Old Gods

Eris, as is no doubt common knowledge, was the Greek Goddess of Strife and Discord. Picture the scenario…

Zeus, in the Big Chair, handing out all the responsibilities: "OK, Aphrodite, you’ll be in charge of all the beautiful people, and their corporeal, hedonistic – and, frankly – lascivious pleasures. Think you can handle that? Good, capital.

“Poseidon… you’re interested in boats and so forth — how is that new runabout coming along, anyway? Don’t forget I’d like a trip ‘round the bay when it’s finished. I think you’d be perfect as the man in charge of the seas, rivers, etc. Tell you what: I’ll chuck in horses and earthquakes too; I’ve every confidence in you.

“Dionysus, you old soak! You’re absolutely perfect for keeping an eye on the laughing syrup, raves, discos — even wakes and Bar Mitzvahs, if you feel like it. If you’ve got a hangover though, you could drop the last 2.

“Let’s see, who’s next…? Oh yes, Demeter. Now, I know that farmer’s lad’s been sniffing around you, like a bee at a honeypot. If you take my advice, you’ll keep him hanging on a while, but not too long, mind, not with Athena at a loose end these days. No, I reckon you could do worse; his old man’s got more land than you can poke a stick at, and at least 10,000 head. Not to mention he brews a nice drop with that still of his. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. With your contacts in the pastoral sector, I think you’re the obvious choice for agriculture, ploughed fields and all that malarkey. A quiet hint though: before too long, the Massey Ferguson will replace the horse, so best to start boning up on diesel technology, then you’ll hit the ground running, as it were.”

This went on for quite some time, with the Old Man dishing out the duties like personal favours. The Deserving and Promising all received their commissions, as best suited their skill sets, ambitions and connections. Finally, the crowd had dispersed and he was just about to close the book and nip down the road in time for Happy Hour, when in rushed Eris, breathless and flustered.

“Zeus, my Lord; forgive me for my tardiness, but the twins were creating Pandemonium in the den — finger painting and peanut butter everywhere, all over the new marble. Then Shane bit Mandy, and…”

“Yes, yes, my child, no matter; what is it?”

“My Lord, you were to assign duties and responsibilities this afternoon — I hope I’m not too late.”

“Tish and bother, Eris, ‘tis all done. Besides, I’ve been up since 5, and I’m all in; I need to repair to the Rose & Crown and have a stiff one.”

“But My Lord, you promised… you said I could be a Goddess; pleeease…”

“Oh, very well, but we’ll have to be quick. Let me have a look. Oh dear, everything substantial’s been given out, I’m afraid — it was a big crowd here today. Oh, look, don’t pout, let me think. How about Goddess of hand tools…? No? OK, civic maintenance?”

“But I hate cleaning the toilets!”

“Very well, keep your hair on, but there’s not much else — I was going to call in the apprentices on Monday, and get them to handle the rest. Look, I’m sorry, but the best of the rest is Strife and Discord; take it or leave it. Tell you what: as I like you, and I’m feeling quite pleased with my day, I’ll give you double time from 5 pm Friday to 8 am Monday. What do you say…?”

Eris stomped off with a grunt, leaving Zeus shaking his head and wondering about modern youth.

First published on 300words.

Copyright Duncan Waldron © 2010
This work may not be reproduced without permission

Old Gods

Duncan Waldron

Camira, Australia

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Artist's Description

A woeful tale of a Goddess too late for the best jobs.

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