“No, I’m not doing an interview with Piers Morgan! You can tell Janice that I’ve simply tonnes to do! I’m getting quite frustrated y’know with all this, er, this stuff going on. There’s always something to do and things to organize since this rebranding shenanigans. Why did we have to ‘move with the times?’ Things were fine as they were. Now it’s, ‘we need to enhance the customer interface,’ or, ‘Can we facilitate this incentive with positive export?’ I mean, what does ‘positive export,’ actually mean?”
“I believe it means, can we hurry things along. Can I be of more help maybe?” asked Doris, trying hard to be helpful.
“Dear, sweet Doris, I’m afraid not. It’s just part of the job. Being God is not always easy y’know …”
“How about asking the Archangels to help out more?”
“No, good grief no! They’re overworked as it is! I’d just be giving them more opportunities to say, ‘Yes, of course I will,’ but see that facial expression which actually says, ‘Do I have to do it, really?”
“Well just explain everything to them…. Or maybe have a word with that nice Dr Jung, talk it out and get everything off your chest.”
“Doris, my dear, I’m supposed to draw people to my bosom, not get them off of it. What would people think?”
“I’m sure Dr Jung would treat it with strictest confidence.”
“Yes, actually he probably would. Unlike Freud, gossiping about the place and saying I have ‘issues’ with my father. I have no father, or mother, I just Am, so it doesn’t make sense! A bit like when the blooming focus group ask me to, ‘reprise the viability of the expedient option.’ What on earth does that mean? It’s pure gibberish!”
“Dr Jung would definitely be the better option, I think. Just go and see him!”
Doris said it in a way that was sympathetic yet almost patronizing, wrinkling her nose and narrowing the eyes behind her glasses. Taking a sigh, God thought about her idea and that it might actually be a good one. Considering this, God’s lips sort of chewed the idea, contorting the facial expression until a decision was made.
“Right, I’m off for a bit. See you later.”
Carl Jung was sitting in one of the celestial parks, watching the ducks meander over the pond. The water was perfectly translucent and one could see the universe go about its business by watching through it. A duck waded across the watery window, creating concentric ripples over a galactic supercluster. The peace and tranquility was delicately disturbed by God appearing before him.
“Can I borrow you for a chat?”
“Why, of course!”
Sitting down on the park bench, God placed his left arm along the top of the bench’s back. Carl adjusted his seated position, so to open his posture and face his client. “How can I possibly help you?!” was his thought, but it came out vocally, in a rather surprised manner.
“Oh, I don’t know! It’s all just getting on top of me!”
“And everything is….”
“Getting on top of me.”
“Yes, I understand that; I’m looking to understand what this ‘everything’ is though.”
“Well, it’s just….. everything. Have you seen the amount of emails I get? Prayers? Texts? Do you know my prayer to blessing conversion rate? 1.01%! That’s excellent, the best it’s ever been!”
“Oh its since we’ve ‘rebranded.’ It’s out with Heaven Inc. and in with Bliss. We’ve now got a statistics team, a focus group which, parenthetically is more like an out of focus group, a think tank, a marketing team and an image augmentation force. All these things aimed at making my job easier.”
“What’s an image augmentation force?”
“They design the corporate image of Heaven, sorry Bliss, as well as maintaining my customer intervention facet.”
“Customer intervention facet?’
“It’s a new way of saying, public image; how people see me. ”
“This all sounds very good, but not you.”
“What do you mean?”
“The terms you’re using sound corporate, like think tank, marketing, conversion rate; that’s not your voice. It’s not you. Your words are more, more poetic, free and simple.”
God made a silent single chuckle.
“You’re absolutely right. That’s Janice speaking not me.”
Dr Jung matched his posture to mimic God’s. Leaning slightly, he considered what he was about to say very carefully.
“Maybe it’s time to change things. Go back to as things were, as opposed to keeping up with the trendy version of Heaven.”
“Yes, sorry, Bliss. You’re talking like a businessman, not God.”
“Or maybe I should get out of this line of work. Do you have any idea how many complaints I get? People moaning about why something happened, or crying out, ‘What made you do this?’ and cursing…. Then there’s the complaints. Yesterday alone, I received 6.7 billion complaints! Then there’s people shouting, ‘Oh, god,” or, “Good lord!” I mean, are they asking for my help, or just blaspheming? It gets very confusing when you hear your name mentioned every few seconds. And it makes you paranoid…. Are they talking about me? Or are they talking to me?”
