A Divine Appointment

Winston had assumed that death would grant him some measure of peace. Being a director of HR in the 1950s was not good for his blood pressure, nor his general view of humanity. Now that he’d been dead for more than seventy years, he had in fact grown more understanding of people, and blood pressure was no longer a problem. But Heaven wasn’t exactly the paradise the church had promised.

“Move your ass!” he yelled out his window, hoping to clear the road but knowing his shouts would be in vain. The guy riding a donkey in front of him just smiled and tipped his hat. In a realm where you could pick anything you could dream of for transportation—like unicorns or warrior bears or giant crabs—that guy had picked a donkey. Maybe he wanted to reconnect with his biblical heritage. Winston acknowledged his own mount was a furry dragon, though, so who was he to judge? Donkey or no, traffic today was ridiculously horrid.

Winston arrived at Heaven’s HR office an hour late, his coworkers frantically running this way and that. Not a good sign. Maybe traffic had been bad for everyone. His boss, Marcia, headed straight toward him.

“Winston, we need to—”

“I know, I know,” he said. “The roads were a mess. Got stuck behind this Amish guy who was in no kind of hurry.”

“That’s fine Winston, but there’s something else—”

“It won’t happen again,” he said, trying to forestall the berating.

“I know, Winston. I believe you. It’s just—”

“Why’s everyone running around like startled kittens?” He realized now the office was in a next-level state of panic.

“God quit.”


“Last night. Dropped Her letter with Peter on the way out. Pretty sure She’s scuba diving in Europa.”

The traffic was quickly becoming the highlight of Winston’s day. “How many has that been,” he asked, “ten in the last hundred years?”

“It’s a stressful job. High turnover is to be expected.”

“Yeah, but still. You’d think the recruiters would do a better job of picking out candidates to prevent this from happening.”

“They could only select from the applicant pool,” she said carefully. “You know that.”

“I know, I know. It’s just, we’re going to be here all night doing paperwork, not to mention God powers training, reacquainting the department heads with the new God, the ramifications on Earth without His or Her hand to guide them. No wonder there are so many atheists now. It’s hard to believe in a God when God spends half Their time learning how to do Their job.”

“Winston, I don’t think that will be a problem this time.”

“No? And why’s that?”

“The Board voted unanimously to move to an appointment system for God’s replacement. No more unqualified applicants.”

“Wow. And what sucker have you dragooned into that headache?”


Winston stared at her, slack-jawed. No peace for him on Earth or Heaven. “Goddammit.”

Eric Taveren

Eric Taveren reads and writes in Minneapolis. He nearing the end of his MFA journey at Hamline University and has had work published by Great Weather for Media. One of the few people with aphantasia, writing is his way to create worlds and imagine what could be.

Hailey Renee Brown

Hailey Renee Brown is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, she moved across country from Michigan to New Jersey, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, she attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. She was selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project.