one of the black spaces inside the innermost circle.

"Crushing by eternal stampede. I wouldn't recommend it," said the Devil.

Squinting in concentration, May-Ellen threw the final dart. It flew toward the board, and neatly pierced the bullseye.

"Ah!" the Devil chuckled. "The spider pit! An eternity of being smothered in millions upon millions of angry black widows, as they ceaselessly ravage your flesh."

"But… but that's much worse than the first two results!" May-Ellen said.

"True, but then again… this IS Hell. Take her away, Oswald!"

The demon led May-Ellen out the door, and the Devil thought about whether it might be time for lunch yet. He pondered for a bit. "This setup is growing stale," he commented to the minion. "Let's change it over for the next one, go with The Lady Or The Tiger instead."

The minion was still fairly new to his position. "But sir! You wouldn't—"

The Devil laughed. "No, not at all! It's always tigers around here."

"Ah! Two doors then, or three?"

"Three really seems more evil, don't you think?" the Devil said.

"Three it is."

The Devil paced as the room's transformation began. "Would this be a good time for a break?" he asked.

The minion consulted his clipboard. "Well, we have another delivery coming in shortly that still needs processing: a group of gang-bangers. They all killed each other in a shootout."

"I see. Where are they now?"

"In holding. We've put them in the simulation of the slow train through Africa."

"Really." The Devil thought for a minute. "I'd call that just about perfect. Make it permanent."


"You heard me. Make it good and hot, and be sure the bathrooms are utterly filthy. We'll handle new assessments again in two cycles of the main floor volcano."

The Devil spun on his heel, the better to twirl his cape behind him, but a messenger demon suddenly ran into the chamber. "Sir, the forges on level three have all shut down, and several of the fire demons have escaped."

The Devil sighed. Never a dull moment. "Send a crew in with torches, and bring in an off-duty Legion of the Damned to search for the fire demons. Pendrick, we'll postpone the rest of the assessments until tomorrow."

Lunch would have to wait.

If you liked this story, you can vote for it along with the many other fine entries here!

adoptedwriteradoptedwriter on June 10th, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
Amusing story! AW
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 10th, 2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I've done humor this round, but at least one of the prompts always drives me to Crack. This one was worth it. :)
Desireex_disturbed_x on June 10th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
This was so funny. I imagine Pendrick has quite a stressful job being a full time minion to the devil. It can't be easy.

Haha I just love that you went with crack.

Edited at 2013-06-10 10:50 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Half Evilhalfshellvenus on June 10th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm glad someone else loves the crack!

Really, I started out with Shadow Children and it wasn't going anywhere. But as soon as I envisioned the Devil as a sort of evil Game Show host, the crack was born. \o/

Because I cannot resist... ;)
Vice Captain of the Universe: mr hell himselfsweeny_todd on June 11th, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
awesome... just awesome ;-D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Half Evilhalfshellvenus on June 11th, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
Hahahaha! Perfect icon for the occasion, too! :D
(no subject) - sweeny_todd on June 11th, 2013 01:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 11th, 2013 02:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
cindytsuki_no_bara on June 11th, 2013 02:57 am (UTC)
the devil cracks me up. "it's always tigers around here." and "eternal stampede. i wouldn't recommend it." hee. and i love that he's too busy running hell to pay attention to people's individual cases. he's got stuff to do, people, he doesn't have time to check up on you.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Laugh SPNhalfshellvenus on June 11th, 2013 05:13 am (UTC)
Part of what tickled me about writing this is that people talk about Hell as a concept, but it seems very human to somehow hope that it will not be that bad. As in, maybe you could BS your way into a better sentencing, or that your punishment might be something tolerable. Hah-- it's Hell! You've earned your misery-- that's the point!

