Jail or Hell

“I hate you,” grumbled the priest, seated in a dusty corner and handcuffed to a pipe.

“I hate you more,” growled the gangster. Wearing clothes easily worth more than $2000, the gangster boss was also seated, handcuffed to another pipe across the basement.

The Detective looked over from leaning over several maps spread across a tattered folding table beneath dim yellow lighting with the three other detectives in her unit.

“If you guys don’t shut up,” she told the handcuffed men pleasantly, “I swear to God, I’ll murder both of you.”

The priest and gangster first stared at the detective and then slowly came to stare at each other.

The gangster erupted into giggles. “She wants to go to hell AND jail,” he whispered across at the priest.

The priest rested his head back against the wall. “She’d go to jail first though,” he replied quietly.

“Unless she’s sent to a place that’s both at the same time.”

“Aren’t they synonymous anyway?”

“Pfft, I thought you were gonna say something like ‘they’re two very different things… the difference is that one… is temporary, and one… is eternal.”

“I don’t talk like that.”

“You do. The dramatic pauses. You’re like an actor.”

The priest smiled broadly which was unusual for him. His teeth were the only white in the large dank space.

The gangster paused, a smirk playing. “What?”

“Well, I thought you were going to say ‘A place that’s jail and hell? Would that be hail or jell’?”

“You bastard,” said the gangster with amusement. “Is that the impression you have of me? Really?”

The priest chuckled. Rubbed his bloody nose. “Occasionally, yeah.”

Straighteming, the detective slammed a permanent market down on the table, and the handcuffed men fell silent.

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