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The New Hell

So, you've died. Tough break, but as you can see, not terribly uncommon. You're probably missing your loved ones right now, maybe worried about what happens next. Also, this is probably different from what you expected, if you expected anything at all. A room with a reasonably comfortable couch and a pink, maybe even salmon tint to the wallpaper, kept at a cool 68 degrees F. Pink is calming. No, you're not in Heaven. Sorry. Purgatory? No dice, Catholics. Doesn't exist. Yes, you are in Hell, but don't panic, it's totally not what you think. When you're ready, just walk over to the door, put on the complementary robe and moccasins and walk outside. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

As you can see, we've done some fairly significant redecorating here in Hell over the past few centuries. That old fire and torture motif grew tiresome and, frankly, rather pointless. We now have roughly 7000 large communities that fit every afterlifestyle, from sleek urban living to more peaceful pastoral settings. We have established schools for the millions of people who die every year without a proper education and our restaurants have been rated the second-best in existence by Dead Magazine.

The lightless pit of infinite tortures that Hell used to be was, I'll admit, a bit of an oversight. I was so busy concocting new, elaborate ways to instill hopelessness and agony in the souls of the damned that I didn't even consider the necessity for a sliding scale. Over there, for example, used to be a million-story tower housing giant spiders that emerged at random to feast on the damned and lay eggs in their abdomens so that they may hatch within a sensitive body that felt every tear and sting. The spiders were, well, spiders. They didn't care if they were planting their young in the belly of a mass murderer or a man who had a hard time staying faithful to his wife. All in all, pretty pointless. So, we knocked down the spider spire and installed a 24-hour fitness center.

The revelation (little R, not the biggie from the Bible) came some time in the 1500's. We started to get a huge influx of Italian artists who, in between their tortures, would make the most beautiful murals out of their own entrails. I thought to myself, "Lucifer, these guys can't be all bad if they make something as stunningly gorgeous as that." So, I plucked some little fellow from the rusty pike on which he was impaled and asked him what he did to deserve coming here. I kid you not, he looked me square in the burning, black eyes and said, "Well, s'pose I liked boys better than girls, m'lord."

That was it. Believe me, I know a thing or two about sin. So, I patched up the poor kid, gave him a hovel in the least fetid, smoldering part of the abyss and started setting things right. Sure, we've still gotta do something about the truly evil bastards who come down here. Don't need the rapists and the genociders mingling with the low-level sexual deviants and blasphemers. Currently we keep all the bad apples in isolation over at a rehabilitation camp. Isn't going too well, but our best scientists (and boy howdy do we have a lot of scientists) are working on a reincarnation program to give the rotten souls another go at it. Amazing what a difference a decent upbringing can do.

It's been a long process, but we're awfully close to finishing Stage 1 of conversion over to the New Hell. Until the folks upstairs update their own system, we've got to make the best out of our own situation. It's not paradise, but it's home. I'm sure you'll settle in just fine. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a softball game to referee. Have a pleasant afterlife... oh, and about your "problem", don't think I won't throw you in a cell with a cannibal if you try to set up a Ponzi scheme down here. Be good, damn it.