August 20, 2007

Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead!

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Death of Leona Helmsley Prompts Minor Furore
As Hell Has Trouble Finding Appropriate Punishment

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Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth Circles All Make Claim
on Departed Hotelier

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Demonic Hordes, Little People "Reacted With Glee"
at News of Helmsley's Impending Arrival

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SECOND CIRCLE, UPPER HELL -- Recently deceased hotelier Leona Helmsley's arrival through the Gates of Hell prompted a minor bureaucratic crisis here on Monday, as authorities struggled to decide just what the appropriate punishment for Helmsley, 87, would be.

Helmsley, a one-time model known for terrorizing her domestic staff and other employees, fighting with her family and her insatiable greed and miserliness, among other myriad sins, arrived to the home of eternal pain with great fanfare. After initially refusing to board Charon's "dingy, dusty rattletrap of a boat," Helmsley received a "tremendous blow to the head" from the ferryman's oar. She was then dumped in a heap before Minos, the terrible demonic judge of the evil dead, who dispatched her to the Eighth Circle's thieving fire. But even after that, Minos said Helmsley "was still managing to cause trouble."

"Oh, not her again," grumbled Minos upon being asked about Helmsley's status. "After long and careful consideration, I dumped her off to the Chasms of Fraud, as it seemed the most appropriate place for her to suffer eternal torment. But just a few hours after I did that, I starting getting e-mails from the Department of Inmate Control and Persecution telling me the demons were so enthused at being able to sink their pitchforks into her that dozens of other souls were escaping the boiling pitch and fleeing for more hospitable climes."

"It's not my fault DICP can't control the savage impulses of its rank-and-file personnel," Minos added. "But now I'm getting bombarded with demands from DICP to send her down to Caina. Meanwhile, the Department of Inmate Processing and Location is demanding she get moved up to the fourth circle to suffer the tortures of the misers and wasters, and the Department of Savage Retribution wants her down on Level Five, where the wretched souls she disdained in life can claw out of the muck and tear her to shreds. It's a complete disaster."

"Meanwhile, the Operations Directorate is fighting with everyone, and -- oh, dammit, hold on, I have to take this," said Minos, as he consulted his BlackBerry.

It's not clear just how many souls managed to escape the Chasms of Fraud when Helmsley arrived; official statements from four separate departments put the numbers at 13, 23, 89 and 4, respectively. According to those on scene when Helmsley arrived, the demonic hordes welcomed Helmsley with "a downright alarming display of savage glee."

"I remember one of the demons said, "Oh! Well! Leona Helmsley! We'll make sure to make your stay here as comfortable as we can!'" said escapee Irving Jones, a former Buffalo resident who was sentenced to the eighth circle for barratry upon his death in 1973. "Then they all started jabbing her with their pitchforks."

"You've got to help me," Jones added. "This has all been some sort of mistake."

"I didn't have any idea who this person was," said fellow escapee Manuel Rodrigues, a 19th century grafter whose greed indirectly contributed to the death of 27 miners in Brazil's Minas Gerais in an 1847 accident. "But some of the other men here told me she had great disdain for the -- how you do say it -- "little people." The demons were so happy to see her. Apparently they had been expecting her for some time. Anyway, when they all started going after her, that's when we all took our chance."

"And never mind this scoundrel here!" Rodrigues said. "So the supports were substandard. It wasn't my fault. Surely you can see I deserve to be on the third circle."

Attempts to contact Hell's higher-level officials were unsuccessful. Hell's corporate policies, which make a point of treating the underworld's human souls with utter contempt and complete disdain, discourage supervisory personnel and forbid executive personnel from discussing the status of inmates in the eternal prison. Only a few of Hell's personnel, such as Minos, are directly authorized to speak with the press.

However, depending on how Helmsley holds up through the tortures, observers believe Helmsley may soon be temporarily relieved from suffering the torments of the damned and work her way up to an entry-level job as a torturer and overseer. That could take place in as few as five thousand years, according to Hell's Personnel Department.

"While the loathesome, horrible witch would still suffer through indescribable pain in such a position, Hell has always taken a utilitarian view of these situations," said Malsueno, a demon who works in the department's processing office. "If she can make the torments meted out to the damned even more horrible, she may well be in line for a position in our demonic-training program for particularly evil souls. Since the third century, we've had a good 100 to 200 souls go through the program and so far, we've had great success with it."

The demon said Helmsley could be considered for the program "as soon as 7380, or maybe 9621" and that much would depend on her competency at filling out the reams of paperwork, forms, liability releases and other documents that are part of the application, believed to be thousands of pages long. She will also have to find a working ink pen, which Malsueno warned are "almost always out of stock" in his department.

When asked if taking part in this program would actually deepen Helmsley's torments once the Final Judgment was at hand, Malsueno just chuckled.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 20, 2007 08:03 PM | TrackBack
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