I’m currently 150 miles under the bandstand of Toms River, NJ, in the bowels of Earth itself, and with me is an actual Hell timeshare telemarketer, a demon by the name of Eslender. Eslender has graciously agreed to help explain what it’s like being a telemarketer from Hell.

David Brinn: So, Eslender, what are some of the advantages of telemarketing?

Eslender: Well, for one thing, we get to be in air conditioning. That’s enough to make us compete for overtime.

DB: I can imagine. It’s hot as Hell down here, excuse the pun.

E: It’s ok, I’ve heard them all. Anyway, telemarketing isn’t the job from Hell that everyone thinks it is. We get breaks often and we get to put a Curse on the people who hang up on us.

DB: I bet that’s quite a lot of people.

E: We understand. We try not to come right out and say that we’re calling from Hell. We try to first get the prospective customer interested in the product first.

DB: …And that product is timeshares?

E: Yes, you see, with the entire human population damned, we have to proceed in an orderly manner. Basically it’s first come first serve and that’s with the bureaucracy. Everyone automatically is assigned a Section 8 apartment, unless they reserve with us.

DB: …And that’s the preferred thing to do?

E: Oh Hell yes, pardon the pun, you don’t want to be stuck with a Section 8 place. For one thing they don’t have air conditioning. You also have to furnish it yourself and most people don’t bring any furniture with them. The only exception being the Egyptians.

DB: Why else would you want to avoid Section 8 housing?

E: Well, the neighborhoods tend to suck canal water. I mean literally, as we have lots of swampland down here. Flooding is very common in a Section 8, plus you don’t have the best of neighbors. A lot of politicians and Catholic priests live in Section 8’s.

DB: But the timeshares, that’s a different matter.

E: The timeshares are definitely the way to go. Oh you may pay a bit, but it’s well worth it and everything is on credit anyway so it’s no big deal. I mean, where are you gonna go? Is it really a big deal to go into debt down here? That’s the beauty of Eternity.

DB: I understand.

E: So we try to get the prospective customer thinking about the timeshares and then we ask for credit history. It’s just a formality. We take all kinds of credit. It doesn’t matter how bad the rating is, we just require a major credit card, it doesn’t even matter if it’s secured. Just as long as the customer has a line of credit.

DB: …And if he doesn’t?

E: Well, we don’t call those people. Unfortunately we can’t do business with them, not even if they have a debit card with a Visa logo. It has to be a genuine line of credit, secured or unsecured.

DB: So those people are up the creek. Or the canal?

E: ‘Fraid so. It’s really important to have some kind of credit these days. So many people don’t think ahead to the afterlife, and the ones that do get caught up in this heaven thingy. Muslims, Christians, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, even the secular people think about heaven. No one wants to even consider Hell. Not even the ones that are told outright to go to Hell.

DB: I have to say that I cry for the human race. So many people pray, they really believe that a God can save them. Human beings are the co-dependents of the universe.

E: So anyway, we talk to the people about the timeshares and get their credit card information and then we try to slip in the Hell part.

DB: And how is that done?

E: Very carefully. It’s probably the trickiest thing anyone can do in life or the afterlife. We try to explain the whole concept to them without them hanging up on us.

DB: Which happens a lot, correct?

E: (long sigh) Sorry about the ashes, man.

DB: That’s quite alright.

E: Yes, it happens about 98% of the time. The Born Again Christians are the worst. After that are the politicians, Muslims think we’re Americans playing a prank. Ironically the only real receptive ears we get are schizophrenics and they tend to not have any credit.

DB: Such a shame.

E: Buddhists are the nicest to us. They like to at least entertain the idea but when we try to close the deal, they always say that “they’ll think about it” Then later they die.

DB: You just never know when your time is up.

E: People think they’re getting that three score and ten, they never think about the runaway bus or the rip tide or the blood in the toilet.

DB: What about your own people? Certainly you’re going to have a receptive ear from Satan worshipers.

E: Let me tell you something about our people. You think they would be the wet dream of telemarketing. But all those goddamn fools want to do is talk talk talk our red asses off. Beelzebub this, Beelzebub that, the seventh seal of the seventh sign of the seventh son of the seventh sailor. They don’t understand there’s a time limit here. We can’t tie up the phone lines reciting verses from the book of Revelation. We have to reach as many souls on Earth as we can. Believe it or not, when it comes to Satan worshipers, WE are the ones who do the hanging up on THEM.

DB: That is ironic.

E:  No shit.

DB: One last question, then I’ll let you get back to work. These being timeshares, they can’t be used year round. What do the owners do when their turn is up? Do they get another timeshare? Do you rotate them around?

E: No, once their turn for the year is up, they go to Section 8. Our maximum timeshare period is 4 months out of the year. The other eight months they spend in a Section 8 apartment.

DB: Really? So then there’s no getting out of Section 8? That’s really Hell.

E: That’s what the sign at the entrance says.

DB: I guess four months a year is better than nothing.

E: Yep, especially with the air conditioning issue. Especially with the air conditioning issue.