The Haven
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The Haven

Don T.’s Inferno

Canto III and the First Circle

We come to a gate. A gate. Sometimes a wall, it needs a gate. To go through. Through the wall. Not most times, but some.

Sign above the gate — not in English. (If I headed Hell, I’d make all signs in English. No exceptions. Okay, maybe Braille too.) Can’t read the sign. But it’s okay. Have people for that. So Virgil tells me. Well, first he says, “Latte shot something-something-something.

“Translate,” I tell him. He’s new, so I forgive this. (Forgiving — that’s me.)

“Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.”

I’m floored, really shocked. Shocked. How un-American. Americans don’t abandon. (Okay, there are exceptions. Children, wives, animals, unwed mothers, the elderly — but that’s about it. Not too bad. In fact, it’s great. And really, what do they contribute? Nothing. They contribute nothing. Have their hands out, all of them. Parasites.)

Though I’m still outside, I hear it. Whiners. Such whiners. Talking gibberish. Not English. Don’t speak English, the universal language. Universal. Or it’s English with heavy accents. So heavy. Impossible to understand.


“So Hell’s a bit further yet,” Virgil explains. “First we have the vestibule.”

“The what? Speak English, Virgil!”

“It’s an entry hall, a lobby.”

“Well, why not say so in the first place?” (Strike two — this guy is really trying my patience. And I’m a very patient man.)

Past the gate, the cries get louder. I put in my earplugs. A godsend. Earplugs. Take them everywhere.

“The uncommitted,” Virgil tells me.

(Of course. Indecisive, I call it. The indecise, they can’t get things done. Spin their wheels. And, boy, so many of them. Losers, pathetic losers. Just standing there. Like the losers standing outside clubs waiting to get in. But never do. If Hell won’t let you in . . . Losers. Not like me. I’m a winner. But you know that. Hell, I can get into Hell, and I’m not even dead! Winner.)

Whiners. Naked whiners. (And, honestly, most of them — not naked material. Un-hot. Don’t make the cut.) Man like me, great man, should not have to look at that.

Instead, I watch the bugs. Hornets. Wasps. Clouds of them. Swarming. Fun to watch. Stinging. But those losers deserve stings. Losers.

So we walk. Virgil and me. To the water. Crush maggots as we go. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

The bugs don’t bother me. DEET. (Love DEET. Use it every day. Good for my complexion. Don’t believe the tree huggers. Healthy. Safe. DEET.)

Virgil has a guy. A guy with a boat. Sharon. A girl’s name. But a guy. Doesn’t want to give me a ride. Ballsy. But, Virgil, he makes it happen. We get in. Private charter. First-class all the way. I fall asleep, a deep sleep. I work hard. So hard. Even Superman needs sleep. I’m entitled. Superman. Me. Sleep.

Part II, er, 2 — the Circles of Hell

(Make the part before this Part 1, numero uno [that’s Italian, not Spanish])

“Limbo,” Virgil says.

I look around. No poles. (And no, I don’t mean Polacks.) But doesn’t look so bad. Then I see them. Heathens. Place chockful of heathens. And Jews. Same as heathens, well, almost. Not baptized. Fools. Should have got baptized. Just in case. No vision.

Well, Old Testament guys — maybe deserve a pass. Some great leaders. Almost as terrific as me.

Virgil explains: “Jesus, he took pity. Noah, Moses — he took to heaven.” Good guy, that Jesus. He was around today, I’d make him an ambassador. Not cabinet material. Too soft. But ambassador to someplace safe. Monaco, Monte Carlo.

Got it. The Vatican. Perfect for the Vatican. Inspired choice. Bet he’d rap that pope around his finger. Jesus. But not available. Too bad. But inspired choice. Inspired.

Virgil introduces me around. Old guys in dresses. Poets. Then through gates. So many gates I lose count. These Hell folks have the right idea. Keep the riff-raff out. Gates.

Virgil says if we’re going to hit all the circles, we need to hurry.

“Where’s the music?” I ask Virgil. I’m still pretty spry, flexible. No problem getting under the pole. And my Watusi, thing of beauty. Limbo. Took dance lessons. Teacher said I was a natural. Best she’d ever seen.

But there’s no music. People who run the place — they’re hearing about this!

To be continued . . . 1 Circle down, 8 more to go. . . .



A Place to Be Funny Without Being a Jerk

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