May 2018 ttimes web magazine

Page 168

The Man Project

Has a message ever been answered? No. Will one ever be answered? No. But they keep on calling.

A large space with misty corners, like an old barn. It’s busy, chaotic, oddly anachronistic. Bells ring, faxlike machines grind out reams of messages, computers hum. Pets abound (birds, dogs, cats and some unrecognizable life forms). Workers (lesser angels) bustle about, dressed in white, flowing, loose-fitting cotton garments (angel wear). Saint Pia, the Creator’s special assistant, is a fussy, middle-aged woman wearing a headset. Pia is disorganized, has a short fuse and mishandles almost everything she touches.

Messenger arrives with a hand cart labeled “Prayer Division” piled high with transcription rolls. MESSENGER (bored) Incoming.

PIA (into headset)’m, that’s not possible...what did I tell you?... I did not tell you that, no, I’m sorry, no...could you repeat that, please?... yes, I understand it’s important, and I’ll certainly say that you called. She writes a message on a pink slip and puts it on a spindle that is inches thick with similar pink slips. There are dozens of other spindles bristling with messages on her desk. PIA (muttering to herself )

Without looking up from her work, Pia presses a button. A door opens in the wall behind her, revealing overflowing bins of transcription rolls as far as the eye can see. The messenger dumps the new batch into the nearest bin and departs. PAN across the busy studio to where the angels Michael, Gabriella and Satan sit at adjoining carrels. They work on what appear to be sophisticated Play Stations, except the visuals are holograms depicting crisis situations on Earth presented in random order, and appearing rapidly, one after the other. Their hands fly over the controls as they intervene, averting disasters whenever possible. Over their shoulders we see car wrecks, emergency vehicles racing around, robberies being committed, storms, people in conflict. We hear the sounds of tires squealing, sirens,