At long last, after we passed Exam Room 486, the narrow hallway took a ninety-degree turn to the left and abruptly ended. I was staring at a door that looked exactly the same as the last four hundred eighty-six except that the plaque on it said Administrative Office.
The sexy nurse stood off to one side to let me pass. She looked at me expectantly. "Here's his office," she said. "Go in."
I'd never met the Devil before. Was he a stickler for formality? "Do I knock first?" I asked.
"Go in," she repeated, enunciating the words carefully as though I was some kind of an idiot. I decided that, sexy or not, I really didn't like her.
I squeezed past her in the tiny corridor, turned the handle, and pushed the door open. And I found myself in a surprisingly nice office. As the door closed, I heard the sexy nurse chuckling to herself as she walked back down the hallway.
I didn't see anyone in the office with me. It was quite a luxurious place. The room had that rich maroon-brown color scheme that was reminiscent of New England old money. It was kind of what I imagined the office of the Dean of Students for Harvard might look like. A colorful impressionist painting I didn't recognize hung on the wall to my left. Massive bookshelves stretched along the far wall. The desk in front of me was an enormous wooden structure. Its surface was organized with stacks of papers, a calendar, an office phone, a desktop computer and a few picture frames facing away from me. There was a motionless Newton's cradle in one corner. The chair behind the desk was large, black, and appeared to be extremely comfortable. In front of the desk was one smaller wooden chair that appeared to be extremely uncomfortable.
I was pretty sure I was in Hell, but none of this looked like what I'd have guessed Hell would contain.
A door across from the one through which I'd entered opened suddenly and a tall man in an expensive-looking pinstripe suit walked into the room.
"Hi," he said in a businesslike tone. "Sorry to keep you waiting." He strode across the room and extended his hand. "I'm Satan."