Gabriel entered before the Lord and bowed, then looked into God’s eyes. Smiling broadly, he waited until God invited him to begin speaking. When the signal came, he held up a bottle of Heaven’s Best brand orange juice.
God indicated he should proceed.
“I tried this last week,” Gabriel said, “and when I opened the cap, I found out I had a winning code in the instant-win game.”
God said, “And you liked your prize.”
Gabriel couldn’t curb the enthusiasm as he nodded. “I was beyond thrilled to get an ARC of JRR Tolkien’s newest novel. I’ve been waiting for that for about four decades now! I’ve already read it twice.”
Gabriel said, “Thank you. The juice was okay too, so the next day, I picked up another one, and the second one also had a winning code.”
“So then I got curious, and just as an experiment, I bought a third one from a different location, verifying first that it was from a different production plant, and there was a winning code under that cap too.”
God said, “You’re such a geek.”
Gabriel said, “To be fair, sir, you created me that way. But my point is, after my third purchase, rather than buying orange juice I’m not terribly fond of drinking, I surveyed the ones who had been buying it, only to discover that everyone had a winning code under the cap.”
God said, “And?”
Gabriel paused. “Well, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? First off, on Earth, they have these instant-win games in order to attract first-time buyers to their brand, especially people like Jason Block who love the random chance factor. But in Heaven, we have no such consideration.”
God nodded again.
“And secondly, if every cap has a winning code, I’m not sure of the purpose.”
God said, “I like giving you gifts.”
Gabriel paused, brow furrowed.
God said, “Sometimes I like changing things up. I could have dropped that ARC into your lap or left it under your pillow like the Book Fairy. It pleases me to do nice things for you in ways you didn’t expect.”
Gabriel still stood, frowning in thought.
God said, “And let’s face it — because I made so many geeky angels like you, sometimes I need to work harder to change things up in a way you didn’t expect. You’re a tough one to surprise. But I like doing it.”
Gabriel looked up. “Thank you.”
And God laughed, because it was good.