Extracts torn from forgotten books
by David Bussell
Heaven was a fine place to be, at least until God twigged that he could make a killing by turning the place into a call centre.
The change was especially hard on Gregory Clitherow (dearly departed). A good man in life, Gregory had earned his heavenly reward and deserved better than to spend the rest of the hereafter cold calling the living. Besides, what did he, a deceased Elizabethan candlemaker, really know about mis-sold PPI?
Gregory was any number of hours into a seemingly endless shift (the Promised Land, like Las Vegas, was a place without clocks) when he decided to take matters into his own hands. Dialing the editorial department of the Guardian newspaper, he found a sympathetic ear to his complaints of unconscionable working conditions and blew the whistle on the whole lousy business.
The anonymous S.O.S. led to an exposé of God’s dubious labour practices (headline: Wages of Sin), which sparked worldwide condemnation. The disillusioned tone of the article resonated with the mortal public, who objected not only to this new trend for celestial spam, but also the unwelcome prospect of spending their own eternal rest hawking No Win/No Fee claims.
In time, protesters began deliberately committing sins in order to decry God’s upstairs offshoring. This gave God great concern. Believers were literally damning themselves to Hell just to make a point! Satan – never one to miss a trick – sensed the big man losing his grip and wrote a Huff Po piece that earned him an army of new subscribers (headline: No Cold Calls in the Land of Fire and Brimstone).
In the end God wised up and put the kibosh on his telemarketing scheme. Heaven went back to the way it was and Gregory Clitherow got to trade in his cubicle for a cloud, his headset for a harp. Things were good again. At least until God started thinking about all the square footage he had up there and got a thing in his head about e-commerce.