“What’s he like?”
They were now in Steve’s office. A fairly posh affair compared to the cubicles in the outside area, Steve had high-backed leather swivel chairs that surrounded a pentagonal oak table. In the far corner was a small oaken desk with a laptop on it, complete with red horns above the Apple logo. He sat at the desk perusing some interoffice memos and emails, sipping his coffee, as Sara had a look around.
“What’s who like?” Steve said, clicking idly with his optical mouse.
“You know…the boss.”
“Springsteen? He’s not here yet.”
“You know who I mean, jerk.”
He looked up from the computer screen, slightly perplexed.
“No, I really don’t.”
“Well, you know…” Sara gesticulated in what she hoped was a pleading manner. She said the next word in a worrisome whisper.
“Why did you whisper that?” Steve laughed, leaning back in his chair.
“I don’t know, I figured his name probably wasn’t all that great to say, being in Hell.”
“No, that’s the beauty of it. We have very few rules down here, we can do as we please as long as we don’t anger the big guy and, believe me, that takes a lot.”
“Didn’t even flinch when I threw things at him.”
“You…threw things at him?” Sara was baffled.
“I had so much more I had wanted to do in life! I was pissed I got cut out so early, I really gave him a piece of my mind…not that it mattered.”
Steve leaned forward and took a deep breath, like he was about to tell Sara where babies came from.
“The problem is that people keep fitting God into ideas they can understand, ideas that are human. The whole point is that he isn’t. He’s not human, he’s not like anything else in the universe.”
“You mean there’s life somewhere else?” Sara’s eyes were wide and curious.
“Of course. It wouldn’t be logical to create a whole universe of nothing, would it? If you’re curious, the alien afterlifes are on separate planes from this one, but you can visit if you want to. We don’t mix them because it has a tendency to freak out all involved.”
He propped a pair of Chuck Taylor All Stars on his desk, leaning back and languishing. “Anyway! Back to the big guy. He’s not human. He’s really not anything, and yet he’s everything. It’s difficult to understand. All you really need to know is that he’s pretty cool. Great for conversations on pretty much anything because, well, he’s freaking God, but the problem is when it comes to business. He doesn’t care and he doesn’t not care, Sara. Business is business, and he’s basically there just to keep it all in line. I yelled and screamed and threw things when he welcomed me to paradise, but he didn’t get angry at me…or feel bad for me. He didn’t really feel, he’s kinda distant in that respect.”
“So God’s a Vulcan?” Sara involuntarily made the infamous hand signal.
“Sort of, yeah. I mean, he’s plenty interesting when you’re talking about something, but just don’t ask him to hate or empathize. It’s like this: if God acted like a human, it’d be like you and me knowing that every day we’d have to kill millions of our children.”
Sara inhaled sharply. Steve noticed.
“See? Humans can’t do that. Or when Lucifer was in charge, how do you think a human would have dealt with all evil in the world being the work of one of your children who saw no grater pleasure than trying to spite his father? We as humans can’t handle that, so God just exists above it. He’s got no happy, no sad, no scared, no mad. He’s not like us, and I’m damn thankful for that. He basically keeps the entire system from careening off into pan-dimensional anarchy, his power is beyond our power to even believe…but just don’t even think he’s human. Even calling him “him,” which is something I just do out of old habit, isn’t true because he really doesn’t have a gender. He’s just…there. He makes everything work with cold, calculating mathematical precision, and he doesn’t think about it further…because he can’t afford to. In some ways, it’s a life I wish I had,” Steve’s eyes grew distant, “but in other ways it’s a life I wouldn’t ever possibly want. That’s why I changed things up down here, I made it more human, I had to. I don’t make it all about torture and malice because, in reality, that would tear me apart. Thankfully, God didn’t ask me to fill in for him, that’s way too much damned paperwork. But he does it, and he doesn’t complain. I don’t even think he knows how to.”
Steve finished off his coffee. “All that said, he plays a mean game of Cribbage. Just don’t expect any feeling of satisfaction if you beat him.”
“So can I go meet him?”
“If you want. We’ve got pretty free reign round her, Sara. Just concentrate on anyplace hard enough and you can pop in and out, part of the special bargain. If you are going to visit the big guy, though, remember: don’t ask him any questions, because you might not like the answers. Don’t praise him, because he won’t recognize it. Don’t try to impress him with what you say, he’s more impressed by what you do. Just…talk to him. Oh, and don’t be afraid to tell him when he starts going off on something ponderous, he doesn’t really realize it most of the time.”
“He sounds very interesting.” Sara smiled.
“What do you expect?” Steve laughed, “He’s God.”
“What’s he like?”