“Small Time Hollywood”


The tiny waiters sat in the bottom of the briefcase as the elevator rumbled its way to the first floor. Fred and Artie talked excitedly about their new lives and Sam said nothing. They stifled when they heard the sounds of traffic, realizing that they were being carried down the street.

Pikeman and Byron arrived at Byron’s car and set the briefcase down on the floor of the passenger’s side. They agreed to go to a local Walmart where they could procure a dollhouse, furniture and some ready to eat food to feed their new dependents.

Byron started the car and headed towards the freeway. Pikeman’s stomach began to knot. He was going to be successful; this was happening. People were going to respect him and they were going to expect him to know what he was doing. They would hold him to a certain standard and have no Idea that his ”discovery,” had been nothing more than an accident. He felt nauseous; at least at the call center no one ever expected anything from him. They pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot, climbed out of the car and opened the briefcase.

“Okay, guys were just going to get you a house and some supplies and we’ll be right back,” Pikeman said. With this he felt a sharp bite on his finger. He leaped back in shock. Sam leaped out of the car and began to run across the parking lot.

Byron started after him, but Pikeman held him back.

“Let’s not call attention to ourselves. Where is he going to go?”

The Adrenalin rushed through Sam’s body as he raced under the parked cars to the street. He planned to catch the bus to Hollywood where he would find a real agent and become a serious actor. He reached the street and began to look for a bus sign when he suddenly saw a shadow.

The woman walking towards Wal-Mart had no Idea that there was a tiny waiter stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She had no Idea she had stepped on anything at all. She wondered why the two young men standing near the door looked so forlorn as she walked in.


Medgar Simpson sat in his apartment waiting for Dr. Peterson and his lawyer to arrive. He was at the end of his rope with the clan of tiny people and he could not wait to get rid of them. He and Dr. Peterson were meeting to plan the press conference where they would announce their discovery to the world.

The doorbell rang and he buzzed his guests up. Dr. Peterson appeared at the door with a hefty brunette woman.

“Medgar this is Roz Finkleman, my attorney. The two shook hands. They all headed over to the terrarium where Roz stared in wonder at the tiny people.

“Oh my God is that David Strathairn,” she asked.

“Again these people are repressed memories. He is actually a repressed sexual fantasy from the mind of a very disturbed woman.”

“Well, even so, it isn’t every day you see a big star like that. Especially not stark naked.”

Mr. Strathairn rolled his eyes and went to hide in the tiny fish castle. The other tiny people grudgingly introduced themselves and went back to their game of 80’s trivia.

The three full sized people headed into the kitchen and began to discuss the press conference. It was decided that it would be held at The University of California during the Jewlicious Festival. They decided to invite only established journalist from reputable publications and no bloggers.

“The thing that could be a problem here, gentleman is the legal rights of the tiny memories are questionable.”

“I don’t see why they would have legal rights. Their just memories,” Dr. Peterson said.

“Yes, but they have bodies. They eat sleep and talk and from what I saw just now they have moods and feelings, Roz said.

“Well, I suppose that’s true. But it’s not like they can fend for themselves. They are completely dependent on us anyway,” Dr. Peterson argued.

“But you took them out of their natural environment,” Roz said. They were doing just fine inside the head.”

“Maybe we should just introduce them to the academic community for a while. “ Medgar said. “We could study them, find out how they came into existence and then, I don’t know, tell the government about it and then do a press release.”

“I don’t think that’s such a good Idea,” Roz said. One of the other doctors could attempt the experiment on another schizophrenic and make it look like his discovery. We want to move quickly, but carefully with this.”

“What if we got them to sign some kind of agreement, just so are bases are covered if someone brings up the question of their rights,” Medgar said.

“Getting them to sign an agreement would be like our saying that we think they have rights and can think for themselves,” Roz said. We want to go in assuming that they don’t have any rights, but come up with a plan of action, just in case someone argues that they do have rights.”


As the trio at Medgar’s house argued. Pikeman and Byron were setting up the doll house that was to serve as the set of the new reality show, “Small Time Hollywood.”

The two men had broken the news of Sam’s death to Fred and Artie who seemed sad, but not entirely devastated. They had no problem eating the mini candy bars that Byron had fed them. After they finished setting up their bedrooms and the living room, they each took baths in cereal bowls.

After they got dressed in tiny doll suit they sat on their living room sofa and Byron got out his camera. They two waiters introduced themselves and talked about what it was like to live in a woman’s head.


The actors on the set of “What Happened to Doug.” Stood around the body of Sam Waterman waiting for the coroner to arrive. He had suddenly dropped dead in the middle of a scene.. Everyone thought this was strange as he was a health 50-year-old man.

