You've actually inspired me to go back and begin re-reading Dante's Inferno... and man, it's a tough read, but worth it. At any rate, as I revisit Inferno, it really makes me appreciate what you've done here. Great job, sir.
MGoFiction: Inferno-Canto X
Large flurry of relevant diaries lead me to delay this one. Only 2 canto's left after this one…
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the tenth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this circle of Dante's version, those who would commit violence are punished. The murderers, bandits, those that would commit suicide, blasphemers, and sodomites were all tormented in three separate areas. Murderers were submerged into a boiling river of blood, suicide cases were reincarnated into bleeding trees picked to death by harpies, and the blasphemers and sodomites were destined to wander a desert of flames as fire rained from the sky.
The walk from the 6th to 7th ring of hell was totally agony. The gods were also fans of the USMNT. So while watching a 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup game, they discovered the vuvuzela. That damn horn blared through hell for weeks. I'm still deaf. Michigan must never go bowl-less again. They must never lose to Ohio State ever again. The punishment is overkill, even for those in hell.
As we descended into the 7th ring, we were met by it's guardian, the Penn State Nittany Lion. As we went to pass him, he jumped in front of us and began to mumble and jump around. I turned to Davy and asked, "what's his problem?"
"He's trying to scare you into turning back."
"This is supposed to be scary? He's like a teddy bear with a scarf. Jumping around with arms raised is supposed to be intimidating?" I ask as the Lion hangs in head that he'd yet again failed to put fear in to a Michigan fan, just like his highly rated teams that have failed again and again in Ann Arbor.
"He is a pretty weak mascot. I'll give you that, but he's also going to be our guide through this realm," replied Crockett. "Now you, Cowardly Lion—"
The lion interrupted with a few mumbles. "Oh, right, Nittany Lion. Lead us through this circle, the circle of Violence against the program."
The lion then waved his hands in a "come this way" fashion and the Duke and I followed along the top of a ridge. After a brief walk, we came to point above a valley below us. In the valley were hundreds of Michigan fans wearing maize. On a ridge below us sat centaurs with great bows, firing flaming arrows down on to the fans below. As I stopped and watched, Crockett noticed my interest.
"Those are the fans that have sold their tickets to opposing teams' fans. This sin has lead them to lead their life standing in the crowd they can never escape. On top of that, the one team who never buys tickets, will forever rain arrows down on them."
"What team are the Centaurs?" I ask.
"Indiana are the Hoosiers. Why on earth are there centaurs down there?"
"What did you think a Hoosier was?"
"Good point. But centaurs?"
"Back when Bob Knight was coaching, he had this crazy theory that running horses in basketball might have a more sinister purpose. He, being the most influential person on campus at the time, convinced the medical school to merge his players into half man, half horse creatures that would have the speed and stamina to destroy teams on the court."
The Nittany Lion mumbled and Crockett laughed, "Yeah, never could get those flesh eating corn monsters to work. That Bob Knight was a crazy fella."
"You've got to be kidding me," I respond dryly.
"Nope. The kids didn't last long. As soon as they died, they became the perfect fit to fill this role in hell."
After sitting there a while, the centaurs caught sight of us and began to divert some of their arrows upward. Pulling out his six shooter, Crockett began to fire down on the centaurs to provide cover as the Lion and I moved on.
As we fled, Davy fell out of range as the Lion urged us forward. At a fork in the road, I tried to insist that we wait up for Davy. The Lion mumbled and pulled me along. With Crockett being familiar with hell, I figured he'd catch up, and what harm could come from following the Lion. He's so cute and couldn't possibly do me harm. Right?
As we pushed to the left at the fork, we came upon another valley, this one composed of several barren, black trees. The Lion directed me into the forest, peering ever so suspiciously at the darkness above us. Something was up.
As we reached the trees, it was clear that names were carved into them. While some names had faded out, some were still freshly carved. One of those, a particularly tall tree, the name of Epke UDoh was written. Interested, I went up to touch the engraving. Upon touching the engraving, the whole tree flinched.
"Who goes there? Is it another one you of you damn harpies?" came a voice from within the tree.
"No, it is I, formerlyanonymous, a Michigan fan."
"Oh, good. I thought one of those damn harpies came back to bite at me."
"Who are you?"