“I think you need a break…”
“I did that before, but I got pestered all the time; mobile phone kept ringing…..”
Carl smiled gently and took time to construct his prescription.
“Well, you either need to make some changes or, like you say, change your line of work.”
God thought about it silently for a few moments. Looking at the transparent pond, God noticed another spark lighting up in a nebula and a comet wending its way through a star system. Could God really hand over the reigns to someone else?
“I used to enjoy the old times; the odd visit, nipping down there to see what’s going on, have a good ol’ natter, inconspicuously moving about and talking with people. It was simple then; no marketing strategies, no conversion rate targets, no product placement. No ‘adding value.'”
God even used virtual apostrophes to emphasize the term.
“Well, I’d seriously think about what you would do.”
And with that, God said, “Thank you” and disappeared from view.
As God arrived back at HQ, Doris was busy rearranging the schedule due to St. Peter having to go and greet some guests earlier than expected.
“Doris, come in here, my love, please. Bring your jotter with you as well.”
Doris flustered about then quickly left her tasks and entered the office where God now sat behind the large desk.
“Take this down, would you: Wanted, Chief Executive. No scratch that, most of them are wanted by the police anyway. Er, how about, General Operations Director required. Bliss, requires a General Operations Director to take over operations in a corporate eternity, to start ASAP. Must have experience in the nonsecular environment. Despots need not apply.
“You will ‘be,’ and be working in a fast paced environment, delivering an exceptional end-to-end customer service experience. Being used to a high pressure and a high performance work ethic, your skills will be enhanced within the business, as will your decision making skills.
“Ideally, you’ll be a team player with the ability to work within a trinity and as an individual, encouraging all to go above and beyond; to achieve and maintain crucial performance levels and enhance morale in a demanding environment. You will be leading our first class team as we deal with complaints, prayers, delivering blessings and miracles, delegating as appropriate and communicating changes to senior stake holders and partners.
“Desired skills: an enlightened mind, negotiating, ability to cope well under pressure, experience of an ethics committee, able to achieve KPIs, empathy, have a forgiving attitude, omniscience & computer literate.
“Essential skills: effective communication skills, sound listening skills, use of Mac based software, calm and positive “can do” attitude, understanding of teleology & “cause and effect,” to be “as is,” Quantum mechanics, exceptional knowledge of cosmology.
“Preferred skills, but not essential: educated to Doctorate standards, ability to move quickly (in mysterious ways), omnipotence (but we can train you),
ability to smite (as required).
“A full background check will be carried out. If you feel you have the skills, we provide fantastic rewards: full relocation package, use of company vehicle, unbeatable life insurance policy, use of refectory, free Halo and gown; salary is negotiable for right candidate, and subscription to our on site gym!
“Full job description available on request. Work for Bliss and you’ll be on cloud 9. Send your CV and cover letter to Michael@bliss.org.
“How’s that sound?”
Doris finished scribbling and then let a tear fall from her eye and navigate over her nose.
“Your not going somewhere are you?”
“I don’t know yet, but I want to put the feelers out and see if there’s any suitable candidates who could do my work and lighten the load somewhat.”
God noticed her tears and went to console her. Placing a friendly arm around her shoulders God reassured her that it was no fault of her own and that God was merely considering retirement.
“You do stirling work my dear. I wish I had more like you to carry out the good work we do, I truly do. You have nothing to be worried about.”
“But I like working with you! What if the person you hire is a complete incompetent?”
“Then they’d be consciously incompetent. Takes a lot of skill to be a leader as well as a professional idiot, as Donald Trump has proven. Anyway, remember, I am with you always. Now let’s get the advert out there and see who bites.”
As soon as had the advertisement been placed on the ethereal noticeboards and on the internet, a barrage of applications swept in to St Michael’s inbox, thus enlightening him to the job opening and that he was in charge of sifting the wheat from the chaff. Applications came from both the corporeal and eternal realms. After some extensive filtering, the aspirants were shortened down into a shortlist, which was again shortened to a shorter shortlist.
