The Way Of Suffering II

In The Hells, we all suffer. Some of us suffer in the open. Some of us suffer in private. Some of us take joy in the suffering of others and then deeply suffer when we see their suffering alleviated.

Some of us suffer from the belief that we ought to suffer more, that we have not suffered sufficiently, that we deserve more than we're getting, that we deserve much, much more than we're getting.

On the Way of Suffering...

Children's dollies are strung up by their feet along a long bamboo cane, like clothes pinned on a line. A man in a top hat, with a big moustache - a cliche of corporate America circa 1920 - paces up and down the line, inspecting the dollies like a sergeant at a parade ground.

Eventually, he chooses a dolly. No one knows his criteria for choosing. He keeps it to himself. But having chosen, he pokes at it with an ebony cane, and the chosen little dolly is yanked down by duck-footed demons and is dragged over to an expanse of playground blacktop where once a meadow lay.

The demons, taking turns, bang the dolly against the hot black flat, again and again, until the dolly's eyes no longer close, until its limbs become dissembled, until it begins to bleed.

The Children to whom the dollies belong - some of these children are old, some young, some of indeterminate age - these children play in an adjacent pit of fine, black, volcanic sand. A metal fence pens them in and keeps them from seeing what is happening nearby.

When the Children ask "What is that sound? What is happening over there?", duck-footed demons tell them "They are beating a dolly to death. They are beating the shit out of it."

If a Child is curious enough to ask precisely whose dolly is getting the treatment, she is scolded and sent out of the sand pit and onto the blacktop and made to clean up the broken dolly's entrails and blood and parts, and if the dolly is indeed hers, she must carry its head around forever, like a bell.

She is not let back in to the black sand pit and she wander about The Hells, forever carrying around the head.

Often the man in the top hat, with the big mustache, can be seen with these free roaming Children, giving them hearty back slaps and laughing like a pal. Sometimes he'll pop cigars into their mouths, just like in the movies.

Sometimes he will bend to tweak a battered dolly's little nose or will ask a Child to hold the head up high so he can kiss it.



The Way Of Suffering I

In The Hells, there are so many, many ways of suffering. The way most travelled is the one on which we seek pleasure. This road - of course - inevitably - leads to suffering.

But sometimes we try to purge our suffering by turning our backs on pleasure. By abandoning pleasure fully. By embracing openly and passionately all the Agonies in store for us.

And we find then, when we have the courage to finally, boldy embrace our woes and pains and terrors, yes, we are amazed to find that this new way leads to...

...still more suffering. And the demons laugh and laugh and laugh.

On the Way of Suffering...

Male and female Sufferers are given a sweet drink, made from a blend of fruits too delicious to be found anywhere but The Hells. The juice is not over-sweet, not too tart. Cool. Refreshing. And so very quenching.

The juice makes them happy and softly drowsy, and they lie down on cushions, and silks cover their dry naked bodies. They sleep deeply and dream of all the things they will do in life, and they dream of their friends both living and dead, and they dream of telling their parents how much they really love them...

But then, they wake up, a bit let down to find they're back in their bodies. When they look up and around, they see and hear and smell and feel...

...that they are in the midst of having their limbs amputated, their bodies disassembled.

Exhausted surgeons crouch over them, cutting and chopping diligently. Red-eyed unshaven men pry shoulders from scapulas with rods, iron blades, and elbow grease. Some wear thick specs and scrubs, some only an apron thick as a breast-plate and a leather tie to hold back the hair.

Knee caps are popped off with screwdrivers.

Stomachs are pulled open like pillowcases and the contents hurriedly stuffed into bags, and the bags taken away by eager interns.

I saw one surgeon slip a disk trying to heave all the skin off a woman's back in one go.

The Sufferers scream and fight and flail. But saws and scalpels, shears and hatchets cut short all defenses - and fast.

"Oh God," they say. "Oh God," they say, as they watch themselves hauled, piece by piece, away.