My hotline to God...Dial 1-800-... A few days ago I phoned God to talk to him about my novel, The Phantom Lady of Paris.

Upon hearing my voice, he sighed, “Well… well…well, it’s about time, Calvin. This is Calvin Davis I’m talking to, isn’t it?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good to hear your voice again. For a long while, Cal’, I thought you’d lost my number.”

“Well, to be honest, sir, I did misplace it a couple of times. But you know how that goes.”

“Indeed I do. I’ve certainly heard that story often enough. Fact is, I’ve heard it more time than even I can count, and I can count beyond infinity. Anyway, it has been a long while.”

“‘It really doesn’t seem that long.”

“Oh? You don’t call a ten year unexplained intermission in our conversation a long while?”

“Well, that all depends on what yardstick you use in measuring time.”


“If you use the universal clock, the one that calculates the age of the cosmos and beyond, then ten years is a mere speck. But if you use the clock of the earth as your measuring tool, a decade is indeed a sizeable chunk. So, when you say I haven’t contacted you in ‘a long while,’ it’s all relative, isn’t it?”


“Yes, sir.”

“You’re quite good at flipping words upside down and pulling verbal rabbits out of hats, aren’t you?”

“What are you trying to say?”

“Never mind. Look, Cal’, I’m sorta busy right now so if you could get to the point. I’d appreciate it. You see, running a universe keeps me jumping, especially dealing with some of the problems of Earth. Seems my tenants there are constantly trying to tear up my property – blow it up, poison it, you name it. As the landlord, I may be forced to evict them, and without the usual thirty day notice, I might add. I’m at my wits end. What do you do with tenants who are either destroying your property or inventing new ways of killing each other, then dreaming up excuses for using their newly discovered inventions? Anyway, tell me, why’d you call?”

“It’s kind of a long story.”

“Long, you say? Long by universal time, Cal’, long by Mars’ time, Jupiter time, terra time, Saturn ti–”

“I…I…I got your point, sir. You don’t have to go on with that.”

“Good…good. I’m glad we’re over the time hurdle. So, how can I help you? What’s on your mind?”

“Well, you remember many years ago I came to you and told you I had a dream. It was a dream that would define my life, the thing I wanted to do more than anything on the planet, no, more than anything in…the universe.”

“Yes, I remember.”

“I told you I wanted to write a novel. And I gave you the reason why: I hoped to pen a work that would resonant with that mysterious something, whatever it is, which resides in the human heart. I wanted to pen a work that would enrich the reader’s life and make him or her more compassionate and a better human. “

“Yes, Cal’, I remember…in fact, I remember it as if it were yesterday. And do you recall what I said to you then?”

“You told me you would make the creation of my novel my life’s assignment…the sole reason for my being on Planet Earth.”

“And was it?”

“After that conversation with you, yes, it was. In fact, I lived for the writing of my book, and, often, almost died for it: working constantly on it, night and day, before I went to my job, after I returned, laboring into the loneliness of dawn, losing sleep, almost ruining my health – writing and rewriting until I was convinced that certain passages would flow like word sonatas.”

“I’m proud of you.”

“Proud of me for doing what? Almost killing myself?”

“No, for doing what a lot of men never learn to do…l-i-v-e, live.”

“I don’t follow you.”

“Look, until a man discovers something noble beyond the restricting strait jackets of self and ego, something he is willing to die for, he has not learned to live and will never live until he makes that discovery.”

“Oh…I catch your drift. Anyway, I finished the novel, and a woman in New York bought an e-book version of it, read it and e-mailed me. In her e-mail she cataloged the things she found in the volume. She said my book had touched her heart and changed her life. In a word, The Phantom Lady did for her everything I set out for it to do. I was elated. Later, a Maryland reader placed a review of the novel on Amazon in which she said, in part, that after reading The Lady she now questioned many assumptions she once gladly accepted. Getting a reader to begin asking questions, what writer could wish for more? Oh, happy day.”

“I’m proud of you, Cal’. Good job. So, if everything is going so well, why are you calling me?”

“Well, you remember our original agreement, don’t you? You said you’d allow me to live until I finished the book and then to find just one reader who saw in it what I was trying to do and told me I had done it successfully.”

“Sure, I remember.”

“What I’m trying to say is, you’ve kept your part of the contract and I do understand that now you’re within your legal rights to…you know…pull the plug on me.”

“That’s true. So, what’s your point?”

“Well, I was wondering if it were possible for you to extend the terms of our agreement so I could stick around long enough to see if The Lady will touch hundreds, thousands, even millions of lives and change them for the better.”

“Look, Cal’, this is a most unusual request. Nobody in all the millions of years I’ve had this job asked ME to alter the terms of a celestial agreement. It’s unprecedented. I’m going to have run this past the lawyers in my legal department. And to be honest, I’m a little short handed in the number of lawyers in Paradise. I think we have only two out of the thousands who’ve been in that profession on earth. You see, most lawyers when they die go to – how can I put this delicately? – they go to a legal jurisdiction where barbecuing humans has become an art form, if you get my meaning.”

“I get it and let me commend you: you phrased it quite delicately.”

“Thank you. Anyway, with my lawyer shortage up here being what it is, I think I’m going to go ahead and grant you the extension you requested.”

“Thank you, sir. An extension for how long?”

“Well, I’ll get back to you on that.”

“Are you going to send me some kind of sign, you know, some…some indicator?”

“Well, let’s play it this way. You go on living your life as usual, and if you don’t hear from me, my answer is a positive one, but if you wake up one morning with a sudden chest pain you’ll know I’m getting ready to flip your switch.”

“Fair enough.”

“Oh, incidentally, there is one way you, on your own, can delay the time I pull your plug.”

“How’s that?”

“Stop gulping down so many of those Big Macs. And swear off pigs’ feet and chicken drowned in bubbling lard.”

“What about McDonald’s French fries?”

“Well, a small order is OK.”

“Small? How do you define ‘small,’ God?”

“Cal’, don’t play those word games with me again. As I told you I’m busy: I have a universe to run.”

“Of course, right…sorry, sir. Oh, by the way, I wanted to say that up to this point my life has been a struggle.

It’s had its…ups and downs.”

“You’ve just described the life of everyone, from a king to a clown. The secret is…”

“Yes, sir. What’s the secret?”

“The secret is, see the darkness, yes, but always, Cal’, always think the light.”

“Yeah, good advice. that works.”

“Anyway, glad you called, Cal’. And ah…goodbye.”

“Goodbye? I…I wish you wouldn’t phrase it quite that way, sir.”

“Oh, I see what you mean. So, until the next time we talk, OK?”

“Much better.”

“And try not to misplace my number again, Cal’.”

“I won’t. I got it memorized. Oh, by the way…I see the last three digits of your number are 8-9-0. Would you mind if I played that number in the lotto tomorrow?”

“Wait a minute, Cal’. Let me see if I got this right. You want me to give my blessing to your taking part of my telephone number to use in your gambling active –”


“Hello…God…God, are…are you still there? That’s strange; we got cut off. Wonder how that happened. Ah, hello…hello.”

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  1. Cute! And it does pique my interest in reading your book.

    • Dear Sherrie,
      Thanks for the comment about my blog. I’m glad you thought it interesting. Just between you and me, I think God found me rather boring and that’s the reason he cut me off. Take my word, yoiu won’t find the Phantom Lady boring. She glitters like a star on the western horizon.

  2. Very creative, Cal, and thought-provoking too!

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