|Cupid Ascending Mount Olympus
Author: Atomdancerrr PM
Claire finally finds out the truth about her mysterious husband when a letter "Trevor" sends home leads her to the very top of Mount Olympus, a fateful meeting with his divine family & the start of her own ascension into goddess hood.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Humor - Words: 36,055 - Favs: 1 - Published: 06-27-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6088967
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is dedicated to my Friend Dee Dee who with incredible courage is busy climbing her own mountain.
Cupid: Ascending to Olympus
Elizabeth Hensley 8-)
Claire held up the letter she had intercepted before it had gone into the mail, her eyes wide with shock, hardly able to believe what she was seeing! Usually Trevor took the mail to the post office which was just across the street from their apartment. But this day, very suddenly she had decided to take a rare day off from work due to not feeling very well from that darn doughnut she had eaten at Dr Greeley's birthday party the day before and to Trevor's surprise she had suddenly offered to take the mail across the street because sick or not a little walk would do her good. So before he could stop her she had seen what he was mailing! She had pretended she had not noticed but she wondered if he had been fooled? Very little got past him for a so called "crazy man." He was more observant of the World around him than half a dozen "Normal Folks." If ability to function VERY well were all it took to obtain a stamp of normalcy, she or her Boss and many another Person running around unstamped with any psychiatric label would be the ones locked up in the "crazy house" long before him!
But this letter could explain an awful lot about why he always seemed to be strapped for cash despite his huge Manager's salary!
It was addressed to
It's a Federal Offense to open someone elses mail. That of course did not stop her. After all the offenses he had committed in the name of being Cupid, some illegal, what was he going to do about this one committed in the name of her being his Wife and Ex Psychiatrist? So she opened the letter of course and was dismayed but not surprised at this point to find a huge international money order inside that was half the money he had made the month before!
No wonder he was almost always broke! They were married now! What would the IRS think about this if they were audited!
And how long had this been going on!
Claire had a very bad feeling; a very long time!
A little sick or not she was a Runner and had the speed! A few minutes later she was a lot further away from their apartment than just across the street at the Post Office.
She waved the offending now opened letter with its highway robbery money order to Nowhere and no one real under her Husband's, Boss's nose. She had reason to ask him. He had also been her delusional husband's Landlord and Roommate as well as a good Friend for over a decade as well as his Boss. So he might very well know what the answer to what she was going to ask!
"Felix how long has he been doing this?"
Felix stared at his Manager's Ex Shrink and Wife and took the letter and money order.
He sighed. On reading them he understood her anger and frustration. But what she didn't know but he did, would have cleared up the matter and put a whole different spin on things. The man she was talking about was a very good manager and bar promoter who just happened to think he was Cupid the Greco Roman god of love though everyone called him Trevor. Felix knew for a fact with plenty of proof there was a very good reason for him thinking he was Cupid. He was!
But unfortunately his Wife hadn't been let in on that teeny tiny, little secret yet!
So how did he deal now with an angry, "Claire Bear? Lying certainly wouldn't work! Never mind the lack of ethics, it was like she had radar or something!
He took the firm approach. "Claire it's none of your business. Lots of Emigrants send money home to their families."
Claire was exasperated at that! "But Felix! Reality time here! The problem is Trevor's might not even be there. Probably isn't. He may have been sending money home forever and ever to a dead letter office in some God forsaken post office in Greece!"
Felix grinned teasingly "Or far from god forsaken."
She frowned. "Or some family that is in no way related to him may be indeed thanking the Big G God for the incredible windfall! Felix that isn't right! All these years he's needed it himself desperately! You know sometimes he barely used to make ends meet! I've always wondered why because I knew how much People loved him even back then and tipped him so much. He was a ham even from the start even before he even got good and going! But now I know!" She frowned. "I have to stop him! In every other way he's been hyper competent way beyond even what most so called "Normal" People manage. But in this! In this he desperately needed his government mandated psychiatric supervision and for over a decade I've completely failed him because I never even realized this was going on! It's very late, hundreds of thousands of dollars too late! But I still have to put a stop to this!"
Felix sighed. "Claire you know he never would have been out on the streets. Even when he didn't make his rent I was his Landlord as well as his Boss. So I always covered for him and always will because I have to." Felix sighed. "Because something I can't explain right from the very first always tells me I had, better. Besides, Claire he's the best promoter I've ever had! Right from the very first time I met him the bar is literally still in operation because of him. He got us through the 9/11 restaurant kiss of death! It's true he tended to take off cupiding on his shift without a moment's warning but it's also true right from the very first he did the work of a Janitor for free, worked for almost nothing since I had to pay him at first except under the table due to no social security number until your hospital got him one and he accepted his dismal salary without any whining whatsoever. I thought when I saw he was White, 'oh no he will never work out! I need an Illegal Emigrant and can barely afford to pay one of them what he or she would demand.' But he thinks he IS an illegal emigrant! Being a Greek god dumped by ones family in the Mortal realm qualifies I guess." Felix sighed again and shook his head and frowned. "It's not like his family of gods arranged him a green card or any documentation at all!"
Claire glared at him, "Did you know about this?"
He shrugged which neither answered "yes" or "no." But of course she guessed it!
Claire was furious! Her voice rose higher and louder than Felix would have thought possible! "You should have stopped him! If he's been sending half his salary to God knows where for at least as long as he's been working for you and that's been for over 18 years now! And before he worked for you we don't know how long he's been ill, he may have been doing the same thing! This very well may have been at least for two decades! He has been cheating himself out of hundreds of thousands of dollars! Felix I have to get to the bottom of this before he bankrupts himself! And you should have too. You should at least have told me! For one thing if he gets audited how is he going to explain this to the IRS?"
Felix shrugged and hoped his ears would recover! "That he sends money home to his family? That's an allowed deduction. I doubt they'd check that closely as to their reality and if they did you could get him to cooperate with you enough to plead diminished mental capacity. And their existence is a matter of his religious belief! So isn't that covered? Or it should be! You could take that all the way to the Supreme Court and probably win it and I'd pay for the trials because wow! What publicity it would bring this bar!"
Claire was exasperated! "It could come to that. But that still does not solve his loss of income!"
Felix looked at her pleadingly, "Let me live, please!"
She glared at him, "I'm tempted not to but if they put me to death by lethal injection no one will be here to protect Trevor from himself and raise my daughter!"
With that she stormed out!
She told Trevor she had a medical conference to go to. Usually he would have believed her and started teasing her about getting to go to some exotic location for the whole weekend just for having to listen to some lecture for a measly two hours! But the worried expression on his face when she told him let her know for sure he had seen her notice his letter! But there was no way he could have stopped her from going!
The folks at Triple A weren't even amazed to arrange tickets and advice to Karditsa Greece. It seems they had seen New Yorkers wanting to go to every conceivable location on the Globe and some off the Globe. Unfortunately off the globe was not doable yet, unless very very rich and connected to NASA, not that Folks hadn't been into the local Triple A office trying! Those had been referred to take a "trip" to see Folks like her. Not that most had taken the advice to go on her kind of "trip."
It was a long, expensive, exhausting journey. Claire could have gotten to the Antarctica almost as easily. Greece was not the problem. She touched down in the International Airport of Central Greece as easily as any modern Tourist going anywhere by modern jet. But from there to the little post office of the little town of Karditsa got harder and harder. She was able to go by bus at first. But then it broke down and since she was the only Passenger and the Driver lived around the corner from where they broke down and either spoke no English or claimed not to and couldn't care less about her she found herself walking. And walking. And walking and very glad she had had the sense to wear sensible shoes. Oh yes sensible shoes on a sensible Person. "Sensible Claire." Trevor had warned her once "Sensible" would be one of the words on her tomb stone!
Earth seems so small from Space. It is so HUGE when you are walking somewhere and you aren't even sure where you are going!
No one can ever conceive of how HOT the Sun gets in Greece in the Summer time!
A kind Villager with wrinkles on his face deep enough for small Insects to hide in, (not that he had any) very kindly gave her a ride in the back of his dilapidated Chevy pickup the last twenty miles. Claire had ridden in first class jets many a time. She did not enjoy those rides as much as this one or feel so grateful!
The place did have a hotel and Claire did have reservations. The room was clean and the air condition worked. They were able to bring her ice cold bottled water and lots of it. Bottled yes but it gave her the runs anyway.
The Post office was small and cramped and it did not have air conditioning. She tried to fan away the heat and she waited. She did not dare read anything to pass the time because she knew she would get engrossed in her reading and be certain to miss whoever the came to collect the mail in Post office Box 2687. And darn it the little post office box seemed to have no one to collect what went into it. So she waited for several days in the heat and to her frustration kept having to to bat away some very friendly Flies who kept wanting to keep her company. (It is not their fault that we are lords of the Flies and they long with deep religious fervor to be with their gods). The last day of her official vacation was just about over when someone finally came and she gasped at what it was that came!
