'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Forty-four:

Forty-four:

   
"ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz12345678
90~!@#$%^&*()_+`=*[]{};':",./\<>?|"

                                 - Lou Morris--with a severe
case of writer's block.


   "Are you totally absolutely positive," Lou pleaded, "that
this teleportation spell is going to work right?"
   "As sure as thy peanut butter sandwich flies," Shae-doe
answered.
   "What?!" Lou shrieked.
   "They do not fly here?"
   "Not usually."
   "Oh, sorry," Shae-doe apologized; "But not to worry, thy
spell will be correct."
   "Positive?"  Lou took another look round the hospital
parking lot, just to check if Kaye-Boom was hiding around
someplace.  If he was, it would save Lou from a very unwanted
trip.
   "Positive," Shae-doe said in a positive tone of voice.  
He wasn't too positive himself, though.
   With Lou apprehensively watching, Shae-doe began a
complicated matrix of spell incantations, making doubly sure
that every step of the spell was perfect and safe.  One wrong
gesture could mean disaster when dealing with a teleportation
spell.  Each and every component had to be exactly measured
and--
   Now where did I put that vial of toad tears? Shae-doe
asked himself.
   "Oh, heck," Shae-doe pouted a second later, unable to
find what he was looking for.
   Lou didn't get a chance to strangle him...


   "Where they are" stopped being "where they are."  After a
wave of a few hands, more than the usual number of incoherent
mumblings, screams and whispers, a slightly used
handkerchief, and a missing spell component, "where they are"
now became "where they were."  They appeared someplace else.


