It was a quiet day in the city when the Hand of God knocked on the door.
"Come in!", yelled Shea.
Shea had been expecting the delivery guy from Pete's Pizza. When an old guy in flowing white robes entered carrying a large wooden staff, she was pretty sure this wasn't him.
"Who in hell are you?", she asked loudly.
The old guy smiled, "Hated. The guy running things down there hasn't forgiven me for putting out the pilot light 300 years back. You wouldn't believe how long it takes to light it. Allow me to introduce myself, I am the all mighty ruler of Heaven, God."
Shea briefly wondered if the guy was fast enough to catch her before she could reach the phone, "Yea, right, and I'm Joan of Arc. Nice to meet you."
The man smiled a bit more, "Oh no, Joan is a lot shorter than you are. Would you like to meet her?"
Without warning, a short young woman appeared beside the guy in flowing robes. She was dressed in gleaming armor. "My Lord, how may I assist you?"
"Shea Miller, allow me to introduce you to Joan of Arc, heroine of the French."
Shea took the young woman hand before realizing how bizarre this was. "Where did you come from?"
"Oh, I was born in a small village in the..."
"That's not what she meant," interrupted God, "Head back to Heaven now." And she was gone.
Shea was stunned, "How... Why... What?" she stammered.
God laughed, "I love doing that, but it does drive some of the more familiar types crazy. You wouldn't believe how often I've had to pull Napoleon down here lately."
Shea fell heavily into her chair, "Jesus..."
"Why are you here? I'm not even all that religious."
God sat down in a heavy golden throne. Shea was pretty sure she hadn't bought that at Ikea. "Tut-tut, so many of you people think that all I care about are prayers and following the Bible. There is a lot more to that in running the universe."
"I thought that you were omnipotent."
"Compared to anyone on this planet, I am. Even I have some limitations. I have to oversee more than a billion inhabited worlds across the universe. Even when I know everything and can do everything, there is a lot of administrative stuff that I can have underlings handle." He looked at her intensely, "And you are just the person that I need to fill a post about to become vacated."
Shea looked around the room, convinced he must be talking to someone else, "Me? What possible job could I be qualified for?"
"The position of Mother Nature is about to become vacated, and I want you to replace her."
Shea felt confused. Mother Nature? She wasn't even a member of Greenpeace!
"I know, you weren't a member of Greenpeace. Frankly, I don't want Mother Nature to be a fanatic. I want one with a high degree of common sense that will be able to see the coming trends and work with humanity. The one running the show now has been completely confused since you people discovered industrialization."
"But, why me?"
"You're young, vibrant and full of life. You love nature, but don't go overboard. You understand technology and are not afraid of it. You know humanity and all it's little foibles. You also have a certain... style... that I like. Things don't get to you as much. You ask questions when you're confused, and don't care if they sound stupid. You also refuse to take any crap, which is just what I need."
"Besides, the gal running things up there is about as pleasant as a crocodile. About as pretty too."
Shea thought about it for a minute. It was unusual to get a compliment from God, much less a job offer, but here it was. "What does the job entail, exactly?"
"You just keep an eye on the planet and adjust accordingly. Most of the time, it's self correcting. A disaster occurs and in a couple years it's all back to normal. You will occasionally have to instigate disasters, but for the most part they just happen. You will have to work subtly in order to help out. Make small adjustments in peoples thinking, start rumors, play with scientific findings."
"You know, subtlety doesn't work all the time with people." She said.
"Well, you can just change a few idiots into beavers to bring the rest in line then.", he said quickly.
Shea's eyes went wide, "Could I do that?" She could think of all sorts of people that would make good beavers, starting with her ex-boyfriend Tom...
There was a knock at the door. Shea heard a shout: "Pete's PizzAAAK..."
She looked hurriedly at God and ran to the door. On the other side she found her delicious pizza on the hall floor, right next to a beaver trying to pull itself out of a red and black uniform.
"Now Shea," Chided God, "This isn't for petty revenge. Just use the power to get rid of a few clods. Don't use it for revenge... at least not often." He added with a smile and a wink.
Shea looked back at the beaver. "Tom?"
The beaver poked its head out of the shirt, chattering wildly.
God sighed, "You can leave him like that, if you wish, but I think that you get the idea." Suddenly Tom was standing in front of Shea. He backed away three steps without saying a word, turned, and bolted down the hall.
Shea smiled, "I guess I'll finally get him to stop calling."
