I Stood before the Gates of Hell

by Josh Lefkowitz

I stood before the gates of Hell, behind which flames leapt.
A two-headed beast blocked my entryway. He was holding
a spear. One of his heads was that of a man; the other was
a donkey's head. It was actually kind of funny looking, just
in the sense that I'm not used to seeing people with two heads,
let alone that one of the heads should be that of a donkey's, but
this was not a time to be laughing. In the background, you
could hear souls screaming and burning, both, at the same time.
It was unbelievably scary, I will tell you that. Plus, I was starving;
so much so that I asked the two-headed beast,
                                                '                 ''Do you guys
have chicken tenders?'' The beast laughed heartily and replied,
''Young man, this is Hell. We don't have any food, least of
all delicious chicken tenders!'' ''Well what do you eat?' I asked.
''I eat the souls of the damned,'' the beast replied. ''What do
those taste like?'' I asked. The beast thought for a moment and replied,
They taste like chicken tenders.''
''Now when you say, 'They taste like chicken tenders,''' I said,
''do you actually mean chicken fingers? Or do you mean tenders?
Because I have to tell you, I have had a lot of fried boneless chicken
in my time, and there are different kinds, and different qualities.
Some are not breaded enough, and others, too much. Often
the meat is too dry. But once in a while, you will find an order
of chicken tenders that is absolutely perfect. Dodger Stadium
in Los Angeles has amazing chicken tenders. The Hard Rock Hotel
in Las Vegas is another establishment that produces immaculate
tenders. Pizza House in Ann Arbor did a nice job as well. I don�t know
if you've been to any of these places, but would you say that the souls
you eat are as tasty as the chicken tenders I've been describing?''
                                             ''Absolutely,'' the beast said,
and both the man-head and the donkey-headnodded emphatically.
''Okay,'' I said, ''in that case, let me get a six-piece
order of souls, and, let's see...do you guys have Mr. Pibb?''
''What's that?'' the beast asked. ''Oh, Mr. Pibb is great. They have it in
the South a lot. It's sort of like Dr. Pepper meets Cherry Coke. And
I don't know if they still do this, but when I was in Houston many years
ago, the aluminum can in which Mr. Pibb came had ridges all around
the side. But if you guys don't have it
I guess Coke is fine.''
''We only have Pepsi products,'' the two-headed beast replied.
''Oh, okay,'' I said. ''You know what? I think I'm just gonna wait until
I get home, make a sandwich or something. But thanks anyway.
So how do I get out of here?'' ''Just go back across the River,'' the
beast said, ''and hang a left where it splits into two. And if anyone
gives you a hard time, tell 'em Brian said it was okay.''
''Great,'' I said, ''thanks, Brian.''

And that's how my immense knowledge of chicken tenders saved my life.

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