“It’s like a celestial ‘Britain’s Got Talent,” said Michael as he perused the names.
“Well, I don’t believe I Am is holding auditions for the role! Heaven forbid! Anyone can act godly, but being godly is another thing altogether!” said Raphael as he peered over Michael’s shoulder to read the names. “Have you seen some of the résumés on here? Arnold Schwarzenegger?’
“Oops! Get rid of that one…”
“Er, how did he get on the list…”
“Big oops! Yes, of course I’ve seen the names on here. Anyway, I best get this over to the Lord straight away!” said Michael, as he removed the name, Walt Disney, then sent the list, with the respective Curriculum Vitaes attached, via email.
Doris opened and printed off the email as soon as it arrived, knocked on the office door and waited to be invited in.
“We’ve got a list of prospective names for you to have a look through.”
God accepted the printout, looked at it once, then curtly asked Doris if she could summon St Michael, as swiftly as she could, which she did at once upon leaving the room. St Michael walked in promptly, humming the Hallelujah Chorus. The look on God’s face indicated that something was wrong, halting the tune on Michael’s tongue.
“If this is your idea of a short list, I’d like to see who you’d install as successor!”
God stood up and walked around to the front of the desk and stood almost face to face with the archangel. “So, come on, talk me through it, as I’d just love to know your thinking. Who’s first…? Let’s have a look shall we; Richard Nixon, so this is a good start! Why him?”
“Well he applied and looked good on paper,” said Michael, trying unsuccessfully to find some personal space. The ensuing silence brought a stern gaze from God.
“Next is Buddha! Are you having a laugh? Is this all a joke to you?”
“Well, actually it’s as he explained it himself on the additional comments section; people worship him, which kinda defeats the object of what he preached, so he thought he might as well apply. Fancies his chances.”
“Who’s next? Jimmy Carter. Well, that one’s not too bad I suppose. Ah, this next one confused me. It just says, Pope – which one? As there’s been quite a few.”
“All of them.”
“All of them? What d’you mean, ‘all of them?”
“All of them.”
“What all at once?!”
“Each of them applied, individually, as it’s the promotion they were all looking for, natural progression and all that…”
“Then this one I don’t understand… Chur-something? The predictive text has misspelt it. What is it? Chinchilla?”
“No, it’s Churchill, Winston Churchill.”
“Hmm… Next we have, Confucius.”
“If he got the job we’ll all be eating horse meat and he’d insist we write everything down, lose it, then try to rewrite it! Things would take an eternity! Who else…. Ah, interesting one; Akhenaton. Why, pray tell?”
“Well, he got the main concept right about monotheism and wasn’t too bad a ruler, he likes cats, and looked good on paper!”
“Nice chap. Great ideas, gives to charities, fantastic football player.”
“Here, I think that you’re thinking about the forthcoming interfaith football match aren’t you! So, which of the disciples would you bench when we play Nirvanorg in the Celestial Cup?”
“Probably, Thomas, as he doubts his ability.”
“Let’s see who’s next shall we…. Joseph Stalin. Joseph Stalin!?! Are you mad, Joseph Stalin?”
“Well, actually, he seemed very keen!”
“I bet he did….! Next? Mark Twain, possibly, but too much of a smart Alec. Er, then we have Socrates. Why Socrates? Are you thinking about football again or the philosopher?”
“The philosopher. He asked if a theocracy could truly be a democracy on the application and I liked that.”
“He’s just being clever, plus if he got offered it, he’d decline it. Ah, now please explain this one to me, Michael, please as I’m really trying my hardest to understand this one, Jean-Paul Sartre? For heaven’s sakes!”
“Yes, that’s right, Sartre. Clever man is Sartre…”
“He’s an existentialist for goodness sakes! You can’t have an existentialist ruling eternity!!! Kind of defeats the object, don’t you think? Eh? Next there’s, Emperor Hirohito.”
“Be looked good on paper also…”
“Wasn’t many women on the list….”
“In the part about, ‘what changes would you make?’ she writes that she wants to privatize and outsource most departments!! What’s wrong with you! Then there’s this lot, Zeus, Aphrodite, Hera, Poseidon, in fact the whole bloomin’ pantheon! What’s got in to you Michael?”
