The Art of Hell-Raising

Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫

[1] Orbital “The Box”

[2] Motörhead “Hellraiser”

[3] No Doubt “Hella Good”

[4] Mötley Crüe “Hell On High Heels”

[5] Pat Benatar “Hell is for Children”


It’s crazy the sort of shit you can pick up at the thrift store. According to the vendor, the Lament Configuration is a very sought after item, and I’ll give him his dues, it certainly is intricate. I reckon this curious puzzle box would fetch a handsome price on eBay and part of me wishes to list it immediately. However, another part of me has other ideas and these involve attempting to suss out how this damn thing operates. I mean, it may look rather purty, but what the hell is its purpose supposed to be? Perhaps it’s for storage and I’d better know my facts before playing seller or else I could be letting it go at a snip of its market value.

Besides, it just looks so lonely over there on my bedside, without a solitary friend in the world. I’d hate for it to lose its lustre because nobody pays it any mind and who’s to say that its new owners will treat it any better? It is therefore my civic duty to remind the Lament Configuration of its purpose one more time before it departs; play its game and learn its shame. Before I commit though, perhaps I should do my homework and see if there’s a clue in the title. Now where did I leave my dictionary?

It says here that lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. No wonder it’s fucking depressed; probably been bundled together with old Radiohead LPs in some musky warehouse. Wouldn’t it be grand if I could shake it out of its funk, thus ridding it of its perpetual curse? I could rename it the Upbeat Configuration and really send it off on a high. This could be my good deed for the day and also ensure that I get my money’s worth here. I paid six bucks for this ornate oddity and I plan to have six bucks worth of fun with the blighter before selling it on for double that. Where’s the grief or sorrow in that transaction?

As for the word configuration, well that little noun suggests an arrangement of elements in a particular form, figure, or combination. So essentially the Lament Configuration is a puzzle of grief and sorrow then? The plot thickens. I do like me a good conundrum. Tell you what, I’ll go change into something more comfortable and we’ll figure this baby out together, how does that sound? By more comfortable I mean I’ll put some pants on as the last thing I need is to snag some ballsack in its dimensions and end up in the emergency room with Satan’s Rubix hanging from my nuts.

Some instructions would’ve been nice. Could the batteries be dead? And where the bloody hell does one insert 2 AA’s in this thing anyhoots? If I shake it, there’s a strange rattle, and if I didn’t know better, I’d suspect that to be chains. I know right? Such a polished design yet it is basically just some rusty cage. No wonder it was going so cheap. I will say this however, I like the way it slides between my fingers. The more my thumbs run across its slick surface, the more mesmerizing its sheen becomes. It’s almost like it is inviting me inside, willing me on to solve its enigma, and I’m beginning to grow increasingly aroused.

Moreover, it appears to be working in tandem, building to some kind of climax and preparing to blow its stash so to speak. Not since primary exposure to the Cunnilingus Conundrum have I been so utterly intrigued, and for all its perplexity, it couldn’t possibly be as bewildering as that one. I’ve watched enough vintage Sinbad to know only too well of suchlike lamps and their magical properties. A rub or two seems to be the great abracadabra and that is precisely what my greasy thumbs shall donate post-haste.

Well would you look at that. It’s only gone and worked. I’d click my heels right now if it weren’t for the fact that I simply cannot look away for a second. Whatever I have done, the Lament Configuration has decided to raise this industry with some affirmative action of its own and its dimensions have commenced shifting of their very own accord. If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect it was disassembling and reassembling before my very eyes; twisting into some altogether new alignment and puzzle to solve. Perhaps I have graduated to level two and it is figuring out how best to bamboozle me next.

If only I had the faintest clue what the arcane symbols etched into its gold trim meant; then I’d be better equipped to play whatever game it’s playing as opposed to watching on in quiet fascination. I’m a little perturbed by the sound of a large bell tolling mournfully if I’m perfectly honest but I guess it beats the theme tune to Tetris. Is it just me or does it seem suspiciously like Alexey Pajitnov may be a secret sadomasochist? It’s all fun and games until the audio picks up pace and those I-blocks stop paying you a visit; then it becomes the music of nightmares. I’ll take the large bell tolling mournfully as it’s not nearly as grating.

Credit where it’s due, it’s certainly a polished little curio and I’m finding myself permanently fixed to my own reflection skated across the lacquer. Granted, since it adopted a mind of its very own, said mirror image has become increasingly distorted and fragmented. But it never grows old pulling faces at oneself, and if it does, then I don’t want to grow up. One thing’s for sure, this is the best six bucks I’ve ever spent and it would take a major malfunction to convince me otherwise. Speaking of which, there’s that sound of jangling chains again. I do hope I’ve not overdone it.

