“Heavenly help, Angel Gertie here.”
“Need to speak to the big man.”
“Show respect, please. His name is God,” Angel Gertie says.
“I’m sorry, but I need his help.”
“He doesn’t take personal calls. Speak to me, please.”
“I don’t want you. I want him.”
“I can give him a message or you can talk to me,” Angel Gertie says. “We also have a website.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“In heaven, your name, status, wealth, no longer matters. Throwing your name around won’t help. Just spit it out and tell me why you called.”
“I’ll have my lawyer call.”
“No one gets special privileges here. Lawyer or no lawyer,” Angel Gertie says.
“Always helped before.”
“What’s it like up there?”
“How do you know we’re up?” Angel Gertie says.
“That’s what I always heard.”
“You’ll find out when your time comes.”
“Speaking of that, can you tell me where I am on the list?”
“Nope,” Angel Gertie says.
“What if I slip you a twenty? I’d like a little advance notice so I can shower, get my hair and nails done. Eat a sandwich before I go.”
“Shame for offering a bribe. How would you get it here anyway?” Angel Gertie chuckled. “You’ll get here in due time.”
“What about my problem?”
“What about it? You never said.”
“I got arrested for drinking and driving. Supposed to serve a jail sentence. Could ruin my career.”
“And you want God to intervene?” Angel Gertie says.
“He doesn’t do that.”
“What does he do?”
“He doesn’t cover up your mistakes to begin with. He’s forgiving but to a point. Deal with the consequences,” Angel Gertie says.
“My lawyer couldn’t get me out of it either. I thought God might step in.”
“You thought wrong.”
“Can’t blame me for trying.”
“People call and ask for many things. Some wishes he grants but trivial wishes like this – never. So, go face the jail time and learn from this.”
“You’re rather harsh, aren’t you? I will be ruined over this and you don’t care.”
“No one told you to drink and drive. Now go along, Another call waits,” Angel Gertie says.
The phone let out one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy and before the third ringy dingy, Angel Gertie picked up.
“Heavenly help, Angel Gertie here. What’s on your mind?”
“Does God give investment advice?”
“Investment advice! This isn’t Wall Street for crying out loud.”
“Can you pass on a question about an investment opportunity?”
“Excuse me but do you know where you called?” Angel Gertie asks.
“I went straight to the top for the best advice. I don’t want to lose money.”
“God isn’t your own personal financial counselor. That’s what stockbrokers are for. Is there anything else you need as long as I’ve got you on the line?”
“Yeah, I had a hard time getting through. Long wait times. Tell me, what he looks like? What color hair? Is it curly, wavy? Does he have a beard?”
“Can’t say,” Angel Gertie says.
“You’ll find out when it’s your time.”
“How about a sneak preview?’
“Not possible,” Angel Gertie says.
“Is there food in Heaven? Beer? Pretzels? Sunday football?”
“Stop asking me these questions. If there’s nothing else I’m ending the call.”
“I thought I could at least get in a few minutes.”
“Not for this.”
Angel Gertie ended the annoying call. What a day, she said to herself as she glanced at the long line of people waiting to get in. Many bore scars from gunshots or stabbings. Others were worn and ragged while some had dirty clothes evidently from living on the streets. There were the well-dressed and well-groomed too. God would be busy listening to all their stories as he passed judgment. The animal section, also known as the rainbow bridge, was packed too with cows, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, deer, and who knows what other four-legged creatures. Those humans couldn’t seem to stop killing animals. Pity wasn’t it Gertie thought as she saw a cat with a scarred face. She wondered what happened to the cat. Soon enough she’d find out. God always conferred with his angels after each judgment day for a recap of the newcomers.
There was another ringy dingy at the end of Angel Gertie’s shift. She thought of letting the next angel handle the call but she decided to take it herself.
“Angel Gertie here, what’s your message?”
“People don’t like me.”
“God loves everyone.”
“Yes, you,” Angel Gertie says.
“I did bad things.”
“I stole money.”
“Who from?”’ Angel Gertie asks.
“The bank where I work.”
“Give it back. God would tell you to do that.”
“They don’t need it. I do.”
“It wasn’t your money,” Angel Gertie says.
“They have a lot of money. I only have a little money.”
“Would you want someone to take money from you?”
“No, of course not.”
“Tell the bank you took their money,” Angel Gertie says.
“The bank will be mad.”
“The bank has every right to be mad and take action against you.”
“If I get down on my knees and beg forgiveness.”
“Don’t think it’ll work,” Angel Gertie says.
‘I’m asking you to make it better.”
“No can do.”
“Let me through to God. He’ll understand.”
“We can go back and forth like this for hours but you can’t talk to God. You made a big mistake that only you can fix. Sooner or later, the bank will notice you stole money. It’s better you come clean. Admit what you did. Maybe they’ll be lenient.”
“I stole $1 million.”
“Yikes. Get a lawyer and talk to the bank. God can’t help you. I can’t help you. I will however ask God to pray for you.”
“You’re no help.”
“I didn’t steal. You did,” Angel Gertie says.
“You could at least let God hear my confession.”
“That’s what priests are for.”
“I’m headed for jail. Don’t you care?”
“Of course, but you did this to yourself. We had nothing to do with it,” Angel Gertie says.
“I don’t know why I called. Can’t even get sympathy.”
“You’re a thief. God doesn’t sympathize with thieves. I hear that in some countries they chop off the hands of thieves. You should be lucky you don’t live there.”
“Think of poor old me when I’m in prison scraping by on stale bread and cold water. You had the chance to set me free.”
“Goodbye and good luck.”
The nerve of that man, Angel Gertie said as she ended her shift on the Heavenly Help hot-line. So much for another day of answering calls to the Almighty. Soon enough she’d return and start the process all over again.
“Wait, don’t go.”
“What now?” Angel Gertie asks.
“How’d you get the job of answering the hot line?”
“Easy, I applied for it after I got here.”