Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My Final Argument

“Jon, you may begin your closing argument,” Death said to me.

Hudson looked at me with his lonely puppy dog eyes as I stood up. I started thinking about how this will be my last chance to save our souls and that I would have to really impress the judge. What would a really good lawyer do in a situation like this? What lawyers do I even know? What would Perry Mason, Matlock, or Lionel Hutz do?

“Your honor,” I stated. “Clearly the Devil here wants you to think that he is entitled to Hudson’s soul. After all, Hudson did sign a contract and what is a contract? It is an agreement under the law which is unbreakable. Uh…”

OK, I should not evoke Lionel Hutz

“The Devil wants you to think Hudson’s soul is his,” I said. “He has this contract which clearly promises that Hudson would be able to see Vampirella, clad in undergarments, in exchange for his soul.”

Satan leered towards Hudson. Hudson’s forehead grew shiny from sweat.

“Ignoring the fact that the Devil misrepresented himself, did he actually deliver what was in the contract?” I continued. “Clearly not. As pointed out by Vampirella herself, she doesn’t even wear underwear. Her choice of clothing, while it is indeed unconventional, is clearly outerwear.”

Satan continued to direct his evil smirk at Hudson. Hudson gulped audibly. Death shifted slightly in her seat.

“Satan also brought in Sigmund Freud in an attempt to cloud the issue,” I stated. “He tried to blur the line between underwear and outerwear, but it didn’t work. What Vampirella wears is just like a swimsuit or a ballet dancer’s leotard.”

Satan stopped smirking at Hudson and began sneering at me.

“Now we could bring in countless witnesses (which I won’t as I understand your time is very busy, your honor); dancers, psychologists, fashion models, fashion designers, Hollywood costumers, psychiatrists, circus performers, professional wrestlers, right wing conservatives, you name it. We could put anyone we wanted to on that stand,” I indicated to the witness stand. “Every single person would agree that what we said is true because what she is wearing in Exhibits A through D and what she wears in her normal life is her outerwear. A person’s personal like or dislike to the style of the outfit doesn’t matter. Whether or not a normal woman could wear a garment like that doesn’t matter. Why Vampirella only wears this while another vampire might wear a cape and tuxedo does not matter. All that matters is that what she is wearing is truly, honestly, and in all actuality outerwear. Satan did not produce as promised; therefore, Satan’s claim to Hudson’s soul is entirely invalid.”

I let just a bit of a grin cross my face.

“Your honor,” I concluded. “Satan misrepresented himself and still did not deliver as promised. For that I declare that the contract is null and void and I think that you should as well.”

I sat back down at the defense table and Hudson leaned towards me.

“I think you started to stray just a little bit there,” he whispered behind his hand.

“Doesn’t matter,” I replied. “I know what I’m doing.”

“Really?” Hudson looked at me. “You a lawyer all of a sudden? I don’t know if you’ve been keeping score pal, but Satan’s gonna have my soul and it’s gonna be game over and you’re just sitting around talking about leotards and wrestlers!”

“I told you I know what I’m doing. Have I ever let you down before?”

“Oh man...”

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Devil and Dr. Freud

Satan called forth Sigmund Freud and in a flash, the father of psychology appeared on the witness stand.

“Was ist--?” He looked around at Death, Satan, Hudson, and me. “Unglaublich!”

“Dr. Sigmund Freud,” Mephistopheles stepped forward. “Please take a look at Exhibits A, B, C, and D. Could you please give the court your impressions of a person who would wear a garment such as this?”

“Oh, I don’t do impressions,” Freud stated. “Oh ho ho! Zhat’s an oldie but a goodie! Ve love zat joke in zhe psychology field.”

“Yes, very witty,” the Devil responded dryly. “Could you please tell the court what you think about Vampirella here, who is shown in these pictures?”

“Vell, zis voman has little conflict between her id and ego,” the Austrian analyst answered. “Clearly her ego allows her id, or her libido and subconscious drives, to be pushed forward towards her consciousness. She is saying ‘I am a gorgeous voman! Look at my beauty!’ And vhat a pretty popo she has!”

