A Few Things About and Around Heaven and Hell

I, after a considerable amount of begging, bribing, praying, and shrieking madly in the street, was granted a tour (including interviews) of Heaven and Hell. Not directly with the Powers that be, but with entities that know, more or less, what they're talking about. It is, unfortunately, against policy (both Diabolical and Divine) to discuss current or future events with the undead. The undead, in this case, means the living as well as zombies. I've been given permission to talk about things that are or have always been, but circumstances that are still unfolding are, strictly, taboo subjects. … Hell has always been partially frozen over, and none of the demons or other staff knows where phrases like "when Hell freezes over" and "a snowball's chance in Hell" came from. Satan spends a great deal of time brooding on the injustices of his own situation. He does this at the very bottom of Hell, wedged halfway in the ice, far from the distracting screams and appeals of lesser mutineers, in the shape of an unspeakable beast. To keep from grinding his teeth (he's very vain about his lovely teeth), he keeps a few heads handy. A poet took a tour through Hell in the early 14th century, happened to see the Morning Star deep in thought, and formed certain, mistaken, impressions from it. Shaitan is no more a prisoner in Hell than God is in Heaven, and when he's not isolating himself in the 9th Circle, he appears as the angel he was before that whole "War on God" episode. Generally, he tears himself away from his little pity-party long enough to attend to Hell's administrative needs. These, because it's Hell, are far more pressing than any other bureaucracy in creation. And, because it is Hell, and he is the Devil, that Belial is free to tend to those things that need tending, then assign one of the damned to do the paperwork. Of course, this soul is no good-natured secretary, but instead, someone who would sooner douse themselves with gasoline and set themselves ablaze before willingly sitting down to a desk job. On occasion, they do just that. But they still have to do the paperwork, which wouldn't catch fire if you thrust them into the raging fire-pits of…oh. Right. The Lord of Hell has many offspring, of many genders and dispositions. None of them, however, are very ambitious. "It's not like dear old Dad's going to die someday, is it?" said one. I'd give names, even if only to keep one Satan-spawn distinct from the next, but there are sounds in these names that the human mouth is not equipped to repeat (not enough teeth, you know) and the ordinary pen is physically incapable of sounding out. I asked one of the multitudes of antecedents about the Light Bringer's plans as to our plane of existence, and she (there were some general traits among the horror of the rest of this creature that hinted at a female gender) told me that the Adversary has no plans while even a single human is alive on "that wretched rock." I certainly wouldn't want to paint the Dark One as a coward, but, if demons are to be trusted, (they generally aren't) he has no wish to cross humans on our own territory. We are, it seems, too blatantly cruel and brutal for Mephistopheles. … There is no Purgatory. It is a rumor, and no one seems to know who started it. This has been vehemently agreed to by the administrations of both Heaven and Hell, and is, therefore, highly suspicious. … God does pretty much as He likes. He can be as pedantic and hard headed as He likes, and not even the bravest angel will ask Him if He's maybe not being a little bitchy. God seems to be rather stubborn when it comes to fine points and matters of face, given Lucifer's situation, a subject on which neither really seems inclined to comment. Adolf Hitler cannot be found in Heaven. Of course, no one should be surprised at that, but the reasons may surprise you. It's a rather fine point for which Hitler was cast out of the sight of the Almighty, and I understand that he was quite upset about it. It had to do with the Holocaust, but not as much as you think. The Jews, as they will be the first to tell you, are God's Chosen People. They will not tell you (perhaps they don't know) that God chose them, for whatever reason, to suffer, and was more than a little irked that someone else had decided the same thing and hadn't checked himself before going after God's Chosen Punching-Bag. To preserve God's reputation, I feel obligated to tell you that almost every Jewish person ends up in Heaven. Hitler ended up in the 7th Circle of Hell, which again, is not surprising in itself. But to learn that he was punished for Violence (Wrath) against others, himself, and God is something that, to my knowledge, only schizophrenics had so far accomplished. Jesus is doing well, if a little mystified as to why so many people try to talk to him, especially when he's just getting into a good book. He agreed to talk to me if I promised to tell him why "the voices" keep bothering him. I really should have asked him my questions before I kept my promise. Jesus may have…well, I can't be sure, but he may have died again. Which I think is very impressive, even if it was only his second time and not, as is popularly believed, his third. The Holy Spirit committed suicide in 1977, after a bad drug binge; during which he thought he saw himself nabbed on a rerun of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?. I found every bit of this account extraordinary. Suicide is generally considered a mortal sin, as is well known, and is usually punished with Eternity in Hell. However, the Holy Spirit, being Holy (with a capital H) managed simply to cancel himself out, and no longer exists, in any place or dimension of which we are aware. Interviews for a replacement are still in progress, but none of the angels are breathlessly awaiting the appointment, as it was, largely, a traditional and ceremonial position. … Since my grand tour of the Beyond (which was more exhausting than you could possibly imagine) my life has just not been the same. I see little shimmers out of the corners of my eyes, every day. Sure, everyone has those. But sometimes, when I turn to investigate these shimmers, I see something I recognize. And sometimes, they give me a little wave.

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