|Image source: Wikimedia Commons|
“Bienvenidos, Señor Basgump,” the man said. “I am Tomas—”
“What’s with the Mexican crap?” Basgump sneered. “Speak American.”
The man looming over him looked unruffled. “Ah, but we are not in America.” His accent wasn’t Mexican, more like that guy who played Khan in that Star Trek movie. “Nevertheless, Melvin Basgump. Welcome to Hell.”
“Sí. Your diet consisted of large quantities of what you moderns call ‘junk food,’ high in salt and fat, but low in nutrition. Combined with your propensity to avoid any form of physical activity, an early death was inevitable.”
“Wait, wait,” Basgump stammered. “There has to be some mistake. I don’t belong here. I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
“Ah, are you not aware that gluttony and sloth are both mortal sins? And yet, those in themselves were not sufficient to bring you here, to the place set aside for me. No, you were a career criminal. A spammer, as they say.”
“That’s not illegal!” Basgump protested. “I was running a legitimate marketing enterprise—” a scream of pain cut off his tirade. “My finger! What happened?” He began to sob in pain.
Tomas stepped aside. “Meet my assistant, Miguel.” Miguel was dressed like Tomas, in a simple grey frock, and shared his ugly hairstyle. But Miguel carried a large wooden mallet. “In life, I had many machines to do my work. And now, I have built a new one. When Miguel strikes one of these pegs, it transmits the force of the blow to a single finger. Very precise, no? Fear not, Señor Basgump, each finger will heal instantly, but not soon enough to prevent the deserved pain. Miguel?”
Again, Basgump screamed, as Miguel crushed each finger in turn.
“Now, Señor Basgump, would you like to opt-out your fingers from further mallets?”
“Very well. Sign here.” Tomas looked at the page. “Miguel! I have a list of ten fresh, verified fingers! One gold real!”
“No!” Basgump screamed, but to no avail. And yet, he continued to scream as the mallet, through the machine, crushed each of his fingers once again.
“Señor Basgump.” Miguel spoke for the first time. “I have constructed an opt-out database, if you would like to join. Yes? Very well, sign here.” Miguel laid the sheet on an adjacent table; the paper caught fire and burned away. “Oh, dear. It seems that my database has been deleted.”
“Nothing for it, Miguel,” said Tomas. “Do transmit another blast of important information.”
“Who are you people?” Basgump panted afterward, his voice already hoarse from screaming.
“As I said, I am Tomas. Tomas de Torquemada. In life, my very name struck terror into men’s hearts, even the innocent. I was zealous for the Law of God, but failed in the weightier matters, such as mercy. Thus was I sent here, to continue the work I did in life—but with more deserving subjects. So let us continue, Señor Basgump. We have all eternity.”