HELL: 8

In Hell doom and safety were indistinguishable, which makes it well suited for those with poor judgment.

It’s Monday, a balmy (blimey!) 666°C, and she’s surrounded by gags. So nothing new. But Hell wasn’t half bad. The clown really wanted to find Remy and get answers.

Our minor buffoon slept on the couch with Clootie at her feetsies. Early mornings she’d fud herself silly in the scalding hot sulphur smelling shower. Hell was not conducive to release. She wondered what Una was up to while she was beneath the heath. Dreams began with Una’s eyes but the clown’s undercarriage magnet pointed to Remy.

The clown had never been in the habit of comparing herself to other women, but she had a hard time with this new Remy. Where she wore womanhood like a loose-fitting t-shirt, Remy wore it like a silk dress. Remy embodied a role that she only approximated. Remy was lipstick. She was slapstick.

Furce and Cloot were walking twenty steps ahead of the clown. She was trailing behind on their way to Parc Ghöull.

Cloot wobble-floated ahead, and Furcifer darted after, giving it a harsh bite. Clootie’s inverted horns popped out with glee.

They came upon a fairground of readymade Mannerist ruins. A jumble of birthday-cake-frosting colors, cotton candy dissipation, plants that were a collage of roots, leaves, and flowers. The park had run out of context, like a fey and feral dream. At least there was grass.

The clown, Furcifer, and the blue chewtoy stopped for a dirt bath. Clown took a lie down.

Laying on the dying grass. Not fully dead because everything was in its throes. Grass in a wiry and desperate, yellow-eyed state.

She could remember the world. It was all smiling grass and vaseline thunder. The zany grin of Llucia came back to her.

Out of the mingle-mangled mix, the clown felt like she was being watched. She turned. An orange cat with jagged hair like lightning was staring at her. It was grinning ear-to-ear. It was jittering without moving, glowing but with a material halo. It disappeared and reappeared far too familiarly next to the clown. It was a very rude cat.

“How did you like Garfcelona?,” this acid-dipped tabby cat asked.

The clown was not ready to remember. Her replies were in a time-delay safe called her brain.

She tried to deflect, “Do I know you? Who are you?”

“We’re all Mondays here. I’m Monday. You’re Monday. It’s Monday,” the cat answered.

Its pupils grew wider and wider. The cat was frisky to keep the clown’s attention.

“Care for some lasagna tea?” the cat asked, its lightning aura vibrating and expanding as it purred each word.

Furcifer pulled the clown away from the cat’s eddying smile. “I’ve got more I want you to see than that yobbo cat,” he said.

She was pushed through a comical crowd:

The phantasmagoric procession didn’t stop. It kept throwing shapes with impossible angles.

The clown was victim to the rubberband of fate: pull, release, then fliiiiiing! She was about to learn what happened at the end of fling.

Parc Ghöull’s ground—still carpeted—became loamy. It smelled unearthy, as though rot itself has begun to rot and mold itself has begun to mold. Lush and rank. Heavy meta decay.

The pair stopped at a voynich funfair. At the centre of the park was an enormous venus shell fountain, flanked by a gumball machine of pearls. It was a funfair of automatism. Crab people mindlessly skittered to up the machine, put in some coins, and skittered back into the fountain with their pearls. A cockatrice was playing badminton with a turtle. They passed a cavalcade of inscrutable, inverted allegory.

She expected fire-breathing carnival rides and guillotine ferris wheels, but Hell was somehow cuter and more baroque.

Further in the park turned into a dump. An enormous harp stuck in a concrete lute, a sculpture of two ears and a knife. A mass of pinkish people gathered around an enormous plump strawberry. The fruit was so full of life, that the seeds looked like they were about to pop into the air. Heaven’s trash is hell’s treasure

They went deeper into the sculpture park of Flemish idioms.

The sky was changing, writhing in a never-ending miasma of sunset pink. Pendulous clouds metastasizing. Air heavy and hard-boiled, this was the world made flesh.

Suddenly finding her thoughts, the clown spoke, “Hey Furcifer. Why are you in hell? I thought…”

“All dogs go to heaven? Not entirely accurate. Let’s just say I was a Bad Dog. I was a a flim-flam man. A charlatan, of sorts. I tricked people who wanted to be tricked. I had my table of trinkets. I could make an acorn spin or the king’s crown disappear if I wanted to.

“Yet one lifetime, I chose to be a spoiled little dog. I got used to that life. And I liked taking a leak on that church. I was so cute they enshrined my dog soul, trapping it for decades! I am certainly a of citizen of Hell, but I hardly qualified for that.”

“Let me get this right. You were so naughty... they trapped you in Gaudí?”

They came upon a pair of charlatans. A frog and a muskrat were pulling some jokes for coins. the frog hopped on two legs, and the muskrat walked on its front paws. Were doing a comedy routine in the park. The dialogue was all in Voynichese with a little Outlandish mixed in.

There was a ruckus approaching: a white giraffe and a two legged dog barking at each other wildly.

“Furcifer, what are they saying?”

“I don’t know. They’re just barking. I don’t speak Dog or Giraffe.”

A crowd gathered. A boy on a gryphon charged through shouting, “The Princess of Hell has returned from abroad, but she is possessed by a wretched earth spirit! The Hell Mother, Queen of All Hells, Ruler of the Abyss, has called an exorcism feast. She bids every household in Hell send an exorcist to cast out the mortal soul holding her daughter!”

At the end of the speech, the crowd, including Furcifer, shouted “Hell is hers!”

The boy opened its satchel and flung a handful of cards into the air.

It was stamped with the mother of hell’s seal: a snake coiled around a butterfly

The same motif as Remy’s bell, the psyche filled with venom.

The clown felt unearthed by the place. The illusions she carried with her, her stalwart optimism and desperate hope, it was all dispelled by hellishness.

Time settles on us in layers and grows thick. The accretion of centuries, time falling over us. In this way a person can become salt, cement, or a pearl.


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