There had been some changes in the Boardroom. The Director, disgusted with the way his Creation had gone, had decided to take an era off.
In his place, a Management Team had taken over, and they called an extraordinary meeting at the end of 2015 to try to find a solution to the problems, perhaps to allow the Director to return.
A round table replaced the rectangular one and everyone, even the Janitor, gathered there, armed with files and notebooks, taking a place at the table. Admittedly nobody wanted to sit next to the Janitor as he gave still gave off a great deal of heat and smelt strongly of sulphur.
Taking it in turns to chair the meeting proved impossible, even for these enlightened beings so they resorted to the ancient method of “talking stick” which, once the Goddess had grabbed it, poked several saints in their holy eyes and fended off other contenders, stayed in her hand.
“We all said at the beginning that Free Will was a bad idea!” She began but was howled down by various true-blue supporters of the Director. “However!” She thundered brandishing the talking stick, “we were over-ruled and that is the way things are with humanity.
I am therefore taking an idea of their own to turn back on them and I hope you will agree that it might work, although the preparation may be messy.”
The assembled religious founders, leaders and holy people cleared their throats and waited to hear her suggestion.
“It is not a huge component of the humans but if we can tap into “Compassion” we may be able to do it.”
A very fat Oriental at the end of the table sighed and smiled pleasantly. “I have been saying that for some time.”
“I have some personal experience of their compassion and I doubt it;” The bearded young man at the side of the oriental gentleman rubbed his palms ruefully.
“Perhaps if we could take it apart, make the bowl of sweeties identifiable?” An elephant headed being opposite the Goddess asked, sniffing a toffee up his trunk and blowing it into his mouth.
His neighbour, a monkey-shaped deity, nicked another toffee and giggled “If we can take a tip from them it would make a change. Been trying to get them to copy us long enough!”
Next to the Goddess, a young man with antlers began to explain.
“The lady and I very much enjoyed an act of charity which the humans invented for themselves. Very rich and sometimes talented performers gave their time freely to make money for the poor and hungry. All the people contributed to hear the performance and the proceeds went to the needy.”
Many of the meeting looked thunderstruck. They did not, of habit, take an interest in the daily activities of the world, relying on incoming prayer to keep them abreast of things.
The Janitor grinned and tapped one of his vast logbooks.
“Got a lot of contracts coming up soon.” He sniffed half a bucket of what sounded like wallpaper paste up his nose and twitched his tail.
“Usual thing. Sold their soul for rock and roll, got their glory, got their dosh and now…payback time.”
Gabriel was on his feet but the antlered man tapped with the Talking Stick.
“If you wish your turn, Archie, you must ask for it.”
“If I may…Lady?” Gabriel turned a shade of crimson and bowed in apology to the woman in blue and white who waved to the Goddess. “OK with you Sis?”
“Gabriel has the Talking Stick”
“These musicians and entertainers are damned to eternity. How can the end of their contract have anything to do with helping humanity?”
“Because, old love, the basement is getting overcrowded. With all the terrorism and horror that Free Will has wrought on your beloved creation, I can’t bloody move down there. These guys wanted sex and drugs and rock and roll. I don’t see they deserve as much punishment as some of the buggers I have coming in now”
The Janitor was never one to mince his words.
The woman in blue and white snatched the Talking Stick from Gabriel.
“I agree. The deal they made with our dear Lucy, erm the Janitor, excuse me, has given a huge amount of pleasure to so many. I think a deal would be a good idea.”
“Maaaaaaaam!” the bearded man complained.
“You don’t have the stick, Mummy does!” she snapped. “They can buy their redemption by performing up here. We’ll do our own Band Aid.”
There was a silence for a moment while everyone digested this suggestion. “If I may?” A turbaned man held out his hand for the stick. “I, of all of us, want to make amends for the current situation but may I ask what we, as deities and holy people can do with a concert?”
The fat bald man giggled. “Well I have a huge amount of “Om Mani Padme Hum”, buckets of them. Each one worth salvation for humanity. Surely you must have the same things in your warehouses. Your people pray every day, and not just for themselves. Can’t you sift out the ones that are for the good of the world and pay for your concert tickets with them?”
A stunned silence followed. Each saint was counting up the approximate number of pleas for the good of humanity offered up daily.
Another elderly man with a grey beard nodded. “Oi but this is going to be awkward” Nodding around the table. “So we take their great entertainers all in this year? We are going to be so popular already!”
The meeting finished when the Janitor pointed out that all those who would finish on earth were already coming to the end of their contract. Their allocated time was expiring.
Lord Shiva picked up his flute and Lady Saraswatee her lute and they began to practice, anticipating performing with some of the greatest entertainers the world had ever known.
“It could work, “ the young bearded man admitted. “And it if doesn’t. Things can’t get much worse.”