The man was nine feet tall, old and incredibly wrinkled but spry as a Goat. He had fiery red hair which was very unusual in this part of the world. Most Greeks have black hair as Trevor does. His eyes were as green as emeralds and suddenly Claire wondered if this was where Delightful got her red hair and green eyes. His clothes were very old and patched but clean and carefully mended and he wore a Postman's cap. He carried an old walking pole that had strange carvings on it. He had an old leather bag that looked like a very old mail bag left over from a much older era of being a Postman. He was whistling some Greek folk tune and greeted the Clerk behind the counter by name and was so greeted in turn by the man who called him, "Hermes." They obviously knew one another from way back and were good friends. They gave one another a Greek salute and then he opened the box with a quick, well coordinated turn of his key which was on a string around his neck and he took out Trevor's latest letter as well as several others, many of which were on Trevor's stationary and a few which seemed to be from other People. He quickly tucked them all in his mail bag and turned to go. There was a prance to his step. This was a happy man.
Could this be "Uncle Mercury!" He so matched what Trevor said he looked like! And he so looked like the barkeep, Merv it was spooky! No wonder Trevor loved Merv and put up with his slowness at learning to make drinks!
Claire boldly went up to him, hoping he spoke English and wishing with all her heart she had spent more time studying the modern Greek language and less time studying ancient Greek in an effort to understand Trevor. But she had been trying to read Trevor's dream journal which, darn it! He had stubbornly as usual, absolutely insisted on writing it in some ancient Greek dialect which seemed to be his own beautiful but strange variation of ancient Greek that included words for modern things that did not exist in ancient Greece and even words for things that would not be invented until far the Future, (when he bothered to write it for her at all). But this situation she had not anticipated; that she would need to go to real, modern Greece and talk to real, modern Greek People! "Hello. May I speak to you?
He smiled and nodded and then did a funny thing. He turned to the ceiling and made a strange gesture at it as if he were signaling to it to pay attention "because this is going to be good!"
She plunged right in. "I need to speak to you about these letters that have been arriving from American each month. I am the man's Doctor."
The man gazed down at her. He smiled, "Well! You are Claire Bear and here you are in Greece at the foot of our beloved mountain!"
She was very surprised, "You know who I am! He has been sending you pictures and writing about me too."
The man just smiled as if he knew much more than he was letting on. And turned to go. That she would follow him was a given, apparently. So of course she did.
Greece in the Summer is very, very beautiful. The People are so poor and yet there is so much life in them. It puts Americans to shame. They all seemed to know this strange, tall, flame topped man and much waving and hand gesturing and smiling and loud, fast talking in Greek went on. Kids came out and he had to bend way down to high five them and to hug them which he did over and over again. The giant was like a Santa Claus apparently, except she saw him give no candy or toys. But still the Kids and even Grownups surrounded him eagerly as if he was giving out Something. She kept following him and they seemed to be headed out of the town.
She said to him, "Sir you and whoever is taking it can't keep accepting this money he keeps sending. He needs it himself. He isn't in his right mind and should not be sending it."
The man sighed, "He's a crazy work of art alright! But he is in his right enough mind to know that his family needs it."
Claire said, "Then it IS his family that he is sending it to?" She suddenly felt huge relief that all that money had not been wasted and intense excitement! Her heart started pounding! She was finally about to find out who her husband really was! Finally after all these years!
The man said, "Yes and they are very poor. They desperately need this money."
"I thought so. Gods indeed!" Claire was actually disappointed. She had been listening to "Trevor" so long there was a tiny, little part of her that actually believed!
The strange tall man sighed. "Things are not always as they seem." He waved his hands. "But again they can be and not be both at the same time."
"Now what does that mean?"
The man considered how to explain. He finally settled on. "Time passes, and things change, and those who are old endure and do not always do so in ways that make them stronger, proverbs to the contrary."
She stared at him puzzled at that. Finally she said."Take me to them."
He frowned. "I can't."
"Well for one thing. They do not wish to be disturbed."
"I gather from what I was told that they are disturbed enough already! I am a Psychiatrist who does therapy as well as prescribe medication. Maybe I can help them."
The man stopped at that and turned and looked at her and got a funny look. But then he just turned away and kept walking very fast. She had to run to keep up with him.
"Hey! Slow down!"
He looked down at her from his nine feet. Gently but firmly he said, "You could not even reach them! They live in such a remote area."
She stared up at him frowning fiercely, "You do not know my determination!"
He sighed. "That remains to be seen! And even if you have enough of it this is a very bad idea. A very bad one!"
She pleaded, "You have to let me try to help them so I can help Trevor. The root of his pathology is with his family. I know it is!"
The man smiled bitterly. "You got that right, Sister! But you can't even make it to them!"
He shuttered. "Even if you can you have no idea what you are getting yourself into!"
She pursed her lips ruefully. "I am sure I don't. But that won't stop me!"
He suddenly stopped and a very strange look crossed his face. He finally said, "I suddenly feel like something beyond me is controlling me! I haven't felt that way in such very long time! "I." He looked down at her and tried to shrug it off and then continued walking but quite a bit slower. He started pausing when he realized she was falling behind. But the way started getting very steep. She realized they had actually reached the foot of the mountain of Olympus. Had her star problem patient actually lived partly up its slope?
She started asking him questions. "is his name really, 'Trevor?'"
He shook his head, "No. Not at all. He tagged himself with that off the hospital wall as you surmised. 'The world felt a tremor and the darkness was pierced!' And how, Sister! How the little world has tremored and how the tiny thing has been been pierced! No wonder she is crying! But I started calling him 'Trevor' too. Then slowly the rest of his family joined me on and off. It fits him."
He grinned a very familiar grin."It means, 'favorite son.' He sort of is despite the nuisance he made of himself those last few years he was among us. He will be the only one of his generation of our kind to reproduce."
"How can you know this?"
The man sighed and closed his eyes and there were tears in them."We know this. The Creators have not been as kind to us as they could have been, Claire Bear." The man sighed again. "Watch it! The way will be very rough from now on. You are sure about this?"
Claire gave the strange tall man a determined frown, "I am very sure! Trevor is very sick. The secret of his illness lies I am very sure with his very strange family!
The man laughed. "You could deduce that from all the years of therapy he did with you."
Claire nodded, 'I did. I suspect many a time most of what he said to me had huge kernels of truth to it."
The man laughed. "Claire what he said to you was the whole silo!" The man's grin was Trevor's same sunny grin in a much craggier, older face. He had to be a close relative! Then the man said, "He talked about us all the time in the therapy he did with you and every word of it was so very true! In fact. Ouch! Embarrassing sometimes. Many times. But true!" He gestured helplessly. Then started laughing philosophically and he made a sign to the sky that he was OK about it. To this man life was good despite its many problems.
Claire frowned. "How come you know so much about the therapy I did with him?"
The man smiled that same sunny grin again. "You would be absolutely amazed just how much I know about the therapy you did with him! Let's just say I peeked, a LOT. Most entertaining thing we had to do in ages! Watch the gap in the path. Here. Let me help you over it."
Claire gasped as she realized there was suddenly nothing between her and death but air and lots of it. There suddenly was NO PATH! The man was not only tall but strong. He grabbed her left arm with his powerful right one and lifted her over the gap as easily as if she were a Child despite winds almost as strong as a hurricane and lifted her over five feet of nothing and then the path, if you could call it that sort of continued again.
The strange man lifted his powerful head to the winds and said, "Aeolus can't you let up a bit? I know you are just playing but really? You are scaring her!"
Strange fellow who talked to the ancient Greek gods as if they were real deities! No doubt this was the roots of Trevor's pathology!
For hours they plowed up and up along a narrow ledge no wider than five inches in places when it was there at all and through brush and brambles and branches and territory that a Mountain Goat would have took one look at and sensibly turned tail and headed for the low lands. But Claire was so determined! She was also amazed and extremely puzzled.
"How do you manage to get up here like this?
"I don't go this way."
Then why are you taking me this way?
The strange tall man sighed, "Because you could not go the way I go!"
He smiled. "Well for one thing you might have noticed what a long drink of water I am?"
Claire had to smile at that.
The giant suddenly sat down. It was like a huge tree crashing in the forest except he had done it on purpose. He patted the soil next to him "Here. Sit. Rest."
Grateful to have the chance she did so.
They sat in silence for several minutes. The man seemed to be communing with the winds, whispering gently and soothingly to them in Greek so low she could not make it out even if she could have understood that much Greek. He was obviously getting some comfort from this strange communication. Maybe he was hallucinating or maybe it was just healthy prayer. But as Lilly Tomlin had said, "why is it when you talk to God it's prayer but when God talks to you it's Schizophrenia?"
Claire absentmindedly picked up the man's walking pole and studied the strange carvings on it. She startled to realize the top of the pole though very worn could still be made out to be carved into a Snake like DNA pattern like that of ….Hermes the god of medicine and the deliverer of messages! In other words, Mercury!
