It would be more appropriate, Dominic reflected as he listened to the
noise of Palm Pilot prodding in the other booth, if he would give me his
full concentration. "Are you quite finished, Marc?" he queried, a touch
of acerbity entering his voice.
"Very nearly," came the ebullient tones of the Archangel of Trade. "Just one more thing, and I think you'll be as excited about this one as I am!"
"This is a confession, not an advertising opportunity," the Archangel of Judgement repeated patiently. "What is it?"
"I call it -- Soulbay." Marc's voice suggested that there should be trumpets in the background, or at the very least an enthusiastic tv jingle. "You'll love this one, Dom, you'll absolutely love it. It's the idea of one of my brightest new guys, and he's really got something good running here."
"Soulbay?" Dominic queried mournfully, already dreading the worst.
"It's really simple." There was a tinkle, as of a mobile phone being unfolded. "I'm buying people's souls on the Internet."
A horrified pause.
"You are WHAT?"
"No, no, Dom. You've gotta look at it this way. Any human being is capable of disposing of his soul however he wants, right? So leaving aside the question of how we personally want them to dispose of them, or, like, they should all be devoted to God in the first place, I know that one, no problem with that one, there is absolutely, and I mean, absolutely, no philosophical or ethical objection that I can think of to putting together a contract where they agree to put our soul under our care and direction in exchange for money. Legal contract, man, legal contract."
Dominic lowered his head. This had to be the absolute nadir. "You are openly encouraging the grossest habits of pecuniary obsession in connection with matters that should be purely spiritual. Marc, how could you be so . . ."
"No, no," the Archangel of Trade broke in, "you don't get it yet, Dominic. The contract includes a deliberate agreement to obey commandments delivered by personal representatives of the divine power to whom they've sold their souls. Pure gold, I tell you. Diamonds. Platinum. Think about it."
The pause that followed was pregnant with slowly dawning thought. The Seraph said, slowly, "So, by the terms of this contract, they are legally bound to -- for instance -- obey the ten commandments? Pray? Worship? Go to church on Sundays? On pain of losing all that money?"
"You got it, dude," came Marc's voice. "And for a purely nominal surcharge, I'll give you lists of the people who've signed up."
"Surcharge?" Dominic's voice was horrified. "You would ask me to pay money in order to further the work of God?"
Marc's voice sounded equally horrified. "You don't think I'm doing this for free, do you?"
"You will present me with the lists," Dominic hissed, "or by the living God, I will unionise your Cherubim!"
"I'm sure we can come to an agreement on this one," Marc commented cheerfully, after a gasp of pained shock. "In the meantime, what about the confession aspect?"
"Oh, yes. Go thou and sin no more." There was a pause. "Now, since this is the only place in my entire Cathedral that isn't wired for sound -- where is this Internet site?"
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