Standing at the edge of the dark and muddy river, we looked at the people writhing in the water. Flailing, biting, and punching, they angrily wrestled each other. Soon enough, Virgil pulled a phone out from his pocket.
Wait — what?
“Since when did you have a smartphone on you?” I asked as he started recording the fighting.
“Since we started,” Virgil responded, trying to get a good angle on the brawlers. “Take a look at this. Every single hyper aggressive teenager put together in a single, dirty river. Just what the therapist ordered.”
“And you’re recording them?”
“Do you know how popular fight videos are?” Virgil replied. “It’s like you aren’t even from the planet Earth. I can probably get like fifteen followers from this.”
“So this is their punishment for being bullies, they just get to fight each other?”
“Well, truth be told, this was supposed to be closer to a remedial thing. The plan was if we put them together and had anger management classes, their Wrath might go away. Instead one kid, Attila the Hun probably, tried to take Ivan the Terrible’s pen case. To make a long story short, this is the end result.”
“Couldn’t the teachers pull them apart?”
“Are you crazy? If we let teachers stop students from fighting we would have lawsuits till the Second Coming. Teachers don’t touch students, not for anything, never.”
“Even if they were dying?”
“Think about it like this. Administration says we get fired if we harm a student. Or worse, we get assigned to anger management. Now, when I try to save you by pulling Attila the Hun off your back, I just hurt Atilla, right? Boom — fired.”
A figure rowed a boat towards us and started waving at Virgil.
“Hey, hey!” he called out. “No videos of the Styx. Get out of here.”
“Actually, Phlegyas, we need a ride,” Virgil responded.
The boat came up close to us and the figure allowed us to board. As we did, he snatched the phone out of Virgil’s hand and tossed it into the water.
“Hey,” Virgil lunged after the phone but almost fell in the river. “Not cool at all.”
“How many times have I told you to stop trying to record the Wrathful?”
“It gets a lot of retweets…”
The figure, apparently Phlegyas, simply shook his head and continued rowing. As we made way across the river, I realized someone was sitting at the bottom of the river. Not only that, they were staring at me with an intense hatred, waving his fist.
“Uh, Virgil,” I started. “Who is that?”
Virgil followed my finger and saw the flailing man.
“Oh, that’s just Heraclitus,” Virgil laughed. “The top of the river is for Wrath, the bottom is for the Sullen. You know, people who internalize their anger. He’s just not a very happy dude. He used to talk about life being like a river, so maybe this isn’t so bad for him.”
All along the bottom of the river were kids in hoodies with headphones on. I swear I could hear Van Halen while we passed over one guy in particular.
“Look at Dis,” Virgil said as we approached the shore.
“Look at what?” I replied.
“At Dis,” he gestured towards the towering walls in the distance.
“Look at this what?”
Grabbing my face, Virgil forced me to look at the city approaching us on the shore.
“The City of Dis, idiot,” he said.
“Well you could have just said to look at this city,” I replied. “No need to get so defensive.” Our boat neared the shoreline.
And thus ends the sixth part of the Erudite Comedy, or otherwise known as, The Commedia Erudita!