Special Agent Theda Alexander approached the shambled house trailer which was surrounded with a corona of dead vegetation.  She puckered her face at the odors of urine and rotten eggs.  She heard the clatter of metal and glassware inside the house trailer and a man cursed and a woman guffawed.

        Theda thought to herself as she approached the house trailer’s door, “Where is all this going to end up?”

        Theda knocked and a man’s belligerent voice demanded, “Who the Hell-Fuck is it?”

        The voice of the woman was turned upon the man’s voice, admonishing, “Stop saying that!”

        The house trailer door swung open and a disheveled young woman in a bikini stood there emblazoned with apocalyptic tattoos.  The young woman pulled back a handful of her hair and said congenially, “Agent Theda.  How the Hell is you?”

        Special Agent Theda Alexander squeezed past the young woman who pressed her breasts against her and Theda answered, “Very funny, Margarth.  ‘How the Heaven is yourself?’, that’s the question.”

        Inside the house trailer Theda saw the man at the kitchen sink and said, “Blessings, Ethanac.  How is Limbo treating you?”

        Ethanac, a shirtless pillar of fiery tattoos, looked over his shoulder at Theda and growled, “We’re supposed to call it ‘Earth’, remember?”

        Theda looked around at the clutter occupying almost all available surfaces of counters and tables: bottles of alcohol, cans of acetone, toluene, engine starter, cans of drain cleaner, coffee filters, containers of iodine, salt, lye, and batteries, a propane tank, matches, dishes, and jugs of acid.

        Ethanac came over and stood beside Theda and followed her gaze and grumbled, “It ain’t much different than Hell, Theda.”

        Theda nodded slowly, “Especially the stench.”

        Margarth complained, “Y’all call this a ‘half-way house’?  Its ‘half-way’ to nuthin’.  What kind of ‘new identities’ are these?”

        Theda turned around to face Margarth and answered, “What did you think?  Defectors get to sit near the Throne?”

        Margarth pouted and Ethanac said to Theda, “I figger we got the Prodigal Son beat all to Hell…,” and Theda laughed so Ethanac said quickly, “Fuck, you, Theda, know whut I’m sayin’.  Celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again.  He was lost, and is found.”

        Theda replied, “Not until you envy the pigs you are looking after.”

        Margarth frustrated asked, “What the Hell-Fuck does that mean?”

        Ethanac admonished, “Stop saying that.  Please.  My…Love.”

        Theda said, “Good try, Ethanac.  You’ll get it.”

        Margarth held her temples and muttered, “I need a three-way.”

        Theda taunted, “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?”

        Margarth said, “Fuck you, Theda.  This is really hard.”

        Theda said pointedly, “That’s because decadence is so easy.  The easiest thing in the Material World.  ‘Entropy’ is what the atheists call it.  Civilization is hard.  God’s Kingdom is the hardest.”

        Ethanac growled and his flesh began to ripple.  He clawed at his forearms and bugs emerged from under his tattoos and they dropped to the floor and they swarmed toward Agent Theda.

        Theda was not afraid and indeed she began to perform a ludicrous Mexican Hat Dance, squashing the bugs like figs.

        Ethanac said, “Sorry.  Maybe I ain’t ready after all.”

        Theda softened and said, “Look you two.  You’re doing a Hell of a lot better,” and she chuckled but Ethanac and Margarth were not amused and Theda continued, “My report to Upper Management will be favorable, don’t y’all fret,” teased Theda.

        Ethanac muttered, “Theda, leave humor to the demons where it came from.  At least we get it.”

        From the kitchen sink there came hissing and bubbling.

        Margarth put her hand on Ethanac’s shoulder, “Ethanac…?”

        Ethanac gritted his teeth and said, “Oh, Hell!  The seal broke…”

        Theda slumped and rolled her eyes and asked rhetorically, “Again?  Seven times now?  Really?”

        The house trailer shuddered and then it blew up.





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