“So you are saying that she is being driven by her psyche to wear this outfit?”

“Vell, it is more complex that that,” he answered. “Zer are studies und research und analysis zat we could examine that vould help us with our understanding. She seems to be such a special case zat I vould love to study her. Study her for hours und hours. Ein was für reizender, glänzender Apfel!”

“So this woman shown here would have no problem wearing what other, more modest, individuals would consider underwear as outerwear?” the Devil asked.

“It does not appear so,” Freud answered.

“No further questions,” the Devil stepped back towards his desk. “Hooo ahhhhhh!”

“Dr. Freud, clearly we could analyze Vampirella’s taste in clothing endlessly,” I said as I strode towards the witness stand. “We could go on and on about her choice of attire compared to a regular person, couldn’t we?”

“Oh, jah,” he agreed. “Ve could analyze her for a very long time. Heh heh, I’d like to analyze her long time.”

“So you would agree that this is no ordinary woman,” I continued. “She has powers and abilities beyond that of any normal mortal, and as such she is undoubtedly and exceptional being.”

“Oh I agree,” Freud nodded. “Very exceptional. Very exceptional, indeed.”

“And as she is exceptional, she also has an exceptional taste in clothing,” I continued.

“Oh jah, jah, very exceptional. Very, very exceptional.”

“Of course, it isn’t our job here to debate what she should or should not wear in public,” I asserted. “Her garment covers what society has deemed should be covered. If someone doesn’t like it, that’s his or her issue, correct?”

“Zat ist correct.”

“So even though her outfit is... meager, to say the least, she is wearing it as outerwear which makes it outerwear,” I contended.

“Jah, I vould have to agree.” Freud pulled a pocket watch out of his waistcoat. “Oh, but I see zat our hour is up. Perhaps ve should schedule another time vhere ve could talk.”

“That will be all, thank you.”

Friday, November 24, 2006

Where was I? Oh yeah, in HELL!

“The Defense calls Vampirella.”

In a flash, the seductive vampire appeared at the witness stand.

“What the--?” She looked around the court confused. She quickly figured out where she was when she saw Death at the bench, then Hudson and I at our table. “Oh, hi Jon. Hi Hudson.”

Hudson and I smiled and waved hello. Vampirella’s own smile faded as she looked over and saw the Devil at his desk.

“What are you doing here?” she yelled at him.

“You!” the demon yelled back. “I’ve had enough of you and your meddling, woman! Stay out of my affairs! Hoo ahhhh!”

“Your honor,” Vampirella looked at Death. “I refuse to answer any of his questions on account of he is the supreme lord of evil and a jerk!”

“Your honor,” Satan countered. “Prosecution wishes to classify Vampirella as a hostile witness.”

“Oh you have yet to see hostile! I’ll bathe in your blood, creep!”

“See what I mean, your honor,” the demon indicated towards the vampire. “She’s hostile! Jeez, a guy stands her up on one date a couple hundred years ago and he’ll never hear the end of it!”

Vampirella squinted at Satan coldly. “Don’t... you... even.”

“Order! Order!” Death banged her gavel. “Vampirella, just answer the questions then you will be on your way.”

“Fine,” Vampirella harrumphed.

“Vampirella,” I stepped forward. “You recently went on a mission with Private Hudson here, correct?”

“This is true,” she answered.

“And at any point, did you show Hudson your underwear?”

“Nope,” she shook her head. “Wait a minute. Did you sell your soul to see me in my underwear?”

“Yes’m,” Hudson hung his head.

“Well, that was foolish, I don’t wear underwear,” she stated. “This outfit that you see me in was made by the weavers on Drakulon. It is enchanted, so when I transform into my other forms, it doesn’t get ruined like an ordinary set of clothes would.”