She stared at the man next to her who was so gently and calmly "talking to the wind."
She also noticed the wind died down a bit for a short time after that, "talk." Coincidence of course. Right? Because it had to be!
He noticed her again and turned to her and said, "I am sorry about the steepness and prickliness of our journey. Tourists climb Mount Olympus all the time on the easier parts but not the part I have to take you to. So this is your only chance of making it to our happy though rather thunderous home at all. You can make it if you do not lose courage. You know, funny thing. The only other Outsider that made it to us in the last few thousand years was also a Doctor and we desperately needed his services too."
Claire frowned at that. "Then it is true that Trevor's family is on the disturbed side?"
The man frowned and looked at the ground and shook his head, "Claire Bear you are a Shrink! What happens when someone is not believed in any more? Our Creators have not been kind to us. They have quit believing in us and just about completely lost interest in us. They have abandoned us and that hurts beyond anything you can imagine! And Trevor was for the longest time our youngest. So of course he acted out the most and became the one most disturbed and had to be the one the most in need of being sent for professional help! And he certainly couldn't get it here in Greece! Our mental hospitals are Snake pits! In desperation to keep Folks from hurting themselves they literally have tied Folks to their beds with the Doctor's own belts because they are that strapped for cash. They have the opposite problem of American mental hospitals. Instead of too much chemical straitjacketing there is NO medication at all because there is no money for any! It's a crime against sacred, precious Humanity!
It began to sound more and more like Trevor's family believed in the original Greek gods or more scary, did think they were the gods because "the Creators" this man was speaking of either had to be the gods or the Mortals that Trevor thought had "created the gods." Was she climbing all by herself, unprotected into an isolated family of Hillbilly, Greek Lunatics and that was where Trevor got his delusions from? It was his entire family's pathology? She asked gently, "How did you even afford to get him to America?'
The man grinned. "Now that was no problem. There are things about us you do not know yet but due to your tenacity you are about to find out! Just a few more hours of climbing!"
"Just a few more HOURS!"
"Well Mount Olympus is not Everest but it is a tall mountain! But you can make it Claire Bear! With my help you can!"
"I thought you didn't want me to go!"
The man shook his head, "I've changed my mind. I am remembering my myths. This is a fulfillment of them, finally! And a fulfillment of a promise that was made to Cupid by our Neighbor when Trevor was just a little boy when he ran to Him crying his eyes out because of the many atrocities his father did, that help would finally be sent by the Mortals we thought had abandoned us! We have been waiting so long for help! I am supposed to take you to Trevor's family and make you one of us! I just had forgotten this. That's all. Awhile back I had multiple lightning bolts strike me and sadly I have never been the same again. I forget things. Important things! And I have trouble learning new stuff! You are a Doctor! A Shrink and the best there is! We know! Maybe in time you can help me too?"
Yikes! This man thought he was a god too and yet he was asking her for professional help! Oh was this ever deja vu all over again! She said gently but firmly. "Yes I will try to help you but you must be honest with me. You do think you are Trevor's 'Uncle Mercury!' Hermes! You fit both the descriptions he gave me of you and the ancient myths. You are a Postman, a Messenger! And you have this stick!" She shook it at him. " And you are his Father aren't you?"
He stood up and nodded. "Probably. If Mars isn't. I certainly hope so! We both do! It wouldn't do any good to do a DNA test right now. In his current condition he's using a friendly Mortal as a Host. Later we can." Uncle Mercury grinned with the glow of a True Believer. "I love modern Mortal tech! You Guys and Gals are just so very wonderful!" He suddenly put out his arms as if to hug all of Mortal-manity and started dancing right there on the sides of the Mountain amongst the Wild Flowers and the gusting winds. It was a wonder he didn't fall off!
Claire sighed. Now she had another delusional patient! And she was stuck half way up a very dangerous mountain with him with no way to get down without his help and going to an very uncertain destination with him!
She had been very, very foolish!
But most Mental Patients were no more dangerous than those without mental illnesses. Trevor had talked much of his "Uncle Mercury." His descriptions were no doubt accurate other than him not really being a god. Uncle Mercury was so gentle he went out of his way not to step on Spiders and cowered before Mortals much smaller than him when scolded and literally stayed up all night once to bottle feed a family of abandoned Kittens. Before too many lightning bolts from jealous fights with his brother, Mars over the love of Cupid's Mother, Venus had damaged his brain he had been a gifted herbal Doctor. So it was very doubtful she had anything to fear from "Uncle Mercury." But if he was taking her to the rest of his lunatic family there was a god of war awaiting her! And a Zeus and many others whose pathology made them think they had the right to kill Mortals if it pleased them to do so and according to the myths "Cupid's Mother" was going to be insanely jealous of her! Of course they weren't really going to be gods. But "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he." They believed they were the Greek gods and so they would act like them! Even without powers surrounded by folks who thought they were with no Police reachable for her in some isolated village where "the Lunatics ran the asylum," she was going to be in terrible danger!
What had she gotten herself into? Even a Nonshrink knew not to go climbing up the sides of mountains in foreign countries with complete Strangers! And she called herself "sensible!"
She knew she could not get down with Uncle Mercury's help and he wasn't about to help her down, not until she had gone up to "Olympus home of the gods!"
Well she had wanted to get to the bottom of "Trevor's" delusion!
She was certainly about to! Now the question was, would she physically survive? Or did being made a goddess (and that myth said she would be made one once she met "Cupid's family) involve being "helped out of ones mortality" first?
And there was another problem. Night was coming!
She had been worried at times Trevor would be a danger to himself and others. It had come true but only in the most indirect of ways. His problem had driven his Ex Shrink and Wife to her own insanity apparently! She sighed. Even if his demented family did not kill him she could easily fall asleep and slip or fall off their mountain or she would freeze to death in the middle of the night on the side of it just trying to get to them!
The ancient Greek sun god, Uncle Helios slipped into the Mediterranean Sea as if he were in some horrible, modern hurry and the Mount was plunged into the worst, non electrically lit darkness she had ever been in her life! She gasped at it, gasped at the blazing of the stars, gasped at the loudness of the Moon! Gasped at the meanness of Aeolus! Uncle Mercury took her in his strong arms and suddenly there was warmth around them and protection from the over playful wind god that did not seen to come directly from his physical body and he said with gentle firmness. "Sleep now. Nothing shall harm you. Nothing ever shall!"
"It's so dark!"
"Only in darkness can we find True Light for only then do we realize we need It. Sleep. But be careful. There are Insects and Spiders."
Her eyes widened in horror. "Will they bite? Are they venomous?'
He shook his head and said soothingly. "No. No Little One! But you will kill them if you roll on them."
She laughed in relief and amazement, "You are worried about them?"
He frowned, "We are in THEIR house right now, not they in ours. What right do we have to take their fragile, tragically short lives away from them through sheer carelessness when they've done nothing to us? Such unnecessary cruelty and pride! We are just asking to be struck down by those Higher!"
Claire said with clinical interest, "I thought you believed you are a god? How can there be any higher?'
Uncle Mercury stood up and pointed, "There is One Higher over there on that other mountain in Jerusalem, Our Neighbor. At the announcement of the Administration Change we were told He is in, 'THE Highest' and we don't even understand what that phrase means. If you think we understand everything just because you constructed us little g gods able to live in a realm beyond yours, think again! Now rest those weary, Mortal bones and muscles and incredible number of brain cells of yours. But mind the Beings even weaker than you. They have a right and a reason to be too! To be careful of their tiny, short lives is your responsibility as a Power higher than them. As a Power Higher and stronger than you I will hold you all night and you will NOT fall off our mountain!" He smiled the family sunny smile. "That is my happy responsibility."
And she believed him about that last part, that she would not be allowed to fall off the mountain. So she slept. And she slept well and deep despite the howling wind and the darkness and the strangeness of it all.
And morning came like a symphony of sunlight, like Whale song, like Angels dancing at the beginnings of creation. Uncle Mercury had to shake her awake for tired is she was he could not let her miss Sunrise on Mount Olympus! And she was glad he had shaken her! She stood up to give the Sunrise a standing Ovation and for once she was not an Agnostic who prayed to to Whom it Might Concern. For a few moments she was a worshiper of Ra! Then this strange, tall man who thought he was the Greek Messenger god surprised her as he never would again. In a clear, deep, beautiful voice he started singing.
"Morning has broken like the first morning
Black Bird has spoken like the first Bird
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for all things sprung fresh from His word!
Sweet the rains new fall
Sunlit from Heaven
like the first dew fall
On the first Grass
Praise for the sweetness
of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness
When His feet pass.
Mine is the morning!
Mine is the sunlight!
Born of the One Light
Eden saw play
Praise all Creation
Praise every nation
of the new day!"
