“God, I promise, just let me see my kids once and I’ll ask for nothing else”. Suddenly the bells started ringing, the gates were thrown open and a five year old screaming “Mom”, collided with her, she turned.
“Honey, will you shut that thing, I’m trying to help Ron with his homework”, my wife screamed from the other room.
I groaned and turned it off and walked across to the other room. ”Did you hear the TV? God! How does anyone buy these”? I hated those soaps, probably more than her too, but there wasn’t anything to do that evening.
“Yes, honey, I think there are a couple of people three blocks away who didn’t hear it.”
I shrugged. “Imagine if God heard your prayers instantly like that, hah, God.”
“You’re doing it all wrong”, she said, “place the decimal point in line.”
I went into the drawing room, stared at a painting on the wall, lifted my arms and pointed them straight towards the frame and said, “God let it fall”. The painting slid smoothly off the hook as if somebody had forced it to and crashed to the floor. Katie rushed out, with a scared face, glanced once at the shattered pieces of glass on the floor, once at me. Then she puffed up her face, seemed as if her eyes would pop out, turned back and slammed the door shut.
Next day at the office, the files kept coming. I couldn’t open a single one. Jose looked over from his desk and mouthed a “What?” I shook my head slowly and turned my attention to the pencil in my hand. It was the only company I had had since last night. The hardest part was not to make anyone else believe what I had witnessed; it was to make myself believe it. It must have been the wind, I thought, only I knew full well, the windows were closed.
One p.m. Lunchtime. I walked out and tried to think about something that would make me forget last night.
“Those Joe’s sandwiches”, I said dreamily. But they were on the other side of town and somehow I didn’t feel like driving fifteen miles. I looked up and muttered with a smile,” If you’re hearing then send me one of those sandwiches, will you?” I looked both ways and the only recognizable face was Jose’s. He was staring at me as if he thought I had completely lost it. He came up to me and said,” You look sick, man. I got something that should cheer you right up.” He took out his lunch and handed to me a sandwich wrapped up nicely. “ My wife got these from Joe’s this morning. You’ve ever tasted any of these before. They’re grand.”
I snatched it from his hand and rushed to get my car. I must have driven at ninety miles per hour, cause I was back home in a flash.
“Honey, open up”, I yelled and simultaneously banged on the door.
“You remember that painting yesterday”, I began, as she disinterestedly looked at me, convinced that it was just another one of those ridiculous stories I often told Ron.
“And look”, I handed her over what was left of the sandwich, only the napkin, but it had Joe’s written over it. I stood waiting a gasp, after all the evidence was here.
“You got me a napkin to make up for that painting, pathetic!”
I grabbed her wrist as she walked away. “You don’t believe me do you,” I could feel her getting angrier by the second.” Wait, watch this”.
I lifted my arms again and pointed them this time to a beautiful blue vase on the mantel.
With the confidence of Hitler I shouted,” God, break it”. Nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing. I looked at her hoping she had a better explanation. She said quietly,” I’m not amused”. One more night on the couch then. But why hadn’t it worked.
“Once every day and tell nobody”, I could hear these words clearly as Ron picked up the telephone in the corner. I stared at him, but he wasn’t looking at me. He was talking to one of his friends, maybe. Was I really talking to God through my son? “That’s right”, blurted Ron once again. The contract was there. Okay then I thought, I play by your rules.
Next day at work, I was multitasking. Finishing off yesterday’s work as well as thinking about what I would wish for today. The first few thoughts had been weird. Social service, charity, food for the poor. Later I thought. There was plenty of time for social reforms. What did I want most? I would be careful not to offend him. After all that was the message behind yesterday’s talk, not to be greedy. I wasn’t a selfish man. I didn’t want a red Ferrari F-40. Maybe I did, but that wasn’t the point. Nothing irrational was my conclusion. Okay then, by lunch I had settled the matter in my head. A promotion and a new car.
I worked in a small private firm whose exact motive was unknown to me. Business wasn’t all that good, promotions were rare and all of this was due to that rival company that had sprung up recently. From what I had heard, they were set to completely destroy us and take over the business entirely. Many of my friends had resigned and joined the enemy. I hadn’t, simply because I was unsure, of whether they would take me or not. As I looked outside I could see my tiny blue car parked neatly near the area where they were unloading some wooden crates from loaded tucks on to forklifts. As I watched, one of those forklifts veered of course completely. I had started to rise when it gathered speed and headed in the direction of my car. I scrambled to open the window, but either I was too slow or it was too fast. Those steel forks smashed into the side of my car and the momentum pushed the car sideways and into the wall. I watched helplessly as people started to gather around the site. I rushed downstairs and found my car helplessly stuck between the forklift and the wall crushed to half its width. The crates had slid off and on to the roof of my car, which had no choice but to succumb. Altogether it was reduced to half its normal proportions and was no longer fit to drive, ever again.
Jose gave me a lift home that day. I wasn’t in a mood to talk with anybody. Had I asked for too much? I didn’t think so. Granted, that I was not one of the best workers around but I did the best I could. A promotion could have been a welcome change and I was even planning on a new car. The telephone rang as I groaned. I let it ring until my wife came in from the kitchen and answered it.
