A sample of Pat Bertram’s latest novel:
The screen went black.
“Something must be wrong with the cable,” Isabel said. “I’ll call them tomorrow.”
After thirty seconds of whistles, hums, and buzzes, the picture came back on. Instead of the anchorperson, the head of a gnomish man with a round, bespectacled face, a bald pate, and a receding chin filled the screen.
“I am Bob, the Right Hand of God. As part of the galactic renewal program, God has accepted an offer from a development company on the planet Xerxes to turn Earth into a theme park. Not even God can stop progress, but to tell the truth, He’s glad of the change. He’s never been satisfied with Earth. For one thing, there are too many humans on it. He’s decided to eliminate anyone who isn’t nice, and because He’s God, He knows who you are; you can’t talk your way out of it as you humans normally do. For another thing—”
Isabel clicked off the television and stood up. “We must have missed the news.”
Clutching the remote, she stalked to the guestroom and shut the door.
Chet continued to stare at the darkened screen. He would have liked to see more of Bob—looked like it could have been an interesting science fiction movie—but dealing with Isabel exhausted him. He didn’t have the energy to get up and manually turn the television back on.
[The next day, John the butcher stopped by Chet’s pet store with entrails and such for the reptiles. They talked for a bit, then John started to leave, hesitated, and turned back.]
“Does it feel a little strange to you today?”
“I don’t know. Just a creepy feeling I have, like a storm’s coming.” John twitched his shoulders. “Probably nothing. Maybe I let that Bob thing get to me.”
“What Bob thing?” Chet asked.
“Some guy pulled an April Fool’s prank last night. Hacked into the television signal. Claimed he was The Right Hand of God. Silly, but I’ve been feeling creepy all day.”
“I thought it was a movie.”
“Nope. A friend of mine at Channel Ten told me they lost the signal for about five minutes.”
Chet shivered. “Now I’ve got the creeps. Thanks a lot.”
And so the saga begins . . .