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Hello, God?

a short story by John Kremer

“Hello, God? … Well, who is this then? … This is heaven, isn’t it? … Well, all right, then let me speak to God. … God. … God, that’s capital G – o – d, God. … Well, I don’t give a damn what name he goes by, I just want him. Let me talk to the head man. … The boss. You do have a boss? … Okay, let me speak to him. … I’ll wait. … No, I won’t hang up. … No, you listen! I’ve spent some big bucks to make this call. I’ve gone through three Comsats and fourteen Telstars to reach you guys, and I’m not about to hang up now. You just tell your boss that Joseph L. Montagu is waiting to talk to him. … Just tell him. … Let me worry about that. You just get him. I’ll do the explaining. … That’s better. … Yes, I’ll hold, but make it quick. … Yah, thanks. …”

#

“Yah, hello. Who’s this? … Michael de who? … Michael the Archangel? Hey, has there been some kind of coup up there? I wanted to speak to God, and the little squirt gives me you. … God. … God. That’s capital G – o – d, God. … You, too? … Never heard of the fella? … Well, have you heard of the Big Boss? … Well, do you have some kind of being up there who’s in charge of the whole place? … Good, let me talk to him. … Yah, I’ll hold. …”

#

“Yah, hello. Is this God? … God. … You, too? … Well, are you the big boss? … Ya know, the person in charge. … Good, then you’re the one I want to talk to. Ya see, I’ve got this problem and I — … What? … In triplicate? … Hey, listen fella, this is a long distance phone call, very long distance. I can’t just up and leave everything here to come and fill out one of your forms. … Yah, I’m calling from Earth. … Yah, you got it. … What? … You’re not in charge of cleaning earth? Who said anything about cleaning? … You’re the what? … The sanitation department? Shit. … No, not in heaven. … No, it’s just an expression. … Yah, sorry. I didn’t know you’d take it personally. … That’s all right. … No, now wait a minute, don’t hang up! … Yah, I mean, I’ve been three months setting up this call, and I don’t have another three months to spare. … Yah, I need to talk to God. … Yah, I know, you never heard of him. But have you heard of some supreme being? Ya know, the head of the whole shebang. … The big boss. The king. The president. … The president? … Good, let me speak to him. … Yah, thanks. … No trouble. … Yah, I’ll hold. …”

#

Hello? … Are you God? … God. … God, capital G – o – d, God. … Not again. Well, are you the president? … He’s out? … Won’t be back till when? … Translate that for me. … From Earth. … Well, it’s the third planet from the Sun. … Sun? Well, that’s what we call it. … No, it doesn’t have any other names as far as I know. … Well, it’s an ordinary sized star near the outer rim of the galaxy. … Milky Way. … Oh, for —. Listen, I haven’t got the time for a geography lesson. Have you heard of Jesus Christ? … Buddha? … Krishna? … Zeus? … No history either, huh? Well, forget it. It’s not really important. All I really want to know is how much longer before the president returns. … Oh, he’s in now? … He’s been back how long? … No, wait, don’t tell me. … No, really, forget I asked. … Thanks. Now can I talk to the president? … Finally. … Yah, I’ll hold. …”

#

“Hello, Mr. President? … Good. Say, are you God? … God, capital G – o – d, God. … Oh, no. Well, what are you then? … I know, the president. But what I mean is, what do you do? … Yah, like what’s your line of work? … Master of ceremonies? What ceremonies? … Every night? … Clouds and choirs of angels and the whole works? Every night? Don’t you get bored? … Oh. Three weeks and then someone else takes over. Elected? … Drafted. It figures. … That I can understand. But, see here, enough of this. I’m really not interested in your problems. … Yah, I’ve got my own. … Well, what do you think I’m calling about? … Yah, I’ve got this problem I want fixed. … Not your department? … Yah, it figures. Well, do you know who I should talk to? … The complaint department? … All right, I’ll try it. What have I got to lose? … If I should be so lucky. … You’ll transfer me? … Yah, thanks. … Sure, I’ll hold. …”

#

“Hello. Is this the complaint department? … Say, first of all, have you heard of God? … No, forget I asked. … No, I don’t have any complaints about him. Not yet anyway. … No, really. … Yah. … Yah, but I do have a problem. … Yah, a problem. … The president. … Uh, uh. He told me to talk to you. … He shouldn’t have? … You don’t what? … You don’t handle them in person! What do you do? … Oh, the proper channels. … Prayer? … Have I tried it? Listen, buddy, I’ve been trying prayer for two years now, and it hasn’t done me a hell of a lot of good. … You bet, on the knees and everything. … Yah, priests, too. And candles and the whole shebang of paraphernalia. … Even a bishop. … Yah, two pilgrimages. … Yah, Lourdes and Jerusalem. … On Earth. … Well, it’s the third planet — no, wait, it’s not important. … No, really, forget it. They didn’t do any good anyway. … Yah, I know. … How’d I get your number? … Well, some guy from Ma Tell. … Ma Tell. … It’s a short and unaffectionate nickname for the Telstar System. … Well, they run the long-range communications for the entire galaxy. … Yup, instantaneous. … Yup, a monopoly. But, as I was saying, this guy from Ma Tell happened to patch into a gravitational curve running from here to heaven. … Yah, that’s how it works. … Well, no, not yet. … No, I’m the first. … The hell you’re telling me! You’d better believe it took big bucks, and a hell of a lot of time. … What for? I told ya! I got a problem. … Yah, you told me, proper channels. … Wait! … Do you perhaps have someone up there who at least listens to problems? … Yah, personally. … Information? … Okay, let’s give it a try. … Yah, I’ll hold. …”

#

“Hello, information? … Good. … What? … Oh. Joseph L. Montagu, from Earth. … No, you don’t really want to know. … Yah, I’m sure. You wouldn’t know if I told you anyway. … Yah. … Yah, I’m calling because the complaint department said you might know of someone up there who listens to people’s problems. … No, they don’t. You have to go through the proper channels with them. … Yah, I want someone personal. … A what? … A psychoanalyst? … Well, I don’t know. … Well, do you have one by the name of God? … God. … That’s capital G – o – d, God. … Yah, I’ll hold. … You do? … Great, sent me through! … Yah, I’ll hold. … Yah, thanks. …”

#

“Hello, God? … Oh, thank God! … Oh, sorry, that’s an expression. … Yah, I’ve been trying to reach you all day. … Well, it’s good to talk to you, too. … You see, I have this problem. … Yah, I know. … Thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to listen. … Well, it began like this. You see, two years ago I found out I had cancer. … Yah, incurable. … Yah, and terminal. … Uh, uh. I tried everything — doctors, healers, quacks, priests, lawyers. … Yah, none of them worked. … Oh, yes, prayers and pilgrimages and fasts and diets and drugs and a dozen new experimental techniques. … No, none of them. … Yah, that’s why when I got the chance to talk to you, I took it. … Why you? Well, you’re the big boss. If anyone can cure it, you can. … You can’t? … It’s not your what? … Your line of work? Well, what do you do then? … Listen. Just listen? … Yah, a lot of help. … Say, you wouldn’t know by chance who does take problems? … You know, takes ’em and solves ’em. … You do? … Him? … Yah, I should have guessed. Well, can you transfer me? … You can? … Just across the abyss? … No problem then? … Great. … Yah, thanks. … You, too. … Yah, I’ll hold. …”

#

“Hello. Is this the big D? …”


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Copyright 2014 by John Kremer
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