Some of the actresses were crying and everyone was panicked. One of the background extras looked at the body and screamed.

“Oh my God. His arm!”

“What’s wrong,” the director said.

“His arm, it’s disappearing!”


Group Therapy Available


From Craigslist: Group therapy available for anxiety, sex addiction and anorexia.

Medger Simpson parked the ratty Geo Storm several blocks away from his virtual office on Wilshire Blvd. The young psychotherapist wondered what Dr. Peterman, who he had not seen in five years, could possibly want to talk to him about.

Dr. Peterman was a psychologist who had worked in the mental hospital where Medger had done his college internship. The doctor specialize in multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia. Medger had facilitated a group therapy for families of patients with multiple personalities.

In all the time they worked together Medger had never gotten the impression that Dr. Peterman was partial to him in any way. Peterman had given Medger reasonably positive reviews. But, the doctor had always seemed cold and authoritative toward him. He was certain that he had been forgotten the second he walked out the door.

Medger climbed the stairs to his third floor office. He wondered why anyone would take the elevator when the stairs were faster and safer. When he reached the office he noticed with some irritation that the publicist he shared the office with had left some goofy looking guy’s headshots all over the desk. Medger put the headshots in a corner and placed his sign on the door. Soon after which he heard the elevator cranking to pick up his visitor.

Dr. Peterman entered the office the office wearing sweats and tennis shoes. The two men shook hands and asked after each other’s health. Dr. Peterman shut the door and sat down.

“So what can I do for you,” asked Medger.

Dr. Peterman leaned toward Medger in a conspiratorial fashion.

“Medger for the last six months I have been conducting an experiment on a young woman with schizophrenia. She had all the classic symptoms of it; voices in the head, delusions of grandeur and the paranoia that goes with it…

”Uh huh,” Medger said wondering where this was going.

Well, One day she came in for her usual appointment and I examined her. I was looking in her ears when I saw a tiny woman running down her ear canal. At first I thought I might be seeing things. I continued the examination and said nothing. But the next week I examined her and I saw a small boy riding a bicycle back and forth.

Medger sat back in his chair.

“DR. Peterson….um, are you having… do you think…are you in therapy right now,” Medgar said wondering if the doctors wasn’t experiencing a psychotic break.

“Don’t patronize me, Medger! I’m perfectly sane. I do, however know how crazy I sound. You’re the first person I’ve told about this.”

“Thank you, I’m flattered.”

“Medger, I have devised a device to extract these creatures. If I can take them out and study them. I may well be able to cure schizophrenia. If nothing else I could certainly cure hers.”

“Sir, what you are talking about is very dangerous. Not to mention illegal…..”

“I know it is. I can’t do it in the hospital. That’s why I’m coming to you.”

“What could I do?”

“Well, Medger, I was wanting to have you assist me and use your office for the extraction.”

“Dr. Peterman…..I don’t know. Isn’t there someone, well I mean you must have many trust worthy colleagues.”

“Yes, but I can’t go to any of them I am too closely affiliated with them. You and I barely know one another, no one would ever suspect.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to say no. You can’t just go around experimenting on people.

“Look, I’ve talked to the patient about it and she wants it done. She is very high functioning. She says she would rather be dead than keep taking meds all her life. I will give you fifty thousand dollars in cash and do anything I can to ensure that I will refer the most famous people I know to you for their psychotherapy.”

Medgar told the doctor that he would think about it and the two men parted. As he walked back to his car he wondered if he would end up losing his psychotherapist license over this. He drove back to the valley with his stomach in knots.

A week later he found himself at his office pacing the floor as he waited for the doctor to arrive. As he waited he imagined one of the men he shared the office walking in on him. It was impossible of course the door would be locked and their card keys wouldn’t work, but he worried just the same.

A few minutes later Dr. Peterman entered the small office with his patient Shelia in tow. She was a short, pale, slightly plump blond woman in her mid-forties. She looked nervous when she entered the office and there were sweat stains on the armpits of her Winnie the Pooh Tee shirt.

Medgar closed the door and the doctor sat Shelia down in a chair. The valium he had given her was beginning to set in. The doctor pulled out a contraption that looked like a giant twisty straw and inserted into Sheila’s ear and poured water into it. Nothing happened for about fifteen minutes. Then Medgar was astonished to see a tiny woman in a house dress swirling out through the straw. She landed on the carpet gasping for air. She was followed by the boy on the bike, a man in a tweed jacket with patches on the elbow, three waiters, a tiny Jesus, a teenager who resembled Sheila and a tiny version of David Strathan.

