A Cold Day In Hell

A response to the Write Now prompt : http://todaysauthor.com/2015/10/16/write-now-prompt-for-october-16-2015/

In a fairly nice neighborhood in the Chrraalijev suburb in Hell, a pair of demons were going about their morning routine, grumbling about their jobs. “I tell you, Dear, dispensing torment used to be fun. I used to be creative. After being at it two centuries, it’s just gotten monotonous. You know I actually made a list of the less common tortures so that I wouldn’t forget them. A list! I’ve begun working from lists.”

“Sweet heart, sooner or later you’ll get the big job, and it will all have been worth it. Oh! And besides, I think work might be cancelled today if the weather outside is any indication.”

Grezzlebenethab glanced out his window. He was more than a little surprised to see snow. “I’ll be damned. Now that’s something you don’t often see. I mean, it might not be a first, but it’s way too early in the season for the weather report to include the word snow.”

His wife Benenemar put her hands on his shoulders in that doting fashion she knew calmed him down. “What do you suppose happened? Maybe corporate taxes are being enforced?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. We can’t even manage that down here and we’ve got penalties to really be afraid of. They don’t even usually jail their C.E.O.s up there. No, I’m guessing an author turned down a movie deal.”

She giggled as she sat his breakfast down in front of him. “You always think so small. Maybe it’s your attitude that keeps you from promotion.”

“Now cut that out,” he said lovingly. “Okay then, how about this, it’s a cold day in hell because the U.S. elected a black President.”

“Better, but honey, be realistic. You know the Ministry of Interference in Mortal Affairs keeps the power of white privilege far too strong for that.”

“They’ve got black congressmen and a black supreme court justice.”

“Shh! Don’t tell them that!”

He smiled again. His wife could always stir his sense of humor. “Okay then, Bennenemar darling, how about an American Pope?”

“Haw! Well, I don’t know. Does South America count?”

“Now you’re talking like one of them.”

“Sorry, sweetie. Maybe it’s just that the richest pop star today is talented.”

Grezzlebenethab’s coffee cup was at his mouth, so he could only snort instead of laugh. “Well, it’s more likely than anything I can come up with. I kind of doubt that’d put a helluva dent in my daily quota, so let’s hope for something a bit more than just a deeper cultural trough.”

She shrugged. “On the TV that commentator Hunnyntrelgathar was saying that mortals don’t place enough real importance on music.”

“Yeah, well, Hunnyntrelgathar doesn’t work the punishment pits either. Sweetie, mortals aren’t sent down here for making bad music. Or listening to it. It takes a bit more than that.”

She clicked on the radio. “Mmm. I love it that we get real music on every station down here.”

“Not when I’m on the job. Nothing that would comfort them.”

She chuckled. “As I understand it, too much real music would be painful to a most mortals.”

“Heh.” He looked out the window. “You know, we get snow down here a lot more often than we did a hundred years ago.”

“Yeah. And you said that same thing one hundred years ago. I remember.”

“They do a lot up there that beats expectations. And they do it faster every few generations.”

She sighed prettily, “Maybe that’ll slow down your quota.”

“Hm. Nope. Not until they start to realize it. Too many people fighting the same battles over and over. Progress means a lot, but it doesn’t mean much to an individual unless they can see it. A lot of people would rather not see any at all.  You’d be surprised how many of ’em end up down here because of their good intentions.”


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