Great news! Since earlier this month, Furious Fiction is once again a monthly contest. Authors have 55 hours to write a story using at most 500 words that meets the three challenge criteria of the month.
This month's criteria were:
Below, you can find the story I came up with. In the past, I made the long-list a couple of times, but the story I wrote for this month didn't make the cut. (See the AWC website for the winning stories.)
God looks down from His heavenly throne. There stands a tiny man known to the world as Timothy Stanton. Unless by coincidence, you probably don’t know anyone by that name. Therefore, you may assume that the phrase “known to the world” is just a figure of speech.
God, for one, is convinced that every single one of His earthly children knows and loves Timothy, a misunderstanding that will soon have catastrophic consequences.
This would never have happened if archangels Michael and Gabriel were still around. The two heavenly beings who lovingly watched over humankind for many eons were recently promoted to guard over the Xylophites, a sentient species thriving on an exoplanet some fifty light-years away. God assigned their duties on Earth to their fellow archangels Quisby and Wastrel. While there is much to be said about these two neophytes, no one considered them worth writing about. Until now...
With nearly a hundred years having elapsed since its last centennial evaluation, it fell to Quisby and Wastrel to select the first among equals of the world’s population. In the second half of the previous millennium, Michael and Gabriel had chosen bright and renowned people such as Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Jane Austen, and Marie Curie. Thanks to the archangels’ thorough due diligence, these exemplary personalities passed with flying colors when summoned before God's throne to represent humankind and ensure its survival. Unfortunately for you modern-day mortals, Quisby and Wastrel are notorious for avoiding anything that requires effort.
“God has created Celestial Intelligence,” they argued, “so why not use it? The answer to God's question is only one click away!”
Claiming that “God’s Personal Talk” API makes mistakes would be blasphemous, but let’s face it: PrayGPT is only infallible when provided with correct information. When consulting the CI system about Earthly matters, it delegates its tasks to worldly Artificial Intelligence. “Garbage in, garbage out” is a problem with every AI system, and we all know what rubbish ChatGPT produces.
Timothy Stanton had sent demos to all the major record companies, and even to some of the smaller ones. Most of them didn’t bother sending a rejection email, so Timothy decided to self-publish. He released an album ironically titled “Eight Billion People Love Me”; “Thirteen Tracks of Self-Pity” would have been a more appropriate title.
Being the devil, I bought the only copy that was ever sold. When in the mood for some heavy torturing, I put the record on in hell to make sinners suffer. Imagine my surprise when ChatGPT remembered its title when the question "Who is the most loved person on Earth?" popped up. The AI daemon forwarded the following response to PrayGPT: "Eight billion people love Timothy Stanton." Quisby and Wastrel had found the human best placed to represent its kind, or so they thought.
As we speak, Timothy is tuning his guitar to perform in front of God. Don’t worry, I’ve made all the necessary preparations for your imminent arrival.