Monday, January 18, 2010
The Singular Adventure Of Glaucus, Flash Fiction Friday #17
"I am not supposed to remember any of this," thought Glaucus as he closed his eyes to the rush of the cosmos around him and into the sweeping black hole that would spit him out in the middle of a horrible war. He clasped Homer's hand a little tighter and tried to sort out in his mind how the two of them had gotten in this mess to begin with.
They had been on a trip to the town of Sodom because of a speaking engagement that Homer had secured. The Sodom Council of Arts, Theaters, & Orgies had come across with a large sum of gold with promises of more on arrival. Homer just couldn't pass it up. "Besides," he joked, "it will be nice to see some new scenery."
They were on the road to Sodom and they had met several drunken travelers who had just come from the city. They described it as the best good time since Uranus had discovered that that thing was used for something other than to pee with.
Glaucus was tired of hiking the hot, dusty road and wondered to himself how much farther it could be. From around the bend in the road and obscured by cedar trees, he heard a merchant calling out his wares. "Perfume! Wine, wine here! Strong enough to give Bacchus himself a week long hangover! Olive oil! You can cook with it, you can put it in your hair, softens your skin, and works great as a lube! Erotic urns and jugs! Dildos! Get yer dildos here!"
"Well, we've gotta be close now," thought Glaucus.
Homer stopped the slave boy and pulled a few coins from his purse. "Go to the merchant and buy some skins of wine. It would not do for us to show up before the generous council empty handed," he advised. Glaucus brought back the wine, but not before he had took a few swigs, and they continued on towards the city gates. As they approached, Homer leaned in to the boy's ear and whispered, "I want you to keep a careful eye out Glaucus. There are things here that you may never see anywhere else on earth. If you see something interesting, describe it to me in detail as it might make for a good story later," Homer smiled at the thought. "And keep close to me," he warned, "they like cute, little boys here!"
"For servants?" Glaucus asked innocently.
"Of a sort lad. Of a sort," Homer shook his head at the thought and tightened his grip on the boy's hand.
As they stood in line to enter the fabled city, a gust of wind swept across the road, carrying with it a large cloud of dust. They coughed and sputtered, but then it cleared away as quickly as it had come. In it's place was a tall, slim youth wearing nothing but a winged cap and a mischievous smile.
"Scroll-o-gram for Homer! Scroll-o-gram for a Mister Homer!" he called out to the crowd in general, even though he was looking right at them.
Homer raised his staff, "Here young man! Here! I am Homer." The messenger strolled over and handed him a scroll. Homer handed it to Glaucus, "Read it to me boy."
"Forgive me master, but it is all Greek to me," he confessed as he looked at the little squiggles.
"Mayhaps I might be of some help," said the comely messenger as he took the scroll back from the befuddled boy. He unrolled it to it's full length, cleared his throat, and in a lusty voice began, "To the right honorable Homer, poet extraordinaire, your presence is required at the court of Zeus, Father of the Gods, Lord of thunder and lightening, bedder of many maidens, seer of all, etcetera, etcetera...it goes on like this for a bit...Be at the top of Mount Olympus now, or if possible, sooner. Signed, the Big Z."
Homer looked very cross at the young man, or at least in his general direction. "I have no time for this foolishness," he blustered, "I'm to see the council about a job! A well paying job at that!" Homer waved his staff about, "Let me pass you young trickster!" Glaucus restrained him from cracking the svelte messenger in the shins.
"Master!" he cried, "it would not be wise to offend the Gods. You have often told me so yourself. And though you know it not, the man before you has a winged cap and winged feet. Surely this can only be Hermes. Did we not make an offering to him at the temple before our journey to insure our safety? And did we not arrive safe and sound?"
"Oh goat shit," Homer muttered softly as he lowered his head. He turned to Hermes, "Alright Speedy, give me one good reason why I ought to go with you to Mount Olympus and not take the choice gig I've already got lined up inside. And don't give me that 'seas will swallow me whole and fire will rain from the sky' bullshit because I've heard it all before, and from better poets than you!"
Hermes shrugged, "Cause the feckin' place is scheduled for demolition. Some Hebrew god has had it on the 'Wiped Clean' listing for months now. E's jes been waiting on the surveyors to turn in their report as they run into trouble with a bloke named Lot or some such. You know Big Z, he don't cross pantheons. Bad for business. Feck if I know really. I just do what the Big Z sez and 'E sez bring this 'ere note to you and fetch you back. You want to risk yer ride to the Underworld, feck if I'ma gonna stop ya."
Homer knew he had been trumped. "Alright bird-heels, you win. Take us now please." Hermes smiled. He started with a light jog around them and rapidly picked up the pace until he was nothing but a swirl of motion on every side. Soon they found themselves in a funnel of wind that lifted them off the ground and into the sky. Glaucus shook with fear and clung to the old man for dear life. Homer's laughter was swept away by the rush of air.
