Digging to Hell

Digging to Hell

Stu­dents stare into hole to Hell.

Heav­en and Hell. When I was younger, I believed.

I had a friend, Eri­ca, raised on fire and brim­stone. Eri­ca would come to school with ter­ri­fy­ing sto­ries from Sun­day school about del­uges, eter­nal damna­tion, glow­ing cas­tles in the clouds, and peo­ple with wings. We decid­ed to go see these things.

After long dis­cus­sions (includ­ing dia­grams), we deter­mined Heav­en was out of the ques­tion. Being up in the sky, we would need stacks of lad­ders, tied togeth­er one atop anoth­er. Lad­ders weren’t prac­ti­cal to acquire or hide from the recess lady. But for down, all we’d need were a few sand­box shov­els and pails. Hell it was.

Unable to con­vince the sand­box kids to give us their shov­els and unwill­ing to explain to the teach­ers that we need­ed shov­els because we were dig­ging to Hell, we used sticks.

The site of our dig was behind the school lunch­room in a chain-link enclosed area where the grass nev­er grew. Back in the cor­ner, away from tree roots, we dug in peace.

Occa­sion­al­ly we’d mea­sure our work. I’d lay down in the hole, and wig­gle around a bit. Then Eri­ca would lay in it and tried it on for size. Sat­is­fied, we con­tin­ued our fren­zied dig­ging. As we dug inch­es deep­er and deep­er, we dis­cussed what we thought Hell looked like and what we’d do once we got there.

Once we got there, we need­ed spe­cial flame-retar­dant out­fits to pro­tect us from Hell’s fire. On rainy-day recess, we designed paper­dolls to mod­el our patch­work asbestos jump­suits. We talked strat­e­gy for hid­ing from demons (the jump­suits had chameleon pow­ers). We made demon paper­dolls for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

At first, our activ­i­ties went unno­ticed. We were hap­py, con­tent, and stay­ing out of trou­ble. Two lit­tle kids dig­ging in the dirt, no big deal. Then one day Cindy with her blond pig­tails and pink jumper showed up at our hole. “What are you play­ing? I want to play.”

We lied. “We’re dig­ging for dinosaurs. Don’t need help. Go away.”

She tat­tled.

Eri­ca and I received a stern lec­ture about shar­ing, hav­ing more than one friend, and play­ing nice­ly togeth­er. With the recess lady watch­ing we let Cindy play with us as we pre­tend­ed to dig for dinosaurs.

Cindy talked con­stant­ly about her dinosaur. “Look at mine! It’s the biggest one! Big­ger than yours! It’s a new dinosaur. No one knows about. It’s pur­ple. My dinosaur is the best dinosaur. Bet­ter than all the oth­er dinosaurs. I’m going to be famous.”

That was it. This was our hole. Not hers. She didn’t get to be the best. So we told her the truth.

We’re not dig­ging for dinosaurs. We’re dig­ging to hell. Yeah. HELL. And you’re help­ing. When we get to HELL, we go first because we know how to fight demons. We’ll try not to let them eat you, but they might. Your job is to close the hole behind us, so the demons, from HELL, don’t come through and EAT EVERYONE YOU LOVE!”

Cindy’s lips quiv­ered. “Hell? Demons? Eat me?”

Cindy ran cry­ing to the recess lady. “They’re dig­ging to HELL and demons are going to eat every­one I love and Idon’twanttogeteaten!”

Sud­den­ly, half a dozen teach­ers stood around the hole star­ing down at as.

This was a semi-Catholic Montes­sori school. They couldn’t have their kids dig­ging to Hell! We could read about it in the Bible, learn about it in Sun­day school, but we couldn’t actu­al­ly try and /get/ there! They imme­di­ate­ly stopped all exca­va­tion.

At least at school.

Hell Exca­va­tion Site #2 at my house was a great suc­cess. But after a cou­ple months we real­ized Hell was a lot deep­er down than four feet and nei­ther one of us real­ly want­ed to dig that far. So we filled the hole with water and played in the mud instead.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jocelyn Lindsay simonepdx
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 10:04:43

    Sooo, you just made mud-pit hell for your par­ents 🙂


  2. Jocelyn Lindsay Kath
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 10:43:33

    I always just thought I was dig­ging to the cen­ter of the earth. Hell would have been more inter­est­ing.


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