“So in addition to the fact that Hudson would have the opportunity to see you only in this outfit,” I continued. “There would be absolutely no chance of him seeing you in anything that would resemble undergarments?”

“That is correct, Jon,” she answered. “What you see is what I wear.”

“And I have to say you look stunning in it,” Death added. “I could never pull something like that off.”

“Are you kidding?” Vampirella turned to the personification of mortality. “You would look great in something like this.”

“You really think so?” Death asked.

“Of course,” Vampirella replied. “And your wings look so good. You are a sharp looking entity.”

“Thank you,” Death was flattered. “You and I need to take a vacation sometime, girlfriend. To Pompeii or the Bikini Atoll, maybe.”

“That would be nice,” the vampiress smiled.

“Ladies! Ladies!” Satan interrupted. “It’s nice that you two are bonding and while I’d lo-ove to see the vacation photos, we are in the middle of a trial here!”

“Fine,” Death sighed. “Jon do you have any further questions for Vampirella?”

“Not underwear?” I asked the daughter of Lilith.

“Nope,” she replied.

“Don’t wear underwear?”

“Don’t wear underwear,” she affirmed.

“No further questions,” I said to Death.

“Your witness,” Death looked at Satan.

“Vampirella, is it true that you are the hell spawned daughter of the damned?” Satan posed.

Vampirella gasped. “Why you!”

“Is it true that you were born in hell, fathered by a demon, and sent to Earth to destroy vampires?” Satan pushed. “Is it true that you bear a grudge against all demons?”

“I don’t have to answer that!” Vampirella yelled back at him.

“Is it true that you’ve held an even stronger grudge against me, in particular, because I missed our previously mentioned date so long ago?”

“We did not have a date!” the vampire bared her fangs angrily.

“Really?” Satan’s lip curled into a smile. “Salem, 1692, does that ring a bell?”

“Objection, your honor,” I stood up. “He’s badgering the witness.”

“I am just trying to establish that the witness is clearly antagonistic towards me,” Satan replied. “She’s not going to answer my questions fairly, not with her partiality towards these mortals!”

“Do you have any questions for the witness in regards to this case?” Death asked.

“None, your honor,” Satan made a dismissive wave towards the witness stand.

Using her thumb and pinky, Vampirella made the international hand signal for a telephone. Mouthing “Call me” to Death, she shook her faux phone near her ear before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

“Any more witnesses?” Death asked, failing to conceal her growing exasperation with the proceedings.

“Yes, your honor,” Satan announced. “I call on the father of psychoanalysis, Dr. Sigmond Freud! Hoooo ahhhh!”

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Because I don't really have a post to put here, I think everyone should go ahead and read my post from last year.

When you're done with that, I am thinking about contributing to those who need. There are people helping people out there, making an effort to make a difference. Efforts like this:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Shout at the Devil

“You sold you soul to see Vampirella in her underwear?” I repeated.

“Yes, yes I did,” Hudson sobbed. “If I knew he was the Devil I wouldn’t’ve done it!”

“So did you see her in her underwear, then?” I asked.

“Well kinda…”

“What do you mean kinda,” I prodded.

“Well, after I signed it, we went on a mission together to kill bugs.” Hudson then shuddered. “Man, I hate bugs.”

“And at any point in this mission, did you see Vampirella in any undergarment?” I asked.

“Not really,” he replied quietly. “Just her regular outfit.”

“No underpants, bra, panties, lingerie, thongs, or boxers?” I pushed.

“No, just her regular outfit,” Hudson sighed exhaustedly.

“If it pleases the court,” Lucifer stepped up. “I would like to submit as evidence Exhibit A, B, C, and D.”

Death motioned for the Lord of Darkness to approach. He did and presented four photographs of Vampirella in various poses.

“Clearly, your honor, what this… woman considers clothing would be considered undergarments by any other normal person,” the Antichrist chortled. “I ensured that he would see plenty of her on that mission, fulfilling the terms of the contract. That makes Hudson’s soul my property.”

