Without feeling sad, without feeling depressed, I could go on with my life (death) in hell. The voice from the GPS reminded me of my objective: clothes.
As I watched hell disappear in front of me, apparently what had happened to me was that I had seen a rare spectacle. I asked myself who that perfect being that had ended my deep suffering and my way-beyond-severe depression was. He looked like an angel, but I was in hell and there were no angels here, only demons…
No, actually there was an angel. An archangel (or is it a cherub? I should have studied more mythology when I was alive…). But that didn’t make any sense, why would the ruler of hell do something to end my suffering? I was in a place where suffering was capital. But, if it wasn’t Lucifer who had healed me, why would an angel come down from heaven and invade the grounds of hell just to cure me? It had to be Lucifer, but it couldn’t.
I think, in the end, it doesn’t matter, I can spend eternity thinking about this, trying to figure out what had happened without getting to a conclusion or I can keep doing what I have to do: getting clothes.
I go for the second option, but not forgetting about the questions. Now I have half my mind occupied by doubts, maybe sometime I’ll be able to find the answers. Maybe I’ll go crazy trying to answer them. Be that as it may, I save that for the future, the present holds more important things.
I enter the city that’s the Circle of Lust, and beauty and luxury are astounding. I feel bad for being there, I’m not dressed properly. I don’t even know how to behave. The streets are paved with precious stones, the buildings have gold and other precious metals. People are dressed with clothes that clearly cost more money than I have ever seen in my life. I walk carefully, trying to remain unseen. Of course my mission fails miserably, I’m too different to remain unseen. I’m like a spot of black ink in an extremely white fabric.
The GPS also doesn’t help me in my attempt to remain unseen. Its volume seems to be louder, it screams the instructions. I try to find a way to turn the volume down, but I think I can only turn the volume of the instructions up. Stingy people, and I can tell they’re stingy just by looking at them, point and laugh at me. It’s the opposite from when the children did it, I see that this act is of pure wickedness. At this time, I’m not a comic figure, like I had been to the children, I’m just a figure worthy of pity. And everyone who’s worthy of pity deserve to be mocked, at least in the minds of these condemned who chose to live drinking water from golden chalices decorated with rubies the size of my fist.
I keep my head down, I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t want them to see my nakedness, least of all my ashamed face. I begin to walk faster, and the GPS continues to scream. It looks like the whole Circle stopped to laugh at me, it’s the most embarrassing situation I’ve ever been through. After what it seemed like an eternity, I’m sure it took me more time to get to the store being inside the Circle than it took me to leave the town and get to Asmodeus’ kingdom, I find myself in front of the thrift store.
When you talk about a thrift stores, you think about a modest store, with cheap prices and used clothes. Everything in hangers. But already at the door I see I’ll have to change my conception about thrift stores. Of course, I should have seen it coming, after all, I’m in a place where probably grouts are made of silver, and bricks are precious stones.
The diamond door opens when I stop in front of it, but not by itself. There’s a butler who opens it to allow my entrance. Having a butler is luxurious enough, but having one just to open the door confirms my hypothesis that everyone in this circle are petty people. I bet this person works as a slave. And imagine how much a slave suffers, now imagine how much a slave suffers in hell… I begin to hate luxury, I begin to understand why it’s a sin.
The inside of the thrift store shines, it’s all made out of diamonds. Walls, floor, ceiling… absolutely everything is coated in that stone. It makes a beautiful effect, ’cause it makes the outside visible, and the way the heat and the light that emanates from the walls of hell refracts on the precious stone create a welcoming, romantic and slightly scary atmosphere. The thrift store is stick to a wall, and I wonder how it can be so close to the source of heat in hell and be (slightly) cooler than outside. I also wonder how can I see outside while I’m inside, but I can’t see the inside while I’m outside.
I loose myself in my own thoughts, and don’t notice when I’m approached by a clerk, who asks a question.
Sir? – Her voice tells me she’s repeating the question, and that she hates it.
I’m sorry, I lost myself in the beauty of the tore. – The clerk measures me from head to toe, and I instinctively cover myself. She doesn’t sigh, as if she was disgusted by having to talk to me, she knows I don’t belong there.
What can I do for you?
That‘s pretty obvious. – I actually had thought about saying it was obvious myself, but felt that it was better to say nothing, to be polite. And what do I get in return? A kick in the teeth. The story of my life (death).
Yeah, I think it is. – The kick shook me.
What’s your name?
Is that important?
We have to check the system for what kind of clothes you’re entitled to. – She tells me.
I can answer that: cheap ones. I don’t have any money, I need something I can pay by working for it. – She laughs at me.
We don’t take money here. Hell is… - She pauses, as if she was trying to find a definition for the economic model of hell. – Let s just say hell is socialist. The State tells you what you can wear.
I apologize for my lack of understanding and tell her I’m new in hell (and, ironically, as I say it, I feel older). The clerk doesn’t seem to think my apology has much validity, she continues to look at me with an air of arrogance, continues to give me the impression I’m insignificant. There’s nothing I can do to change the way she thinks, so I tell her my name. She types it into the computer and all my information appears on the screen. I know this ’cause it doesn’t take long for her to look up and say:
You’re not entitled to any clothes.
You’re not entitled to any clothes! – She repeats, impatiently.
Why not? – I ask, already trying to figure out how to spend eternity this way.
The clerk shrugs before she speaks:
I don’t decide these things, I’s the State.
And as soon as she’s done telling me this, two security guards grab me by the arm and drag me outside. They say I mustn’t go back to the store. I scream, I shout, I cause a scene. I say I don’t even wanted the clothes they got, shouted that it didn’t matter that famous stylists designed those pieces of clothes ’cause it’s all old collections. In the end, I spit towards the door, but the heat of hell made my spit evaporate before it got to the store. I yell with frustration, I curse everyone watching me and I flip them the bird. Then, I stop and breathe, take the GPS and look for a store that sells fans. If I can’t cover myself up, I can at least try to end that which is hell’s biggest torture: the heat.