I personally don’t believe in a supernatural, post-life hell. A world of eternal torment and torture, which somehow exists in parallel to our own, this simply does not compute for me. And yet I have seen a place, right here in our own world, which would definitely tick every box for my own personal hell.
Imagine a place where chaos reigns. Imagine a place where every spare centimetre is used to the utmost of efficiency. Imagine a place, where vast crowds of lost souls, wander narrow, seemingly endless corridors filled with everything but exactly what they’re looking for. Imagine a realm, whose denizens are forced to live out their existence in a dull, ugly uniform, while all the time, smiling at the previously mentioned lost souls.
Now imagine that this realm is built on three floors. The ground floor has an entrance and exit, but nothing else. The top floor is filled with colorful displays of items, none of which are precisely what you’re looking for. Of course the middle floor is where the true hellish experience resides.
You see the ground floor is simply the gates to hell. And once you enter you quickly go as high as you can, the better to see the treasures you hope might fill the floor between. But the middle floor, oh that tricksy floor. That devilish, torturous floor. That floor you see is filled with all the corridors, lined from end to end with treasures. So many treasures. But good luck finding the one you want. And when you do good luck actually building it. You see, this is flat-pack hell.
Sunday I travelled, with my partner, into the very jaws of hell. I had entered its gates, yet escaped it clutches twice before. This time though, I needed a really cheap desk to use in setting up a space for drawing and writing. Of course, I may have found what I needed somewhere less…damned. But IKEA had almost precisely what I wanted, at a price so low I can only assume it was created by a vast horde of enslaved souls. The souls of customers, who having gotten lost in the labyrinthine corridors of the store, failed to escape before close of business. So knowing what I wanted, and that I had to once more brave the depths of hell, I girded my loins and entered.
Inside I was assaulted by the terrible sounds of 1970’s musak. The horrifying odours of cheap scented candles. I was sorely tempted by soft furnishings and sheepskin rugs. I even sat on the ugliest but most comfortable chair I have ever seen. Oh that chair, whose comfort has haunted my dreams for most of my adult life. And yet when I find it, the sadness, for it was both hideous to gaze upon and hideously priced.
But despite all these trials I did stand here, once more victorious in the war against the legions of evil. Once more I entered the very gates of imported Scandinavian Hell and escaped, relatively unscathed. More, I escaped clutching my prize to my chest, for I did find my desk and made my exit carrying a minimum of unplanned purchases. So on the ‘morrow once assembled and suitably modified it will make a fine place to write both my blog and my fictional works, it will also make a wonderful place to make great strides the long journey to the fame and glamour of being a webcomic artist.
But for all that I carry the scars of my latest brush with the hell of flat-packed furniture. And for all the pains I already described one was worse still. The flat, empty eyed gazes of the lost souls. Those poor wretches who had been so foolish as to enter that realm of suffering without a detailed purchase plan.
For I say this to you dear reader, you may at will, enter this, Hell on Earth. But you risk your very soul, your sanity, your marriage and the balance of your bank account, if you do so without just reason. For it is a garden of temptations, that place. Temptations like hideous, but supernaturally comfortable, swivel chairs and such temptations, only the strongest and best prepared can elude the grasp of.