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    « The Things in My Apartment: Week Seven | Main | The Things in My Apartment: Week Five »

    The Things in My Apartment: Week Six

    The Gates of Hell

    I would strongly caution anyone against cleaning an oven without first making sure that he is in full possession of his soul.

    Readers of this column may recall that my soul and I have been on the outs for a while.  She's separated herself from me, ostensibly because I've taken a job as a concierge in a luxury hotel.  But I think the job is just a pretext for some larger problem between us that she doesn't want to talk about.  Anyway, it's gotten to the point where I've been sleeping on the couch most nights.

    As a sort of peace offering, I recently decided I’d make her a nice dinner and dessert.  I wasn’t sure if she’d even be able to eat it, her being a just a soul and all, but I was kind of at a loss for gestures.

    It was only after I'd bought all the ingredients that I realized I’d never actually used my oven before.   Never so much as opened it.  I had no idea what the interior even looked like.

    It looked like a cave made of grease.

    I’m not even sure that’s a metaphor.

    So I raided the cabinet beneath the sink, took the nastiest looking cleaners available and got to work.

    Hours passed.  Gradually, the grease gave way and the oven’s interior walls were revealed.

    Except for the back wall.

    My unconscious sense of drama had saved the back wall for last.  After what seemed an eternity of scrubbing, I learned the truth.

    Behind the many layers of grease, there was no back wall.

    Instead there was an inviting darkness that my soulless body could not resist.

    Before I could think twice about it, I had crawled through the Gates of Hell.

    Or the gates of a hell.  And a rather shabby one, at that.  Just as faiths and gods and nightclubs go in and out of fashion, so too, I learned, do hells.  This hell had definitely seen better days.  It had started off as your classic fire and brimstone joint, and done fairly good business for a while.  But after the demand for that kind of perdition finally dropped off, it reinvented itself several times, desperately looking for another niche of the market.  By the time of my visit, it had long settled on a creepy amusement park motif.  Sort of as if the Spanish Inquisition had bought out Six Flags.

    Before I could enter, I was stopped by a demonic bouncer and spiritually patted down.  Apparently, some hells get a lot of trouble from missionaries who have passed to the other side.  These saintly citizens of the afterlife, whose souls remain pure and selfless, smuggle themselves into various hells and work to redeem the irredeemable.  It’s a very nice idea, now that I think about it.  But the proprietors of this little hellhole couldn’t allow that.  Business was slow enough as it was.

    After the bouncer patted me down, he frowned at me quizzically.  I wasn’t a good soul, but I wasn’t a lost soul, either.  I wasn’t a soul at all.  Though far from the most desirable breed of customer, I certainly didn’t have it in me to save anyone, so he waved me through.

    I can’t say exactly why I wanted to be there.  I guess, without your soul, you eventually lose your taste for the better things in life.  They just make you feel inadequate and fraudulent.  At least in a hell, there’s no sense of unworthiness.

    Time passed differently there, of course.  Kind of like childhood.  My memory of it is already hazy, but certain things stand out.  I know I spent a lot of time in the Zero-G Booth, which was designed to simulate the complete absence of God.  I remember the Ferris Wheel of Suffering.  And there was a hall of funhouse mirrors, which reflected back exactly how all of the people you loved had seen you in the precise moments that you had hurt them the most.

    What I remember most clearly, however, was Sisyphus Mountain.  As you might have guessed, Sisyphus Mountain involved pushing a boulder up a hill and trying to get it to stay there.  I must have spent twenty lifetimes pushing that boulder up that hill, and watching it fall down again.

    The odd thing was – it got kind of addictive.  Almost comforting.

    The even odder thing was that, after God knows how long, I finally got it to stay.

    No, really.

    For a while, I just stared at the boulder, frightened, a part of me wishing it would fall back again.

    I didn’t know what to do.

    Then an impatient-looking little demon scurried up the hill and examined my work.

    “Well I’ll be damned,” he said.  “That doesn’t happen often.  Here ya go, kid.”

    He snapped his fingers, drew an oversized, stuffed toy penguin out from thin air, and handed it to me.

    “Now scram,” he advised me.

    Dazed, I walked backed down the hill, holding the penguin by one of its fins.  I found the gates of hell, which I only vaguely remembered having come through, and I crawled back into my kitchen.

    It was past dinnertime.  My roommates were asleep.  So was my soul.

    I laid the penguin next to her on the bed, went back into the common room and curled up on the couch.

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    References (6)

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    • Response
      Response: apartment cleaning
      The Things in My Apartment: Week Six - Things in My Apartment - The Neurotic Monkey's Guide to Survival
    • Response
      These saintly people of the afterlife, whose spirits stay genuine and non selfish, traffick themselves into various hells and perform to receive the irredeemable. It’s a very awesome concept, now that I think about it. But the owners of this little hellhole could not allow that.
    • Response
      Response: Yadira Sevaaetasi
    • Response
      Response: your love lyrics
      The Things in My Apartment: Week Six - Things in My Apartment - The Neurotic Monkey's Guide to Survival
    • Response
      Response: Mark Galliano
      The Things in My Apartment: Week Six - Things in My Apartment - The Neurotic Monkey's Guide to Survival
    • Response
      It often happens with every one those who live in apartments, i must appreciate you for sharing this kind of information with us. Even i face this situation in my kitchen when ever i do cooking, it really depresses my interest. So i have decided to call up on the Professional ...

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