“You tricked him into signing that, but you didn’t even fulfill it properly,” I accused him angrily.

“Of course I didn’t fulfill it how Hudson wanted it,” he replied. “I am the Devil.”

“Order, order please!” Death banged her gavel. “Defense, do you have any more questions for Hudson?”

“None, your honor,” I replied.

“Lucifer, do you have a redirect?”

“Yes I do, your honor,” he replied. “Hudson, after you signed this contract you did, indeed, get to spend some quality time with Vampirella, right?”

“Well, yeah,” the marine replied. “I mean, except for that other guy.”

“And you got see her up close,” the demon sneered. “Real close, right?”

“Yes, I saw her up close.”

“And did you… like it?” the King of the Underworld asked.

“Sure, I guess,” the private replied. “She’s hot.”

“And you liked her choice of attire?”


“And do you like these photographs here?” Satan prodded.

“Sure do,” Hudson replied. “‘Specially that second one. And the third one.”

“Hudson!” I shouted out in frustration.

“Order!” Death commanded. “I will not tolerate outbursts like that.”

“No further questions. Hoooahhhhh!”

The judge looked at me. “Do you have any witnesses?”

“Yes, your honor,” I answered. “The defense calls Vampirella.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

Running with the Devil

I was in a courtroom, sitting with my elbows on a table with only a pitcher of water in front of me. To my right was another table with Lucifer the Lord of Darkness sitting calmly.

“I got you now, fool,” Satan leered at me. “This is the place where I really shine. Hooooo yeahhhh!”

“I think you really missed your calling,” I countered. “You should be a sportscaster on ESPN.”

“All rise,” a bailiff commanded. “Hell’s Court is now in session, the honorable Death presiding.”

The devil leaned over towards me. “The bailiff is a good man,” he whispered. “He can be a bit of a bull sometimes, but I like him. Heh heh.”

“Be seated,” Lady Death banged her gavel as she sat down. The Devil and I sat as well. “What do we have here? Let’s see, it looks like Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator here is challenging Satan’s right to Private Hudson’s soul. I want both parties to know right off the bat that I run a tight courtroom around here, I will not allow any Grisham-esque melodrama or Denny Crane-esque scenery chewing. I am very busy and you are taking time from my schedule when I could be doing my job. Do you understand?”

“Yes, your honor,” The cunning dark lord of the Underworld and I said in unison.

“You may begin,” she nodded to my adversary.

“Your honor,” Lucifer stood up. “My first witness is Private Hudson.”

With a flash and a puff of smoke, Private Hudson appeared at the witness stand.

“Oh man.” Hudson looked around at everything in the courtroom, and then waved kind of sheepishly towards me. “Hey Jon.”

I waved back. “Hey.”

In another puff of smoke, a scroll of paper appeared in the Fallen One’s hand. He unrolled it and showed it to Hudson.

“Hudson, do you know what this is?” the Devil asked.

Hudson looked at the paper. “Yes,” he heaved out a crestfallen sigh.

“Where have you seen this before?”

“When I signed it,” he answered.

“So you did indeed sign this?”

“Yes,” Hudson looked down and picked at something on his fatigue pants. “I did.”

“And so you signed this contract, this legally binding contract, for your soul in exchange for goods rendered?”

“Yes, I did.”

“No further questions, your honor,” the Lord of Lies smugly walked back to his table.

I stood up and looked at the contract. I almost did a double take as I looked at it again.

“Hudson, you signed this?” I asked.

“Yes, yes, I signed it already,” Hudson signed heavily.

“You sold your soul to see Vampirella in her underwear?”

“Well, I didn't know he was the Devil! I thought he was her agent or something!”

Already this is not going very well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hell is Like a Dio Album Cover

I took a big breath and let it out, then stepped into the Ninth Circle.

This is it; this is where I’ll go face-to-face with Lucifer. Mano a mano with the Lord of the Underworld. He’s got the strength and cunning of an eternity spent in evil and I’ve got me.

