help me i am in hell

 Like great men before me, I too have wandered the evil paths where hope is a distant memory. While I cannot claim to be of the same stature as my learned forebears, fact itself might be the reason why I have discovered hells they overlooked in their cartographies of suffering. Here I shall endeavor to describe one.

By what door or opening it is entered into no one can say. Perhaps there is a darkened corridor, like a cavernous digestive tract or perfumed tomb through which the damned enter the phantom-life of the café. Perhaps there are as many entrances as there are patrons. Perhaps one does not arrive but simply endlessly is, the past a dream and one's order already placed.

Such things do not ultimately seem to matter. One finds oneself standing in line, bone-white tray in hand.

Some sort of grand treat seems to have been promised. Outside the café are snowdrifts, looming houses and damp, menacing shadows, as distant and uncaring as the inhabitants of deep sea trenches.

The people in the line are indistinct wisps of being, seemingly hollow-cheeked and hungry, yet with traces of some great feast still in evidence. Crumbs in the corners of mouths, traces of treacle on shroud-like shirts.

Then the feast itself appears. Stands with tortes, cakes, cream-filled decadence. Heavy treats on chocolate strained doilies. Sweet dumplings sprinkled with confectioner's sugar and smothered in blackcurrant jam. One piles one's tray high with almond biscuits, pepper cakes, banana bread, pastries dripping with a mix of butter, cane sugar and cinnamon, One slice of pear pie, no two! One with whipped cream pilled high, one with heavy dollops of creme fraiche.

Laden down with treats, every wisp proceeds to his table. The other patrons seem to stare scornfully at such gluttony. Finally a table is found.

Soft, cloying dough, chocolate, candied violets are washed down with rivers of coffee. One faintly wishes for water, wonders why one's collar is so tight. Is the tray empty? It seems so! One joins the line again, not recognizing a single face as crumbs are licked from fingertips.

The brownies are one the table! The spice cake with cardamom! The marzipan monstrosities in the shape of obscene jungle flowers!

Thus one passes aeons, lost in oafish excess, with no relief or comfort worthy of the name.

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