Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A New Orifice

A new orifice on the human body was discovered yesterday afternoon in Taipei.

It is where you least expect it but easy enough to clean.

It puckers and whistles; occasionally weeps.

You can leave a pen lodged there and carry on quite comfortably.

We will not name it, not yet.

If you were born with two of them, however, there may be some money in it for you. Call me.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some Courts from the Chinese Vision of Hell

The Chinese Vision of Hell is characterized by the grotesque and exacting symmetry of its justice. The Chinese Vision of Hell is made up of ten courts, each with its own judge.

The First Court

The First Court is overseen by its judge, who keeps the register of the living and the dead and measure the length of men’s lives.

If your goodness exceeds the sum of your sins, you are allowed to pass through the gate of the Tenth Court, where transmigration takes place.

The man whose sins tip the balance toward evil is placed into a mirrored tower where he sees the guilt of his past life in a large glass..

The Second Court

The Second Court is where the torture begins. The culprits in this Court include kidnappers, those who lie about losing a deposit; who gouge out the eyes, cut off the ears, legs or arms of others; medical quacks and charlatans; and matchmakers who lie about the shortcomings of their prospects.

All these evil-doers are subjected to 16 smaller hells within this court:

  1. The hell of dark clouds of dust.
  2. The hell of night-soil and urine.
  3. The hell of the five-pronged forks.
  4. The hell of extreme hunger.
  5. The hell of excruciating thirst.
  6. The hell of slough and blood.
  7. The hell with boiling copper caldrons.
  8. The hell of iron corsets.
  9. The hell of the great scales.

  10. The hell where men are pecked by cocks.
  11. The hell of rushing ashes.
  12. The hell of where the body is cut to pieces.
  13. The hell of knives and swords.
  14. The hell of tigers, wolves and other wild beasts.
  15. The hell of cold and ice.
  16. The hell of numerous copper caldrons.

The Third Court

The culprits punished in this hell are:

Corrupt officials who have accepted bribes and oppressed the people; commoners ungrateful for benefits received; wives who have been a worry for the husbands; mutinous and AWOL soldiers; cheating accountants; escaped prisoners; bail runners; people who don’t feel guilty about mistreating family and friends; those who hold up funerals; those who would dig up a coffin and otherwise defile the family burial ground; the overly litigious; who circulate anonymous pamphlets, draw up divorce deeds, and check forgers.

  1. The hell of salt and nitre.
  2. The hell of hempen rope, wooden collars and handcuffs.
  3. The hell where the ribs are pierced through.
  4. The hell where the face is scraped with copper and iron instruments.
  5. The hell where the fat is slashed from the body.
  6. The hell where the heart and liver are torn out.
  7. The hell where the eyes are plucked out.
  8. The hell where the victims are flayed alive.
  9. The hell where the feet are cut off.
  10. The hell where the fingers and toes are lopped off.
  11. The hell where the victims are compelled to drink blood.
  12. The hell where the victims are suspended upside down.
  13. The hell where the body is sawn in twain.
  14. The hell where the victim is devoured by maggots and vermin.
  15. The hell where the knees are crushed.
  16. The hell where the heart is pierced.

Fourth Court

Culprits punished in this hell:

Those who do not pay their rent and taxes; counterfeiters; those would steel temple bricks; rich people who never give alms; those who withhold remedies from the sick, including withholding the formula to popular nostrums; trespassers and people who commit damage to property; those who threw dregs of tea or broken tiles into the street; people who spread weird rumors to terrify people.

  1. The hell where the soul is buried headlong into a roaring stream.
  2. The hell where the victim must kneel on bamboo spikes.
  3. The hell where the hands are burnt with boiling water.
  4. The hell where the body is whipped till the blood oozes forth..
  5. The hell where the tendons are cut, and the flesh is scraped off the bones.
  6. The hell where the arms are cut off.
  7. The hell where the flesh is pierced with gimlets.
  8. The hell where one must sit on sharp rocks.
  9. The hell where the victims wear iron jackets.
  10. The hell where one is crushed beneath wooden beams, stones and earth.
  11. The hell where the eyeballs are pierced.
  12. The hell where the mouth is filled with lime.
  13. The hell where the one is forced to swallow hot medical concoctions.
  14. The hell where the victims stumble on a road strewn with oily beans.
  15. The hell where the lips are split.
  16. The hell where one is buried beneath a pile of gravel.