God took off His headset and slammed it onto His heavenly console. “ME, ALMIGHTY!” He said, which was as close as He ever came to using His own name in vain.
“Sh’h’h’h’h’h!” said Michael, the arch-angel. “Q. A. might be listening.”
God rolled His eyes at the mention of Q.A. Being God was a powerful gig, but not even He was as high on the flow chart as the Quality Assurance team that listened in on the prayers He received each day.
“Why are We always in Code Red?” fumed God, referring to the excessively busy switchboard. “Before I can finish notating the answer to one prayer, I get another. I can’t take this anymore!”
God pressed his Not Ready button so that no more prayers could come through until after He took a few moments to catch His breath, calm His nerves, write some notes and fill out His Save Tool, which kept track of how many souls He saved and how many He lost each day.
“You can’t go into Not Ready on a Monday!” said Gabriel from the booth across the aisle.
God glared at Gabriel. “Nobody tells ME what to do. Except Q.A., of course.”
“We’ve got 3 billion prayers in the queue,” said Gabriel. “How are we going to handle them if we can’t escalate to You?”
“Do what I do,” said God. “Express appreciation for their faith and give them an empathy statement.”
Michael rejoined the conversation. “That’s not enough. They want to speak to YOU.”
“Send them to the Commitment Team.”
“They’re backed up already,” said St. Peter, the security guard.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at the gate?” asked God.
“Coffee break,” said the saint, holding up his styrofoam cup.
God put His headset on again and turned to face His interaction screen. “This is wearing me out. I wish I knew what was going on down there to cause so many prayers. Has anybody checked the Event Dashboard?”
Michael clicked his mouse and rows of statistics appeared on his screen. “Mostly people praying for money. Times are hard.”
Gabriel checked the dashboard at his own work station. “People are praying because the disaster schedule is pretty heavy right now: today alone, there’s an earthquake, three hurricanes, a hundred tornados, two wars, fifty terrorist strikes, eight genocides, half a million accidents, ninety epidemics, twenty famines, two thousand murders and Rush Limbaugh.”
“No wonder we’re in Code Red,” mumbled God.
“And don’t forget the AT’n’T call center folks,” said Michael.
“What’s wrong with them?” asked God.
“They’re in Code Red, too; just like us,” said Gabriel.
God shook His head and mumbled under His breath. "Oh, those poor reps!! I'll have to answer their prayers first."
“God, you can’t give special treatment to any one group,” said Michael.
“Q.A. wouldn’t like it,” said Gabriel.
“And you know you can’t afford to lose any more points in Q.A.,” added St. Peter, blowing on his steaming coffee.
God sighed for all His children everywhere who were in Code Red this day. "You're right, guys. I guess their Code Red can’t be any worse than Mine. So they'll just have to suffer."
He punched out of Not Ready and greeted the next supplicant: “Hello, My name is God. Thank you for calling on Me today. How may I help you?”
“Dear God," said a distraught voice. "I work at AT’n’T and we’re in Code Red today….”
Somewhere, on a level far, far higher than God, the Q.A. lady listening in on the call snickered.
Quality Assurance (or Q.A.) is another phrase for "Efficiency Expert." An important character in my someday-to-be-published novel Preaching To The Trees just happens to be an Efficiency Expert. And why not? After all my battles with them when I worked at ATT, I'm an expert on them now!