idol season ten | week ten | 1033 words
Take a hike!
Griblitz loved his job in Hell.
As much as one could love anything in Hell. The combination of Hell and "love" was confusing, like a triple negative that kept flipping from Yes to No until it was spinning. Much like his Afterlife, really…
What Griblitz did not love was working in Limbo, or the relocation costs of moving from Limbo to Hell and back, depending on his current Evilness Index standing. If Hell was confusing, Limbo was even more so. Griblitz would have preferred to stay in Hell full time, but he kept tripping himself up and crossing over one line or the other. He aspired to be Bad with a capital B, to fulfill his demon calling.
He just wasn't very good at it.
His last job evaluation came back with a personal scorch mark of disapproval from the big "S" himself: Needs More Cruelty.
Griblitz tended to be preoccupied with fairness, but he tried to force himself to ignore it, rationalizing that most of the people in Hell and Limbo wouldn’t be there if they didn't deserve it. He sometimes felt he was too hard on the people in Limbo, but his harshness occasionally resulted in a transfer back to Hell, so maybe he was on the right track there? He also tried not to be overly kind to people in Hell (though it seemed like the place was bad enough already), but more than once he'd been told to immediately report to Limbo without even knowing what he'd done wrong.
Sometimes, a supervisor would summon Griblitz to his foul-smelling cave-icle. Griblitz would just be coming around the corner when the supervisor yelled, "That's it, you're out!" — before Griblitz had even glimpsed any potential desk photos of the supervisor's prized hellhound or marabou stork. Once, Griblitz had stepped into a passageway and encountered the Vile One himself. Before he could even fall to the ground in prostration he heard Satan say, "Bzzzzt!" and in the next breath Griblitz was waiting in the cafeteria line in Limbo. Where the lunch serving was mashed bananas and rutabaga casserole. Again.
Usually, Griblitz and his belongings traveled separately—not by choice, but from lack of warning. The shipping costs were murder, mainly for obnoxiousness' sake. Griblitz had a single box of belongings, and he was compelled to move it every time he changed residences so the landlord could rent out his old place. He had once tried to persuade his Hell landlord that he would be back in no time (because he generally was, sometimes even within the same day). Instead, he was gone for the length of sixty-five conflagrations and twenty-three damnings.
That had probably been about thirty landlords ago. After the first few back-and-forth episodes, Griblitz had mostly stopped even unpacking.
He spent a great deal of time thinking about his predicament. In Limbo, he funneled amateur autobiographies and detailed expense reports past the souls assigned to the meaningless-review pool, watching his skin turn grayer with every piece of paper he touched and wondering how he came to be there. In Hell, he would blare disco music at the lava swimmers or flog the vat-stirrers, and ask himself exactly what the Devil expected from him?
Griblitz had seen other demons taunt the Devil and be banished to Limbo for eternity. For himself, he showed the Devil the proper respect, and still spent more time in Limbo than out. So honestly, how did the rules work?
After a long, long time, so long that Griblitz couldn't remember his pre-death name or the smell of roses—so long that he'd gone from moving his box of belongings around to just keeping everything in a bag tied around his neck—he decided he'd had enough. The whole thing was making him crazy.
He requested council with the Devil, but was refused an appointment. He tried sneaking in through the back door and was spit right back out again, into the path of the Eternal Tour Bus. He tried bribing the Devil's staff with money, then baked goods, then hangnails and an assortment of roadkill toads—all to no avail. He even crafted desperate, handwritten pleas to the Devil, the accuracy of which he could not gauge, as they always wound up looking like chicken scratches on dead leaves.
Finally, he took to monitoring rumors of the Devil's doings, and lying in wait.
He spotted the Devil in the outer sulfur pits one day, and quickly approached him with obsequious offers of service. The Devil glanced at a him and made a *Bzzzzt!* noise, and Griblitz suddenly found himself running the laundry room in Limbo and enforcing quality control on the permitted seventy-two shades of gray.
He was almost encouraged by the convoluted logic that could be inferred from that experience.
In his off hours, he moved around Limbo skulking along the edges of where he hoped the Devil might soon appear.
After one impossibly long day filled with murky laundry and a lunch menu consisting of tapioca and watery oatmeal, Griblitz came across the Devil while journeying to the Worthless Platitudes station.
"Your Vileness, if I may—" Griblitz began, but stopped when he noticed the Devil's horns beginning to smoke.
Logic, he told himself, heed the logic: "That is, I demand an explanation for the ridiculous treatment I've received from you!"
The Devil said nothing, and he and Griblitz just stood there staring at one another.
Griblitz fidgeted. As far as he could tell, he hadn't been punished and he certainly hadn't been promoted to Hell. In fact, it seemed nothing had changed at all. "I… don't understand," he said.
The Devil raised an eyebrow at him. "You're wondering why you're constantly being moved around, and why it seems so arbitrary. Why it never matters what you do, because the results are usually the opposite of what you expect."
"Yes!" Griblitz said. "I mean… yes?" he whispered.
The Devil laughed. "Haven't you ever considered that maybe all of this is your version of Hell?"
"But… that's not fair!" Griblitz said.
"Exactly." The Devil stepped around him, his cape rippling through the air.
"This is Hell. That's how we do things here."
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