I’m no toy maker but judging by its antique appearance, I’d say the warranty period is well and truly over and they have a strict no returns policy over at Lemarchand’s Pleasures, so if I break it, it’s on my head and my head only. If only I could make sense of its sequence of movements; then perhaps I’d stand a chance of advancing to level three. Speak of the devil. Can anyone else feel that sudden bracing chill in the air or discern the not-so-faint aroma of rotted flesh? And should I be at all concerned about the ominous static seeping from my television screen that sure as shit wasn’t there a moment ago?

I’ve heard of plasma technology but this is taking the piss if you ask me. I’m hardly the most avid gogglebox watcher but it’s nice to have the option when the fibre optic broadband goes on the blink. Not to mention the mess it’s made of my shag pile rug. Meanwhile, it’s becoming ever harder to juggle the hot potato in my sweaty palm as it’s all right angles and could do with a sound belt sanding before it shreds my flesh to ribbons. Hands that wash dishes such as mine are ill-equipped for such a thorny reception, and I draw the line at puzzle solving once the skin is broken.

Interestingly, my freshly spilled blood appears to be making a B-line for its trim; almost as though it is feeding from its host in some way. I make it right on the lament side of things as my current state of mind corroborates both grief and sorrow, leaning precariously towards the latter to be painfully precise. Just a suggestion but could it be that I’ve dropped a hefty bollock by messing around with shit that I clearly have no understanding of? A couple more bogus revolutions and I may just be about to find out.

Would it be an inappropriate time to scream in blind terror? It’s just that the rusted chains I mentioned earlier have turned out to be far more than a figment of my imagination and are currently hurtling towards me like steel racehorses. Even more dishearteningly, each one is furnished with an inhospitable looking hook and I’m not altogether convinced I fancy accommodating these flesh cleaving anchors. If there were time to get pernickety, then I’d argue that such a miniscule puzzle box could never hope to hold so many flailing shackles but they evidently broke the mould when they constructed the Lament Configuration.

What is essentially a marvel in mechanical engineering equates to a world of inbound pain and suffering for the hapless douche responsible for caressing it out of hibernation. On the plus side, some dude called Uncle Frank 666 just bid sixty big ones on eBay, and if I can get to the duct tape before bleeding out, then I stand to make ten times its original value. Out of sight, out of mind – isn’t that what they say? I’ll leave it to Frank to familiarize himself with the layout, or at least, I would if it hadn’t just dug its corrosive claws into virtually every fold of skin in my entire exoskeleton.

If I had to single out an entry point most excruciating right now, then the hook imbedded in my testicle sack would be a front-runner as it dug itself in so deep that it has skewered not one bag ball but both before exiting the other side with a squelch no less than sickening. I guess you could never accuse the Lament Configuration of not doing precisely what it states on the box and any claims of false adverting would be unlikely to stand up in a court of law as I’m now lamenting ever clapping eyes on this perilous prism.

For the same price I could have come away with Flash Gordon on LaserDisc and still had sufficient funds for a satchel of stickle bricks. That’s the aggravating thing about hindsight – it never bloody catches up until way after the fact. Now I know how the wayward mackerel feels when Old Joe’s Trawler bags itself a midday catch. I wouldn’t mind but it had my full and undivided attention long before the gotcha moment. I would’ve come quietly I swear. Not that we’ll ever know that now as I’m well and truly its bitch and feeling its harrowing heat first-hand.

I know it’s frightfully off-topic but Uncle Frank 666 just upped his bid to a full hundred smackeroonies. I’m actually cracking a smile as we speak, albeit under the direct control of this infernal receptacle. It’s more of a grimace if truth be known as I’ve never before been formally introduced to such searing pain and don’t greatly care for being pulled in two dozen different directions at the same time. This must be my penance for being curious, and if I get out of this in one piece, then I’m done with inquisition.

Ignorance is bliss – isn’t that how the saying goes? Well here’s a bulletin for you – knowing is fucking agony and I’d do anything right now to be oblivious. Something has to give her, and I have a sneaking suspicion said thing is going to be my epidermis. Do you wish to know what sucks hardest? It took almost forty years to become truly comfortable in my skin and I’m about to be wrenched out of it in terms by no means uncertain. Best six bucks I ever spent? Yeah, bollocks.

While we’re on the subject to reasons to be anything other than cheerful, it would appear that I’ve got company, and I’m not altogether convinced that this leather clad meatbag comes in peace you know. Perhaps it has something to do with the row upon row of meticulously placed rusted pins protruding from his top box or maybe the fact that his cold, dead eyes hint at an eternity being spit-roasted in flaming purgatory.

