Gavsot, an austere and Hemingway-esque conversationalist at best, said almost less than nothing during our ten minute walk to the lecture hall. When we reached our destination, however, he was kind enough to open the door for me and utter: "Here we are, sir."
I stepped inside what I'd always assumed a university classroom must have looked like. I hadn't lived long enough to experience college firsthand, but I'd seen enough TV for this room to feel absolutely perfect. It was spread out in front of me in a dry, earthy color scheme, with beige walls and hard tan carpeting. It had stadium seating, featuring rows of drab brown chairs that hinged back into place when unoccupied. At the bottom of the room was a broad area in which I could pace and pontificate importantly. With such an outstanding setting for my stage, I could deliver any speech—a professor's oration, a coach's pep talk, a politician's philippic or a preacher's sermon—with the appropriate amount of gravitas. This place was perfect.
"This place is perfect," I spoke aloud.
The General did not share my awe. He cleared his throat. "Would you like me to return to the office and guide your arriving guests to this location?" he asked.
"Uh, yes," I said quickly. He'd killed the magic. "Yeah, that'd be good. Thanks."
He nodded briskly and disappeared. I took my place at the bottom of the room, running my hand along the smooth faux wood of the large table gracing the center of my space. I felt like I was truly and finally ready to take control. I'd wanted to take control for a long time and things always seemed to keep getting away from me. But now I was being proactive. I was going to establish my own law and my own structure in Hell, and I was going to use it to prepare myself against threats and solidify my authority.
I was going to rule Hell from this lecture hall. This was my bully pulpit.