We walked through the dark and desolate halls of Gluttony. Just as Virgil said, there wasn’t a soul to be found.
Still, there was a pungent odor of rotten eggs. It became so overpowering I was forced to pinch my nose shut.
“What is that?” I asked my guide as he frolicked ahead of me.
“Why its nothing, dear friend,” Virgil said without even looking backwards. “You see, the worst punishment for the gluttonous is to be reminded of food and yet never be able to reach it.”
“So the food’s gone rotten?”
“Well, the board approved some food to be placed around this circle of hell in unreachable corners. It worked rather well for a few weeks. Trust me, if there had been some poor fool stuck in this circle, they would have been miserable smelling that wonderful food.”
“Then what happened?”
“You see, they happened to put the food in unreachable corners,” Virgil replied. “So unreachable, that not even the janitors could retrieve it! And before they knew it, the whole place smelled of rotten eggs.”
“Why not replace the food?”
“That appropriation bill is still being reviewed. You have to be patient with the board, you know. It’s not easy running a hellscape. And it’s not like you get much credit for it either.”
The two now made their way into the deeper recesses of empty hall. Soon, they were faced with a figure dancing in the darkness.
“What’s he saying?” I asked Virgil. He grabbed me suddenly.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, pushing me towards the edge of the circle. “Keep it to yourself, Plutus! Nobody wants to hear it. Next time think more carefully about where you gamble.”
The next circle wasn’t all too difficult to enter. Sliding down the side of a hill, Virgil and myself landed next to a row of people pushing rocks.
“This doesn’t seem that bad,” I said. “Hello there!” I tried calling out to the figures.
“I wouldn’t try that,” Virgil said, showing me forward. “Most of these guys don’t have personalities anymore, not that they had much to begin with.”
“Then what’s this circle for? Being too personable?”
“Not exactly — you see, these are the hypebeasts. People who spent too much money on material items, those who squandered their savings on trendy clothing and AirPods. On the other side is supposed to be the misers, people who hoarded their money.”
Looking out to the horizon, I couldn’t see any other group of people.
“Then where are they?”
“The misers and hypebeasts are supposed to be locked in a terrifying, eternal battle of jousts Bludgeoning each other with rocks for all of time, each side consumed with fury against the other. Each represents a different interpretation of Greed. The hypebeasts will never understand how hoarders manage to sit on their money, and hoarders will never understand why one would pay for the word ‘Supreme’ on a shirt.”
“Okay, cool story and all, but where are the hoarders?”
“You’re not very good at this, are you?” Virgil said, looking at me. “No one in high school has the wherewithal or wisdom to save money, let alone hoard it. Where have you been living? So, for now at least, the hypebeasts must roll their stones without an enemy to joust.”
Hearing the sound of our voices, the rock rolling monsters turned towards Virgil and me. Before we knew it, they were chasing us with their boulders.
“You’ll hear about this from the Office of Heavenly Resources,” Virgil said as we ran. “This is why I told you to not call out to them!” Soon enough, however, we were at the edge of a large and muddy river which the hypebeasts would not approach.
And thus ends the fifth part of the Erudite Comedy, or otherwise known as, The Commedia Erudita!