The Needs of Gods (short fiction)

Gods didn’t need faith. They needed mystery. When the first primitive human looked to the skies and pleaded powerlessly for the rain to fall, not too little or too much but just enough to satisfy his needs without killing him, the gods of weather were born. 2,000 years later, one of those gods was informed he was no longer needed by the celestial bureaucrat in charge of such things.
“But I’m a lord of storms and drought,” he said.

“It turns out the human finally have a handle on that,” said the clerk without sympathy. It wasn’t that she didn’t feel for him, but she’d seen enough gods come through this office over the millennia that she’d grown dulled to their troubles.

“But hurricanes,” he stammered. “And cyclones.”

“I’m aware of what weather is,” she replied, “and aren’t those just two different names for the same thing?”

The weather god shrugged. “Tornadoes. C’mon, now. They still must be having troubles with tornadoes.”

“I don’t know why you’re bargaining with me. I don’t make the rules. I just handle the paperwork. And right now, there is a team of scientists in Rekjavik who are about to crack this whole weather machine problem. Once they do that, there’s really no need for you.”

“Can I at least see their names?” he asked.

“Oh no. You know that’s against the rules.”

“Nobody has to know. You can slip them to me under the table, and I’ll throw down some lightning strikes. Problem solved.”

“That’s not a solution. It’s a delaying tactic. It’ll buy you some time, but once the humans have figured something out, they don’t give up on it.”

“If you ask me, it’s time for another soft reset.”

The bureaucrat said, “We can’t keep sending them back to the stone age.”

“I’m not talking about anything big,” he said. “Just a little flood. A small asteroid. Some kind of semi-deadly plague.”

“I’ll see that my superiors get your suggestion.”

He knew she would do no such thing.

“What are my options?”

“Fortunately for you, there are still mysteries in this world. I can offer you a transfer to one of our new departments. Very overworked, long hours, little respect, and it’s not as dramatic as typhoons and tsunamis.”

“Tsunamis are an ocean god’s domain,” he said.

“Do you want the job or not?”

“What choice do I have?”

He took the reassignment, and the newest god of tech support reluctantly reported for work.

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