My Journey To Hell

“Mort, since you claim to be an expert on antisemitism, I got a question for you. Is there a special place in Hell for antisemites?” Dante Alighieri asked.

I paused in thought as my thumbnail cut across my unshaven chin.

Then I bellowed, “Of course there is!”

“Dante, you as the poet who wrote the ‘The Divine Comedy,’  are the expert on the Inferno. Your depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven are classics. I’m surprised you would even ask such a question.

Didn’t you see that antisemitic scum on your trip through Hell with Virgil?”

“Of course I did. There were a sprinkling or a smattering on each of Hell’s nine concentric circles. But it’s hard to spot the antisemites. They often look like normal people.

And that was a long time ago–seven hundred years ago to be exact. Today the Devil may section off Hell between the sinners who don’t give a shit about Jews and the Jew haters.”

“That wouldn’t surprise me,” I replied.

“Dante, I got a great idea. Let’s tour the underworld together on a quest to find infamous antisemites. You’ll be my tour guide. You’ve been there before; I haven’t. It’s time to take another look at the conditions in Hell.

I bet Charon will ferry our souls across the River Acheron for a pittance.

We’ll march through the gates of Hell holding hands and defiantly staring up at that sign which reads, ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’

We’ll find those suffering Jew-hating bastards. And in a poem, we’ll describe what the Devil has done to them and how they’re coping.”

“Agreed my friend. I’ll pack my bags and we’re on our way.”

As I peered at the gates of Hell, my legs froze, my stomach flipped, my throat burned and my brain yelled, “Stop! Turn around! This isn’t a good idea. I can’t abandon all hope?”

As sweat ran down my face, Dante yanked my arm, pulling me through the portal and into the netherworld.

As we walked on Hade’s steaming cobblestones, the soles of my shoes clung to the street, sulfurous odors burned my nostrils and I saw a gatepost holding a sign that read, “All Jew Haters Enter Here.”

Dante seemed surprised.

“Seven hundred years ago that sign wasn’t there.

The Devil must’ve posted new signage.”

Jew Haters Street branched of into five branches, all packed with non-descript Soviet-era buildings.

Scratching his scalp, Dante wondered, “What the hell happened to the concentric circles?”

And as Dante wondered, I read aloud each road’s name:

Murderers Row;

Torturers and Rapists Road;

Committers of Violence Avenue;

Thieves Alley;

Libelers and Slanders Street.

“Dante, look how the Devil is segregating these Jew-hating bastards.”

Then I heard blood-curdling screams echo off of the buildings.

These howls and cries caused my ear drums to explode and bleed.

The throbbing pain was so intense and screams were so loud that I awoke.

I opened my eyes to see my Hunter fan circling my white popcorn ceiling.

“What a dream!” I exclaimed.

“Damn it! I should’ve taken Mel Gibson, Louis Farrakhan, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert on my journey through Hell.”

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort was a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal. He has recently taken on the post of president of the South Florida Writers Association.
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