Claire said amazed, "I never would have thought you'd sing that, you who think you are a Greek god, a song written by a Christian praising the Christian God!
Uncle Mercury grinned, "Cat Stephens who wrote that is a Muslim." Then he smiled a gentler, sadder smile and reached out his enormously, strong paw and gently pushed Claire's startled mouth shut.
Then they sat together in silence for a while watching the rest of the sunrise thinking about many things.
Then Claire's stomach started growling and Uncle Mercury's answered. He laughed, "Our gut brains are having a conversation." Then he reached in the pockets of his tunic and pulled out home baked, brown barley bread and Goat cheese and from somewhere in there a bottle of wine. Where had that come from? Had he had that the night before? She had not smelled it or noticed his tunic bulging!
So they had breakfast with the sunrise on the side of Mount Olympus something she had never thought she would ever do in her life!
When he sat near her he could smell him strongly for they had both been in the hot Sun for hours. But never had body odor smelled so sweet! She could tell it was not perfume. It was HIM! And she wanted to sink her nose into his chest and inhale the fragrance!
The scary thing was it seemed to be mutual but he was too much a gentlemen!
No matter what else happened what an ending to her book this would make!
If she survived this!
Afterwards they started climbing again. The air started to get thin. It was getting harder to breath and Claire was very, very tired. Her body was reminding her she had muscles she had not ever used before much and they all hurt!
But she gritted her teeth determined now to see it through to the end and besides it did not seem she had a choice! It was doubtful "Uncle Mercury" would let her back out now!"
They climbed and struggled through brush and endured the narrowest of paths if a path was what one could call it. Uncle Mercury kept her from falling dozens of times. She actually lost count! How does one do that, lose count of how many times the same person saves one's life!
He had not even asked for his stick back from her since she had discovered the DNA markings. That was a comfort of sorts. If he did turn out to be dangerous she now had something to try to defend herself with.
Yeah sure. Against a nine foot giant with muscles like suspension cables, the stress endurance to walk up the sides of a mountain and not feel it and who knew this impossible territory like the proverbial back of his hand! And he was the only reason she had not fallen dozens of times! So if she DID succeed in overpowering him, then what? How did she get down?
Plants had been getting smaller and smaller and now they reached the edge beyond which Green Life could not grow. So the brush ended which was a blessing. No more struggling through it. Claire suddenly realized she had not been having any breathing problems for a very long time and startled. How was this possible! She stared puzzled at her traveling companion and he just winked at her as if he was guessing what she was wondering about and was not about to let her in on the little secret!
They had almost reached the peak. Oh my God they had to be reaching where ever it was they were supposed to be going soon! What was he going to do? Push her off? Was Olympus, Heaven? He seemed so gentle! And yet could there be a darker, violent side? Could he be totally insane? Maybe Trevor's distress and confusion over who his father was really had a symbolic meaning! Maybe gentle"Uncle Mercury" and the violent, bloody "god of war" were actually the same person!
Oh why oh why had she been so foolish! What had she gotten herself into!
Then suddenly he said, "Claire Bear we are here!"
She blinked, "Huh?"
He nodded, "Yes. We are here."
She said gently and cautiously for obviously he was hallucinating. "Where, Uncle Mercury?"
He smiled and pointed "Look down."
There was a bread box sized box at their feet. It did look interesting.
Uncle Mercury knelt down in front of it and Claire did too with him. Then Uncle Mercury plopped down and Claire did too to keep her patient's confidence for obviously he was very delusional though Trevor had mentioned his family home being only the size of a bread box. But of course it couldn't be, not really!
It looked like a toy temple except it had four glowing circles on its four sides. There was Greek writing carved on the front of it above the columns. But the fact they were mysteriously glowing was very unsettling! What could possibly be the power source? Claire could read the writing due to her studies. It actually said, "Olympus!" A cold chill went up her spine. Was this authentic?It did look exactly as her star problem patient had always described it and yet and yet! Oh come on! It couldn't be real! And yet Trevor had always given a scientific explanation for the god's existence, even the Big God: circling Time due to General Relativity which had been completely proven in 1929 and very simply too by merely using a solar eclipse. A Scientist named Sir Author Eddington had simply observed that the stars along the edge of the Sun had their images distorted because Time and Space are being bent around the Sun by its intense gravity the same way Time and Space are being bent around the entire Universe by its gravitory and thus circle. That bending of Time and Space by the Sun happens all the time but it is only noticeable during a total eclipse due to the Moon filtering out all the sunlight along the edges so the stars along the edge can be seen. Because Time circles the Future is the Past so what ordinary Human beings create in the Future already exists if it can survive the Big Crunch/Big Bang. Apparently we had used Artificial Intelligence Technology to bring all worthwhile Fictionals to life including the immortal little g gods. They had indeed survived the Big Crunch/Big Bang because the little bread box sized god keep of Olympus was built to be able to do so!
So scientifically speaking there was no reason this little box in front of her couldn't be just what it said and now that she was actually seeing it with her own eyes and also this man that did indeed fit Trevor's description of his beloved Uncle Mercury. So could it be true?
Claire asked, "OK just in case it's true how do we get in there?"
Uncle Mercury grinned, "You have to be electrocuted!"
She got up and backed away from him in fear. Just when I thought he wasn't insane and I was going to get out of this alive!
She backed up a little too much and suddenly found herself falling off the side of the mountain!
In most movies Heroines scream. This is not a movie and Claire has too much IQ to scream so she didn't because she knew it would not do any good. She just fell! Very very quickly and she started thinking about how fast things fall trying to remember the exact speed of that as if in the very last few moments of her life that would protect her. Or maybe she was just trying to figure out how much time she had left, Scientist until the very end!
And that was when she found out the truth!
Uncle Mercury was there in a flash and like Lois Lane suddenly someone who had nothing supporting him was supporting her!
He grabbed Claire in mid air and then swung dizzily sideways and grabbed his stick which she had let go of and had her and it back on top of the mountain in front of the little "toy" temple in seconds!
She was a strong Claire Bear! She didn't faint!
Uncle Mercury ignored the precious Mortal for a few seconds, kissed his stick and gestured with it at the Heavens, dancing with gratitude that his beloved piece of wood hadn't been lost! Then he turned his attention from thanking the Heavens for his stick back to Clare! His green eyes twinkled and there was that same family grin again. He said quietly. "You have the ending to your book now?"
She caught her breath and then in a few more seconds her sanity and then vehemently shook her head, "No! I can't write this! My Editor and Publisher and Readers would think I'd gone delusional too! And if they didn't, do you really want your secret out?"
Uncle Mercury said quickly and nodded his head up and down very fast and very far, looking kind of goofy for a real, genuine Greek god! "Yes! Yes! Yes! It would be really really wonderful to be believed in again!"
Claire quickly shook her head. "No it wouldn't. That is why I was told by Trevor Hera isn't allowing any of her family to give us Mortals any proof. You would no longer be safe up here! We are not the same innocent, reverent Mortals you remember from the good old days. Think Star Trek Classic Trek episode, 'Who Mourns for Adonais.'"
Uncle Mercury protested, "But we aren't going to stand in the way of your progress like Apollo will. He will just go nuts for a little while. We know better! In fact we are urging you on!"
Claire sighed and shook her head. "It won't matter. If they know its really here they will hunt until they find this little box, hack it open somehow and .."
Uncle Mercury was horrified! "That would kill us! That is the one thing that would! It's pretty hard to hack open. Our keep was made to withstand the Big Crunch/Big Bang And to do so forever and ever! But if your contemporary Mortals found a way to...!"
Claire nodded, "So I don't dare say a word about you being real because there are Mortals who WOULD find a way and would want to cut into or hammer into Olympus and bother you and reverse engineer you and even destroy you just because they could! I know they would just for the challenge! We are tenacious and very clever but not terribly wise and foresighted in many areas sometimes! So no, Uncle Mercury I still don't have an ending for my book. Oh I guess I do." She sighed. "I can't put it off forever. I am just going to say Trevor and I agreed to disagree indefinitely. That will just have to do. I will just end it with Delightful being born with red hair which will hint at you being more than a hallucination and being out there in the World for real somewhere in some form; a fascinating, mysterious ending. So! Now how do we get into this little box?"
