Once upon a dreary day, when the world seemed at its lowest, Johnny looked out his bedroom window and said to God, “Stop all that crying! Things can’t be that bad!”
But God was in no mood for insubordination and flashed Johnny a fierce and crackling lighting bolt that sent him hiding under his bed covers.
“Just saying,” said Johnny. “You don’t have to make such a fuss!”
Anna, Johnny’s little sister, was fast asleep in the next bed, oblivious to God’s thunder.
“I SAID, YOU DON’T HAVE TO MAKE SUCH A FUSS!” repeated Johnny.
Anna bolted up in her bed and stared at Johnny and his shadow as they flickered to and fro on the bedroom wall.
“Why are you shouting?” said Anna. “You woke me.”
“Sorry,” said Johnny. “I know how much you like a good thunder storm. I thought I’d share it with you.”
“I like my dreams better,” said Anna. “They’re not as noisy.”
“Must have been some dream,” said Johnny.
“You didn’t wake up once during the storm,” said Johnny. “What were you dreaming about?”
Anna lay back down and closed her eyes, smiling.
“I dreamed I was God,” said Anna.
“No wonder he was making so much noise,” said Johnny. “You pissed Him off. That’s against the law or something, isn’t it?"
Anna laughed and said, “I was only God for a little while. He asked me to watch the place while he went out for a smoke.”
“What?” said Johnny.
“He also asked me to feed His fish,” said Anna.
“But after He left I started getting nervous. I didn’t know a thing about being God. What if the sun didn’t come up when it was supposed to? What if I didn’t know where He kept the moon and stars? What if my clouds weren’t as fluffy as they should be, but, instead, looked like those squishy pillows that have lost all their feathers? That would certainly upset a lot of people.
“But before I went into a compete panic about how to handle the universe, I started hearing the voices.”
“Voices?” said Johnny.
“Yeah,” said Anna. “Voices. Everywhere. They were hard to understand at first. Like the voices at the parties mom and dad have. Where everyone’s talking at the same time and it sounds like a waterfall. Doesn’t sound human at all. Then all of a sudden your ear picks up on that one voice. You don’t know why its that one voice, but you start hearing it.”
“What was the voice saying?”
“It said, ‘Help me. Please. I can’t take it anymore.’” said Anna.
“Wow,” said Johnny.
“Wow is right. It freaked me out a little. How was I going to help anyone? I can barely reach the cookie jar without getting a boost from the dog.”
“The dog!” said Johnny. “No wonder he’s always limping.”
“Sush,” said Anna. “I never said that.”
“You owe me one,” said Johnny. “Now what about the voice?”
“Well, first I thought it might be a test from God,” said Anna. “To see how good I’d be at being God. Maybe He wanted to give up the job and was auditioning me for the part. Like when I played the baby Jesus at the Christmas pageant.”
“All you had to do was lay there and kick your legs a few times,” said Johnny, “to let the audience know there was something in the cradle. I’d hardly call it an audition to play God.”
“You’re missing the point,” said Anna. “Maybe God figured if I did such a good job playing the son, I’d do a good job playing the father.”
“Your logic,” said Johnny. “Not God’s.”
"Shush, again,” said Anna. “All I’m saying is that I think God is getting ready to split and wants someone to take the weight off his shoulders.”
“What makes you say that?” said Johnny.
“Well, while I was sitting in His chair listening to the voices, wondering what I was supposed to be doing, I caught a peek of God outside the window and I swear he was hitchhiking.”
“Oh, come on!” said Johnny. “They have cars in Heaven?”
“I don’t know,” said Anna. “I’m just telling you what I saw. I even walked up to the window to get a better look, but He was gone. And boy, did He leave a mess. Cigarette butts and burnt matches everywhere. That was one nervous Almighty God.”
“I think you ought to stop eating those sour patch kids before going to bed,” said Johnny.
“They’re making you hallucinate.”
“Whatever,” said Anna. “But while I was sitting in the chair waiting for God to come back, I heard the voice again. This time it said, ‘Please, God. Hurry!’ Then I heard a car door slam and I saw God getting out of a powder blue 1965 Mustang convertible. ‘Thanks for the ride, Pete,’ I heard Him say, ‘And thanks for the beers. I think I just needed a night out. I‘m feeling better already.’ Things must happen pretty fast in Heaven, because it seemed like He was gone no more than five minutes.”
“Sounds a little crazy to me,” said Johnny. ”
“Sounded crazy to me, too,” said Anna.
“Did He say anything to you when He came back in?”
“Yeah,” said Anna. “He asked me if I fed the fish.”
“Well, did you?” said Johnny.
“I forgot about the fish.” said Anna. ”I was too busy listening to the --.”
“Oh, my God!” said Johnny.
“All God wanted you to do was take care of his fish while he went to the pub to unwind and you screwed up the job!”
“Well, I was busy listening to the voices,” said Anna.
“That voice was the fish talking!” said Johnny. “No wonder you didn’t get the job. You’re pathetic. Now go back to sleep.”
“Dear God,” said Anna, as she closed her eyes to sleep, “You said nothing about talking fish. I want another interview. Oh, and please, enough with the smoking. You’re killing yourself. Then where would we be? You can’t let yourself go like that. Because, If there’s no hope for you, what chance do the rest of us have? Think about it. I love you and good night.”