Ordinarily I pride myself on my ability to see the good in people, but if first impressions are anything to go by, then this pinheaded freakazoid is rotten to the pulp. Nevertheless, I shall give him the benefit of the doubt as my options are decidedly limited currently. Unless I’m way off base here, this hellish heathen is the puppet master of this particular puzzle box and I’m not over enamored by the way in which he pulls those strings.

“I’d love to say it’s a pleasure to meet you but have a feeling that the pleasure is all yours”

“The box… you opened it, we came”

“Yeah, about that. Any chance we could dial things back to a few moments prior to me solving the riddle of the ages? Never much been a fan of excruciating pain you see”

“Then why did you summon us?”

“It was a mistake! I didn’t… I didn’t mean to open it! It was a mistake!”

“Familiar words and might I add utterly pathetic”

“This isn’t what I signed up for”

“Really? You solved the box, we came. Now you must come with us, taste our pleasures”

“Can I take a rain check? You see, your idea of pleasure differs some way from mine apparently”

“Pitiful human”

“You got me. I’m a real blathering idiot. Now if you wouldn’t mind unfastening those chains”


“But it really fucking hurts”

“Oh, no tears please. It’s a waste of good suffering!”

“What do you say we bypass the suffering? I’ll put the kettle on and brew us up a nice mug of hot cocoa”

“Foolish child, it is way too late for that. Besides, we have such sights to show you”

“Who is this “we” you keep talking about or dare I ask?”

“Where are my manners? Are you ready to be enlightened?”

“What’s the alternative?”

“The kind of suffering that will be legendary even in hell!”

“In that case, knock yourself out”

Jesus wept, heaven knows the kind of deadbeats this harbinger of sorrow knocks about with. If they share his inhospitable disposition, then this could end up being a decidedly long night. That said, I’m hardly in a position to bargain and this will buy me the precious seconds to work out that all-important Plan B. Given that this fella is evidently the ringleader, any rowdy rabble he associates with aren’t likely to be any more freakish, if that’s any consolation. Which it’s not in case you were wondering.

“Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, angels to others. I present you…The Cenobites”

Something tells me they’re not going to be a Dandy Warhols tribute band. Slightly off-topic, but can anyone else discern faint chattering in the vicinity? I say faint, when the truth is, it’s growing ever more pronounced and appears to be coming from directly behind me. I’d take a peek but that’s a darn sight easier said than done, what with the flesh-ripping barb and all. That reminds me, I really must turn up the thermostat as it has to be sub-zero in here currently and seems to be dropping at a rate of knots that I’m far from comfortable with. I’d be forever in your debt if you’d describe to me what it is that’s encroaching on my personal space. Nothing overly elaborate, just a nutshell account will do.

What’s that? Teeth you say? No offence but I’d figured out there was some kind of dental plan going on here. You got anything else? Just teeth huh? Well what about the eyes? I hear they’re the ultimate prize. Do they look at all kind and forgiving?

What do you mean he doesn’t possess any? So this secret admirer of mine has a face that consists of what…just teeth? I guess it’s no less than I should expect given old Pinhead over there but it’s hardly settling my fast-flaying nerve endings any.

“Now that you’re acquainted with Chatterer, I’d say you’re ready to meet and greet my next associate Butterball”

Butterball? As in soft and spreadable? Don’t suppose he has a wife called Marge does he? I’m grateful to inner monologue in these moments as I’d hazard a guess that Pinhead wouldn’t take kindly to me poking fun at his entourage. But seriously…Butterball? Don’t make me laugh. No really…please don’t make me laugh. I would imagine my current affliction has something to do with the fact that every sense seems heightened right now, and if the sound of chattering teeth in my slipstream isn’t cause enough for a cardiac arrest, then the overwhelming funk of chafing ambushing my involuntarily flared nostrils most definitely is.

Indeed I’m a pair of hearty sniffs away from this putrid stench supplying the full on heart stopper I most certainly don’t crave this night. I’ve smelt some rancid shit in my time thanks to Tuesday Poker Nights but nothing nearly as all-encompassing as this particular brand of cologne minus the “g” and “e”. Whoever the fuck is slobbering over my left shoulder currently clearly hasn’t mastered the art of wiping front to back yet. Butterballs are one thing, but nobody mentioned peanut butter. Pain or no pain, I simply have to see this guy with my own two eyes.