So, even if the Devil had the time to follow up on people's cases, why would he? Being stuck forever in the same awful scenario is exactly as awful as Hell should be. Once you're there, all bets are off. ;)
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on June 11th, 2013 07:13 am (UTC)
Lol, niiiiice. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 11th, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
:D Thank you!
(no subject) - jem0000000 on June 21st, 2013 07:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
favoritebeanfavoritebean on June 11th, 2013 09:40 am (UTC)
That was deliciously wicked. Quite a literal take on the topic too, I might add.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 11th, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
:D Honestly, a lot of the time when I wind up doing Crack for Idol, it's because I AM taking the topic really, really literally. That's fertile breeding ground for crack. It just makes it all MORE absurd! ;)
tatdatcmtatdatcm on June 12th, 2013 04:58 am (UTC)
So funny! I love that the Devil is like a game show host. Pendrick gave me a giggle too.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Half Evilhalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2013 05:21 am (UTC)
That's exactly it! The Devil as a game show host! The whole "Give 'em Hell" prompt struck me as "Make it a production." And really, isn't that kind of mocking of the damned even crueller that just sending them off to their fates?

So glad you enjoyed it!
whipchickwhipchick on June 12th, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
Some much clever. So much fun! I loved the little details, like "the better to twirl his cape behind him."

So when I read about the slow train through Africa I thought, "But that's delightful!" and then I realized maybe not so much to gangbangers ;)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
I guess it depends on which slow train you might be on! The one I was on was 9 hours at 20mph, over a not very long distance, and it was hot and misterable and the scenery was not lovely. And the bathrooms at all points along the way (including the rail stations) were an abomination.

But a scenic tour on a nice train could be wonderful! This was all 30+ years ago, so perhaps amenities have improved. ;)

Though for gangbangers, regardless, it would be dull-- and confined to a small, hot, uninterestingi space for all eternity is a pretty good punishment for people looking for too much excitement! :D
Pr0n Swansonacalculatedname on June 12th, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
I immediately wanted to protest that Satan should really be more of a Simon Cowell type, but I'm glad I resisted the urge. This was great.

"It's always tigers around here" is downright Izzard-grade.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
:D I imagine he's not above changing his style over time, either. There is something uniquely evil about luring people into a false sense of security with polite behavior while consigning them to 'arbitrarily' awful punishments. That little tinge of false hope... it must be like ambrosia to know how cleanly he'll crush it. ;)
alien_writings: Reader Girlalien_writings on June 12th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Ha, this was amusing! ^_^
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!

And thanks again for the ideas that led to the haunted apartment drabble sequence two weeks ago. That was all from your suggestions. :D
Jenjennickels on June 12th, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant. And so funny. I totally wanted to read more about the devil's day and the operations of hell.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Half Evilhalfshellvenus on June 12th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
Yay! \o/ Best compliment ever!
Pika the Brazen Ninjaporn_this_way on June 13th, 2013 03:50 am (UTC)
Loooooove!! The whole "let's mess with the prompt by taking it literally" thing tends to go either extremely well or extremely wrong, and this was definitely in the "extremely well" category. I can so totally see this happening on some sort of alternate universe Game Show Channel.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Yay!halfshellvenus on June 13th, 2013 04:07 am (UTC)
Taking it really literally tends to lead to crack for me, and I so enjoy crack! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

I've just opened your entry, but I can already tell I'll love it, so I have to wait until we're done watching TV when I can absorb its genius in the way that it deserves. \o/
bringing_wordsbringing_words on June 13th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
Really loved this. Funny and well-written, and kept me really engaged the whole way through :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Half Evilhalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's odd how much "crafting" crack takes (at least for me), but it's always worth it in the end. :D
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": Fire Faerieroina_arwen on June 13th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
Ah ha! This is made of win! (Except for the Black Widows, because ewwwww!)

Also, I love the name Pendrick!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Half Evilhalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)

I hate spiders myself, which is part of why they became an Epic Punishment here.

Poor Pendrick. Doesn't that name just sound like a minion? It has 'paper-pusher' (or here, slate-tablet-keeper) written all over it. ;)
michikatinski on June 13th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
This is the best!!! :-D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
Haha! So glad you enjoyed it! \o/