The sulfur flames, the burning coals, the demons with their snake tongues: it was hell, all right, and unless I was the smartest person ever to land in this forsaken pit, I would be spending eternity here. Fortunately, there was an excellent chance that I was the smartest person ever to find himself in Lucifer's domain. I mean, I'd been the smartest person in the room pretty much anywhere else I went . . . which was probably the reason I ended up here. The Big Guy upstairs didn't want any competition. Anyway, if anyone was capable of conning the devil, it was I, Evil Editor.
It wasn't hard obtaining an audience with the big cheese; my name alone was enough to identify me as one of his compatriots. "Listen," I said, "you been running this dump long enough. Isn't it time you had a vacation? Someplace a little cooler, maybe, like the Sahara Desert? I'll take over while you're gone."
His eyes flared up as he glared at me.
"Nice trick," I told him. "Remind me to show you how to do it right."
"You can run the place," he said, but first you'll have to get to the control room. It's up there." He pointed toward the top of a mountain of fire.
"I got a better idea," I said. "Send me back to Earth. I got hundreds of minions who'd sell their souls to be published. I'll publish their drivel and send you their souls."
He laughed. "I haven't let a writer in here since Capote. His arguments with Hemingway were driving me up the wall. No, climb the mountain of fire. I'm off to Aspen."
I started up but before I'd gone a hundred yards I heard a rumbling from above. Avalanche! Boulders of flame plummeting right at me like burning rocks. Noooooooooo!
I awoke in my office, covered with manuscripts. The slush pile had toppled over and buried me alive as I snoozed at my desk. Silently I vowed to never again order a chipotle burrito for my morning snack.