Lord have mercy, I’ve strained out lumpy stools less malformed than this baleful lurker. Word to the wise Butterball, you may be sporting a rather nifty pair of Matrix-style shades, but you’re no CeeLo Green. Forget you and forget Chatterer too, there’s no way on God’s Earth I’m associating with a pair of blighted bookends such as you. And don’t even think of raiding my refrigerator as that wheel of cheese is strictly off-limits. Feel free however to help yourself to my roll-on antiperspirant as your personal hygiene leaves rather a lot to be desired and I’m starting to get a little light-headed here. Perhaps moving swiftly on would be a smart move while my sense of smell is still in tact before my gag reflex gets any worse.

“I can see you’re eager to play, but so reluctant to admit it. Maybe this will help you decide. I bring you The Female”

Okay so now he’s piqued my curiosity. That said, what kind of uninspired title is The Female? Couldn’t Pinhead have come up with something a little more snazzy like Hell Slag or something? Nevertheless, I’m more than up for this one and just hope she doesn’t suspect that godawful stench hanging in the air to be anything to do with me. To give the old girl her dues, at least she’s approaching from the front which should provide me ample opportunity to cast my roving eye over her wares and conjure up a suitably sleazy chat-up line.

Oh dear. The bald head I can live with as Britney Spears still looked hot in a Kangol during her “what does it all mean?” phase but I’m not over enamored with the gaping throat vagina if I’m laying my cards on the table. And what the blazing fuck is that eyesore jutting out of her jugular? It’s like an alloy pretzel and some way from flattering if you ask me. Don’t even get me started on the elaborate scarification to her pubis. I’ll tell you this for free, Pinhead sure knows how to pick ’em. Not that he’s exactly an oil painting himself, but compared to this sorry bunch of stragglers, he’s practically James Dean.

“Thanks for the introduction but I really must be going now”

“Not so fast human. You see, the doctor is in. It’s time for your appointment with Channard”

In the name of all that is holy or otherwise, I think I’ll skip the colonoscopy if you don’t mind doc. Could it be the talon toupée you’re wearing or the gargantuan phallus you’re suspended from that makes me less inclined to play doctors. That said, after ten minutes bound to these infernal shackles, perhaps this Channard chap could recommend me a good dermatologist.

“I recommend…amputation!”

“Any chance of a second opinion?”

“It’s either that or I tear your soul apart”

Talk about Sophie’s Choice. I knew there was a reason why I keep putting off that check-up and it’s hovering menacingly before me with a deranged look in its eyes that suggests there will be no local anesthetic. Call it a hunch but I’d hedge a bet that Channard hasn’t scrubbed prior to surgery and MRSA is no myth I hear. I just hope he has recruited a nurse as I’m fairly assured that my bed pan now needs changing.

“Okay Pinhead, now that the pain side of things appears soundly sewn up, any chance of a dash of pleasure just to even the scales some?”

“It is pleasure you hanker after?”

“Thanks terribly. Yes, I was thinking around 5″7, nice supple breasts and moist around the gusset. Anything doing?”

“I suspect we can accommodate your whimsy on this occasion. Give me a moment while I summon the delectable Julia from your mattress”

“Much obliged sir”

“Don’t mention it. Julia dear? It seems you have an admirer”

5″7 – check, nice supple breasts – check, moist around the gusset – checkmate. So why then do I remain flaccid? Could it have something to do with the fact that Julia has seemingly forgotten to dress for the occasion? We’re not talking a pearl necklace and some eye-liner that’s missing here, more the all-over epidermis that really would’ve tied her features together. Heck, beggars can’t be choosers I suppose, if I shut my eyes and ignore the gloopy gunk weeping onto my junk as I pole-axe her, this could still be worthy of a prod in the dark. But I’m not expecting to feel good about myself come morning. Actually, I shouldn’t complain as Julia has now applied bandages to the affected areas, and under the correct lighting, doesn’t look half shabby. Don’t suppose it would hurt to bring things in for a hug. One question sweetheart before we commence our sexual skirmish – what’s with the hammer?

“Do you like what you see?”

“Let’s just say you’re a sight for sore eyes Julia. Actually, I think I may have a vague migraine coming on. Don’t suppose we could settle on a hand job could we? Minus the hammer time preferably”

“There’s only one thing I need that you can supply”

“I’m all out of eczema lotion”

“All I need… is skin”


“I’m sure I’ll grow into it”

“I’ve no doubt that you would but I’ve grown rather partial to my pelt. Granted, it’s a little baggy at present, but I happen to be fond of the way it feels against my marrow”

“You insolent wretch. Master Pinhead, I cannot be expected to work under these conditions”

Well that’s just bleeding marvellous. They do say that love is a fickle thing, but at the very least, I’d hoped we could remain friends, perhaps engage in the occasional bout of reverse-charge phone sex. Instead she has taken my polite rejection to heart and a woman scorned is the last thing I bloody well need at this precise moment. God help me if she’s menstruating.

