Omnipotence Support - Jean Llenos
"Have you tried remaking everything exactly the same and starting again?"
LED lights buzz overhead at a finely tuned pitch, just enough to give one a migraine by the end of a standard workday. The worn beige leather of my armchair pfffts at me in protest as I shift in my seat.
"Well, I'd wager it's worth a shot." I clear my throat and adjust my headset. A cosmic voice screams in my ear like the herald of eternity. "Yes, I'm sure it's been very stressful-" My eyes scan the monitor in front of me, searching for the entity's preferred honorific. "-your Endlessness-ess."
It takes everything I have to not say "Endlessness-ess" as a question.
"Yes, please call back if they continue to deny your everlasting glory. Apologies, endless glory. I'm sure a cosmic reboot will do just the trick. Yes, your Endlessness-ess."
They hang up. I look at the time in the corner of my screen.
My stomach growls. Lunch was 10 minutes ago.
The line rings.
"Thank you for calling Omnipotence Support! Just because you can do it all doesn't mean you have to do it alone. How can I help you actualize your infinite potential today?"
I note the proper honorific this time.
"I'm sorry to hear that, your Inevitability-ness. Walk me through the situation. When did this start?"
The entity on the other end drones on and on. Every syllable sounds like the birth of a star. They tell a story I've heard a thousand times.
"I see. Please rest assured, free-will-paralysis is not an uncommon affliction for sentient creations. Unfortunately, our purview here is mechanics. The question of whether or not omnipotent intentionality creates deterministic conditions is better handled by the metaphysics department. I can give you their extension if you'd like?"
I give it. They hang up.
The line rings. I pick it up.
"Thank you for calling Omnipotence Support!" I stifle a yawn. "We're here to help you as long as you are, which you've always been and always will be! Oh, it seems you've forgotten to dial the extension, your Inevitability-ness. Yes well, like we always say, omnipotence and omniscience don't always go hand in hand, and that's ok. Best of luck."
They hang up.
The line rings.
"Thank you for calling Omnipotence Support! You've taken care of the 'what', let us handle the 'how'! Wherever and whenever you are in the omniverse, we've got your back, if you subscribe to such directionality!"
They start talking about halfway through my greeting. HR will cut my holiday pay if I don't follow company policy, so I don't stop talking. For a few seconds, we speak over each other. My voice holds up surprisingly well to what sounds like time and space trying to figure out how to procreate.
"I'm sorry to hear that, your Omnipotency. Have you tried appearing to them yourself? I see... Well, it's a route we've found works rather well for more visual clientele. Yes, more people rather than less people."
I roll my eyes.
Thankfully, I'm protected by second-order laws included in my employee contract. They prevent omnipotent beings from being able to glimpse, scry, or otherwise ascertain anything about my past, present, or future self. Workplace anonymity and all that.
Some clever loopholes from the philosophy department prevent it from conflicting with the nature of omnipotence. I don't really understand it all, but I don't think I'm meant to.
"I'm sorry you feel that way. Might we suggest sending a prophet with some clear and specific prophecies, and then subsequently fulfilling them? Oh. Oh! Pardon me. Please, I meant no insult. With respect, your Omnipotency, this is a support line. Advice is all we're legally able to provide here."
I hang up. Company policy mandates that we immediately end communication with entities that threaten any form of punishment, regardless of scale. They say it's for employee protection. I know it's just so they can minimize legal fees.
There's a company poster hanging on the right corner of my cubicle. It's got an endearingly paradoxical non-euclidian mass resisting the gravitational pull of a black hole. The mass gives me a non-denominational sign of encouragement. Above it, written in multiversal script, is the phrase "Hang In There!" I've taken to calling the mass 'Troy'.
1:11. My temples are suddenly so very sore.
Another ring. Another pickup. Another notch towards my employee goal of a 3 second average of ring to pickup interval. Meeting it for the quarter means my lunch gets extended 10 minutes. 10 whole minutes!
"Thank you for calling Omnipotence Support! If you can dream it... Oh, who are we kidding? Of course you can! You're omnipotent! And don't you forget it!"