Uncle Mercury grinned, "A big bolt of lightning comes out and kills you which does not hurt a bit. Ask any electroconvulsive therapy Patient before they started using anesthesia first. Or ask anyone over in New Jerusalem who was compelled to sit on Old Sparky or who just died from a Lightning bolt. Then a very precise laser beam comes out and cuts you up into very tiny pieces and every component of your being is analyzed, including your operating system and you are sucked into Olympus through any one of our four pearls. Inside you will be given a virtual body that will look and feel like what you have here and your operating system which was very carefully uploaded will be inserted into it. Or you can have some other kind of virtual body but with looks like yours; Wow! We can't improve on them so keep what you have now! Inside you won't be able to tell you ain't you because you will be you except if you choose to stay long enough and drink ambrosia in there you will start learning some new tricks like how to fly and stuff. When you leave the process is reversed except you will end up keeping your new tricks. We could also reconstitute you somewhere else if it were desired. So this works as a gen u rine Star Trek or Stargate transporter too!" Uncle Mercury said that like Mr Haney on Green Acres and he was grinning broadly. "We can also fix really bad health problems this way too if we record you before you have them. So why they so seldom use their transporters for medical purposes on Star Trek and Star Gate is beyond us gods. They just barely stop short of having physical immortality on those shows due to being able to remake People with the transporters any time they need to. But they only used it one time like that that I can recall to save one Person in one episode of Next Generation. All I can think of is in their own way they are Amish!" Uncle Mercury started laughing.
So Uncle Mercury was nuts about Star Trek too! Claire smiled. "So how do we signal Olympus that we want in? Is there a door bell?"
Uncle Mercury sighed, "I wish! No. Nothing that sophisticated as a door bell or a button you can push. We have things you can't even begin to imagine but a simple door bell or a self service button such as even a Mortal elevator has: That the Building Mortals forgot to include! Nope. Dang nab it! I have to depend on my fellow gods, my family to let me in. I can literally pound on the sides to get their attention or shout. They can physically hear me in there we are so close here or usually someone has their selective omnipresence tuned to this area because when one of us is not at home someone is supposed to be on guard. I say SUPPOSED to be, because, grr! I have waited on occasion! I have waited in rain! In snow! In heat! In the dead of night! In all the Postman's regular litany of things that aren't supposed to slow us down or stop us from delivering mail WHICH I HAVE SOME RIGHT HERE!" He banged on Olympus with his stick. "IS ANYBODY LISTENING? That litany of no no's cannot slow me down BUT CERTAIN GODS WHO WILL REMAIN NAMELESS CAN IF THEY AREN'T DOING THEIR DUTY AND WATCHING FOR OTHER GODS A KNOCKING AT THE DOOR AND A WANTING IN HAVE SLOWED ME DOWN SO MANY TIMES I WOULD LIKE TO WRING CERTAIN DEITY'S NECKS!"
Claire couldn't help giggling and she marveled at her audacity! Number one he was her patient and she wasn't supposed to laugh at patients and surely even if she was a modern Mortal there had to be something written somewhere about not laughing at gods?
But Uncle Mercury didn't seem to mind a bit. He just goofy-grinned at her. Finally he said, "I have a very beautiful Mortal out here! Very beautiful! It is Cupid's Psyche-iatrist! The one we have been waiting for for two thousand years! The Promised One!"
Claire started to exclaim, "I'm the Promised One!" But she hardly had time because that had got their attention! ZA-A-A-A-P!
Not what she had expected. The first thing she saw was a very ugly fellow in a ripped and chemical stained lab coat sitting in a very worn, wicker wheel chair. Uncle Mercury said, "Oh. So no wonder! Claire Bear this is Vulcan the god of the Forge and other metallic marvels. If you want a robot built or a computer programmed he's your god. He's also slightly Autistic and a pain in the arse!"
Without looking at them the man in the wheel chair said, "I had to get to just the right spot in these calculations I am working on in my head or I would have lost them. You know how that goes. I have explained!"
Uncle Mercury nodded, "I know. I know. You would have been, 'Xanadued."
Claire glanced at Uncle Mercury for an explanation.
She got one. "The English Poet, Coleridge was writing a wonderful, fantastic, poem about Xanadu that would have been hundreds of lines long because he had it all in his brain buffer all finished. But a Man from Portos came hiking and started as Vulcan puts it, 'blabbering at him about nothing really important,' for about half an hour and Coleridge did the polite thing and socially interacted with him and then horrors! When he went to write his poem again it was all gone from his buffer which had filled up with politeness stuff instead and the poem had spilled over into nothing and been lost! This sort of thing can happen to any Writer and any Inventor or creative Person. So when my Autistic brother's powerful, subconscious brain sends him up an idea he prefers to be rude for the sake of Posterity and he right then and there drops everything and gets it all down instead of being sociable even if his inspiration happens when he is supposed to be manning pearl duty or in the middle of dinner with folks or just in the middle of a conversation. He'll get that look in his eyes and we know not to bother him for quite some time or he WILL grump at us!" Uncle Mercury smiled. "You'll get used to him and he does have a point. I suspect Kubla Khan would have been some poem instead of the precious Fragment Of A Dream we do have and we did lose it to a Hiker with really bad timing! But hey it's not like the Guy could call ahead back then and ask if it was a good time for a visit. No telephones."
Vulcan called out, "You like some of my inventions. You do!"
Uncle Mercury nodded. "Aye. I do. And you will too, Claire Bear. Come I'll introduce you to some of the other more sociable folks in this little berg and Vulcan won't mind being left in his own world especially when he's being creative. It's just they shouldn't put him on pearl guard duty when he's like this."
Vulcan called out, "Not their fault. I wasn't like this when they put me here. I thought I was tapped out for the week.
Mercury growled playfully. "Vulcan you are never tapped out. Ideas flow through you like current through Mars!"
Claire suddenly realized she still ached from the soreness of her long climb and struggle to arrive. She groaned, "If I have been translated into a new body why do I still hurt like Hell?"
Uncle Mercury laughed, "Well this isn't Hell but it certainly isn't New Jerusalem either! I guess we are the middle class afterlife accommodations! No. Really the reason is we only have the one pearl buffer pattern for you so far and we had to use it and it includes your aching, just-climbed-up-here muscles. So sorry! It will have to do. I suggest you stay in this body and don't switch to something else because the healing that happens in here virtually will follow you out the door into your reconstituted real body again when we reverse this when you leave. Plus later we can distill up a batch of ambrosia and you can drink that and it will make you all better and then some. It will be the start of you becoming a real goddess, Claire Bear!" His eyes twinkled, "I know Trevor has insisted to you on several occasions that you are going to be Psyche the goddess of Thought, Science and Reason. But you never believed him before. Do you believe him now?"
She nodded, her eyes wide with amazement! She exclaimed, "I do right now! But I do wonder if I am going to wake up soon and this will have just been a dream!"
Uncle Mercury grinned and pinched her HARD! On her right arm.
"OUCH!" She slapped him then realized she had just slapped a god! Amazed she stared at Uncle Mercury to see how he was taking that!
But he was just goofy-grinning at her again. "You sure you are not dreaming now?"
She sighed, "If my muscles hurting didn't convince me why do you think a pinch would?"
His eyes clouded over in confusion at that, "Mortals! I will never understand them. Mortals and Woman! And you are both!"
He looked so sorry she couldn't help laughing, "It's OK. I forgive you for pinching me. Now show me something else of Olympus besides this little office building because so far I am not impressed!
So he did. And THEN Claire was impressed!
Olympus is mostly designed by Computer cyber re-creations of the minds of many artistic Geniuses from many of the ages of Humanity. In that great and Magical Undiscovered Country, the Future, Computer Programs (and I have to capitalize the word "Computers" here as I do all self aware beings but the little g gods and criminals, for by then Computers were self aware), were able to analyze the Minds and creations of past Humans and extrapolate on what more of their creations would be and provide Humanity with more wonderful works of Art and Science almost as if the original Minds had made them. Olympus was a collaboration between many Cyber-Artists. Now these Programs were not really the uploaded operating systems of the Humans themselves, (that skill would come later) But they were self aware and Beings in their own right that had justifiably in time been given legal rights as Persons. Lawyers had had a field day with that one! But sometimes Lawyers can be very good.
And with Olympus they had outdone themselves. Only New Jerusalem itself is prettier and that only because the Original Minds not Computer Recreations would eventually be uploaded to be able to remodel that!
So Olympus was a sort of collaboration between Cyber-versions of Walt Disney, Thomas Kinkade, Raphael, Don Bluth, Leonardo Di Vinci, Norman Rockwell and multitudes of others.
I could do the Reader a big disfavor and describe too much here. But I am over half a century old and so I know better. Instead I will let you help me create Olympus here. What do YOU think Claire saw? What is your OWN idea of paradise if it were not bound to the laws of physics as we know them? What if you and everyone else could fly? What if all Life could be uploaded to a better hard ware system than the pain feeling, carbon based bodies and failing brains we are all coping with now and go to a place where no one ever had any need to ever harm one another? What if you could see and hear and touch and taste in ways you cannot now so the way you are now is very limited compared to the way you will be in this paradise? The thing is every Doctor is working towards this and every Scientist is building this for real and every Preacher of every possible kind is preaching that it already exists and they are right of course because Time does circle! What Claire saw is a toy version of this of course that we built to sort of practice building what you are now longing for. Those toys will be built, indeed are being built. Think about what a fun place Second Life dot com and Worlds dot com would be if you could upload your own operating system right into them! That ability will come sometime in our wonderful journey to the Undiscovered Country!