As the tiny people fell to the ground Dr. Peterson instructed Medgar to put them in a small fish tank. After Shelia’s head was empty, the men secured the fish tank and put the fish tank in a large box that Medgar placed on a dolly. The doctor handed Medger his money and instructed him to meet him back at the office in two weeks. He suggested feeding the people plain oatmeal.

Medgar went to retrieve his car from the parking lot next door and the doctor and Shelia left. Nobody noticed the three tiny waiters cowering under the desk.

Bang (part 6)


Penelope tried to ignore the thoughts that kept running through her head. She worked on her resume for a while and then watched the news. Everyone was talking about the Hollywood Liberation Front, including the ladies on The View. Whoopi said that she could understand the frustration the young actors were experiencing.  Nicole said she thought the whole thing was just a publicity stunt and Miss Piggy, who was guest hosting said that she thought it was very sad that aspiring actors now-a-days wanted instant stardom rather than working their way up the way she had.

Penelope put on her sweat pants and jogged around the block ten times. She took a shower and got dressed. When she came out into the living room she could hear Tabitha and Billy who were sitting in the kitchen.

I wanted to do one of the shows focusing on how astromometry can help people, you know to raise awareness for people in like, Oklahoma who may not have access to some of the centers, but the producers wouldn’t let me. They said people wanted to escape from their problems when they watched television. Plus, the network has all these product placement deals that they do with companies and their just wasn’t time to talk about Astromometry. So I was struck down on two counts,” Tabitha said.

“That sucks, “Billy said. “But, you should be proud of yourself for caring in the first place. “

Penelope rolled her eyes, sat down on the couch trying not to make any sound.  Tabitha cared? Tabitha didn’t even realize she had been kidnaped she was an airhead, Penelope though.  The only thing impressive was that she even knew Oklahoma was a state. She felt like rushing into the kitchen and grilling Tabitha on current events. She couldn’t help but notice that in the entire time they had been together Billy had never once told her that she should be proud of herself for anything.

“This is really good soup, by the way,” Billy said.

“Thanks, my mom taught me the recipe. “

“Are you guys really close?”

“Yeah she’s like my best friend.”

Penelope wished Karen from here old job were there with them. She would have a field day making fun of Tabitha. They could spend an hour making fun of the way the starlet walked like she was on a runway all the time.

“That’s really cool. Penelope hardly even talks to her mother,” Billy said.

“Oh no, that’s sad.”

“Yeah, I think every woman needs to have a good relationship with her mother in order to be really well adjusted.”

Penelope felt her blood pressure rising. She calmed herself down by telling herself that Tabitha could do A LOT better than Billy and three weeks wasn’t really that long. Her thoughts were interrupted by Tabitha laughter which sounded like she was taking large gulps of air.

Josh and came back and said he had successfully hacked into Reality Now’s computers with a few tips from Mike. He had the e mail addresses and social security numbers of every producer on their staff. That evening Mike came over and Tabitha sat in Front of the computer again.

“Hello, America. Today, The Hollywood Liberation Front hacked into Reality Now’s computer system and found a great deal of personal information. There are several E mails that we are certain the producers and officers at the company would not want the public to see. We demand one week of age equality for background extras. That means that backgrounds on TV shows must  be comprised of fifty percent persons over forty on all productions for one week.”

After they were done filming the group retired to the kitchen for ice cream sundaes.

“In addition to all of their personal information we have a whole munch of e mails about not letting the show Constant Camera get “too dark,” Josh told them.

“The script was really funny tonight guys,” Tabitha said. I love the Idea of having these really goofy demands.

Bang (part 2)


For a moment they both froze.

“It’s the pizza. It’s okay it’s just the pizza,” Penelope said.


Billy stuffed the money into the backpack and opened the door and a thin young man entered carrying their food.

“Hi there folk, I’ve got two large sodas, a family size salad and a large mushroom pizza, $27.00 for ya.”

“Thanks just put it on the table, Billy said slipping a hand into the backpack and taking out forty dollars. Just give me $5 back”

The young man reached into his money pouch to take out some change. Suddenly he stopped and stared at the television. He took a long look at Penelope. Billy and Penelope turned to the screen to see a rather poorly light still photograph of the robbery being shown on CNN. For a moment they all stared at one another in stunned silence.

The delivery boy handed Billy his change and began to leave.

“Wait,” Penelope said. The delivery boy turned around to see Penelope holding a gun in her shaking hand.

“What the…” he began.

“Jesus, Penelope,” Billy said.

