Andy is in a red leather chair. There’s a desk in front of him made of a dark wood, engraved into the front are various skeletons and screaming figures. Behind the desk is a grand chair with plush crimson cushions. The back has two long, steeple-esque points protruding from it that tower over the room. The armrests end with two skulls sculpted out of the wood. On the back wall is a rather grotesque painting of people being torn apart and tortured in horrible ways. Otherwise it looks like a pretty normal office for a bigwig.
There’s a loud click accompanied by a groan. Andy adjusts himself in the seat to look behind him and sees two massive doors reaching from the floor to the ceiling, an imposing 15 feet tall. A man walks in with slick black hair and a short beard just a few days past stubble. He’s wearing a black pinstripe suit and matching black button up. His tie was a similar red to everything else in the room. He’s holding an open manilla folder and looking over the sheets inside.
His dress shoes clack across the wooden floor. He walks behind the desk and drops the folder on top before looking at Andy with a smile. “Hi there, Andrew! How’re you doing today?”
“Um… Fine? I guess? Where am I?”
He looks down and chuckles to himself, rubbing his chin. “Well, Andrew. Can I call you Andy? I saw in your file you go by Andy.”
“Sure.” Andy raises an eyebrow.
“Well, Andy, you’re dead.” He steps in front of his chair and lets out a small groan as he sits down in the chair. “I know this must be a shock to you but it’s true. I’m sure you can probably guess though, based on the decor, you’re not upstairs. But don’t be worried! The truth is, most people don’t get into Heaven. It’s actually really selective up there.” He pauses for a moment when he notices the obvious confusion on the new arrival’s face. “Oh, do you have any questions before I carry on?”
Andy opens his mouth and tries to say something, anything, but all that comes out is stammering air. He shuts his eyes and shakes his head. “About a million. Who are you? Are you saying I’m in Hell? Who does make it to Heaven? What’s going to happen to me? How bad is the torture really? Can I at least get something like a last meal?”
“Whoa whoa whoa! Calm down there, Andy. Firstly, hi I’m Satan, Prince of Darkness and all that. I’m really pretty nice though so don’t let the rumors get to you. Hell really isn’t that bad either. I promise.” He holds out both of his hands like a salesman trying to sell a housewife a knife set. “In fact, most folks get to live in the first few layers which are basically just like Earth. You just get to keep living your life as you’d like to! Only the real saint level people get to go to Heaven so seriously, don’t get caught up on that.”
He stands up from his chair and walks to a small dresser on one of the walls. He picks up a glass and bottle and pours out a brown liquid. “You want a drink, by the way? I know this can be pretty hard and let me tell you: Hell bourbon is some of the best you’ll ever have.”
“No thanks… Wait, you're the devil?” Andy turns in his chair to face the well dressed man as his puzzled expression only gets worse.
“In the flesh!” He puts the cork back in the bottle and walks back over sipping on his beverage.
“Do you… do this with everybody? Wouldn’t that take a lot of time?” The devil stops for a moment and takes another sip.
“Oh! I gotcha now. No I don’t. You’re actually a pretty special case Andy! Your file said you were,” he clears his throat, “between jobs as it were.”
Andy puts on a defensive look. “Hey, I was looking for a job!”
“No you weren’t.” He’s quick to shut Andy down with an obvious disapproval.
Andy opens his mouth again, “... No I wasn’t…” then looks down at the floor in shame.
“Well cheer up Andy!” Satan does almost a hop and skip over to the corner of his desk and rests half of his butt on it. “That’s why I’m here to talk to you!” Andy raises his eyebrow. “You see, we want to start trying to integrate our humans into the management system!” Andy is skeptical. Satan bends over a little bit to bring his face closer to Andy’s level. “Who understands humans better than other humans? The job would be pretty simple and it let’s you live on the first layer which is pretty comfortable and the most like Earth. Plus you get benefits and insurance and all that.”
Andy is interested. “What would I be doing in Hell management? Coming up with new forms of torture?”
Satan bobs his head back and forth with a face that screams ‘eh.’ “Not quite. A little bit! But mostly not.”
“So what would I be doing?”
The devil takes in a deep breath and straightens his back. “Well, you’d be a case manager for folks on the first three layers. Just handling their complaints, work orders, a little bit of torture, and just general office stuff. It’s like working for the government but the government owns everything. So you’re in charge of paychecks, bank accounts, housing, notary, etc. etc. We’d start you by passing off some folks from the more overworked demons on to you and then over time we’ll start giving you new cases.”