So Claire beheld what all of us will behold someday for real if we have the sense to make peace with the Big Guy and ask for His help in being made fit to be uploaded there! Because just like computers have viruses and spyware that have to be cleaned up before they can join a network you too have to be indwelt by Christ and cleaned up before you can join His network. So ask Christ in!
I will have to give you some of the details.
There were Centaurs and Fauns and Nymphs milling around. Nymphs are sort of like Humans but they only float along because they forgot to finish themselves and their legs are missing. Their bodies just fade away into pretty colored smoke. Not being finished doesn't bother them a bit and the parts that need to be finished for Cupid to have fun with them are finished if you know what I mean. There were a few Horses of many colors, most impossible and some of them had wings. Some were flying. Some were walking. There were also quite a few Donkeys. A few of these and some of the other Animals could talk but not all and even the ones that could, none fortunately were as annoying as Shrek's Donkey! But there were also golf carts to Claire's surprise and some of them had been modded to look like fancy cars. Most hadn't been modded but the People riding in them seemed to be having a lot more fun than the Folks we see struggling in our much more faster traffic. The gestures they made at each other did not include the middle fingers but the rider's whole hands and the mouths in the heads attached to the bodies these hands came from curved upwards not downwards as is seen in most Mortal traffic. Shouts of pleasure at seeing one another were also verbally bouncing back and forth between those mouths!
Claire was amazed to notice people were wearing the weirdest collection of clothes she had ever seen! Or not wearing anything at all. Much of what was being worn had seen better days and seemed to come from every era in time and place on Earth as if the gods had raided the garbage cans behind a huge movie studio that was going out of business and found the costume department's throwaways. What in Heaven's name was THIS about? She had figured Mercury's patched tunic and pants were to fit in with the Peasants he had to blend in with outside their Box. But in here also people were wearing patched stuff?
Claire shrugged in confusion. Maybe it was a huge Sadie Hawkins costume party or something.
Uncle Mercury said, "Come. It is time to get you settled for a while. You have been traveling enough! He started walking again.
She followed behind him with Tourist's neck and they left a rather city like business district area and walked into a suburban block that could have been a block of upper class, American homes. These were the palaces of the gods apparently. But to the ancient Greeks they might have seemed palaces.
Uncle Mercury walked through that street and away from it out to the edge of town. They kept walking awhile through country too wonderfully weird and pretty for me to damage the Reader's own ideas about paradise with what I could describe. Claire began to wish with all her heart that paradise contained more benches to sit on!
Uncle Mercury suddenly picked her up as if she were his Bride and said cheerfully, "I can smell Mortal exhaustion the way the Giant in the Jack and the Beanstalk could, 'Fee! Fi! Fo! fum! Smell the blood of an Englishmen!'"
So she was carried by Uncle Mercury through the streets of Olympus the last half mile of their journey!
She buried her face in his chest enjoying how he smelled."Where are we going?
He grinned, "I am taking you to my own palace my dear. I am going to put you in a bed that is four times bigger than King sized, a bed built for a god of my size! I am going to fill it with pillows stuffed with a herb that does for Mortals and gods what Catnip does for Cats and I am going to put beside it sweet wine and nectar from Flowers that only grow here and fruit no Earth Human has ever tasted before from PLANET K-PAX that is nine thousand light years away from Earth in the constellation Lyra. And food cooked by Hestia who IS a REAL domestic goddess. So you have never tasted such food!" He kissed his fingers "And also other drink no Mortal has tasted except for Hippocrates who insists he is still a Mortal despite having all our powers (which he refuses to ever use). And I am going to climb in that bed right next to you and give you what you are soooo longing for with all your heart!"
He was enjoying her shocked, skeptical expression. She had a feeling he was both a gentlemen and a prankster and she turned out to be right.
He nodded most satisfied with himself. "Yes! I am going to give you what any Gal would long for with deep passion who has climbed our mountain and found herself in the palace of a god in the presence of the most handsome one of them all!
He grinned, " I am going to go to sleep and let you sleep undisturbed until your own brain wakes you up!"
She laughed in relief and it was not so much because she thought he'd rape her or do anything that would make his beloved nephew, Cupid upset with him. She was actually afraid he'd had something ELSE innocent in mind that didn't involve sleep!
But his eyes twinkled. "I did say it was a very big bed didn't I? Even with my size there will be room for both of us even if I did start to grow and forgot to stop until I bumped the Moon! And I'm a bit tired now too so I do also need to just get into my own bed and sleep!"
Then very gently but very firmly he said,
"I usually don' keep beautiful Women Prisoners in my palace. But if you even TRY to leave before you are completely rested I WILL use my considerable strength to see that you don't! Many of the other gods are going to give you treasures beyond what I can. But I used to be a doctor too and while my brain is damaged I do remember the importance of sleep! And so that is the one thing this poor old, brain damaged god and ex doctor can give you that the smarter, more handsome, sexier gods will not have the wisdom to give and it would not surprise me if you remember this first day in Olympus as your best here no matter what other wonders you see and are given here later. I am going to see to it that you get enough sleep for one time in your adult life! So you aren't getting out the door of my palace until you are caught up on your sleep, busy, busy, Dr Clare McCrae, no matter how long it takes!
His "palace" turned out to be a beautiful, vine covered, one bedroom house by a little water hyacinth filled pond. But he did do what he said. He crawled in his huge bed with her but he went to sleep himself and let her sleep! When she woke up hours later he wasn't even anywhere to be seen but all that incredible food he had talked about was placed before her on a long table right alongside the bed. She ate until she was full and then fell back to sleep again.
She lay there and realized he was absolutely right! Gods and Americans both have so much. Everything but this! Enough sleep! He had given her such a gift!
The silence was amazing! No car horns! No sounds of traffic not even in the furthest distance! She did hear the baaing of a Goat a few times she thought. And when she finally woke up the second time she wasn't nearly as sore. That was Mortal magic. Her own body was healing her. Or at least this copy of what her own body was doing so.
So her first day in Olympus was spent in the bed of a god, sleeping!
She thought about that a bit ruefully. Best vacation day she'd ever had! Of course she could have done the same thing in a Holiday Inn, but hey!
Finally by the morning after that she finally felt completely rested for the first time for a very long time and apparently Dr Mercury thought she looked it too.
He smiled, "It is time for you to meet meet Trevor's mother, Venus also known as Aphrodite the goddess of love and the two kids she still has at home, Rhoda and Anteros the god of married love and unfortunately you will be meeting her husband, grr, Mars the god of war! But he won't hurt you at all, Claire Bear. He does sort of love Cupid and he is grateful you helped him and are still doing so. Just the fact you got their grown kid away from here, "out of their basement" and out from under their feet makes him very happy! For you he finally grew up! In fact you are the sole reason there hasn't been another successful terrorist attempt in the US since 9/11!"
Claire swallowed in fear. "I have to be the sole reason the US isn't having successful terrorist attacks?"
Uncle Mercury frowned at her in sympathy and nodded. "That and at least one thing that George W Bush did right was the Department of Homeland Security!"
She knew from reading the myths that at some point her husband was supposed to have an affair with one of her Sisters, which is one reason she was not at all distressed they had seemed to take a complete dislike of him without even wanting to get to know him and were absolutely disgusted that she had married an "insane mental patient." But if this part of the myth came true she sure hoped the rest of it would come true, that they'd make up and have a very strong marriage again afterwards.
Not only for their own sakes and for Delightful's! Apparently many, many lives depended on them staying together!
She complained "Why does this responsibly have to fall on me? It isn't fair to treat us Mortals like that!"
Uncle Mercury pursed his lips and shook his head slowly, "And when has war EVER been fair! Or us gods to Mortals? Or you Mortals to us gods? He is who he is!"
"Why do Caribou have Wolves? Why do Lemmings start running around until they fall off cliffs into water and drown when there are too many of them? There is an elemental spirit that whispers in their ear making them start that insane behavior too! I love Human Mortals but I have to reluctantly admit without my brother Mars Earth would be piled up to the Moon with you!" He closed his eyes and looked at his marble floor. "I'm sorry Claire Bear. He's really alright in person if you don't start arguing all sorts of peace and Hippy love type stuff like Trevor tried to do. He's hardwired what he is, can't help being himself and believe it or not you Mortals yourselves made him just as you made the rest of us little g gods! He is needed and will be, alas, for a very long time! War just ain't a going to go away until you find better ways to curb your population and spur on your progress! So far you have nothing that does either anywhere so near as well! Self driving automobiles for instance. The Gulf Wars are going to bring them to you very very soon because they are getting really tired of snipers taking out their supply Truck Drivers. Gunga Din is still the better Man! When you Mortals have autos doing their own driving say a happy 'goodbye' to cell phone distraction deaths and drunk driver deaths and road rage deaths, and check the music player deaths, and texting deaths, etc. As wars usually do because of the research they force the Gulf wars will save way more many Human lives than they take by the progress they cause."