When Glaucus finally opened his eyes again, they were standing on a shiny marble floor that stretched into craggy mountain tops and was hemmed with clouds and stars. Before them was a great golden throne and lounging on it was a huge bearded man eating figs and scratching his balls absentmindedly.
"Homer! Baby! How the hades are you? You're looking thin. Doesn't this slave know how to feed you? Come in, sit down. We never talk any more." The huge man waved a hand and they were seated.
"Z, you old goat licker! Don't put on the 'Howdy Do' for me, you snake in the grass. What do you want?" Homer sneered. Glaucus lowered his head away from Zeus' gaze.
"Oh Homey! You hurt me baby. You are just harshing me out with all of your negative waves man. You can't just talk to your old friend, exchange a few pleasantries, say hello, how ya doin'? No, you got to lay on those negative waves. Sheesh, I thought we was pals and all..." Zeus put on a mock look of hurt.
"Okay, fine. What have you been up to?" Homer sighed.
Zeus brightened up, "I've been transforming into fowl and cattle to deflower quite a few virgins," he bragged, "I've got at least three immortals on the way, but I think one might be screwed up and turn out to be a Kracken. You know, same old, same old. What about you? You still diggin' your crazy beats?"
"Still up to your cock & bull routine, eh?" Homer chuckled, "Yeah, the kid and I still travel around, tell my little tales for food, drinks, and tips. Sometimes the lady of the house wants to shag a celebrity and I get to sheathe my sword at the expense of the husband. Mostly it's a lot of nights sleeping on the ground."
Glaucus smiled at his master and shucked the goatskin bags from his shoulder. "What have you got there boy?" Zeus asked.
"W-Wine sir," Glaucus stuttered.
"Bring me some. I'm dry," Zeus held out a cup as big as bathtub and waited. Glaucus made haste and poured a full goatskin in. Zeus upended the cup and made a sour face and sparks of lightening shown from the edges of his eyes. "Say what you want about those Sodomites, they do make good wine. Bacchus must have slipped them the recipe."
"So you've had your drink and we are all caught up, what can I do for the Big Z that he can't do for himself?" Homer asked.
"Homey baby, I owe you a favor and-" He began.
"You owe me three," Homer interrupted, "if anybody is keeping count...and I'm not. I'd just like to mention that time in Cyprus, the time in Lesbos, and again in Luxembourg. Unless Pythagoras has got the wrong end of the stick, that's three."
"What I've got lined up for you baby is gonna be worth seven- no, nine favors! You are going to make so much money, you are going to have to hire dudes just to count it for you! And the broads! Jeez! You thought you were pulling in a descent amount of tail now, just wait until you see the action you get once I lay this shit on you! You'll be eating oysters for breakfast just to try and keep up and your cock will be in a splint!"
Homer sighed, "Enough of the soft sell, what's the gig?"
"I need you to write a story for me," Zeus said in a soft voice.
"Bullshit. You know I don't work on commission," Homer leveled his sightless gaze at Zeus, and it convinced Glaucus that he could make the Pharaoh's tax collector run in fright.
"I need you to cover a war for me," Zeus began, "and before you say no, hear me out. This war will send all of Greece into complete chaos. There is no way to avoid it. Many brave, young men will have to die. Now ask yourself, as a Greek patriot, can you let these thousands of men die unsung? Can you let them fill nameless graves in a far off land without a word to send them to the ferryman with?"
Homer sat silent for a long time and thought. "There is no way to avoid the war?"
Zeus shook his head.
"Goat shit," Homer swore, "Alright, I'm in. What's my angle?"
"That's the beauty of this story, it has it all! Passion, romance, action, comedy, drama, tragedy, sex, the works! Shit, there's enough stuff here for a sequel! If you write this, you'll be remembered longer than I will," Zeus gushed.
"Okay, but what starts the war?" Homer probed.
"Love," Zeus said simply.
"Oh that old saw," Homer muttered. "What the fig," he said, "I've been looking for some new material anyway. I'll do it. After all, it's only poets and writers who can save the world. We have left it in the hands of others for too long."
"The boy must remember none of this or he won't be any help to you in telling your tale. Say hello to Odysseus for me!" Zeus snapped his fingers and Glaucus and Homer were in the whirlwind again. "I am not supposed to remember any of this," Glaucus thought again.
Glaucus opened his eyes to a sunny beach with sea birds cawing overhead and Homer leaning over him as he lay flat on the sand.
"I should have told you not to drink the merchant's wine Glaucus, as they spice it with the Lotus flower. Come on, get up. The war is about to start!" Glaucus rose to his feet and wondered how he had gotten here, but his curiosity was even more piqued when he saw thousands of Greek ships in the harbor.
Brands To Look Under Flash Fiction Friday, I'm recieveing messages from the King of Sweden through my tin foil hat, Through the mists of time