Feel free to hum Night on Bald Mountain.

“I must warn you,” Virgil said to me. “It is obvious that Lucifer is using Hudson as a pawn.”

“That should be obvious to everyone,” I agreed.

“He will tempt you, he will entice you, he will try to trick you,” the dead poet continued. “The longer you engage him, the easier it will become for him to subvert you to his evil.”

“Turn me to the Dark Side, eh?” I muttered. “Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan.”

“Oh, and what is it?”

“I will give him my soul freely in exchange for Hudson’s release,” I announced. “He won’t be able to take my soul because I am offering it to him with honorable intentions, not for selfish gains.”

“And you think this will work?” Virgil did not seem convinced.

“Sure it will,” I answered. “I saw it in a comic book once.”

“I’ve been waiting for you!” a voice thundered.

I looked up, then I looked further up, and then further still. Rising far higher than I could ever imagine was the Great Deceiver himself, and he was towering high over the innermost circle of this dreadful place. I had to keep it cool.

“I am here for Hudson’s soul,” I stated flatly.

“You’ll not get it,” Satan laughed evilly. “Not without a fight.”

“No no, that’s not what I want,” I held up my hands. “I am willing to trade you mine for his. Even Stevens.”

“I don’t think so,” the Dark Lord laughed. “I’ve seen that comic book, too. I won’t let you simply give me your soul. That is why we will battle for it. You may take his soul back, if you can.”

“He’s awfully big,” I said aside to Virgil. “What will happen if we fight?”

“He would surely win,” the ancient Roman answered. “Then he’ll have both yours and Hudson’s soul.”

“Silence!” Lucifer commanded. “It is not your place here; you shall not interfere in my domain!”

“He is right,” Virgil said to me. “I can offer you no more counsel.”

“OK, tall, dark, and gruesome, I’ll fight ya,” I said. “Only I don’t think it’s very fair that you’re so big and I’m just little ole me. Why doncha come on down here and then we’ll duke it out.”

“Oh, I don’t intend to engage you in physical combat,” the Devil laughed. “I have something else in mind.”


With a bright flash and a puff of sulfuric smoke, the gigantic demon disappeared. I couldn’t see him anywhere.

“OK,” I mumbled while looking around. “Where’d he go?”

“Oh I’m right here,” Satan replied. “And If you want to battle for Hudson’s soul, you can battle me in court. My court!”
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“Hooo ahhh!”

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Ninth Level of Hell

I stood before the Entrance to the Ninth Level of Hell. Guarding it were three giants, and though they hadn’t seen me yet, if I were to attempt to get past them, they surely would.

“Wow, I missed you back on the Eighth Circle,” Virgil the Poet appeared next to me. “How did you get through so quickly?”

“A level full of grafters, thieves, and hypocrites?” I guffawed. “They were no match for me.”

“Instead of spending time at the Seventh Level like I previously mentioned, perhaps you should be in the Second Circle,” Virgil said dryly.

“Second Circle?”

“A little vain about your abilities aren’t we?” Virgil laughed. “I never thought of you as a narcissist.”

“Hey, first love is self love,” I chuckled back at him. “Besides, it’s hard to be humble when you’re great like this.”

Virgil laughed at that. Last month, if you would have told me that I would hanging out in Hell with a Roman poet who died over two thousand years before I born and making him laugh at my goofy jokes, I might have called you crazy. But here I am. Maybe I’m crazy.

Nimrod by Gustave Dore“OK, so what’s the story on these three gentlemen?” I asked, pointing towards the giants standing guard.

“Ah, the giants Ephialtes, Antaeus, and Nimrod,” Virgil replied. “They are --”

“Nimrod?” I interrupted him, sputtering with laughter. “That’s too funny!”

“You would be careful at which you express amusement,” the dead poet replied. “Nimrod was a great hunter.”

“Yeah, I know,” I replied, stifling my last few chuckles. “The name’s just been ruined for me because I’ve watched too much Bugs Bunny in my youth.”