   "Where the hell are we?!" Lou shrieked, still slightly
stunned by the spell.  He could not see just yet; everything
was cloudy and mildly hot.
   "Now, now, boys," said a cheerful but stern voice.  It
sounded to Lou almost like one of his male English
teachers--Junior High, he thought.  Or was it High School?
   "Now, now, boys," the voice continued, "You mustn't use
that sort of language around here.  Our guests wouldn't like
it too much."
   Shae-doe opened his stinging eyes.  In the distance, he
saw a bubbling sauna of molten lava and flames.  To his left
was a large round tub of what he assumed to be horse manure.  
His right--a swimming pond filled with nails and razors.  He
didn't bother to look behind him; he knew all too well where
he had got himself to.  He was in Hell.
   Lou observed the same visions although he didn't come to
the same conclusion.  "Where are we?" he whispered.
   "Hell," Shae-doe breathed, disappointed in himself for
killing the both of them.
   "Hell!?!" Lou screamed.  "What do you mean Hell?!?!"
   "You know--thy fiery pits of infallible damnation."
   "I don't believe this!  First my girl, then my job, then
my car.  Now me!"  Lou gave up completely and sat down upon
an outcropping of hellish rock.  To his surprise, it was
rather warm, but not too hot.  Wasn't comfortable, though.  
He frowned a "what do we do now" frown at Shae-doe.
   "I have no clue," Shae-doe answered, sitting down beside
him.  "Methinks we should just sit and wait for thy owner of
thy voice to come and show us our sins."
   "Great."
   A sweater clad gentleman stepped from a passageway hidden
in the rocks near the both of them.  He calmly walked over
and brushed some soot from his blue slacks and his brown
loafers.  He wore a blue and red stripped tie and carried a
pair of generic sneakers.  "Hello, boys," he said.
   "I must be seeing things."  Lou shook his head clear, but
still saw the same things.  "Here I am in Hell and I think
Satan looks like a kiddie show host from PBS"
   "Welcome to Heck," said Satan's half-cousin, Wally.
   Lou really frowned.  Then he laughed.  "Heck?"
   Bing!  Bing!
   A voice, amplified throughout the network of tunnels and
caverns, said, "Time for punishment!  All guests please
report to his or her manager for punishment.  Thank you."
   Shae-doe stood up.  "Guests?  What about all those doomed
souls--"
   Lou cut in, "Yeah, the damned.  Where are they?"
   Wally laughed, "Here come the darned souls now.  I love
this part--watching them suffer."  He clapped his hands like
a little kid.
   "Darned?" Lou repeated, but not believing.  "You've got
to be kidding..."
   A line of darned souls walked slowly towards the pit of
lava, driven onwards by a businessman in a two-piece suit.  
The first in line hesitated to enter, only to be hit on the
head by a foam whiffle bat.
   "Ouch," sort-of-screamed the first darned soul, as she
stepped into the lava as if stepping into a hot tub of water.  
"Oh...  Ack.  Oh, I'm burning up."  She settled into a corner
of the mildly warm lava pool and sat upon an underwater
outcropping of rock, twirling the lava with her fingers.
   Lou turned to his right and saw a line of nicely dressed
souls walking onto diving board above a swimming pool filled
with sharp objects.
   The first man on line hesitated on the diving board,
teetering on the edge.  He pulled a sheet of parchment from
his pants pocket.  "No!  I beg of you," he recited, "Uh--I
beg of you, please don't make me jump into this swimming pool
of utter death--uh, yeah."
   Some of his peers behind him clapped and cheered his
performance.  "Nice job!" one said.  "Well done," another
said.  "Very good for your first time," his manager praised.
   He smiled then jumped a backwards flip dive into the pool
of death.
   "Eeek." he said when he hit the soggy sponge razors in
the pool.  He jumped around like a little child in a ball
pit, tossing and pushing away the balls, or in this case,
tossing and pushing away the fake foam nails, razors and
other not-so-sharp items.
   This is insane, Lou thought.  Relatively insane.  He
turned to his left only to see darned souls having a shitball
fight (whoops--shootball fight) in a big round tub of manure.  
They didn't look like they were having a bad time...
   "This is insane," whispered Shae-doe to Lou.  "Relatively
insane."
   "But at least you have your sense of humor..." Lou joked.
   Bing!  Bing!
   Another voice rang out, "Breakfast time!  All souls
report to the breakfast hall.  Thank you."
   "Now then, boys," Wally said, turning his attention from
the souls of Heck to Lou and Shae-doe.  "To whom do I have to
owe the debt of your presence?"
   "What do you mean?  Aren't we dead?" Lou asked, slightly
confused.  He sat back down on his warm rock.
   Wally laughed heartily, "No, no.  If you were dead, you
would be eating runny scrambled eggs with the rest of our
guests.  No, no.  You must just be uninvited guests then."  
He withdrew a small pocket notebook from his inside jacket
pocket and flipped through a few pages of writing.  "Hmn..."
he wondered.
   "Lets get out of here..." Lou urgently whispered to
Shae-doe.
   "Oh, here it is...  Louis Andrew Morris--that is your
name, I believe, yes?  Yes.  Hmn... It says here that you
don't believe in any god or religion, correct?"
   Lou nodded, fearful of what is too come.  Oh shit, he
thought, here it comes... you don't believe in God, so you go
straight to Hell.  "It's not too late to change that, is it?"
he asked hopefully.
   Wally laughed, "Then you'd be lying... don't worry, all
things come to an end.  You don't belong here, though."
   "Then where do I go?  Hell?"
   "You won't go anyplace.  You don't believe in any god, so
when you die, that'll be it.  It would be gosh-darn stupid
any other way."
   "Makes sense..." Lou shrugged.  "Whatever," he mumbled,
remembering once again that he was the main character in a
novel that he was writing.  "Whatever," he mumbled again,
making sure that his plastic children's guitar was still
slung on his back; he still couldn't fully comprehend this
book thing, nor did he really want to.
   "What about myself?" Shae-doe asked, cringing.
   Wally smiled.  "Sorry, but I have special orders not to
disclose your future place of residence.  Sorry."  He didn't
look that sorry.
   "Oh well," Lou said.  "Sorry we have to leave, but so
long... thanks for the tour... love those darned souls and
the like... bye."  He tried to usher Shae-doe away but the
sounds of a brewing fight stopped him short.
   "You shoot-head!  I hope you go to frigging Heck!" one
darned teenage soul screamed at his rival.
   The other one shot back, "Duh, dork!  We're already in
Heck, tush-head!"
   "You're a gosh darn pain in my neck!"
    The second soul gave the other soul the ring finger then
yelled, "Yuck fou!"
   "You fother mucker!"
   "Intercourse you!"
   "Sorry, boys, but I must stop this fight before they get
into the parts of the female anatomy.  That'll get them
really in trouble, boy..."  He left them, quickly jogging
over to the two almost expletive swapping teenagers.
   "Let's go..." Lou and Shae-doe said simultaneously.  So
they did, with the help of a quickly revamped teleportation
spell.
   To where, who knows?