Short story about some guy in an audience that starts shouting at the devil and gesticulating at him and giving him "the fig" , which I guess is something like the finger or some other sort of gesture.

Many years ago, was part of a collection. I thought maybe Stephen King or Clive Barker but I searched their list of short stories and did not see it there. It is very funny and the guy is critical of the devil in a humorous way.

  • 2
    The Fig at Wikipedia lays out the insulting nature of the hand gesture.
    – gowenfawr
    Apr 22, 2020 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in 'Hell' by Dan Simmons. I have a copy in the anthology 'Dark Visions'.

Based on an exaggerated evangelical church broadcast from Brother Freddy's Hallelujah Bible College and Graduate School of Christian Economics.

The idea is that hell was created by being described in Dante's divine comedy, and the current punishment is watching


One soul per Bolgia is allowed release, so he uses it for revenge by turning up to the show being recorded. While there he gives God the fig. Twice. The host, guests, and half the audience turn into various hell creatures and burst into flame.

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