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A cold day in Hell

From the diary of Phelan Tweed, Manager of People and Persecutions, Hell Inc

I didn’t think this would ever happen at Hell Inc. The fiery furnace is on the blink and with temperatures plummeting like the souls of devious scam callers through our gates the situation has become more and more alarming. We often talk about the day Hell freezes over. We may just have arrived at that unfortunate juncture.

Brian Bentham, the local representative for the UDP (Union of dead people) paid me a visit despite my email informing him that the engineers had been called. Here was a man with the face of a fairly disgruntled tortoise who had somehow found himself front and centre of an issue that neither of us felt would ever occur. His green roll neck sweater was not helping the situation either. Normally I am only honoured with a personal visit from our union friends in emergencies. One could typically anticipate a long-winded email, peppered with micro aggressions and blind copied into the world and his wife for good measure. Such is the way that the UDP conduct their business. Brian was highly vexed at the cost of no longer living crisis and how it affected his membership, not to mention it was getting rather chilly down here.

‘My members are not happy’ he railed, slamming his fist on the desk and disturbing my overfilled latte. They are not satisfied at all, and my members would like to know what you, being the representative of people in this business are going to do about it’

I found his lack of respect for my coffee break irritating but nonetheless in the interest of partnership working I allowed this indiscretion. The veins in his temples were pulsing and I began to speculate that the rupture of one of these vessels was likely the very cause of him arriving in Hell in the first place.

‘Take this one member of mine, he continued, waggling his podgy digit in my face. This member of mine can’t even afford to keep warm in his hovel of an evening, let alone feed his family. My member is shivering in his shack Mr Tweed.

‘Please would you refrain from describing your union colleagues as ‘Members’ I insisted. It conjures up a highly uncomfortable image in my head’. I think it was the unfortunate combination of the roll neck and his wrinkly bald head.

‘Be that as it may, what action are you going to take?’

By this point I am afraid I was beginning to lose my interest in the conversation and played the card that only a business as unique as ours can. ‘I’m sure they will survive Mr Bentham’ I said failing to hide a smirk. After all, we are here forever. ‘Perhaps we could offer some wellbeing support, how about a free yoga lesson?’ This didn’t go down well. His wrinkly face had turned bright red, he looked like he might actually explode. Although it did give him a rather festive look.

‘I am filing a grievance he yelled, you haven’t heard the last of this’ He stormed out of the office. I have sent him a roll up yoga mat and some candles in the post to cheer him up. I hope this won’t aggravate the silly fool too much. You see, as I have mentioned before, people round here tend to revert to type, they don’t understand or know that they are really dead, and that they are here forever. There is no point in trying to rock the boat or get into arguments with your colleagues about things. The things that affect you on Earth bear no meaning here. Oh it might look like Earth but it is Hell, it is designed to irritate you much as life would have done in the past.  It is about time you got used to it. Time for another coffee I shouldn’t wonder. It was getting rather chilly.

Christmas, dark humour, funny poems, poems, poetry, writing

A Christmas poem

A tangle of wires and musty glued pasta reindeers

Tumble without ceremony from the loft hatch,

It is still July

Christmas started so early this year it was 

called late Christmas 

or mid Crimbo for its proper title

People stand next to pseudo sheds and punt a tenner

For a weak lager in a festive glass

Which you can keep if you like

But no one wants the memories

They scoff down large sausages

Which are German

And made of minced yuletide

Festive gin flavoured gin ruminates under the stairs

In a dark space, fermenting like a bright star anise

a seed of crumbling blackness

We post cheap cards round the street

Hoping the neighbours aren’t in

Christmas day last three seconds of paper storms,

a Sunday roast and a hangover from bonfires

the satiated family in a celebratory limbo

Settle down and lick chocolate bunnies,

Halloween haunts the bulbs of Spring

Wrap themselves into impossible knots

And refuse to light us up