And God Help You
by Paul Beckman
My chores were piling up and I was behind on my school reports so I kneeled next to my bed as I’d seen kids do on TV and I prayed. “Please help me, God,” I said with my eyes tightly closed and my hands clasped. “I’m only a boy and can’t do things all alone.”
God spoke to me in my head. He said, “My job is not to do your job, Arthur, but to give you confidence and support. With that you can do much more than you think. And by the way, Jews don’t pray on their knees.”
I got up and stood next to my bed. “Okay, I’ll take the confidence and support from you if that’s all I can get but you’re God and could do more if you wanted to,” I said.
I heard a ping from my Iphone. God texted me: “You think it’s so easy? It’s not. Do you have any idea how many kids want and need confidence and support? Don’t be greedy or I’ll take one away and you’ll have to choose between confidence and support.”
I texted back: “But you’re God. You can do anything, anytime and anywhere. What’s the big deal?’
I pissed God off—I could tell. My phone rang. It’s a good thing I caught the phone mid-first ring so as not to wake dad up. Another ping. “Think, Arthur, you ingrate. I could have hidden the phone and let it ring a half-dozen times and your father would have been in your room in no time with his belt at the ready. But no,” he said, “I’m compassionate and understanding and you are neither. You ask me for something every day—sometimes three and four times a day. It’s not my job to see that you hit a baseball or that your mother will have chocolate pudding for desert or that your teacher won’t ask to see the homework you forgot about.”
I had to defend myself to God but he stopped me. Ping. “Don’t try and defend yourself. I’m losing my temper and if that happens I’m going to get in trouble and what I don’t need is trouble.”
I texted: “But you’re God—how can you get in trouble? You’re God—and everyone knows God’s on the top.”
He texted back: “Everyone has a boss. My brothers and sisters are also Gods only elsewhere and they are no different and we all have to answer to our father and him to his father and so on up the line. There is no head honcho in our business no matter what you’ve read or have been told. Everyone has a boss above and there is no way out of it so shut the hell up Arthur and go to bed and you’ll wake up with support and confidence. Be thankful for that or I’ll be forced to put you on report. And may God help you, Arthur, if I have to do that.”
Paul Beckman was a pin setter, numbers runner & butcher’s apprentice in his youth. He graduated to air traffic controller, builder & realtor. Now he writes and some of his published stories have appeared in: The Raleigh Review, 5 Trope, The Brooklyner, Metazen, Pure Slush, Playboy & Connotation Press.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.