“I see,” he replied. “Do you also realize, however, that there is a Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry as well as a British military plane called a Nimrod?”

“You’re right,” I said stifling just one more guffaw.

“And do not forget that ‘Nimrod’s Son’ is a great song by the Pixies,” he continued.

“OK, OK, I get it. So how do I get past Nimrod?” I asked. I did not chuckle.

“Once again, you must negotiate the journey on your own. I will see you once you get past.”

I looked up at the trio of titans. Clearly, these are the tallest opponents that I have ever faced, and there are three of them. This is going to take all the finesse that I’ve got.

I pulled one of my blaster pistols from its holster and fired it up at one of the giants.

“Ow! Geez, that hurt!” roared the giant. “What was that?”

“I dunno,” said another. “I didn’t see anything.”

The giants looked around for the cause but I had sprinted behind one of them and they couldn’t see me.

I kicked the giant in the ankle then dashed around his heel to his other foot.

“Ow!” The giant looked down but couldn’t see what caused the sharp pain in his joint. I then fired again, this time at the third giant.

“Ow, hey, that stings!” he roared. “What in Goliath’s name was that?”

“There must be a Micronian around here somewhere,” said the first giant. “Ow! He did it again!”

“Hey ugly!” I yelled at the third giant. “I’ve got something for ya!”

The giants looked down at me and I fired right into the eyeball of the third giant.

“Ow! I’ll smash him good!” The third giant tried to flatten me with his colossal foot, but I dove out of the way and he stomped on his comrade’s foot instead.

“Yow! My foot!” He hopped up and down while clutching his stomped-on foot.

“Hey big guy, over here!” I fired again at the third giant.

With a thunderous howl, the giant slammed his fist down upon me.

“Haw haw, now you’re squished!” he vociferated. He then looked at the bottom of his fist but didn’t see anything. “Huh? Where’d you go?”

When he slammed his meaty paw down on me, I rolled away at the last second and quickly scampered up his sleeve to his shoulder.

“Ugly and stupid!” I yelled while firing at the second giant again. “That’s the way I like ‘em!”

“Ow! I’ll smash you!” The giant took a wild swing at me, connecting with his comrade instead. As my ride stumbled back from the blow, I leaped off and landed on the second one. I quickly ran up his arm, firing at the first giant.

“Arrgh! There he is!” the third giant threw himself right at the second giant in an attempt to grab me. They tumbled to the ground with an earth-shaking thud, while I dove off and did an excellent combat roll away from them.

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall, as they say!” I yelled.

“I hate hearing that!” the first giant roared and tried to stomp me.

“Yeah, I guess it is clichéd,” I dodged his attacks while firing up at him. “Perhaps we could discuss this over the big taste of a big cereal.”

The first giant tried to stomp me again, but I ran past the other two who were just starting to clamber to their feet. They all crashed to the ground in a giant (pun intended) heap.

The skyscraper-sized monster on top of the pile looked at me. “Why are you doing this anyway?”

“I gotta get through to the Ninth Circle,” I responded.

“Aw jeez,” he rolled his eyes. “Fine, you may pass. I mean, really.”

“What, that’s it?” I shrugged. “I can just go?”

“Yes, yes, just go,” another of the fallen titans rumbled loudly. “Just get away from us.”

The giants picked themselves up as I made my way towards the barrier.


“Go!” the three shouted back at me.

“Though you would be foolish to do so,” the third one added. “For beyond that barrier, the Lord of the Underworld, the dreaded dark one Lucifer awaits.”

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hudson: Hell really isn't a good place to be

We have a saying the Colonial Marines: War is hell. Now I can easily tell you that Hell is hell, too.

Who would have thought that being abducted by the minions of this wretched hellhole and having my soul tortured endlessly would be so bad? It’s awful. Gosh darn awful.

The worst part is that they have me strapped to this wall and they’re playing The Date Movie endlessly. It is torture I tell you, torture most foul! If I see Alyson Hannigan jiggling around in that fat suit one more time, I may have to tear my eyes out with my mother’s broach or something.