“Look, we all know what just happened. He saw me. He’s going to tell the cops.”

“No I wasn’t I swear.”

“Bullshit,” Penelope’s voice broke.

“Look what are ya gonna do shoot me?” Everyone will hear it plus, did you check in under your own names? Everyone will know you’re here.”

“Riiight,” Billy agreed.

“You’ll go to jail for murder, not just armed robbery. How much did you guys get anyway?” he asked being to realize that he was in no real danger.

“Practically nothing.” Penelope said beginning to cry.

“Look,” the delivery boy said approaching her. “Put down the gun, you don’t have to be afraid of me. I think there’s a way we can all work together if you just listen to me for a sec.”

Penelope and Billy looked at each other.

“Look, you hate Hollywood and Central Casting and all the bullshit, so do I… I have an Idea. My name is Josh by the way.”

Penelope took the remaining bullet out of the gun and put it in her pocket. She grabbed the backpack and put the gun in it. She clutched the bag to her chest.

“What do you want?”

“Let’s sit down and have some pizza. I’ll tell you about it.”

They all sat around the table. Penelope sat with the backpack wrapped around her legs.

Okay, so here’s what I’ve been thinking about. You know Tabitha Kraft? She an heiress, she was on the Kardashians as one of Kim’s friends?”

“I think I know who you mean,” Billy asked.

“Yes,” Josh said. “Well she’s making a show of her own right now, I have a friend who is a PA on the show. Plus, she orders pizzas all the time. She has Bulimia, I think.”

“You want to rob her,” Penelope assumed.

“No, no. I want to kidnap her.”

“That’s a sure way to go to jail,” Billy said.

“No, just listen to me,” Josh continued. Have you guys ever heard of Patty Hearst?

“Yeah, sure,” Penelope said.

“Well what I’m thinking is we kidnap her and get her to do stuff for us.”

“You want to brainwash her,” Billy asked.

“No, no, she’s already brainwashed. We’re gonna tell her it’s part of the show…”

Penelope and Billy munched their pizza and listened with great intensity.

Joan Rivers and The Ultimate Ugly Duckling…


I can’t even remember the first time I was teased at school or for what. There were so many things to be made fun of, the pale skin, the frizzy hair, the learning disability. When I look back on it I get lost in a daze of blackouts and denial. What I do remember was a television movie called The Girl Most Likely to …… starring Stockard Channing which was about an ugly, picked on girl who gets, plastic surgery, becomes beautiful and then gets murderous revenge on everyone. Although it wasn’t critically acclaimed, the film offered me the comfort that no school counselor, religion or friend ever could.

The film begins with heroine Miriam arriving for registration day at the fifth college she has attended in her search for a husband. In spite of her being smart, helpful and amusing she is repeatedly rejected by her classmates and is the victim of many a practical joke. One night, when she is furious after a prank she gets into a car accident and when they take her body cast off she had been transformed into a beautiful swan.

Now, there are many ugly duckling stories out there. The fat pimply girl grows tall and thin with perfect skin and takes off with the one man who was always kind to her, or the one who never noticed her. Or, the fat girl who is taunted by the crowd, but loved by the cutest boy in school. There is the Cyrano story, where the ugly person loves the beautiful person entirety for their looks and impresses said beautiful person with their words. None of these fables resonated with me in the way that I wanted.  As much as I wished I could grow up to be tall and thin and gorgeous, I suspected it wouldn’t happen. I was to learn that most men are far too shallow to love anyone for their personality. I found the Cyrano story to be too hypocritical to be enjoyed.

The Girl Most Likely To …was different. Although Miriam certainly transforms, it is revenge and not romance that is on her mind. She doesn’t want the love and admiration of those who wronged her, she wants their blood. She knows that men are stupid and they like big breast, so she points her newly enhanced boob at her victims and points them right in the direction of their demise, She gets a plumber to drown himself, a quarterback to sky dive to his death, arranges for surgical accident for a doctor (Gopher, from love boat) and has a cheerleader backflip right out the window. I loved it!

I had come home from a hard day of being teased to find I had a new friend – or a friend. Miriam was smart, sharp witted and self-deprecating. Her suffering had built her character and her power of observation. “

I wished that Miriam was real and I fantasied that we’d go on missions together. Whenever I was laughed at, I would think of what she would say. I fantasied that we got a particularly mean classmate of mine to do a handstand on the el tracks.

In a few years I would learn that she was, indeed real and her name was Joan River’s. Ya see, Joan co-wrote the script for the movie. The film is laced with running themes from Joan’s stand up routine. She has a slutty roommate named Heidi (Abramowitz?) She realizes all men care about are looks, “The only one to ever ask me to go to bed was my mother,” and of course she ends up getting life changing plastic surgery.