“Its for you”
“Who is it?”, I snapped.
“Some legal advisor from ATKOM”
I remembered. ATKOM was the rival firm that wanted to make us jobless.
“Hello”, said I. “Am I speaking to Mr. Anderson”. I replied he was.
“Mr. Anderson, this is Mr. Delahunt. I am the legal advisor for ATKOM. We just heard of the terrible accident you were involved in this morning. Obviously you must know that we are all very sor…”
“What do you want?”
A silence ensued. However soon enough the voice boomed back but this time it meant strict business.
“Mr. Anderson, we are asking that you sue your company for compensations since this was obviously due to carelessness on their path.”
I sat up a little straighter. For the first time in over two days I was actually thinking.
“What’s it in there for you”, I asked quietly, unsure of the kind of response I would get.
Delahunt laughed softly but replied,” I won’t hide it from you Mr. Anderson. If you do file this case and the case does get to court we hope to dole out a lot of negative publicity for your firm, which means a lot of positive publicity for ours. If you do win, so much the better for you, you get the money and a job at our firm, if you lose you still are guaranteed a job at our firm. To put it simply you end up with a better job after this is over and you might also have a lot of extra money with you. Now can I put it any plainer.”
I said I would think about it. He gave me his number and said he would be expecting my call. After I hung up the phone I was even more confused than I had been before I had picked it up. I wasn’t doubting God not now, at least, but what was I supposed to do?
I went next day to my office and had barely touched my chair when the head of our firm, Mr. Andrews summoned me.
“Mr. Anderson, I am terribly sorry for what happened the other day, but that is not the reason why I have called you here. You see, ATKOM doesn’t want to miss any opportunity, and if this news reaches them they will evidently try to drag us to court through you. All I am asking that you remain faithful to the company that you have served for so many years and in return for you faith in our firm we would be glad to offer you a promotion and, of course, an absolutely new car of your choice.”
I lapped up the offer and the only question in my mind when I left his office was which car would I choose. I never heard from the ATKOM legal advisor again.
Three days later I had won a lottery for a hundred thousand dollars, my son had reached the finals of an international mathematics Olympiad (the youngest ever to do so) and Katie and I were choosing from a trip to Paris, Greece or Italy all expenses paid of course. It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about charity, it was just that the time wasn’t right. I didn’t feel guilty for under utilizing this power. World peace, food for the poor, I was getting there. I just wanted to enjoy a little before I moved on to bigger things, as I liked to call it. There was lot of time, I knew, after all God wasn’t going to let me get away with only pleasures, he expected me to do something and I knew it. I was just waiting for the right time.
Next morning, on my way to office, I was still unsure of what I would ask God for that day. I thought since I wanted nothing presently I would wait till I felt like it. At the corner of Elf Street this guy was selling hotdogs. I had had breakfast but I don’t know why I felt hungry. So I got one and stood at the corner and as I stuffed it into my mouth I thought of these millions of other people who walked about their everyday life and how anyone would be ready to kill for the sort of power I possessed. I could do anything, absolutely anything. If I wanted I could make that building collapse, or maybe an earthquake and then everybody would get to know. I had no intention of doing anything like that but it sure felt good to know that I could if I wanted to.
The hotdog was now half, when a small kid, hardly seven-eight years old, beautiful golden hair and wearing a bright blue T-shirt, stole from his mother and ran right into the center of the road chasing his red balloon. Standing exactly at the center he got hold of the escaped balloon and it was only when he raised his head did he realize where he was. His mother was plainly the lady whom was screaming her lungs out, pleading for the cars to stop or for somebody to help. I forgot the hotdog and wanted exactly what the woman standing across the street did. I screamed and said,” God make those cars stop…..”nobody took any notice of what I was saying. All eyes were fixed on that small angel. I cried again,” Stop, make them stop….God please let them stop now, stop…..now”. I snapped my fingers, raised my arms and begged and pleaded. I remembered clearly my wish for the day wasn’t over. The black Mercedes speeding at 70 miles per hour aimed directly at the boy.” God now brake it. …Stop it there’s a kid down there! Please”. I became aware of why the people weren’t listening to me cause they were saying the same thing, but only my voice mattered I screamed again,” stop that black one, God, stop that black one. Nowww….stop…brake that one……stop now…….
The Mercedes braked only a fraction too late. The balloon flew off and there was silence, silence like there hadn’t been in the past fifteen seconds. People rushed as cars skid to a standstill but I knew nobody could have survived that crash, let alone a seven year old. I saw his arm from under the car and I saw blood. They were all screaming, no all silent, it didn’t matter now. Did it?
Seven days later I emerged from my room. I had spoken to no one since and hadn’t eaten anything. I was surprised how I was still alive. Katie had been with doctors and psychologists the entire week. I slowly walked to the drawing room and saw that there was no one there. I didn’t know why I was doing it or what would happen if it worked but I had to do it. I raised my arms and looking at the crystal vase on the mantel said, ”shatter”.
The cross on the wall behind the vase unscrewed from the top nail and turned though hundred and eighty degrees. Anti Christ. The vase shattered.
It wasn’t God that I had signed the deal with. It was the devil.