"I am Epke Udoh. Like all of the other trees in this area, I'm the soul of a Michigan player who quit a Michigan team or transferred to another school."
"Huh. That sucks."
"You have no idea. What are you doing down here?"
"The Nittany Lion… hey, where'd he go?"
"That treacherous Lion has lead you into a trap. He despises Michigan fans, and he's lead you to the harpy feeding ground," explained Udoh. And with that, the swoop of wings up above began to become audible. A dark creature dove down and Udoh, ever defensive, swatted the harpy down to the ground like a blocked basketball.
The harpy squealed, and arose. This harpy was quite strange. It looked like a crack whore who had grown wings. As it lifted up, it became clear, this was a woman who was once attractive, but as her MSU shirt alluded, she spent 4 years at Michigan State, losing all her beauty. She was now a broken woman, stupid, ugly, and unable to shut her mouth.
The harpy, squawking loudly, made it's advances at me. Retreating under the protective branches of Udoh, I hoped to get the help from his tremendous reach. I was lucky that his longest branches were able to keep the harpy at bay just long enough for Crockett to arrive, guns blazing. The harpy didn't last long with the tree and Crockett firing. After a brief few seconds, it scurried away into the darkness.
"Thank you, Epke. Even if you chose a crappy, Christian school over Michigan, I'll always be a fan of yours."
"I appreciate it formerlyanonymous. As for you Mr. Wayne, would you mind signing my bark? It's a tremendous opportunity to meet an accomplished actor like yourself!"
Bang bang bang. "Take that you filthy animal. It's Davy Crockett."
"Dammit, that hurt!" yelled Udoh.
"Serves you right to call me by some other guy's name!" exclaimed Crockett. "Alright boy, you ready to get back on track. I caught up to that damn Lion on the way back up to the 6th level. Beat the tar outta him, and if it wasn't for me already having this kick ass coon skin hat, I'd be wearing something new by now."
With that, Crockett lead us away from Udoh. As we climbed back up the ridge, we could see from a far that the harpy who fled earlier had returned to Epke with several of her friends. Udoh was no match for the flock. He fought off several, but the final four Spartan harpies ripped him to pieces.
After reaching the fork in the road, this time Crockett lead us down the right path. This ridge lead us to yet another valley. In this one, we found a large desert. In this desert were found only a hand full of men. As they crossed this desert, the sand would burst up in flames with every step they took.
After one of their yells, I asked Davy, "Who are these people?"
"These are the sportswriters that turn against Michigan in order to better themselves. They proverbially bit the hand that feeds. For their Jihad against the program, they were banished to the deserts where they are set ablaze. That one way over there, that's the soul of Rosenberg. He has a special punishment. Not only does he walk this desert, but occasionally dolphins emerge from the sand and punch him with their tails."
"So you're saying, in Soviet hell, dolphin punch you?" I ask.
"This isn't Soviet hell. This is Michigan hell. Where the hell did that come from?"
"You don't get the internet do you?"
"No, we don't take kindly to communist around here."
"Right," I say sarcastically.
Davy went on, "But anyway, as you can see over there, writers from the now defunct Ann Arbor Chronicle lay in the desert over there. Yonder, you'll see the Detroit News writers sitting in that expanse. And lastly, you see the writers from the Detroit Free Press wandering in groups like the sodomites they are."
"I know, funny word, right?" the Duke says as he laughs. "Now let's get moving. We've but just 2 circles of hell left and the gods are definitely in our favor. Michigan has won 4 in a row to start this season. We shall travel quickly with them doing well."
And we were off.
Lots of phenomenal ideas here... have to say my favorite is Udoh and the harpies. "She looked like a crack whore who had grown wings..." Utterly original. Completely tasteless. Totally hilarious.
I'm going to be bummed when you've posted the final Canto and there's no more to look forward to. But that will be a minor subcircle of hell compared to the horrors you've laid out!
I've really enjoyed the series, but this was your best work yet. I was originally sad to see Udoh in here, he's a great player, but you were just being consistent.
Well done and keep it up!
Damn, I thought transfers (betrayers) were going to be in the innermost circle.
Nice job, as always.
Although I never read any of the required classics in college, I did "study" the Inferno and can actually remember it quite well. This has been the best diary series ever and I obsessively check for the next canto daily. Bang, Bang, Bang. "Take that you filthy animal!" LOL