When you are homely and picked on adults are quick to tell you that you are not homely and the other kids are just jealous of you. After they finish lying to you about how pretty you are they will then proceed to tell you that looks don’t matter and its inside that counts, which is bullshit. Oh don’t get me wrong its inside that SHOULD count, but it doesn’t, just turn on the TV and tell me I’m wrong.

I would watch TV at night and I was always thrilled when Joan was on The Tonight Show. She was like the adult role model I’d never had. She told the truth about the way things were when everyone else tried to make me think it was all in my head. It made me feel strong, smart and observant- like her.

“No man ever put his hand up a woman’s dress looking for a library card,” she once told Johnny Carson.

When Joan died last week I felt like I’d lost a friend. Although I didn’t like it much that who she was wearing had a face, parents and a central nervous system, I still admired what she had done. It wasn’t just that she was a woman who was salty, it was that she was a person who was honest and showed us that truth was painful and the only way to deal with that pain was to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Her strength in the face of her critics was amazing. Most people would have backed down and said they were sorry for offending people, but not her. This is remarkable, because, given the amount of plastic surgery she had, her attention to fashion and her need for fame she clearly cared what other people thought. She was willing to stand up for her right to say anything she wanted even though it must have terrified her to do so and that is the definition of courage.

Much has been said this week about how she paved the way for a lot of female comedians, but none of them were really in the same class as she was. Kathy Griffin makes fun of celebrities, but she often predicates her insults, by saying that she love or admires the person. Sarah Silverman is really risqué, but she is definitely playing a character on stage. Chelsea Handler merely takes cheap, unfunny shots at the physicality of a little person and expects us to be shocked at the fact that she drinks, sleeps around and admits it. But, Joan took no prisoners, she meant everything she said, she wasn’t playing a character her humor came straight from her own pain and rage. She might have been crude, but she was also quick witted and observant in a way that is very rare.

No one will ever be able to break ground the way Joan did again. Female comics have become bawdy to the point of being tiresome. She once told a reporter she believes in reincarnation and she wanted to come back as her dog. So if you see a poodle puppy walking down fifth avenue in high heels barking at everyone, don’t be afraid to laugh – that’s the way she would have wanted it.

The Complaint (part 24)



Ellen left the apartment very early the next morning, not wanting to run into Kyle. She didn’t even make coffee and she wondered if she was entitled to get a cup from a shop or if she would be expected to pay for it. She still didn’t understand the complicated economic system in Hell.

She walked into a coffee shop and observed the activities for a moment she saw no poker chips change hands. She went up to the counter and ordered a large cup of coffee. The Barista was a woman who had no mouth or nose and could only nod at her order.  She wrote something down on her chalk board.

“Would you like a shot of meth in your coffee?” the board said.

“Um, sure I guess so?” Ellen said assuming it must be legal. The Batista cried as she poured the meth in the coffee. Ellen noticed that the girl had no veins. ‘She must have been a drug addict.” Ellen thought.  As she smiled and took the cup; she couldn’t help that think it was a pretty good punishment.

She drank the coffee on the boat and looked out at the city streets. A head on a wheel rolled by and several pigs kicked it and began an impromptu game of soccer. All of a sudden, Ellen felt a strong urge to jump and join them. She stood up and then sat right back down again realizing she couldn’t just jump off a boat and join in a pig’s soccer game.

She saw a woman with a paper clip for a head and wondered what she was being punished for. She got up again and ran to the other side of the boat as everyone regarded her with puzzlement.

The boat arrived at the office and Ellen got off. She couldn’t wait to get upstairs, a million ideas were racing through her head. She wanted to tell her coworkers about them. As soon as she got upstairs she was called into a meeting. A tall balding man in a nice suit was sitting at the head of the conference room table. Everyone from the punishment department was sitting around the table quietly chit chatting.

“Oh my God, am I late?” she said loudly. They all looked up.

“No, no. You’re right on time, said the man.

Ellen threw her purse on the table and sat down in her chair with an enormous thud.

“So, my name is Ward Pepper and I’m your new supervisor.”

“Hi”, Ellen said with a burp.

Everyone looked at her.

“Um, I thought we’d all go around the room and introduce ourselves. I’m Ward, I’m from Cleveland. I died in a skydiving accident when I was twenty two. I came down here attended HCC where I got my Certificate of Evil, right from there I got a job in the seventh circle as a safety regulator. From there I got a job as a recruiting manager….”