“I was just trying….”
“Trying to what? See who could fail at the job so badly that you’d get promoted? Know your place! Who’s next, eh? Who’s this? Ah, we have Oppenheimer, he who quoted the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
“He’s looking for a second chance and looked good on paper….”
“Second chance? Are you mad? We’ll all be blown to smithereens! Then we have, Martin Luther – which one?”
“What at the same time?”
“No, each independently applied, of their own volition.”
“And why on earth is Kim Jong-Un on here??”
“He seems confident he can do the job and looked…”
“‘…looked good on paper?’ René Descartes?”
“Ah, now that’s only as long as we don’t allow animals in to Bliss, as it would negate part of his philosophy.”
“Well, he is a visionary…”
“He’ll do the job, but he states he’ll only do it his way or no way at all.”
“Queen Elizabeth I?”
“One of the few women who did apply.”
“Great ‘ideas’ man.”
“He may well be, but eternity is no simple thought experiment! And this one, Mike Myers? Who on earth is Mike Myers?”
“An actor, did the voice of Shrek and played Wayne in ‘Wayne’s World’ He said he, ‘always fancied playing the role of god; would be helpful method acting for him, as he wants to expand his repertoire.”
“She enjoyed acting you in the film, ‘Dogma’ and thinks she’d be good at it.”
“My apologies about that one, that’s an honest mistake..”
“Interesting one here; Robert Kennedy?”
“Very keen indeed and he has the full support of his family.”
“That’s as maybe, but something always happens to a Kennedy… Lucretia Borgia?”
“Er, interesting ideas around food and reformation.”
“Good grief no! Schrödinger?”
“Nice chap. Another one who’s a cat lover; wants to prove something about existence….”
“Germaine Greer…. Heaven forbid! No, no, no. Now then, here’s an interesting one, Krishna.”
“He wants a full role as deity as opposed to the part time role, which he currently holds.”
“Michael, Michael, Michael…. I must say I’m a tad disappointed. I mean, why isn’t the likes of Gandhi on here, or any of the disciples?”
“Ghandi didn’t want to apply. He did say, however, that he’ll go on a thought-strike if you decide to retire.”
“Thought-strike? What’s on earth’s that?”
“Based on the idea of ‘I think, therefore I am,’ he’ll stop thinking until you comeback as the G.O.D. (It’s the nearest equivalent to a hunger strike up here, you see).”
God looked disappointed, walked back to behind the desk and sat down in the executive styled swivel chair.
“I was kind of hoping St Paul, Ghandi, Mother Theresa (bless her), or someone like, oh, I don’t know, Florence Nightingale would apply! Not the likes of,” God paused
and looked over the sheet of paper, “the likes of Robert Maxwell, Genghis Khan and Joan Rivers!”
“There was someone, a complete unknown; we think he accidentally applied for this when he was actually applying for a night shift shelf stacker for Alfa foods stores…… Name’s Jordan Lightfoot.”
Michael handed a piece of paper over the desk to God, who took the proffered leaf and read it.
“Good grief no! I don’t think he fits the bill, do you? Hobbies and interests: Watching Family Guy and gannin’ oot an gettin’ drunk on Saturday nights?”
“Well, what are you looking for in the aspirant?”
“What do you think? Good sense of the moral maze, sound judgement, works within the spirit of the law, smites only when totally required, knows how to tweak the cosmological constant when necessary; someone who’s inventive and creative; someone who knows people, and is good with them. Someone who lets everything have its chance and encourages ideas, strengths, et cetera. Oh, and does a lot of good work for charity.”
“Well I know, just the person. They’d be ideal and they’re the only candidate in my eyes….”
“But the whole point in this was to find someone to train up who could eventually take over the reigns!”
“There is no one like you though, Lord.”
“Of course there are! There’s stacks of them down on Earth alone! I didn’t create them in my image for no reason y’know!”
Then God paused and thought for a moment. An idea whirled about the mind and Michael could see the cogs of the Almighty turning.
“You know what? I’m going to ask everyone to help. I’ll give them faith and when two or more come together to decide on things, and if they agree, it will be done.”
