Knocking on Hell’s Door

Osama blacked out and found himself at the bottom of a deep shaft, with a single tunnel leading out of HumorColumn it. He crawled through the tunnel and was pleased to see that it got wider and wider until he was able to walk upright. He walked for a mile or two and came to a large iron door. He knocked on the door. No Bin Laden is dead! answer.

“Hello!” he called out. “Is this where I get my 72 virgins?”

The door opened slightly and a gust of heat shot through it, scorching Osama’s eyebrows. He fell back against the wall of the tunnel. A red-faced creature with two horns peered through the gap, smoke spiraling from his ears. He pointed at Osama and laughed hysterically, his forked tongue swishing over his lips. “72 virgins? Ha ha ha! That’s a good one!”

He turned away from Osama and yelled into the fiery abyss behind him. “Is anyone a virgin in here?”

A wave of laughter, more powerful than the heat, rumbled through the door, causing the tunnel to shake.

“Sorry, buddy,” the creature said. “You’re out of luck! No virgins here. But we do have a guy named Virgil.”

“But I was promised 72 virgins in heaven.”

The creature laughed hysterically again. “Heaven? Sorry, buddy, you’ve come to the wrong place. Did you use Google Maps or Yahoo?”

“I didn’t have time to use either. What place is this anyway?”

“Well, it used to be called hell. But we sold the naming rights a year ago. It’s now called the Enron Corporation Hot House.”

“But there must be a mistake. I was supposed to go to heaven.”

The creature laughed. “That’s what they all say. Even Adolf believes that he belongs in heaven.”

“But I killed more than 3,000 infidels.”

“Yes, I know. That’s why you were fast-tracked here. You were sent straight to hell. I mean, straight to Enron Hot House. Just like Saddam.”

“My friend is here? Can I see him?”

“He’s busy getting a root canal. After that, he has an appointment with the proctologist.”

“What about his sons? Can I see them?”

“They’re busy getting their taxes done. Every day is tax day here.”

“Is there anyone else I can see?”

“In a few hours, perhaps. I can’t let you in just yet.”

“You think maybe I don’t belong here?”

“Oh, you belong here all right. We’ve been waiting a long time for you. But we need to make sure you’re really dead.”

“What do you mean? I felt those bullets go through me. I’ve got to be dead.”

“Yes, I know. But the photos of your dead body haven’t been released –- and someone spotted you at a restaurant in Japan, eating sushi with Elvis.”

“But if I’m here, aren’t I dead?”

“Not necessarily. Sometimes people come for a few minutes and then they leave. It happens every 10 years or so.”

“You think that might happen with me?”

“Well, you have a snowball’s chance in Enron Hot House. But I just want to be certain. You know what would happen if I let you in and you don’t stay? All Enron Hot House would break loose.”

“So you want me to wait out here alone?”

“Not alone. I’ll be sending out the vermin to keep you company. They’ve been waiting anxiously to welcome you.”


“Yes, 72 of them.”

Cartoon by Mahendra Shah


Bala tiny If you enjoyed this piece, you’ll love Melvin’s humourous novel “Bala Takes the Plunge,” available in North America through You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. Read the latest reviews here and an excerpt here.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. Rabindra Manuel says:

    Humorous but with a good message…keep rockin…Melvin!

  2. Bwahahaha….bloody darn gooood!!!

  3. Haha! Brilliant!

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