October 2, 2008

Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go

Imagine getting trapped in a nightmare where you're on the run from your pursuers—the mall security and a foe so foul that it could only be, well, your worst enemy and no, it's not your wicked stepmother or vicious aunt either, but the one who loathes you for no reason, the bully Damian—and you haven't the faintest idea how you got into this mess, especially when it's virtually impossible for you to even get into the slightest mischief, since you're basically a good person with glasses, who intends to stay out of trouble by immersing yourself in everything nice and intellectual, like your books. And your name is Miltoneven Harry Potter has a better chance in life more than you. You're just Milton, not a wizard. Anyhow, you're caught in the middle of a blind escapade, where you're suddenly thwarted by a giant marshmallow bear towering over a mall's main hall. So, your ruthless enemy wastes no time in blasting the colossal treat to destroy you. Apparently, he succeeds and, in a massive explosion, you go down in quite literally a rapid descent into a hellish place called Heck, which is a great deal more horrendous than your revolting foe. In short, your nightmare doesn't end, since it isn't really a nightmare to begin with. It's real. In fact, everything that's transpired in one continuous, uncontrollable, rapid flow of events is real, and Heck is where you really get banished for your misdeeds prior your ill-fated death, even if you were genuinely as sweet as an oversize melted marshmallow your whole life. The fact is you stole something, even if you were tricked and are truly innocent. Therefore, you're damned like a regular imp, because "the Big Guy doesn't grade on a curve…" and "your last sin is typically your greatest…with no chance to redeem yourself with your sticky end". And it only gets worse. You're supposed to survive this nightmare called the rest of your life in the company of a total mischief in the person of your sister, Marlo. This blue-haired Goth, who delights in dark stuff and exploits, and steals out of sheer enjoyment and simply because she can, was also the punk who fooled you, plucked you out of your comforts, dragged you into her capers, inadvertently died with you in the explosion, and ultimately got you into this appallingly huge Heck of a mess. But you've no choice but endure this wretched place with her roguish presence, as well as the demonic principal, Bea "Elsa" Bubb, and her monstrous minions, including a hair-net donning, hairless cafeteria witch that boasts "hairy moles and weeping boils" and relentlessly serves overcooked brussel sprouts that resemble "wilted globs of pale green snot" for a nourishing after-life lunch. To top it off, the nasty vermin, Damian, who maliciously blew you up above ground has now followed you underground. Meanwhile, you feel like the vermin, yourself. You're only eleven years old with a fuzzy ferret named Lucky. And, again, you're just Milton. The only consolation you have is meeting a clumsy character, Virgil, who becomes your buddy, the possibility of your sister's unlikely allegiance to you, and a slim chance for escape, and still, perhaps, a little bit of luck.

So, journey through this ludicrous limbo where time doesn't exist, yet you get punished for coming late to your first day of "disorientation" and where issues are thoroughly dealt with in the "Department of Unendurable Redundancy, Bureaucracy, and Redundancy". David E. Basye definitely brewed a wacky and wicked juvenile version of "H-e-double hockey sticks" seasoned with mythical and historical characters such as Ammit, Annubis, Pemberton, Nixon, and Dior, among several other curious creatures. This book surely has the mental energy and verbal acuity of youth nicely wrapped in both profound and confounding thoughts. Heck is highly entertaining and an absolute treat for younger bookworms yet reflective enough for more mature readers. For all those who have Peter Pan Syndrome like Basye
(Life with Children: 'Heck' A Vivid Success) or have simply forgotten how it is to feel young again without loosing any sensibility, here's an excerpt for you:

"And for the first time in his life—and death—Milton enjoyed being different. He felt free: free from caring what people thought, free to choose his own path…All our days are numbered, he thought before drifting off into unconscious bliss, but that number is infinity."
Enough said. Here's a link to author, Dale E. Basye, for more info.

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