“Is that such a good idea? Shouldn’t there be some sort of buffer just in case they decide on something peculiar, like, er, like…. all residents of Kendal to be called, Mintcake; Tuesdays must be on a Wednesday, except for when there’s an ‘r’ in the month; Britain must not be able to leave the European Union; compulsory wearing of marzipan hats for bald people; benefits for people with high fringes; tax all ginger haired people called Mildred; food that goes off at midnight should be placed in a bomb shelter; Celine Dione to be dissected and spread over the four corners of the world; soap operas must bring back dead people in a plot to bring them out of unemployment; Simon Cowell to audition potential Prime Ministerial candidates live on TV or, or, all rabbits should eat marshmallows? I mean, it wouldn’t be a good idea as rabbits can’t stomach marshmallows…”
“Then we’d get an influx of people asking, why people are force feeding marshmallows to rabbits?’
“Yes, I get your point.”
“Just think of all the complaints…”
“Alright, alright, I’ve got the point! Okay, so if two or more people come together and agree on something, and it’s vetted by me, then it’ll be done. How’s that sound?”
“Sounds fine. I was just concerned as we get a lot of complaints, plus Moses and the legal team would go bonkers, as they do; ‘Why’s God said this? Doesn’t God realise we have to underwrite these things…”
“Yes, yes I get your drift. Humanity hasn’t fully realised the gravity of faith and their full potential. We’ll have a word with someone who can wake them up a bit, make them see how mighty faith can be. It can move mountains y’know!”
“How about Oprah Winfrey?”
“Good heavens, no! Neither Deepak Chopra.”
“A definite no! Someone who is brave, fearless, knows the tremendous power of believing ‘it is done,’ rather than ‘it might be.”
“That spoon bending buffoon? Not a chance! Anyway, I’ll have a good think on that as I need to have a word with Janice now.’
God called Doris, in and asked her to invite Janice from marketing over, due to needing to, “have a word with her.” As God waited for her to nip across, a smile formed on God’s face and the peace was felt in the building of Bliss HQ.
“You wanted to see me?”
“Ah, Janice! Good to see you. Right. I’m making some changes around the place…”
“Well the focus group won’t be happy…”
“Yes, the focus group, what can I say about the focus group; they’re are so out of focus that they can’t reach back far enough up their bottoms to adjust the lens! Then there’s that marketing team who want me to be like, er, I don’t know, a doll that a child plays with and dresses it up in whatever fashion they see fit. I’ve had enough of all that nonsense. I am who I am, and that’s it! And they want to remember that!
“And no more of this modernization regarding concepts and terms! It’s forgiveness – not soul cleansing; it’s redemption – not S.P.I.F, all that sins paid in full acronym nonsense, it’s redemption, plain and simple! And as for grace, it IS the pits!; it’s not Positive Independent Temporal Space, it’s simply grace; and I think I’ve been gracious enough with that! Well, no more, I tell you!
“I’ve had it up to here with people trying to ‘reinvent’ me. Next thing you know, they’ll be trying to rename me as something peculiar like, er… Wise Holy Omnipotence..”
“Me, that’s who! I’ve had enough. Maybe I need to be a bit more Old Testament and start smiting people again; I haven’t had a good smite in ages! So there, I’m putting my foot down.”
Silence filled the room and Janice looked like a pupil who had been chastised by a headmaster.
“I’m sorry for having a rant but it needed to be said. I don’t need to know my prayer to blessing conversion rate….”
“It’s at its best ever 0.9%…..”
“That’s great, but it’s not necessary! So, hopefully we can move forward from this and return to the simpler, traditional way we used to do things. As the man said, ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’ So I’ll do my thing and you lot can can quietly do your own.
“There’s too much dumbing down, analysing and tiptoeing around the obvious. There’s a place and time for it, but it’s not now. However, I do like the new name, Bliss, and that’s what it should be up here, bliss, not an augmented re-enhancement of parallel eternity for sentient souls seeking peace. I mean, in that phrase alone, there’s 10 words replacing one, Heaven. It is what it is, but like I say, I do like the new name for Heaven, Bliss.”
Things were off of God’s chest now and God sat down in the executive swivel chair behind the large desk as Janice left the office, feeling more peaceful and content. God called Doris into the office.
“You’ll be happy to know that I’m not retiring after all.”
Doris smiled and went back to work.
Written by Sougen.