Mr. Tenney had insisted on a fuller tour of the facilities than Fox would have liked, but at least it hadn't been quite as full as Mr. Tenney would have liked. A few higher animals, some of them mythological- and even Fox had to admit, there was something kind of cool about talking with a gryphon or a sphinx, even if it was just basically to say hello. They'd also looked in briefly on a classroom full of adolescent gods being taught by a theologian. Mr. Tenney explained that there were lots of other classes taught by other spiritual leaders, philosophers, historians, moralists, mythologists, writers, and so on and so forth. Most gods, humaniform or in the guise of other major animals, would reach maturity in roughly a year, and in that time, because of their enhanced mental capacities, they'd learn all they'd need to know. Eventually they'd all go off for specialized training for their general field and their specific owner/worshipper. It felt sort of weird to Fox, seeing and thinking of gods being taught by humans, but then it occurred to him it must not be any stranger than gods being created by humans- even if, as the Godfarms corporation claimed, they truly were the progeny of God dimself.
Now they were back in the salesman's office, and Fox was just finishing up with filling out all the forms required to authorize the sale of the god, and indicating as closely as possible what it was he was looking for in a god. He thought he must have a somewhat less clear idea of what he was looking for than most godfarm customers would, but Mr. Tenney assured him there were a great many seekers just as confused and uncertain as he was, many even more so. And upon consideration, that did make sense to him. If you know what it is you want, after all, you probably don't really need a god that badly.
He looked up from the forms, and Mr. Tenney asked, "Once again, any questions?" With a grin he added, "Last chance."
Fox thought about this for a bit. "Well… um…. Well, I notice the forms don't ask about my religious background. I'd think that's the sort of thing you'd need to know…."
"We have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy regarding people's registered religion. That's between you and your god- and they'll never tell. It's rather like talking to a priest, you know, like the UXers do. Anything you talk about with your god is strictly confidential, privileged. In fact I suppose what it's more like is prayer, in conversation form. …Sometimes, of course, it is necessary, or a customer may wish to provide that information; but it isn't a standard requirement, it's optional. Anyway, our customers seem to wind up with the god most appropriate to their needs. Perhaps," he said with yet another of those grins, "it's divine intervention."
"I see. Also… well, I do rather wonder just how it is you know all this is really the original god's plan? Couldn't it just be a coincidence that the necessary technologies have been developed? Or perhaps it's simply inevitable that they should have been, and it's just some clever businessman's idea to put the science together and put it to this use…. You really believe it's God's plan to procreate in this way?"
"Well… to be honest about it… I personally really can't say for certain. How are we to understand the ways of God? Yes, it was some clever businessman's idea, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't also God's idea first. Yes, Godfarms, Inc. is making an ungodly amount of money, if you'll excuse the pun. But the results speak for themselves. Billions of satisfied customers can't be wrong. So, whether it's truly God's plan or not, it does a world of good for a world of individuals. And that's good enough for me."
Fox thought about this. "…Yes, I suppose it is. Well, thank you. So," he said, signing the last page, "when can I expect to receive my god?"
"Six to eight weeks," Mr. Tenney said matter-of-factly. But he quickly broke into another little chuckle. "Just kidding. You can expect him to arrive within a few days. Probably tomorrow. You'll receive a call in advance to set up a time that's convenient for you. …Most of our customers like to take a little time off from work to spend with their gods.…"
"That won't be a problem right now, don't worry." He stood and extended his hand, and the salesman stood and shook hands with Fox. "Thank you, Mr. Tenney. Good day."