Plugs

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

God Is Not Screwing Around

by Luc Reid

“This came for you, Martin,” said Sue at reception as Martin was sneaking out of work early one Tuesday. He sheepishly took the envelope and retreated to the break room. The fluorescent lights hummed tirelessly, and Martin, who was 39, felt old and useless. He opened the envelope. It burst into flame.

illustration by Ethan Reid
illustration by Ethan Reid

Martin shrieked and threw the envelope down on the table, where it continued to flame brightly without burning up.

“MARTIN, THIS IS GOD,” said a voice from the burning envelope. “I’D LIKE TO GET TOGETHER WITH YOU UP HERE THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW AT THREE. SEE YOU THEN.”

The flames guttered, and Martin reached tentatively for the envelope. It flared again.

“AND MARTIN,” said God. “LET’S KEEP THIS BETWEEN US.”

The envelope suddenly burned away to fine ash that drifted off the table and settled invisibly over the dun-colored, industrial carpeting.

Martin didn’t sleep well that night. He began by worrying about what God could possibly want with him, but by 2:00 AM he had shifted his fretful attention to logistics. How was he supposed to get to the meeting? Would he just be lifted up bodily? If so, what if he was indoors? And so on.

The next day he would have called in sick, but God was probably watching. At work, he managed to utterly bork the financial projections he’d been working on for two weeks.

Martin was wigging out: he had to talk to someone, even though God had said not to. There seemed a real possibility he was going insane. He went down to see Sue at reception.

“You look awful,” she said. “Are you OK?”

“Actually,” Martin said in a rough voice. “I’ve been a little stressed out. I have this appointment with–”

#

The next thing Martin knew, he was waking up naked and badly hung over in an empty warehouse that smelled like beer and piss. Something sharp was jabbing his back. When he got up, he discovered he’d been sleeping on a Barbie bed.

“God is not screwing around,” Martin said.

Work that next day passed in disoriented tedium. At 2:52 he wandered into the hallway and out the back door. In a store window across the street the sun gleamed like gold. Martin squinted. Could that be–? He stepped off the curb toward the light, right into the path of a speeding Ford F-150.

Martin actually ended up being a couple of minutes early.

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One Response to “God Is Not Screwing Around”

  1. David Says:

    April 19th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Title a bit reminiscent of Zappa’s “Dumb All Over.”