“Customer Service Hobgoblin” by Paul R. Hardy
(Originally published in Unidentified Funny Objects 5.)
"Good morning, you're through to Robin. How may I receive your prayer?"
"Oh. Hello? My name is Bishop Augusto de Figueroa. Am I speaking to God?"
"No, sir, my name's Robin. How can I --"
"Well, young man, I wanted to talk to God. You see it's very important that I speak to him."
"Yes, of course, sir. You've come through on the Methodist line, is that --"
"No, no, no, this is wrong. I am Catholic."
"Well, sir, it would help if you chose the Catholic line to start with, but I can --"
"Are you a saint?"
"No, sir. I just work here. But if it's not a Methodist prayer then I need to --"
"If you're not a saint then I don't need to talk to you."
"Sir, in any case you're not going to be able to talk to God. That's not how it works."
"Good afternoon, you’re through to Paul R. Hardy’s biography. Please listen carefully to the following options: For a humorous anecdote about his employment history, press 1. For a tedious list of his writing credits, press 2. For a heartwarming glimpse of his personal life, press 3. To listen to these options again, press" -- [beep]
"You pressed 1. Paul weathered the economic crash of 2008 by working at a call centre for the London Congestion Charge, a fact which may seem relevant as you listen to the story. Unless you’ve ever had to pay the Congestion Charge, in which case you won’t be listening any further because you’ll have already thrown your device at the wall in a fit of" -- [beep]
"You pressed 2. Paul’s short stories have appeared in both the fifth and sixth editions of the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology, and will also be seen in Diabolical Plots in about a year or so -- unless you’re on an archive binge in 2065, in which case all of this happened a long time ago and the nurse will be along with your tea in just a minute, smiling indulgently at your addiction to obsolete" -- [beep]
"You pressed 3. Paul lives in the English Midlands and lives almost entirely on home-baked cakes and earl grey tea. He recently survived open heart surgery, which left him with a persistent ticking noise emanating from his chest and a rib cage held together by titanium wire. He has therefore given up any hope of passing through airport security without setting off a major" -- [click, brrr]
About the Narrator:
Rish Outfield is a writer, voice actor, and audiobook narrator. He can be heard co-hosting the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine and That Gets My Goat podcasts, where he and Bigg Anklevich entertainingly waste much of their time. He also features his own stories on the Rish Outcast podcast. He once got a job because of his Sean Connery impersonation... but has lost two due to his Samuel L. Jackson impression.