Andy looks to the corner of his eyes and lets his mouth hang open while thinking over what he’d just heard. “You want me to work a desk job for all of eternity?”
The King of Demons awkwardly nods his head while pointing his eyes to the ceiling. “It doesn’t sound exciting when you put it that way but… Yes.” He looks back at Andy in confirmation.
“It didn’t sound exciting when you explained it!” Andy threw his arms up in an exaggerated shrug. Satan nods in sad agreement.
“Hey, you’ll be the first human to ever work there though! Plus it pays pretty darn well. And, well I didn’t want to bring this part up cause it’s kind of rude but, you’d typically be down on layer three. You were kind of a jerk in life. Not that you did many terrible things, mind you! You just kinda were a little rude and didn’t think great stuff about people. The issue is you just didn’t do much good either. I, personally, don’t think you deserve to be down there and that’s why I’m giving you this second chance.”
“Oh…” Andy takes a moment to think over his options again. “What’s the difference between the three layers then? You said they were all pretty similar to Earth.”
Lucifer sets his, now empty, glass down and stands back up. He starts making his way behind the desk again. He turns a computer monitor around and several images appear depicting what one can only assume to be the nine layers of Hell. He taps the screen and the first image grows to full screen. It seems like a typical piece of a city like New York or Chicago.
“Well, everyone on the first three layers can commute to the other two whenever they’d like. Their jobs may require them to, in fact. The first layer is relatively nice. You get a nice apartment, full amenities, all that. You, overall, have a pretty relaxing life. People in layer one get to have some cool jobs and such. It’s pretty cushy.” The devil opens the second picture and it’s quite obviously not Manhattan but it’s certainly not the ghetto. “Second layer is just kind of average. Folks their aren’t getting the nicest jobs or apartments and their ‘tortures’ are a tiny bit worse but it’s an alright life.”
He taps the third image. This one is noticeably rougher looking. “The third layer is for those people who weren’t the nicest in life. Their punishments are noticeable and their apartments look like the rougher looking ones you see in movies and TV. They’re usually only allowed to work in retail or custodial level positions. Let me tell you how many valley girl janitors we have…”
He turns the screen back around and looks down at Andy. He puts on a big smile. “So what do you say, Andy? Want to become the first human manager of Hell? All things considered, it’s a pretty sweet deal.”
Andy looks at his potential new boss for a long moment then takes a deep breath. “Yeah, sure. Why not?”
Lucifer’s smile widens and he straightens up again. “Great! Just a few things to go over first. Think of it as a job interview where you’re almost guaranteed to get it by the end.” He sits back down in his chair and slides the manilla folder in front of him. He flips it open and thumbs through the papers for a moment. “First off, the forms of torture implemented on the first three layers are more minor annoyances and fun little things for us in management. In the first layer, we tend to just do small things that really don’t affect day to day life but can be mildly annoying when it happens. Can you give me an example of a punishment that might work for someone on the first layer?”
Andy is taken aback by the question but stops to think hard about it for a minute. “How about… Say the bathroom in their house is tiled. We make it just a bunch of little white tiles. But then one of them, just a little bit from the corner of the room, is blue. You don’t see it often, don’t notice it much, but when you do it’ll piss you off and ruin your day for about 20 minutes cause you’ll keep thinking about it.”
Satan’s eyes grow wide as his grin explodes. “That’s really good! It’ll bug the heck out of people with OCD for sure. I think I made the right decision with you. Alright, how about someone in the second layer? Something a little more noticeable and annoying but nothing too troublesome.”
“OK…” Andy blows out a long breath and stares at the ceiling. “How about, about once a week their eye twitches for thirty seconds or something?”
The king of demons nods in pride. “That’s good, I like it. Annoying, bothers them in their daily life but won’t drive them insane. Alright, third layer. These people were pretty rude in life but most of the punishment comes in their jobs and houses so we don’t like to hurt them or anything.”
Andy nods and purses his lips thinking about a fitting torture. This one takes him a little longer but then it strikes him. “Ah! Put a spider in one of the corners of their house. Not a tarantula or anything but just big enough to be noticeable. It doesn’t do much, won’t bother them, won’t bite them, it just sits there. Every once in a while they see it move but only out of the corner of their eye. Obviously they can’t kill it.”
The devil smiles and stands up. He reaches a hand over his desk and Andy reaches out and shakes it. “You’re gonna do great, Andy. Welcome to Hell!”