This week, humanity witnessed the (nearly) unprecedented: the dreaded 6/6/6 came and went fairly innocuously. Some people celebrated by desecrating churches. One woman celebrated by giving birth to a baby at 6 in the morning…that weighed 6.66 pounds. Some kids in Jersey celebrated by staying home from school.
I didn’t do any of that silly stuff. What did I do? My plan was devilishly simple: I went to Hell.
In case you had a Hell of a bad geography teacher, Hell is located at roughly 19.30 N, and 80.30 W — in the northwest corner of Grand Cayman. Seriously. If you look at a map of the island, you’ll see a place marked Hell. Considering its location, there’s very little chance that it’ll ever freeze over.
Although famous for its glisteningly-white Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman is not ringed entirely by soft, sandy, toe-loving beach. In fact, much of it is surrounded by ironshore, a rough, sharp, gray, limestone rock that would cut the toes of anyone who stepped on it.
Legend has it that in the 1930s, an Englishman visited the spot, shot at a bird, missed, and muttered, “Oh, Hell.” The name stuck. A wise, forward-thinking Cayman resident, Ivan Farrington, had an epiphany: Yes, he thought, I can’t do anything else with this useless Phytokarst formation — this place must be Hell. And like any good entrepreneur, he set forth to create his vision.
On the morning of 6/6/6, my father and I went to Hell. No, we didn’t go in a handbasket; we rented a car. After winding past massive hotels, and through a small neighborhood, I found an ominous-looking intersection. This must be the place.
I made a hard right, drove past Hell’s only gas station (an Esso), and pulled into the parking lot. However, I was careful not to park in the wrong spot.
What is this place, I thought? Could it really be Hell?
Or just a commercialized version of it?
First, I wandered out back, where the ironshore pokes up ominously, and I realized how inhospitable the terrain is. Only a devil could love it.
He loves it so much, in fact, that he guards it…
Fearfully, I left the ironshore and made my way to the inner circle of Hell.
I took a deep breath, and I made a pact with the devil: let me escape this place alive, and I promise to tell the world about you and your establishment.
After shaking hands with the devil himself, I entered the store. I was surrounded by t-shirts, fridge magnets, bumper stickers, and every imaginable kind of hellish gee-gaw, all hocking Hell:
“My mom went to Hell, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
“If you can read this t-shirt, then she fell the Hell off the bike!”
“Get the Hell out of my way!”
For the literate, you could even purchase a postcard from Hell, affix a Hell postage stamp to it, and mail it from Hell’s own mailbox.
It turns out that although you can purchase cold drinks in Hell, there is no restaurant: no Hell’s Kitchen to serve up hot wings or fiery chili.
I chose a shotglass (“I made it to Hell and back”) and made my way to the front counter. Mr. Farrington was there, and he took my money. I asked if I could take his photo. He paused, looked at me, and asked, “Well…what the Hell are you waiting for?”
I thanked him and turned to leave. But before I did, I leveled my gaze at him and snarled, “You, go to Hell!”
I rushed from the store, jumped in my car, gunned the engine and got the Hell out of there. Fortunately, despite being there on 6/6/6, I did not spontaneously combust.
I know this is one Hell of a story, but it’s completely true. If you don’t believe me, why don’t YOU go to Hell!