The Calling

“The Calling”
By Dan CHEek
31 July 2006
© Dan Cheek 2006

The four Puppets, Bob, Doctor Sanity, Lost Cause, and Goblin, sat there on the couch, watching television.  Goblin controlled the remote because if he didn’t, he would probably eat the couch and the television.  So, like every other time Goblin was manning the remote, he kept it on the Discovery Channel.

The four of the sat there, transfixed while they watched a documentary on African hippos.  The phone rang.  All of the Puppets jumped.  Startled, Goblin swallowed a pillow.  “Fucking phone,” Doctor Sanity muttered angrily.

The phone rang again.  Goblin hopped up and was preparing to turn the telephone into small pieces of junk.  Bob stopped him.  “NO,” he said sternly to the rouge puppet, “Sam will have a stroke if we break another phone.”

Again, the telephone rang.  “It’s never going to stop,” Lost Cause screamed out.  “I…I just can’t take any more.  Goblin, eat me!”

“Shut up,” Sam quipped to Lost Cause.  Then he looked at Goblin.  “And you’re not eating him.”  Goblin stormed away in a rage.

“I’ll answer it,” Bob said.  He hopped up next to the phone, picked it off the receiver, then set it down next to him on the couch.  “Hello,” he asked hesitantly.

A cheery voice answered back.  “Hello.  My name is James and I’m calling on behalf of the Church of Modern Day Grace and Goodness.  Do you have a minute?”

Bob, Doctor Sanity, and Lost Cause looked at each other.  Goblin was in some other room breaking shit.  “I suppose.  I can’t talk too long, though.  Goblin is putting holes in the wall.  Fucking animal.”

“I’m sorry.  Is Goblin your dog,” the happy voice asked.

Bob shrugged.  “Something like that.  What do you want?”

“Well, sir,” the voice began, “Have you found the Lord?”

Again, the Puppets all looked at each other.  The question seemed to confuse them.  “Why,” Bob asked, “Did you guys loose him?”

The voice chuckled gently.  “No, nothing of the sort.  The Lord God is firmly in my heart.  I was wondering if he was in yours as well.”

Lost Cause gasped.  “He can get inside our hearts,” he asked in a panic.

“Sure,” the voice answered.  “And once Jesus is in your heart, he’s usually there to stay.”

Lost Cause screamed shrilly and bolted for the kitchen.  “Goblin!  HELP!  I HAVE THE JESUS DISEASE!”

“Um…” the voice on the phone sounded confused.  “Is everything all right, sir.”

“Oh, sure,” Bob answered, trying to cover for Lost Cause’s outburst.  “One of my kids is retarded.  He says the damnedest shit sometimes.  Anyway, you were saying?”

“I was just inquiring as to whether or not you’ve taken Jesus as your savior.”

Doctor Sanity walked away shaking his head.  “I hate surveys.  I’d better go check on Lost Cause.”

“Savior,” Bob asked slowly, “Is that like a hostage?  I don’t get your question.”

“Well,” the voice replied, “If you open the door to your heart, Jesus will come in.  Have you opened the door, sir?”

For a long minute Bob just sat there, staring at the phone next to him.  “You snort a lot of cocaine, don’t you,” he finally asked.

Again, the voice chuckled softly.  “I used to use recreational drugs quite heavily.  But then I found Jesus and once he was in my life, I realized my true calling.”

“Prank calling strangers,” Bob asked.

“No.  Spreading the gospel of Christ so that others may bask in his glory.  The word of God can set us all free of our chains.”

This time Bob chuckled.  “I don’t think I need any help getting free of chains, my man.  Sorry to disappoint.”

“Only the Lord God can remove the shackles of despair,” the voice answered.  “Without his help, you will be unable to throw off your chains.”

“Obviously,” Bob replied, “You’ve never met Goblin.  Sam, the guy I live with, wrapped Goblin in a whole role of duct tape one time.  Then he locked Goblin in a steel box and buried it five feet in the backyard.  Two hours later, Goblin was back.”

“Why did your room mate bury your dog,” the voice asked in a confused tone.

“The cable guy came over to fix the reception on the television and Goblin ate him.  Sam got REALLY pissed after that.”

A horror filled gasp came from the phone.  Then there was a click and the sound of a dial tone.  Bob shrugged and put the phone back on the receiver.  “Whatever.”

He plopped back down on the couch and started watching television again.  Doctor Sanity and Lost Cause soon joined him.  Doctor Sanity was grinning.  Lost Cause was charred and smoking.

“What the hell happened to you,” Bob asked Lost Cause.

“I was worried that my heart might be infected with that Jesus thing so the Doctor gave me a chemo-therapy treatment.”

Bob looked over at Doctor Sanity.  “I am quite certain we don’t have a chemo-therapy machine in this house.  Enlighten me.”

Doctor Sanity shrugged.  “I improvised.  I put him in the microwave for two minutes and set it on defrost.”

“Oh,” Bob replied.  Goblin finally rejoined the rest of the puppets.  He was covered in sawdust and was chewing on a piece of a chair leg.”

The sound of a key in the lock was heard and then the front door opened.  Sam was home.  He closed the door, took off his shoes, and went into the kitchen.  He came back a short while later with a beer and sat down next to the Puppets on the couch.

He took a sip of the beer and then looked at the Puppets.  Then he turned back to the television.  “I’m not going to ask about Goblin, just because I’ll find out later.  But why is Lost Cause smoldering?”

Bob answered, still watching the television.  “Oh.  We irradiated the Lord with the microwave to get him out of Lost Cause’s heart.”

Sam took another swig of beer.  He started to say something, but then stopped himself and just sat there shaking his head a few times.  After a while he said, “Oh.  Okay,” and left it at that.


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