She stared at him in disbelief.
He shrugged, "You will do OK with him! Really you will! Cupid is the god of erotic love and yet he mixes great margaritas and other drinks including many virgin, adores Star Trek, loves Cats, plays practical jokes, spent entire "Barman's weekends" (which of course are Tuesdays and Wednesdays) working in the garden in the common area in your apartment complex putting in that enormous Fish pond, and etc etc. He's a whole lot more than a mere god isn't he? He's a PERSON? Right? All of us gods are more than gods. We are Persons too and you have to remember Mars is one too."
Claire nodded, bemused at that. To Uncle Mercury the "Person" part was "being more than a god,"and he meant it!
Uncle Mercury grinned, "Even next door to Olympus the God of the entire Multiverse who you incredible Mortals evolve into, who can crank out brand new universe time bubbles with infinite numbers of time lines with the metaphorical flicking of His finger still likes to hand work with wood because His root organic personality is a Carpenter from not five hundred miles from here. (Where do you think I got my neat walking stick from?) And in just the same way Mars likes to dabble in carpentry though he's nowhere near as clever as Christ is at it, (hits his thumbs a lot actually). He was a professional farmer at one time so he still likes to plant stuff. Venus's yard and garden are the envy of all of Olympus." Uncle Mercury suddenly gave her a relived smile, "There's your topic of interest, Clare Bear. Avoid talking about war. Just walk around their yard and look at all his interesting Plants from all over the World and few from Off World and talk about them!"
Claire nodded reluctantly. That was what she was going to have to do. Ironically to keep the "peace' because the god of war was her father in law and if she got her mad even more Mortals could be killed she was going to have to treat the "man" who was responsible for every war that Humanity had ever fought or ever would fight, every single, bloody one of them! And all the quadrillions of lives lost and all the property damage and incredible suffering, as if he were a harmless Hobby Gardener!
Claire's heart started pounding as they walked closer to the palace. Uncle Mercury suddenly started laughing, "Oh you are in luck, Claire Bear! Mars isn't even home. He's off making more trouble for the World. But at least right now for you, he isn't here!"
Claire smiled and hoped her gratitude wasn't misplaced. For all she knew World War III might have just started!
But Venus also known as Aphrodite was everything anybody could ever want in a mother in law except she was naked. And she was in her front yard watering some of those plants that were mentioned above.
A god wearing nothing but shorts and a bowler hat came peddling up the street on a dilapidated bicycle. He stopped a minute and said,, "Hi Venus!" Her nudity didn't seem to phase him one bit.
Venus shut off the hose. She asked, "Hi Percy. How's Fee Fee doing?'
He said. "She's definitely pregnant so Brutus wasn't just shooting blanks, darn him! Hercules needs to keep him on his side of Olympus! I sensed the Little Ones this morning. They are advanced enough to see in her now. Six of them. All healthy so far and I think one of them will have purple stripes like her Mother." Then he peddled off leaving Claire to wonder who and what Fee Fee was!
Then Venus turned to Claire. Goddess and Mortal, mother in law and Daughter in Law, patient and Doctor beheld one another in Person for the very first time.
Venus had long raven black hair down to her knees and she had a crown in her hair with a glowing red ruby in it. In fact her her body glowed and Claire knew that for she could see all of it! For yes Venus was wearing nothing but that crown and a silver heart shaped pendant around her neck that had a golden arrow through it.
She was very, very beautiful and yet there was no doubt of it; Claire was prettier! This did not surprise this Doctor to the gods. To figure out Trevor she had carefully studied the myths. She had been expecting this.
What she was not expecting was just how calm and up front Venus was about it. Claire had good reason to have expected great difficulties even to just about her life being in danger!
Instead Venus just smiled and walked up to her and took her Daughter in Law's hands warmly in hers and peered into her eyes lovingly and said, "Remember our phone call? Yes that really was me, dear. You are just so beautiful! Much prettier than I am and yes I am a bit jealous. But not much! You saved my son from ruin! How jealous could a REAL mother stay after that and still call herself ANY kind of a mother! In just the same way that most Christians just can't bring themselves to hate Homosexuals no matter what the Bible says I am disobeying sacred myths here dear. The scribing Mortals wrote that I am supposed to be insanely jealous of you because of your admittedly superior beauty to me and that I am supposed to do all sorts of horrible things to you. But I have been closely watching how you have been helping my son and so I just, can't! Plus it is just not in my nature. Some fan fiction writers must have monkeyed with my nature or something rewriting me gentler or something. As for Medusa, well, if I did make her ugly like that I am supposed to have done so. I am so terribly sorry! Like Jessica Rabbit I am not bad just written that way. You were sent here to help us and I do want the help! I do! To start with do you think you can help me get along better with Medusa?"
Claire pursed her lips. Another patient! She commented, "Trevor told me how Hercules managed to overcome the myth (because he is half Mortal and managed to have that incredible power). So that Medusa at least got to live and not have to be beheaded by him so we at least have hope for a reconciliation between her and you. She is at least still alive to work with! Can you by chance undo the Snakes and give her back her beauty?"
Venus shrugged helplessly. "It is going to be hard! So many Mortal writers love her the way she is! The more of them write her bad and snakey, the worse she gets!'
While Claire was mulling over that Venus said, "Claire dear come meet my family and I have to go. Or that is the ones who are still at home. Most have flown the coop. Hermaphroditus just found a colony of Mortals in France with its problem and just joined them. They don't know it is a god yet. I still have Rhoda and little Anteros. Rhoda is up already and Anteros will be up presently. I have to go about my business since I am doing Cupid's job too with him being stuck in the Mortal realm so you go baby sit for me. I appreciate it." And just like that she walked off leaving Clare to face meeting two "children" who were older than she was, the sister older than the coming of Christ!
So Claire was practically shoved by Cupid's mother into the living room of Venus's palace which looked more like an upper class American home. Which no doubt to the ancient Greeks seemed like a palace and so got written in their myths as one.
The first thing she encountered was the White Tigress in the living room.
She was asleep at least. And Claire had at least had plenty of warning she would be there. This of course was Sasha, Cupid's beloved childhood Pet, rescued at the time of her death from a horrible, roadside Tourist trap by two death Angels and given to the tearful eight hundred year old Cupid by them because it was very apparent the little g god of love could and would love and take care of this one Tigress every bit as much as the Big G God of love could and would love and take care of all the rest.
So Sasha was at least as tame as Tigresses could get in the way of "tame." It was true she had ripped Cupid's arm off once and eaten it. But that had been considered no big deal since he grew it back in an hour and no one had even bothered to even frown at her. It had happened during their rough housing and had actually been very rough play. If Claire was careful to just walk in quietly she should be alright. So she did and she was. The Dear Old Girl did not even wake up.
Claire cautiously made her way into an airy kitchen at the back of the house. There was a teenage girl or what looked like a teenage girl sitting at a worn but very fancy kitchen table feeding scraps of meat to a very hungry, opened mouthed Bird the size of a large, Adult Chicken. The young Bird was flapping its wings and making hungry, Baby Predator Bird noises demanding, "more more more!" The teen god was obliging as fast as she could.
The hungry Bird had brilliant red, blue and green plumage. It looked like a Parrot but it had a long, sharp, straight beak and when she opened it to her surprise Claire could see there were dozens of long, razor sharp teeth in there!
Claire took the bold approach and walked right in and said, "My! How beautiful! What kind of Bird is that?"
The teen god said as if having strange Mortals walk into their kitchen happened all the time and was no big deal, "She's a baby Pterodactyl. Uncle Mercury got her for me in New Jerusalem. Not even a Sparrow falls apart from the Father so it has all the Birds are over there from the first Dawn Bird to the REALLY big ones you Mortals will evolve aboard enormous space stations that will have very little gravity so they can get REALLY huge. T Rexs are tiny compared to them and T Rexs cannot fly. Jesus didn't mind Uncle Mercury bringing me this one because He knows Mom will make sure I take good care of her. Her name is Beatrice. When she gets big enough I am going to train her to let me ride on her back like those Folks in Avatar."
Claire asked with clinical interest. "But I thought you can already fly?"
Rhoda for that was who she was said, "I can. But doing it this way will be fun."
Amazing creature! Claire felt herself mentally erasing all the old movies and pictures she had seen of naked as Jay Bird, Pterodactyls. Of course with the new modern research that had discovered many Dinosaurs did indeed have feathers she should have have realized the flying ones certainly would!
Suddenly she heard a friendly little boy voice behind her. "Who are you?"
Her heart pounding she swung around.
Claire had always wondered about Anteros. As the Writer that she was who wrote books about sensible ways to find and keep love, as the Person that she was, a still hurting Victim of very eccentric Parents who had a very broken marriage, if she had HAD to have met a Greek god he would have been her preference!
