Hella’s Realm: Dives and Dungeons — Part I: Merry Hell

Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel3

… Call me a Dis-bound demon bitch and take me down, sisters, take me down.

As I open my eyes, the mist clears and I find myself in a monumental spa, fully covered with black marble. Basins with gold taps line the sides, and I can just make out the labels, recognizing some of the finest Bordeaux vintages. My eye lights on an artisanal Black Forest gin, while my nose picks up the distinctive peaty aroma of a Talisker whisky.

I step out of the Olympic-sized pool, cosily wrapped in a fluffy black bathrobe, my feet shod in jewelled slippers. A figure in a dapper black uniform with slicked-back black hair glides up, wheeling a gold-plated drinks trolley. With a fixed blank smile, he proffers a huge triangular glass filled with vivid red liquid and two black olives on a cocktail stick. I eye it dubiously and he bows slightly. “Demon’s Blood & Balls”, he rasps metallically, “everyone’s favourite down here.”

I hate to be so rude as to refuse a drink, so I raise the glass to my lips and sip cautiously. “Not bad, you must give me the recipe for my next Halloween bash.”

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