I like to imagine that somewhere in Troy's eldritch geometry, he's got a mouth, and that he's using it to smile at me.
"Well, we're always happy to have return business. It's our pleasure to serve, oh Patient One! Love the honorific, by the way. Oh, I'm sorry things didn't work out for you. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be free will if they didn't do things you didn't want from time to time!"
The voice on the other end thunders like a supernova. For once, the low-budget headsets are a blessing, and I wait for the incomprehensible crackles to subside.
"Oh Patient One, this is Omnipotency Support, not Almighty Assistance. Pardon me? No, not my sins. I just didn't catch what you said. Well, you're certainly free to take your business to them if you wish. Is there anything we can actually assist you with or did you just call to-"
The line goes silent.
I let out a deep sigh.
I think back to the employee mental health seminar they mandated last weekend. The overly cheery representative recommended that, in times of stress, we close our eyes and count to 10 with a series of deep breaths. "Try to feel your breath going into your body," they said.
I take off my headset and do just that.
When my meditation is complete, I open my eyes to see a blaring warning on the monitor. I slam my headset back on.
The line is ringing. It's been ringing for 5 seconds. My heart drops.
"Omnipotence Support!" My voice cracks. I clear my throat and try again. "We put the 'potent' in your 'omni'! Not that you need it, of course! What can you permit me to assist you with today?"
"Unionized? How many children do you have? Well, yes, if they're your children, they're bound to be at least somewhat omnipotent. Yes, I realize that's an oxymoron. I was just trying to illustrate a... Please, there's no need to get angry. I'm just trying to help."
I force a smile. In employee training, they suggested that it's easier to sound happy if you look happy, too. I speak through my clenched teeth as if I'm shoving a planet through microcosmic mesh.
"Perhaps you can walk me through some of their complaints? I see. Have you tried spending more time with them as a parent? Not to be rude, oh Apex of Generosity, but why wouldn't you do that?"
Somewhere on the other line, an atom is being split. The nuclear static dies down. They tell me they're taking their business to Almighty Assistance. They hang up.
The line rings. Two seconds. Three seconds. Seven seconds. I wonder what would happen if I just walked out of here and never came back.
"Hello! Thanks for using some of that omnipotency to contact Omnipotency Support! Nobody can work harder than you can, but we'll do our best to be a close second! How can I help you today?"
The noises on the other end don't even sound like words.
"I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out what you're saying. Perhaps there's an issue with reception where you are?"
The noises get louder. Angrier. I have a headache now. There's still over 3 hours in my shift.
"Please," I whisper into the headset, putting my head down on the uncaring desk. "It's been a long day. I'm under a lot of stress. If you could just work with me a little bit here, I'm sure we could..."
They hang up.
I sit there for a moment. The lights buzz overhead. I feel Troy's quantum eyes boring into the back of my head.
"No bonus for you," it whispers to me.
The line rings.
"Hello?" I croak. My heart drops with the reply.
"Once again, your Inevitability-ness, you need. To dial. The damned. Extension!" The building shakes as I scream into my headset. I pound the keyboard. Somewhere amid the blunt force trauma, I manage to end the call.
I dial a number. I know my fingers are moving, but I don't feel them pressing the keys. The chair underneath me might as well not exist. I can't tell if I'm floating or falling. Each ring tolls impending aid from the only entities that can help me now.
The line picks up.
"Hi, Omnipotence Support?" I have to struggle to contain my elation, and laugh inwardly at whoever penned the idiom "never meet your heroes."
A cheery voice regurgitates an obviously corporate-approved greeting in return.
"Hello, yes! First of all, big fan of your service. I've actually made my own version to enjoy in my spare time! The issue is, these idiots- Well, yes, they are my idiots, I suppose. But they're simply impossible to work with. It's driving me mad."
The voice chatters on the other end. My eyebrow raises. My interest piques.
"Remake everything exactly the same and try again? No, I hadn't thought of that..."
Jean Llenos is an aspiring fiction writer by night and MD candidate by day (and sometimes also by night). He's based in Ohio with his wonderful fiancé and two cats.