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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