“You mean like for recruiters on earth? You managed the recruiting that goes on, on earth,” Ellen asked loudly.

“Yes,” that’s right”, he replied with discomfort. ”

“Did you ever meet anyone like REALLY, REALLY famous like an a lister, ” she asked fighting the urge to stand up.

“Well, I can’t really say. So anyway. I did that for four years and here I am, why don’t we go around the table and introduce ourselves.”

“I’m Frank Pearson”, a tall thin man said. I died at the hands of a serial killer when I was 23…”

“Oh My God, they kill men. I thought they only killed women,” Ellen sputtered.

“Sometimes they kill men, he said.” I just completed my tenth approved punishment and earned my own apartment. I love Punishment INC.”

An exotic woman in a red dress went next.

My names Pokey, I died when I was 22. I’m originally from Virginia when it was still the colonies when I lived there. I’ve been in punishment planning for a lot of years. I won the Rasputin Award for Creativity in Justice last year.”

Ward looked impressed Ellen rolled her eyes.

A young punker kid with a lot of piercings stood up.

“I’m Kevin, I died in a plane crash back in 83, this is my first week in punishment, I’ve been on the other side of things working in torturer for the last, basically thirty years force feeding rat droppings to salesmen. I’m excited to be here.  “I’m Ellen I died in a mall shouting at the age of 24, like two weeks ago. I just got my second approval. I just found out last night that you can win trips to heaven for exceptional punishments and it is my goal to go to heaven. I’m so really happy to meet you all, I’ve seen you around here but, like I didn’t know anyone’s name and now I do and that’s really awesome. I’m really excited form my next approval. Or even if it isn’t an approval that’s okay because I can learn from it and My first punishment was approved but it wasn’t, but I did learn from it and I just am so excited to EARN that trip to Heaven,” she said in one breath.

There were a few more introductions. Some basic rules were gone over and the meeting was adjourned.

Ellen started toward her desk.

“Hey, Ellen” Pokey said.” You shouldn’t say stuff like that. You have to be really careful.”

“Say stuff like what?”

“Like you want to go to heaven. ”

“Why not? I’m an enthusiastic and ambitious worker.”
“No, I mean if you say stuff like that they’re gonna think you don’t like Hell. You have to be careful what you say, trust me.”
















The Complaint (Part 13)


Ellen ran back downstairs and began typing out her punishment. She had decided that Barrett the Bully would have to spend the rest of eternity eating his own vomit. It was metaphorical in that everything he ever said in his life was a rejection of what was inside of him; it was economical in that they wouldn’t have to feed him or hire any torturers and it was environmentally sound in that this new resident would leave absolutely no carbon foot print whatsoever.

She printed it and proudly showed it to Rhonda.

“H’mm,” Rhonda said glancing at it. “Well, I guess it’s not so bad for a first try. We’ll hand it in and see how she flies,” she said in a bit of a condescending tone.

Ellen went back to her desk deflated. She wondered how many chances she got before she got fired. She wondered if she could get fired. She wondered if she got fired would she just be assigned to another job or would she get some sort of eternal punishment? If so, what would her punishment. It occurred to her that they might dislike her punishment so much that they would decide to make it her punishment.

She returned to reading the news website. There was a story about next year’s elections for Satan. No less than seven demons were running for the office and it was a two party system. The Brimstone party was known for adhering to very strict satanic ideals.  From what Ellen could surmise, the Brimstonians believed in evil for evils sake whereas their counterparts the Treacle Party believed that money, being the root of all evil, was what society should be striving for.

There was a fat round demon who had worked on earth as a factory farmer and an oil tank owner. He was running on a platform of environmental destruction. He was a member the Brimstone party. His opponents included a tall, thin pink demon who had been a cult leader, a curvy lady demon who had run a pay to kill hunting farm and a strikingly bright orange demon who had been the host of many swinger’s parties.  All the Brimstonian candidates were ganging up on him as they felt he leaned to close to the treacle party. They said the swinger’s parties just provided a distraction from serious matters rather than being truly evil themselves.

The Treacle had an equally horrifying roster of candidates. The included a two headed red demon who had been a venture capitalist on earth, he was running on a platform of pure greed. There was a long polk-a-dot demon who had been a corporate attorney on earth. He’d gotten hundreds of corporations of the hook for doing horrible things. Still, he was the center of some controversy as there had never been a polk-a-dot Satan. Rounding out the group was the incumbent Satan, a square green creature who had been a Hollywood producer in the world. He had been involved in a scandal earlier that year when it came out that he had raised a good deal of money for starving orphans back in his old filmmaking days. Although he had repeatedly stated that the charities were just a cover and he had stolen most of the money, his approval ratings had dropped considerably.

