Published Humanitas, Volume VII, No. 1, 1994

SCENE: A sumptuous high-ceilinged marbled conference chamber in a think-tank-looking two-story building in Hell. A nicely landscaped garden, dotted with small villas each of which are surrounded by high walls. It’s that part of Hell to which only deserving intellectuals are consigned. They have every luxury and convenience and no punishment—except one. The only torture visited upon its denizens is that they must live in solitary; no debates, conversations, gossip, faction meetings, conspiracies, cross-talk, backbiting. Their only source of news is the Gehenna News Network or GNN. The only people they see are the goblins who deliver their meals. On rare special occasions like the present one they are allowed to meet and talk. The room is bathed in a light blue fog from all the cigar, cigarette, joints and pipe smoke.

Enthroned at the head of a long teak table is a clean-shaven, well-dressed stocky man in his 50s with a crew haircut. Beside him is a heavily mustached man dressed in a riding habit. Around the conference table sit twelve men and two women. The man on the throne raps a gavel on a small table at his left.

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