Economic Downturn Forces Hell to Cut Back

Lucifer’s official publicity photoAmid growing concerns on the street after record-breaking 4th quarter losses, Lucifer announced today that he will be forced to cut back on Hell’s services.  Gone are the days of round the clock 24/7 flayings, pokings, dismemberments and other tortures by his minions.  Instead, the Region of the Damned will adopt a more streamlined 9 to 5 business model.  During off-hours condemned souls will now be forced to watch DVDs of Welcome Back Kotter and Mork and Mindy.

“I’m hoping it has the same effect as the flaying. It’s certainly cheaper.  I’m optimistic our residents will feel no appreciable difference in their level of torment” said Lucifer from his spacious office. 

I spoke with The Devil about the challenges that lay ahead.  “It’s getting tougher to turn a profit. People now just don’t want to go to Hell. We just aren’t considered hip anymore.  I used to be able to count on thousands of new recruits every year.  Now the wicked move to Martha’s Vineyard.”

In addition to the reduction in services, 2 circles of Hell will be shut down and rented out for corporate events.  “I’m hoping to bring in some new money from this.  As to where I’ll put the souls who are currently in them (the circles) I can temporarily offload them to Hollywood.”  When I expressed surprise at this he mentioned that there are already many former residents of Hell in Tinseltown.  “Three of the top five moneymakers last year were produced by demons.”

Other changes to be implemented include walking tours of Hell and reducing energy consumption by lowering the thermostat.  “I was hesitant about that.  I mean it’s supposed to be hot.  I want them to sweat.  But my accountant told me I could save $35,000 a year by lowering the temperature just 5 degrees.”

The walking tours will start in May and cost $50 dollars per person.  “This place has interesting topography.  It’ll make for good hikes.”  In addition there is no shortage of former Hollywood stars to lead the tours.  “We have Fatty Arbuckle…..Jimmy Stewart…..Dick Sargent……Flipper….that dog from the Our Gang series…….I’m sure the tourists would love a guided tour.” 

As to how the cutbacks will affect employees many are taking second jobs to make ends meet.  One told me “I still have this job, but my hours are reduced.  So I took a position at the DMV.  A friend of mine became a trainee at Wal Mart.  Another now drives a cab in New York City. You have to do what you have to do.”

Plans are also afoot for a name change.  “Hell doesn’t market too well anymore so I searched for something new that implied hopelessness and despair.  But my first choice was already taken.”

I asked him what that was.

“Long Island.”

Questioned about long-term prospects he remained upbeat. 

“I’ve been doing this for a couple thousand years.  C’mon…give me my due.”


3 Responses

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