God sat back down in that throne. Shea made a mental note to ask her roommate just where she picked that up. "Do you have any other questions?"
"I suppose the matter of pay and benefits is somewhat moot."
"Oh no, not at all. You'll certainly have an office in Heaven, but you'll live here on Earth, and that takes cold, hard cash. You'll get a million a year. Plus, you'll have the ultimate group health plan, God's Shield."
He handed her a pamphlet. The cover had a wonderful picture of the Pearly Gates, and inside it listed all the benefits. It included perfect health, freedom from all disease and aging, invulnerability to pain or injury and a really good dental plan. It even covered immediate family.
"What about retirement, or is this forever?"
God smiled a bit, "It depends on how good a job you do. After a few hundred years, you can retire. However, just where and how may not be totally up to you."
Shea wasn't sure what that meant, but decided not to press the issue.
"There is one catch," said God, "If for any reason you decide to leave Heaven, you will be forbidden from working for Hell for at least one year. After that, may I have mercy on your soul."
Shea considered it for a moment. It was certainly better than working for that stupid pointy haired boss of hers. Besides, how often in life was she going to be offered a job, out of the clear blue, by God?!
"Okay, I'll do..."
Shea suddenly found herself in a spacious office. The walls were decorated in a wonderful light pine paneling, the carpet a deep forest green. The decorations had a certain earthy quality to them.
"...it!", she finished.
An older woman, resembling the Wicked Witch of the Easts' ugly sister, sat behind the desk. She looked a bit startled at God's appearance. "Sire! What are you doing here?"
"Gabby, I'm afraid I'll have to let you go."
She looked stunned, "But... but... Why? What did I do?"
He sighed, "What *haven't* you done? Failed to anticipate and adjust for man developing industry..."
"I'm getting to it!"
"It's been 150 years, Gabby! What have you been doing?"
"I've been trying to get some ugly parts of the world more pleasing to the eye."
"Gabby, no matter how much you hate it, you can't keep trying to knock L.A. off into the ocean! How many natural disasters have you sent their way in the last 10 years?"
"I don't think that this is...."
God flared. Shea thought that it was a nice touch that he glowed red at that moment, "It is entirely relevant! If I didn't want L.A. to be there, I wouldn't have put Hollywood there!"
Shea noted that Gabby was paling, but appeared to want to stand her ground. "Look, God. You could've told me that! If you don't like me, you can just try and find a replacm...", she seemed to notice Shea for the first time, "Who's this?", She asked with steel in her voice.
Gabby sagged, "I guess I'll pack my things then."
The light in the room got even redder. Shea was sure it was even a bit warmer in the office, "No need Gabby! After two thousand years, you should know that I have a temper! Enjoy your retirement!!"
Gabby suddenly got wide eyed and took a step back. Shea saw her skin start turning green and scaly. Gabby didn't seem to find anything odd until her teeth began becoming pointy. See tried to say something, but it came out as a guttural growl, which ended when she belly flopped against the floor. Her hind legs were simply too short to support her. Rapidly, her head flattened out and a massive tail grew out of her lower back. It took only moments, but Gabby, once the master of all of Earth, was suddenly an alligator.
God looked over at Shea, "She's a crocodile, not an alligator. You'd better keep stuff like that straight if you want to keep this job."
He flipped his hand, and the crocodile was gone. "Hope she likes Florida," said God.
"People like to retire to Florida," said Shea, still a little shaky.
God looked at Shea, "Well, this is your office now. As of this moment you have all of the powers and responsibilities of this office. There are manuals in the desk for more specifics. Your staff can answer most questions, but you can always hit the blue button on the phone to reach me. Any questions?"
Shea thought for a moment, "Not really, at least not now. Well, maybe one thing."
"When I get retired, can I be something a little, I don't know, cuter?"
God laughed a bit, "How does a bunny sound?"
"Hmm, maybe, I'll get back to you on that." God laughed again and started for the door. He stopped just short and turned, "Shea?"
"Leave L.A. alone for a while. If I miss Baywatch again, I won't be a happy deity." With that, he opened the door and left. Shea looked after him for a minute. She always wondered how that show stayed on the air.
She sat behind the big pine desk for a moment, feeling slightly tingly with all her new power. She wanted to absorb all this for a moment before tearing into work.
Suddenly, a smile slowly spread across her face. She opened the lower desk drawer and pulled out the massive tome that dictated her abilities. Looking in the index, she found the pages she wanted and started reading.
"Tom, Tom, Tom. I do hope you like the fresh taste of wood..."