“Did you say God?”

“So you can read my mind too now I see Pinhead”

“You think your subconscious is closed to me? Your mind is so naked. A book that yearns to be read. A door that begs to be opened. Such fertile ground for the seeds of torment. Your God washed his hands of you the very moment you solved our riddle”

“And what kind of knock-off religion are you peddling”

“Here I shall show you. This is my body, This is my blood, Happy are they who come to my supper. I am the way!”

I’m no Jehovah’s witness but even I draw the line at mock crucifixion. That shit’s in poor taste if you ask me.

“Jesus Christ!”

“Not quite but keep guessing”

“I’m not best pleased about you invading your mind you know”

“Fret not as I’ll reap your sorrow slowly. I have centuries to discover the things that make you whimper”

I’d say he got off to a rolling start on that one the second he skewered my ball sack with a rusty hook.

“So what exactly are you going to do with me?”

“Me? Nothing. I’ve got the rest of eternity to make you my plaything. Right now, I think you’re ready to break bread with The Engineer”

“Sounds like an architect”

“Of sorts yes. The architect of your perpetual suffering”

Something tells me he won’t be here to service the boiler. Ordinarily I’m thankful for my boundless imagination, but not when it conjures up this kind of mental screen saver.

“Is there anything I can say or do to persuade you not to bring The Engineer into this?”


“Okay then, would you mind terribly if I just check my eBay notifications? I’ve got four hours left on a listed item and I’m curious to know how it’s faring up”


“Yes, it’s a website where you can buy and sell unwanted goods”

“Fine but make it quick as I’m enjoying making you bleed and will enjoy making you enjoy it”

“Well would you look at that? Uncle Frank 666 has raised his bid to three hundred bucks now. That’s almost sheer profit”

“Uncle Frank?”

“Uh huh. It says here that his name is Frank Cotton and he’s based somewhere in the United Kingdom. Why the sudden upturn in interest?”

“Let’s just say we have history. Does it mention anything there about his niece Kirsty per chance?”

“As a matter of fact it does. She’s been using his account to try and flog some moldy old mattress. What gives Pinhead? Am I missing a trick here or something?”

“Kirsty is the one that got away. I’ve spent years dreaming up fresh and inventive ways to make her suffer. What is this listed item you speak of?”

“It’s…erm…the Lament Configuration. Hope you’re not pissed off”

“Uncle Frank wishes to purchase it?”

“Pretty desperately by the looks of it”

“Then accept his bid at once. Do this and I will let you live out the rest of your pitiful existence”

“No questions asked? You’ll promise to seal that schism and not transport me directly to the deepest reaches of hell?”

“It will be like we never crossed paths”

“Then you’ve got yourself a deal Pinhead. I’ll ship the puzzle box off first thing in the morning”

“Excellent. Cenobites, back in the prism. Chop chop, we have another soul to tear apart. Apologies for the mess we’ve made of your apartment by the way and needless to say I’ll reimburse you for any food Butterball scavenged from your freezer”

“Not a problem. It’s been a real eye-opener”

“Goodbye then”


Thank fuck for that. I thought they’d never leave. I know one thing – I wouldn’t want to be in Uncle Frank’s loafers when UPS turn up with this particular bundle of carnal joy, Kirsty’s either come to think of it. Think I’ll stick to my Rubix Cube from now on as that nefarious knick-knack may have only set me back a paltry six bucks in monetary terms, but it damn near cost me my soul. While I’m still logged into eBay and three hundred dollars to the good, I wonder how much this Necronomicon hard back is going for? A spot of light bedtime reading could be just what the doctor ordered you know although that’s still something of a sore subject at present. I don’t know, I’d forget my head if it wasn’t currently being airlifted by a giant phallus. Speaking of which, anyone got any spare paracetamol handy?

Click here to read Hellraiser’s Ball





1 Comment

  1. I didn’t think this was possible, Rich but I was laughing out loud throughout this Cenobite encounter. The illustrations coupled with your glib tongue trying to get out of the predicament. You voiced the same exact thoughts I had when I was first introduced to those hellions.
    They are unnerving but I could imagine “solving” that damn cube and that having to try and talk my way out of the aftermath. I could almost hear Simon Pegg reading your lines. Now that would be something.
    Very enjoyable!

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