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It's Your First Day In Hell.
[SCENE: the reception area of Hell]
RADIO DJ: Alright, folks, that was a 47-minute megamix of Kenny Chesney songs, great stuff, but now we’re going to move on-
BRAD: Whew, finally.
RADIO DJ: Next up, we’ve got DJ Khaled-
RADIO DJ: -covering the music of Kenny Chesney. You’re listening to Hell’s in-house radio station, AM 666 [deep radio voice] THE INFERNO. [air horn]
BRAD: This sucks.
GREETER: Hi, Brad! Hi, I’m Phlegyas, I’ll be escorting you into hell today, welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. We’ve really been looking forward to your arrival for quite some time.
BRAD: I only just died?
GREETER: Yes, but you’ve been a dick for a long time.
BRAD: That’s true.
GREETER: Anyways, I think you’ll find it’s not so bad here. I mean, we’ve got our own radio station-
DISTANT VOICE OF DJ KHALED: On the coast of somewhere beautiful, tradewinds blowin’ through her hair / Sunlight dancin’ on the water, and I wish I was there…
GREETER: We’ve got a pool-
[gestures to pool of boiling pitch]
GREETER: … activities…
[gestures to a loud water polo game happening in the pool of boiling pitc]
GREETER: … and on Tuesdays, we even have silly hat day!
[gestures to guy in the boiling water polo game with a glowing steel rod through his skull]
BRAD: Fine. Whatever.
GREETER: Now, before I ferry you across the marsh of the wrathful and sullen, I just want to take a few minutes to run through your agenda for the next [checks notes] eternity.
BRAD: Alright, well, hurry up. I haven’t got all day.
GREETER: Heh, a jokester! Hey, you’ll probably meet Louis CK soon, he’s here.
BRAD: Sure, that makes sense.
GREETER: Okay, so first, we’re going to fit you with a heavy lead robe, which you’ll be forced to wear as you march endlessly around your circle.
GREETER: Then, we’re going to set you into a pit of serpents. The serpents will bite at you-
BRAD: Let me guess, endlessly?
GREETER: Oh buddy let me tell you what, they ain’t ending. Here’s a fun little twist though: some of the serpents will make you spontaneously combust.
BRAD: Well, that’s good. At least then they’ll stop biting me.
GREETER: You’d think so! But, no, you’ll quickly re-form, and it’ll just start over again.
BRAD: Ah, well. Nevertheless.
GREETER: [scanning clipboard] Rashes, dropsy, leprosy, consumption…
BRAD: Had most of ‘em already.
GREETER: Ooh, do you like the outdoors?
GREETER: You’re going to love this one. We’re going to turn you into a gnarled, thorny tree.
BRAD: Trees are nice.
GREETER: You will be pecked at and torn apart by Harpies. Probably should’ve mentioned that in the first part.
BRAD: I see.
GREETER: And then [flipping through notes] listen, we don’t need to run through all of this, a lot of it gets pretty repetitive, I’m not gonna lie. Boiling pitch in one circle, boiling blood in another, until we get to almost the center, and then we’ll just encase you in a solid block of ice. We weren’t the most inventive when we put this place together, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, amiright?
BRAD: Hey, I’m the new guy here, you tell me.
GREETER: We’ve got a little joke around here — you don’t have to be crazy to work here, but you do have to be willing to inflict the most severe punishments possible on sinners for all of eternity.
GREETER: Listen, before we get to rowing across this Stygian swamp, can I ask you something?
GREETER: [shoots him]
GREETER: Sorry, that’s just a little gag we have here. No, anyways, what I wanted to ask is — you seem pretty unfazed by all of this. I mean, most people, we start describing the tortures, and they’re all “oh, no, what have I done” and “please, what can I do to stop this” and “I want to speak to your manager”, but I just gave you the whole rundown and you barely even batted an eye. What gives?
BRAD: Well, I’m a Minnesota sports fan.
GREETER: Oh dang
BRAD: Yeah. So, y’know, after watching my beloved North Stars leave town, only to win a Stanley Cup in Dallas — and be replaced by an utterly charmless, unsuccessful expansion franchise… and watching the Twins lose to the Yankees in the ALDS seemingly every single season… seeing the Timberwolves squander Kevin Garnett’s prime because they violated cap rules for Joe Freakin’ Smith… and then the, well, everything about the Vikings? This all seems fine. It’s fine.
GREETER: [sighs] I keep telling Lou that we gotta modernize some of these punishments. You know we had a Mets fan come through here just last week, he was thrilled when he realized he wouldn’t be able to watch them play.
BRAD: Oh yeah, that’d be a relief.
GREETER: We were just yankin’ him, though, we get all the Mets games. Kenny Chesney does the play-by-play.
GREETER: Alright, well, hop in the boat, let’s get going. Hey, by the way, what are you in for?
BRAD: Crashed a school bus into a petting zoo.
GREETER [rowing into the slime, where the wrathful squirm in anguish on the surface]: Oh, yeah, I’ve done that.
DJ KHALED: There goes my future, my everything / Might as well kiss it all good-bye /There goes my life…
Hi! If you’re one of the many people who just signed up for the newsletter this week, welcome to The Seventh Circle. We’re a new sports podcast and newsletter dedicated to the one thing sports fans of all fanbases have in common: pain and suffering! I (Scott Hines, @actioncookbook) share the mic with my more talented and funnier co-host, Joe Kelly (@ThatBoysGood on Twitter, frequent of ESPN 93.9 radio in Louisville) and our producer, “Virgil” in a format described by one recent guest as “surprisingly professional”!
Each week, our podcast (available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, a bunch of other podcast apps, and directly at CircleSevenPod.com) shines our spotlight on a different city or fanbase, and talks about all of the worst things they’ve had to endure. So far, we’ve released the following episodes:
EPISODE 1: Welcome to Cleveland. I get some things off my chest about a lifetime of Cleveland sports fandom, and how all the one championship did was curse the next generation to the same fate.
EPISODE 2: Welcome to Tampa. Ryan Nanni of SBNation and Mark Ennis of ESPN 93.9 The Ville, both Tampa natives, joined us. We talk Anita Bryant, Steve Spurrier, and the Great Orange Juice Boycott of the late 1970s.
EPISODE 3: Welcome to Boston. Comedian Mike Mulloy joined us to talk the pain of winning so much you don’t even care anymore. Also how Kyrie Irving is a weird dillhole.
EPISODE 4: Welcome to The Swamp. Spencer Hall of the Shutdown Fullcast joined us to talk about the horrors of the Will Muschamp Era of Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football in Gainesville.
EPISODE 5: Welcome to Buffalo. Buffalonian gentleman Peter Berkes joined us to talk about the Bills, the horrible, stupid Bills.
EPISODE 6: Welcome to Baltimore. We taped this before some jerk started spouting off about Baltimore. Haley O’Shaughnessy of The Ringer joined us in studio to talk O’s, Ravens and Wizards.
EPISODE 7???? We’ve got a great guest and a great episode, dropping like every episode each Sunday night.
The episodes aren’t necessarily topical, so you can go back and listen without them being out of date. And, if you’re not a podcast listener, you can just enjoy the newsletter, which is going to be the primary home of my writing for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for subscribing, thanks for listening, tell all your friends.
Welcome to hell.
— Scott Hines (@actioncookbook)