After reading about them Ellen was very happy that she didn’t have the vote. She didn’t like any of the candidates and although she was apparently evil she didn’t really know that much about how it all worked.

Her stomach was in knots all the way home. She told Virgil about her experience at work and he attempted to comfort her.

“It’s very rare for anyone to get fired from any job, it’s basically government work. They’ll give you lots of tries. Worst case you would get reassigned. The only workers I’ve ever seen get fired are the subversives; people who don’t do as they’re told.”

“I just don’t want to be eating SpaghettiOs and living in the dorms forever.”

“I think you’ll be fine. Hey, Ellen, there’s an orgy on Friday at one of the clubs in the fourth circle, would you like to go with me?”

“Oh,, your sweet, but, I really don’t think I’m ready for that yet,” she said grateful that they had reached the dorms.”

“I understand,” VIrgil said trying not to sound hurt.

Ellen entered the dorms and made a bee line for the bathroom. She tried not to look in the soul mirror as she passed by. She went into the kitchen where she found Kyle enjoying a sandwich. She heated up her much loathed dinner and sat down to join him. She told him everything that happened including the part about Virgil inviting her to the orgy.

“I’ve been to those things they’re really boring”.


“Yeah, they have all these games but it takes forever to get them going. I prefer my experiences to be one on one,” he smiled at her.

“So Where’s Danni,” she asked feeling herself beginning to blush.

“”She moved into an apartment. I’m happy for her. She’s a bloody hard worker.”

“Yes, well that’s good for her than. How did your haunting go last night?

“Pretty well, I’m really close to signing this one girl, I just have to wine her and dine her a bit more. I’ll probably go back tomorrow night and seal the deal.”

It occurred to Ellen that she and Kyle would be the only ones in the dorm that night.


The Complaint (part 10)

compShe finished her SpaghettiOs and excused herself to have a look around the dorm.
She went into the bathroom where she tested the water in the shower and as she suspected, it was ice cold. After using the facilities for the first time in the eight or so hours she’d been in Hell she looked in the mirror. She saw a short fat woman with deep crow’s feet and white hair and a rather reddish complexion.
She heard the door open and saw Danni walk in.
“Hey,” Danni said coldly.
“Hey,” Ellen said.
She turned back to the mirror and was astonished to see a morbidly obese acne ridden bald woman crossing in back of her.
“You’ve found the soul reflector, I see, ‘the woman in the mirror said as she passed. Ellen turned back around to see the stunning Danni in the same position as the woman in the mirror.
“It freaked me out at first as well, now I just don’t look in it.”
“What do I look like to you,” Ellen asked in a panic.
“About five foot five, straight brown hair,about 135 pounds slightly crocked teeth vaguely smallish chest; good skin though and nice blue eyes,” Danni said in a rather unimpressed tone.
“So I look the same as I did in life to other people?”
“Yes, that’s right. It’s just Satan’s way of reinforcing the idea that other people’s opinions are everything.”
“But, I mean, how you get ready in the morning?”
“Well, the way I look is part of my job so I have a special mirror to look in before I go to work. You’ll just have to find a buddy to tell you if you look okay.”
Ellen wondered who she would trust enough to do something like this. She wandered back out into the hallway and found an unoccupied TV room.
She turned on the TV and a small blond anchorwoman appeared on the screen.
“Good evening, I’m Jessica Savitch and this is News Unearthed on HNN.”
Five people are dead and seven were wounded in a mall shooting in Chicago, IL today, by a man who appears to have been a disgruntled ex-employee of The Bed and Bath store there”
Ellen gasped as the picture flashed on the screen. It was Morton Tepper, the manager who had been caught stealing from the cash register.
“Witnesses say Tepper ran though the mall screaming, ‘I am an agent of darkness. I am sent here by Satan!
Statin denies any affiliation with Tepper and says that he is disappointed in the paltry death toll.
The dead include Ellen Turnblue a 24 year-old Bed and Bath Store employee, Steven Potsman a 30 year old attorney, Rebecca Kienman a 22 year-old mall employee and Justine and Karen Pitswater two eighteen year old twins who were apparently playing hooky from school that day.
All of the victims were unremarkable in their accomplishments and each of them will come to reside in Hell.
Satan says that he hopes the victims’ families will come to enjoy the media attention they will receive as a result of their loved ones having such highly publicized deaths.
No punishment has yet been designed for Mr. Postman at this time. Mr. Tepper was taken into custody and a hearing is set for tomorrow morning.
Satan stated that he hopes the low death toll and the fact that the gun was not registered to the offender will not strengthen the argument for gun control and and will not encourage health insurance companies to cover mentally health care.”

