The News from Hell
A Storyby Robert Olen Butler
The writers’ neighborhood is on the way to Broadcast Central, and Hatcher is making good time along the edge of the throng on the Parkway. The smell of sulfur is still strong in the air, but the puddles in the street have vanished—reconstituted—and the city is teeming in a way that feels almost comfortable to Hatcher in its tortured normalcy. He has a little bit of evidence that not only is Satan not hearing everything, he’s not seeing everything either. Hatcher thinks about Virgil. The poet-guide is a good place to start in his quest for Hell’s back door.
Along the street, a few of the transitory bookstores are open, and as Hatcher is wondering how to go about looking for Virgil, he sees a hand-lettered sign in a bookshop window: Shakespeare and Company. He stops and goes in.