What really tops it off is that this big red guy is always standing around me laughing. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus, I’m talking about Satan himself, the Devil Incarnate, the Great Deciever, The Lord of the Flies, Old Scratch.

“Enjoying your stay, Hudson?” Satan leered at me.

“Yeah, it’s real swell,” I answered. “Say, you don’t suppose that you could turn that movie off for a little while, do you?”

“Oh I don’t think so,” Beelzebub laughed. “You seem quite comfortable where you are right now. You see, when my Army of the Fallen took you from the mortal realm, Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator gave chase. He is now heading this way to rescue you. I assure you however, Marine, that he will certainly meet more than he bargained for.”

“Yeah well…” I tried to think of something clever to respond with. “He won’t stop until he rescues me!”

Satan leaned closer, is breath reeked of sulfur. “That’s what I’m counting on,” the Lord of Lies grinned evilly. “What greater prize than the Intergalactic Gladiator’s very soul? That is why I tricked him into coming down here.”

“Yeah, well, we’ve got an old saying in Texas,” I replied bravely. “I think they say it Tennessee… we say it in Texas. ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…. I won’t get fooled again.’”

“What kind of an idiot would say something like that?” Lucifer looked at me with a puzzled look on his confused-looking face.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” I answered.

There. That’ll show him.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Seventh Level of Hell

Private Hudson was abducted by the minions of Hell and taken into the depths of the Underworld. Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator chases after them to get the marine back. Aided in his journey by Virgil the poet from ancient Rome, Jon deftly negotiated the first Six levels of Hell and is now about to visit the Seventh.
The Violent by Vellutello
I looked down the path leading to the gates of the Seventh Circle. There were boulders littering the trail and near the entrance itself, I saw a towering bull-like figure standing like a man.

“A minotaur?” I asked Virgil.

“The Minotaur,” the poet answered. “He guards the entrance to this level. This is the level of violence, something that this creature revels in. Although by your antics on the previous Circle, perhaps you would feel quite welcome here as well.”

“Very funny. A poet and comedian, you’re a true renaissance man,” I retorted. “So how do I get past Mr. Bova there?”

“Wait, who is that there?” Virgil looked across the distance. “I fear this is worse than I thought. Medusa has joined the Minotaur!”

“Medusa? You mean turn-you-to-stone-if-you-look-at-me snake lady?”

“That is her, it is true,” Virgil affirmed. “She normally resides in the Fifth Circle; perhaps she is visiting this one today.”

“Visiting? Like this is supposed to be a vacation or something?” I peered in the direction to try to see for myself. Virgil quickly slapped his hands across my face.

“No!” he shouted. “Do not gaze upon her ghastly visage, for if you do you would instantly become like a statue!”

“OK OK, jeez.” I pulled his hand from off my face. He slapped his other hand in front of my eyes for my trouble.

“I cannot allow you to look,” he announced. “You are mortal and your fate would easily be sealed.”

“Alright, alright already.” I pulled his hand away, but again he covered my face. “What is this, the 3 Stooges? I won’t look, OK?”

Virgil finally relented with his slapstick assault when I put my back to the evil gorgon.

“OK, what else is on this level?” I asked. “I have to get past the Minotaur, Medusa, what else am I going to run into?”

“There are also centaurs, harpies, a wild pack of dogs and Phlegethon.”

“Who’s Phlegethon?” I asked.

“Phlegethon, my friend, is the river of fire,” the poet answered. “Hot blood of the violent flows freely here.”

“Flaming blood, huh? What a wonderful place this is. Don’t think I want to live here, though,” I added acerbically. “That’s OK, though, ‘cuz I’ve got an idea.”
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The Minotaur stood among the rocks and boulders, guarding the Level he was charged to guard. Medusa stood nearby. During their banishment to Hell, Medusa and he had struck a bit of a friendship. Though whilst alive, the half bull could never look at her, in Hell he could. Though their friendship was no more than that, sometimes the Minotaur longed for more. Surely Medusa had similar feelings, why else would she come calling to his Level if she did not?