The Complaint (part 7)


“Rhonda, will I get to punish my own killer,” Ellen asked digging in to her meal.

“Probably not. Upper management doesn’t generally like to make things personal. He feels that people don’t create logical punishments when their emotionally involved.”

Several short fat neon creatures with horns and tails sat down at the table next to them they were handed menus.

“Who are those guys,” Ellen asked.

“Those are uncloaked demons. Normally, they take human form and roam the earth recruiting souls.”

“They get menus?”

“Oh, yeah. They’re like celebrities down here.” Rhonda said. “The green one has his own talk show.”

The two women finished their lunches and returned to the office. Rhonda showed Ellen how the various computer programs worked and Ellen had her new employee orientation.

She was given a health care card and shown the gym. She marveled at the raging fire that burnt just outside of the glass walls of the gym.

“Most of us sit all day, so we need a really intense workout”, the trainer explained.

At the end of the day Virgil picked Ellen up in his boat and they drove to the intern dorms. She was shown to a small room with a large bed and told that she would be sleeping there until she had completed her first three punishments.

She went into the kitchen to microwave her dinner SpagehttiO’s . A tall man with dark hair and blue eyes was sitting at the table reading the newspaper and eating.

“Hi,” Ellen said.

“Oh, hi. You must be the new girl, Ellen is it? I’m Kyle, “ the man said in a crisp English accent. Ellen felt a deep tension in her stomach when he took her her hand in his strong grip.

“Yes, it’s nice to meet you.”

“The SpaghettiO’s are in the shelf over there.”

She prepared her meal while he read the paper.

“They have a newspaper down here,” she enquired.

“Yeah, just a weekly, it’s called Hell Week.”

He held up the paper for her to see.

“Oh my God the headline,” she said.

Satan Disappointed in weak death toll at mall shooting”.

“Oh, is that how you died?”

“Yeah,” She said reading over his shoulder, “Ellen Turnblue 24.”

“That’s a nice picture of you.”

“Thanks,” she said drawing away from him a bit.

She sat down and began to eat. It occurred to her that there was no way to look graceful eating Spaghetti’Os. She wondered how she looked, she hadn’t seen a mirror since she’d gotten there. If she looked the same in death as she did in life than he was considerably prettier than her. She wondered if there was a league system in Hell.

The Complaint (Part 6)



The Maitre’ d led them to a table near the window where they sat, munching on breadsticks and drinking water. The restaurant slowly revolved and Rhonda pointed out all the various sections of Hades to Ellen.

“Right over there are your famous leaders, Pol Pot is there he labors all day at growing potatoes that he only gets one bite of when they grow. He’s only weighs like 90 pounds; he’s got scurvy and liver disease too.

Hitler is right there. He constantly has to make clothing out of his own skin.”

Ellen looked down to see a boney man tearing skin off his leg with a large knife and screaming.

“That’s exactly the kind of punishment Satan likes most by the way. You’ll get further faster if you think outside the box a bit.”

“Have you met Satan?” Ellen asked.

“Oh, no that would be like meeting the president. In fact there’s an election every four years, only the demons get to vote.”

Their meals came without their having ordered anything. Rhonda was presented with a Caesar salad while and Ellen got SpaghettiOs.

“Um, we didn’t order yet,” Ellen said.

The waiter walked away without a word.

“It’s not a mistake, it’s what you get,” Rhonda said. “You get SpagettiOs until you get your first approved punishment. The quality of your meals improves from there.”

The same thing goes for housing. You will live in a dorm with six other interns. You’ll all sleep in the same bunk until you have three approved punishments.”

They moved into the next section of Hell which was devoted to heirs and celebrities.

Ellen looked down to see a group of people wrapped in bubble wrap who were trying to climb an endlessly long shoelace, one of them was wearing George Bush.

“Just be glad you get to eat better than the Hollywood producers, “ said Rhonda pointing to a group of men in sunglasses. “ When they first got here, they were force feed a diet of stale popcorn and  gas station nachos;  now all they get to eat is their own vomit.”

“Oh my God; is that Whitney Houston over there? “ Ellen asked pointing down at the singer who appeared to be locked in a vice.

“ Oh yeah that was mine, actually. She’s watching The Bodyguard: she’s always watching The Bodyguard,” Rhonda said a bit sadistically.


The restaurant turned another inch or so to reveal an ugly naked woman in a glass box she was surrounded by mirrors. Ellen knew without having to ask that the woman had been a gossip.