SHORT STORY SUNDAY
I wanted to thank everyone who support me by subscribing to my website with a free short story. I'm truly grateful! I will try to post one short (not necessarily horror), story on the first Sunday of each month on my blog and hope you'll stop by to check it out.
This story, NO COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT IN HEAVEN is a sneak peek of one of many fabulous short stories that will be in the upcoming anthology DISTRACTIONS III - OVERCOMING
Brought to you by Mystic Canyon Publishing and edited by the amazing Liane Larocque
Please check out DISTRACTIONS I & II for more fabulous stories!
No Complaint Department in Heaven
Author of The Blood Prophecy Series, “Inferno of Secrets,” “Raven,” and “Missionaries”
Archangel Michael stepped up to the sparkling white marble podium and cleared his throat. Clumps of Michael's shoulder-length brown hair stuck out all over his head where it resembled Medusa. The feathers of his magnificent wings, once white, now a pale yellow, and his handsome face covered in three-day-old beard stubble. He was a far cry from his usual grace. Michael waited a bit before clearing his throat several more times to get someone's attention. After his twelfth attempt, Joan finally appeared from behind the colossal green Granite podium directly facing him.
“Qu’y a-t-il cette fois, Michael? Votre perseverance me porte jusqu’a l’os.”
"English, Joan, my French is a bit rusty."
"Fine, What is it this time, Michael? Your persistence is wearing me to the bone. This is the last time I will tell you that there's no complaint department in heaven. You are not new, Michael, and I'm fully aware that you know company policy 333-000-1B. (All celestial disputes with humans are the responsibility of each Arc Angel to be handled with love, kindness, compassion, patience, and above all, in continual service to humanity. Our Lord God is not to be disturbed with such trivial matters)."
"I am fully aware of the policy. But you don't understand the severity of the situation. They are working us to death."
"Are you referring to the cartomancers again?"
"Yes, the Tarot card readers. The same complaint as last time, the time before that, and the time before that. So many times, I've lost count."
"That's why we always tell everyone to make sure and keep a hard copy in their files for at least ninety days."
"I don't care about the exact number. I need guidance on managing the hundreds of readers calling us to their readings, day and night, twenty-four-seven. ‘Arc Angel Michael, please guide this reading for Gemini. What does Scorpio need to know this week? Please, Archangel Michael, tell us what the celestials want Aquarius to know this week.’ And on and on to each and every zodiac sign. It's exhausting! And it's not just me. Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel are also being pulled to pieces, not sleeping for weeks. The rest are being called upon a bit less, but they're tired as well."
"I'm sorry, Michael. I truly am. But you boys are going to need to figure it out for yourselves. You already have an appointment for a face-to-face with our Lord. That's the best I can do. The only other thing I might be able to do is put you on a waitlist. If someone cancels, I could squeeze you in. Otherwise, my hands are tied. Our Lord is booked solid into the next millennia."
"That appointment is a hundred and fifty years from now! I'll be dead by then."
Joan chuckled. "Silly angel, you can't die."
"That's irrelevant. It will feel like a death. It will be painful and draining. Look at the color of my wings now."
Michael opened his massive wings and stretched them out as far as they would go. A few small pale yellow feathers floated in the air as he shook his wings furiously for a moment before folding them down neatly into his back until they disappeared.
"Okay, okay. Let me see what I can do. I'm not promising anything, but I will send a text for you on our Lord's private line regarding this. If you're lucky, you'll get an earlier appointment. But I'll warn you, it's improbable. Then again, I don't know. If Billy finds out I'm doing this for you, he'll certainly throw the book at me, which will still be better than the four-hour sermon on following the rules. The man loves to give sermons."
"He's the night shift clerk, loves attention. He still thinks he carries his high status from when he was still alive with him here, which we all know is untrue. Nothing we tell him will change his thinking."
"Please try. I'd be deeply grateful."
Joan's hands moved about behind the podium before returning with a stack of papers.
"In that case, you'll need to fill out this paperwork. I need it back by Monday. Do you have your Covenant card?"
"Seriously? For what?"
"For billing purposes for the text message. The number on the card is how you can easily be identified in the system. It's the quickest way to access your file and identify who you are. But be advised, whatever Covenant doesn't cover will have to be paid by you. And they'll only pay once you've reached your deductible in the last fifty-two weeks, had no prior appointments in regard to this meeting, and are up to date on the dues for your high altitude travel points membership. You're also going to need to show your last two years of Good Deed Assessment reports. For your sake, I hope you have more than a million charitable deeds listed for each year, or you'll get hit with the higher rate on renewal."
Michael let out a sigh as he took the stack of papers from her hands and handed over his Covenant card. Joan turned the card over, examining it closely.
"Never mind, I didn't realize you have the tear two Elite Halo Plus plan. You actually get two free meetings a century with our Lord. That's good news for you."
She waved her hands toward the papers in his hands. He handed the stack back to her. She thumbed through them for a moment, pulled out a single sheet of paper, and handed the stack back to him.
"This one you don't need with your kind of plan," she said with a smile.
Michael returned the following day and again waited for a long time for Joan to appear. When she finally did, she smiled at him.
"Excellent news, Michael. Our Lord answered the text message. He states: Make yourselves available to one-hundred additional cartomancers."
Michael stared at her for a moment. "How's that going to help?"
"Are you questioning our Lord?"
"No, no, of course not. I'll do as I'm told."
Michael returned to see Joan a month later, clumps of now gray feathers missing in vast patches over his once magnificent wings. His face sported a full beard, and his sparkling blue eyes had turned to a pale gray.
"Please, Joan, can you text our Lord again?"
He looked so pathetic that Joan hadn't the heart to say no. "Sure, come back tomorrow."
There was no smile on her face as she looked at how haggard he had become.
Michael returned the next day and waited as before.
"Good news, Michael. Our Lord has answered my text. He said all of you Arc Angels should make yourselves available for an additional one-hundred cartomancers each."
This time Michael said nothing as he slowly left the hall.
Another month passed, and Michael returned with Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel in tow, each looking as if they were about to die, with deep dark circles under their eyes and pale, thin lips.
"Please, Joan, we need an appointment with our Lord," Michael pleaded.
"The best I can do is text him. I'm sorry, there's nothing more I can do."
The following day the four Archangels returned.
"Great news, Our Lord has answered the text. First off, our Lord wants to know how you are feeling?"
Michael rolled his eyes, and they all began to shout out at once, "overworked, awful, exhausted, drained to the bone.”
"Don't forget walking dead," added Uriel.
"Our Lord understands and has decided to relieve some of your burdens by allowing you all to stop entertaining two hundred of the cartomancers each."
All four Archangels fell to their knees, holding their hands up in prayer.
"Thank you, Lord! We are forever grateful."
The Archangels returned to work, happy and content once more with the lightened load, and never returned to complain, mainly because there's no complaint department in heaven.