The Minotaur grunted and kicked the ground a bit. He threw his heavy axe over his shoulder. Maybe he could just ask her to –

Something caught his eye and he turned to see a centaur charging towards him. Before he could react, the fusion of man and horse leaped over him and his serpentine companion. The Minotaur fell to the ground, rolled over, and looked to see the centaur kicking up clouds of dust while retreating into the distance.

The Centaur ran and ran. He ran over rocks, across the river of fiery blood and past others of his kind. He ran past startled harpies and snapping dogs. He reached the end of the Seventh Circle and skidded to a halt. He then looked at the man holding tight on his back.

“You could have asked nicely and I would have taken you all the same,” the centaur growled.

I holstered my pistol and dismounted. “Well, thank you for the ride anyway,” I said. “You’re a good man, er, you know, ah –”
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“Centaur,” he replied. “I am a centaur.”

“I know that,” I answered. “I just don’t know your name is all.”

“You can call me Nessus.”

“Well, like I said thank you, Nessus. I appreciate the lift.”

Nessus snorted and trotted away. I looked towards the Eighth Circle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Sixth Level of Hell

Private Hudson was abducted by the minions of Hell and taken into the depths of the Underworld. Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator chases after them to get the marine back. He is aided in his journey by Virgil the poet from ancient Rome. Jon has already negotiated the first Five levels of hell and is about to plunge into the Sixth.

I tore open the doors and looked around. Now this is what I always thought Hell would be like. Flaming tombs, wailing souls, it’s all in here. Thousands of souls angrily shuffled about in the fire here.

“This, the City of Dis, is the level of heresy,” Virgil said to me. “Those who are here are truly doomed, as you can see their pain and suffering. They will try to stop you from crossing their realm.”

“OK, then I need a plan,” I answered. I looked out at the damned denizens and pulled out my pistols.

Time to use one of Private Hudson’s favorite movie lines. No, it isn’t “Game over” or “Game over, man.”

“I am here to kick butt and chew bubble gum and I am all out of gum,” I announce boldly. The heretics stop and look at me. I stare at them. They stare at me.

Suddenly, one of the doomed points at me and screeches, several others do the same and still more rush towards me.

I shoot the nearest one, the bolt explodes at his chest and he crumples to the ground. Everyone stops and looks at their collapsed comrade.

“OK listen up,” I yell out. “I am going to be walking through and anyone who tries to stop me gets a little bit of this!”

I have Betsy pointed towards the crowd, Winona is held up so they can see what took down one of their own. They all stare at the weapon hefted into the air, then they look at me.
Farinata and Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti by Suloni Robertson
“Kill him!” yells one.

“Crush him!” yells another.

“Destroy!” yells a third.

“Brains!” yells one more.

The herd of the hopeless surged forward towards me; in return, I yell and charge them. My guns are blazing as they slash towards me. I fire and fire at everyone in my way and finally elbow my way past the crowd. Now with some space in front of me, I start running, firing back at them the whole way.

Everywhere I turn, more heretics appear in front of me. The cartridges in my blaster pistols are soon bled dry by my constant firing. I pop them out and slide in new ammo carts. Still the heretics surge towards me.

Twisting backwards so I can fire at them, I continue to take down those who chase me. I kind of feel bad for the rabble, they are condemned and yet I have invaded their home. On the other hand, they could have just let me through, right?

I popped another cartridge into Betsy. Winona was getting low and both gun barrels were heating up from the constant firing. The heretics continued to press towards me and I continued to shoot them while running towards to entryway into the next level.

Finally I reached the door and hauled it open. Still taking shots at those closest, I dove in and hauled the heavy wooden portal shut. Whew. Circle Seven, here I come.

My only question though is this: if I shoot someone in Hell and he dies, where does he go?