Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Satan, as is wont, had not been entirely honest with Lee when he told him he had modeled the refurbished Hell primarily after metaphorical Biblical descriptions. There was, in fact, a mall he had come to start visiting pretty frequently.

At the broken escalator was a placard reading:


In every store you could hear huffing, pant-suit clad sales-people reassure, "Crisis averted! Clean water for everyone, peace among the warring rebel factions, full stomachs, and I found one in the back!"

Of course, all of this was intended to serve as a satire of the human experience, which is where Satan got his idea; that, and the opulent fake-gold trim lining every angle of master-carved ice-white polyurethane marble.

Barring one exception, Satan made sure his contractor made damn sure he ended up with something every inch as perversely ornate.

The one exception, an idea that had Satan shooting straight up in the middle of the night, scrambling for his idea journal, where he wrote the following words:

“HELL-THEMED RESTAURANT”, was his idea for a Hell-themed restaurant.

The dining hours mentioned in Lee's welcome packet were in reference to this very place, which he really couldn't have known at the time. Obviously, Satan served as the main creative consultant for the job. For starters, each table was for one, and the entire place was devoid of any reading material. Satan thought it would be cute to include a few expectation-setting low-balls related exclusively to eating-out before he went for the metaphorical jugular. Foremost on his list were food items bearing unthinkable pun-names, mostly in reference to heat. Since he had made the tough call to scrap heat entirely when he renovated Hell, he felt a certain amount of creative license to really hammer it home at the restaurant.

On one of his visits to the mall, which, as mentioned before, were becoming more and more commonplace, he was approached by several smartly-dressed button pushers.

"You've been spending quite a bit of time here lately," observed Button Pusher Number One.

Satan brushed past him and silently maintained his pace.

"Sir, we really need to address this patent infringement with you."

Satan stopped and barfed, "Patent infringement?"

"Can you quickly tell me if you recognize anything in these pictures?"

Button Pusher Number Two handed Satan several glossy photographs of people with blank expressions joylessly eating chocolate croissants at a marble, liquid-gold fountain; huge banners covered in lies, people inching along golden walkways at a bovine pace, weighed down like oxen with knick-knacks; genetically-engineered children gluing together basketball shoes, glassy-eyed shoppers desperately searching for their lost children, and a buffet in a theme-restaurant where you can eat infinitely and never be able to get enough.

"That's the mall." Satan stuttered sweatily.

"Wrong, these pictures were taken in Hell a week ago."

"What? That's impossible!" Satan said as he proceeded to exhibit all of the mannerisms typical of a terrible liar.

"Wrong again, new jet-pack technology enables photographers to go anywhere."


"Jet-packs are super-light personal aeronautic View-Tainment consoles."

"I know what a jet-pack is!"

"Of course you do. Unfortunately, these pictures bring to light a very serious case of intellectual property theft. We need you to come with us."

Satan followed the Button-Pushers to the mall security offices and soon found himself sitting across from a real pig-face, squeezed into what was obviously not his permanent desk.

"So, what's this I hear about a 'patent infringement'?" inquired Pig-Face.

Satan had not an excess of time for this line of questioning. "I saw your mall, and thought I could do better."

Pig-Face's eyes widened and his face began to tremble like deli meat on the freeway. "You thought you could improve on my design, did you? Do you have any idea who I am? Do you even know how to run a mall?"

"Well, you're the man on top, and this is all just in my nature." Satan demurred, bored.

Pig-Faced hollowly chortled, "You'll never be me. You think people are going to follow you down to your mall-inspired, heaven-themed atrocity in the center of the earth when they could stay up here with me?"

"As a matter of fact, I've received more than a few resumes from your security staff. Do you know how to run a mall?"

The non-hypothetical chatter of the office quickly subsided.

Pig-Face looked around incredulously. "You want to go with him, do you? Do you? Do you know what lives down there? Bed bugs! Every home in his Mall-Themed abortion-clinic is infested with bed bugs!" he screamed not un-woundedly. After taking a moment to regain his pig-like composure, he turned to Satan and said evenly, "Listen good, you arrogant hemorrhage. You will never, ever return to this mall. You are banished, as of now. As long as I am alive, you will never set foot here again."

Satan absent-mindedly picked at something and sighed, "Well, then, I supposed there's only one way to remedy the situation", before rendering Pig-Face dead, dead, dead.