Claire knew from her careful reading of mythology that this, her star problem patient's little brother was the god of married, committed love as opposed to Cupid being the god of erotic, romantic love. It was Cupid's responsibility to shoot golden arrows that would get Mortals and other beings burning with passion for each other or to shoot black arrows that would split them up. It was Antero's job to keep Folks together forever using whatever it took!
She also knew both from reading mythology and from therapy with "Trevor" that his conception and birth had been an attempt to get Cupid to grow up. But it had worked only partially, obviously.
Anteros stood at the door of the kitchen. He had obviously come from his bedroom and he was still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as many a child did many a morning. He was about four feet tall. He looked like an eight year old child but he was really a little over a thousand years old. His robe was emerald green and he had a gold belt around it symbolizing the eternity of life and the desire that marriage be equally eternal. There was a gold circle crown in his black hair that stood for the same thing. He had rainbow-black hair and dark, deep black eyes and a very muscular build.
There was a streak of dirt on Antero's face. His emerald green robe was dirty and he had a Black Labrador Puppy in his arms who was busy licking his face. The other end was wagging.
All boy and yet more than a boy.
She said, "I am Doctor Claire McCrae but you can call me Claire or Claire Bear. Everyone else around here does."
Anteros looked at Claire and said, I'm Anteros the god of married love. This is Shadow. That's Rhodos my sister. We aren't sure yet what kind of goddess she is but I think she is either going to be the goddess of fashion or of being a super pest! Maybe both! And that's her Dino. Instead of Beatrice she ought to name her, Barney!"
Rhodos wrinkled her nose in horror. "I absolutely will not! Besides shes a Girl!"
Anteros giggled. Then he set the Puppy on a Kitchen chair and and went to the kitchen cupboard and took out a box of cereal. Claire was amused to see it was Captain Crunch. American culture; it was everywhere!
He took out a bowl from a cupboard that had Sponge Bob on it and poured milk from an ordinary refrigerator complete with magnets and crayon pictures that Anteros must have done when much younger. The milk came out of a clay pitcher. This was the only thing different from an American family that Claire had noticed so far (other than the Pterodactyl!) But Trevor had told her their neighbors the Fates kept an immortal Nanny Goat named Brownie who gave great milk.
The Labrador Puppy cheerfully helped him eat it out of the same bowl, tail wagging.
Claire winced at that.
Anteros looked up. "Mommy believes in letting my immune system train itself with real Germs to fight so I don't become allergic. So Shadow's Germs will actually help keep me healthy."
Claire shrugged thoughtfully. She was a Doctor and there was a time when allowing a Dog on the table to eat out of the same bowl with a Child would have made her cringe! And yet the kid was right! She had read papers about the hygiene hypothesis: Too much cleanliness was driving the allergy epidemic because the immune system of young Children got confused with nothing real to fight so their immune systems turned on things they should not have been attacking just go have something to do.
Anteros took a bite of cereal and with his mouth full said. "Or we gods really liked that cute scene in Old Yeller and want to honor our Creators by reenacting it on occasion."
Claire laughed. "Well at least don't talk with your mouth full. That's disgusting, not cute at all and will not protect you from any future immune system disorders."
Anteros swallowed and said. "OK. Thank you Mortal for having the courage and respect to correct me! That is real worship not mere lip service because I want to grow up to be a polite, well respected deity."
Claire stared at this "kid' amazed. He seemed like a kid, was indeed really a kid, and yet..." She smiled. She also knew better than to compare him to his older sibling out loud! She finally said, "Well Anteros that shows real wisdom and maturity that you can take correction and actually thank me for it. I know as a Professional that you are going to be a very successful deity!"
He smiled. "So the institution of marriage is not over with just yet, ay?"
She nodded, "Absolutely! Despite what had been said and the high divorce rate, marriage as the cornerstone of society will never be over with, not for all the circlings of Time. It will instead expand in its definition and be stronger than ever. We are hardwired for it. You are indeed immortal!"
He grinned just like any Kid and put out his right hand and Shrink/Mortal and god/kid high fived.
Anteros said you know my mother said a very interesting thing when she said her not being very jealous of you was like most Christians not being able to bring themselves to hate Homosexuals."
Claire looked at him in surprise. "How did you know she said that?"
Anteros shrugged, "I was awake there for a few moments but then went back to sleep. Before I did I honed in on Mommy. I'm a kid so I do that. I check to make sure she's there. So I overheard her."
Claire smiled and thought to herself. Selective omnipresence used to keep secure about one's Mommy because one is still a kid!
Anteros was very careful to swallow his Captain Crunch before he spoke again. Then amazingly his face started to glow. "Christian's shouldn't hate Homosexuals anyway. That wasn't what the Bible really meant. My brother, Trevor said that Jesus told him we should cut EVERYBODY more slack! Because the ancient Hebrew language only had one word that meant both "Homosexual" and "Pedophile" and Paul was writing his Ann Landers like advice against Homosexuality to the ancient Greek Homosexuals who thought it was OK to have sex with Young Boys. And of course that isn't right because they can't really say, 'no.' to an Adult due to being just Kids like me. So Paul said what he said to protect KIDS whose safety always has to come first even above Adult rights. Moses had the same language problem plus his People were in raw survival mode traveling through a desert that could barely support a few Goats with so few supplies they could not afford to support anyone who didn't quite fit in. They even stoned to death Alcoholic Teenagers because they had no other way to deal with them. That doesn't mean the Big God means for modern Mortals to do the same! You can afford to follow the GOLDEN rule today. Treat all others the way you want to be treated. That's a MUCH funner way to live." Anteros grinned. "Of course it means I have to treat my stinky sister right, but hey. No advice is perfect!"
Claire was amazed. This was a child? But of course he was also the god of married love and in this one area he was wise and knowledgeable way beyond being a child!
Anteros continued his god wisdom. "As for modern Homosexuals most who would not dream of sexually touching a Child: I, the god of married love say 'LET them get married?' If they wish to have sex I DEMAND they get married! And why should marriage be limited to only Gays and Straights? Are Celibates and those who cannot have sex unable to feel love? I know better! Do they have no need for a Life Partner? Again I know better! I am a god! I see your loneliness! And my sibling Hemoprhiditis has a right and a desperate need to find a Life Partner too! Is it its fault it's like that? And if anyone, Gay or Straight has sex outside of marriage they need to be strongly encouraged into a wiser, happier lifestyle! For sex without a legal contract (not what goes into what hole), is where evil and misery come from! For that is where unwanted and unloved Children come from and end up growing up in horrible poverty with not enough Adults to adequately support them emotionally or economically! And this is how sexually transmitted diseases get spread! And there is the fountainhead of heartbreak and loneliness for both Man and god, straight or gay! That is why my brother was cast down to mend his ways! Sexual relationships with legal contracts last many more years than sexual relationship without legal contracts that lasts an average of only two to four years and then they are over and so tragically often Mortals end up in their old ages alone! And/or suddenly Children don't have both Parents. In some cases one Parent leaves even before they even knew their own flesh and blood! I see this over and over again! The incredible loneliness and heartbreak this causes! Children sobbing in the night for missing Daddies and Mommies! I want to comfort them but all too often they cannot even hear us supernatural beings though we try and try and try to whisper in your ears! And what comfort could I really bring? I am only a god! I do not even have a LAP!" The little Guy frowned so hard that Shadow started licking his face to comfort him.
Claire smiled, "I LIKE you, Anteros god of married love! But quit glowing!
Rhoda nodded, "Yeah. You are scaring Beatrice!"
Indeed the little Dinosaur was looking a bit freaked out.
Anteros looked down at himself. "Oh sorry. You know we gods do that when we get in our areas of holiness! So do the Angels and they can't help it either. We don't come with an off switch. You Mortals forgot to install one. So pleaaaaase! Cut us gods some slack too!"
Then he got up, all four feet of him, stuffed his last bite of Captain Crunch in his mouth, grabbed up his Puppy and headed for the great outdoors of Olympian Summer, all little boy again.
That night Claire would make paper notes since she did not have Tonto her faithful laptop computer companion with her. "There is no doubt whatsoever that Anteros is NOT a love child of one of Aphrodite's many flings with Uncle Mercury! This is Arie's kid for sure! Anteros is the young, spitting image of his father the god of war. I saw his father's painting on their wall. But there is a much gentler, kinder look in his face than that of his lethal father's. He looks very kind and wise for a child, god or not. At the time he had been born his parents had settled down obviously. The spat over the adultery between Mercury and Venus had calmed down for a time and Mars is obviously absolutely certain this one is his because of the complete resemblance of son to father. So he treats Anteros much differently than he treated my husband, Cupid. So this child is very different, very settled and happy and certain of himself while Cupid was very unsettled and anxious and seldom ever happy in his childhood. Therapy is changing that but it's been along struggle for both of us and his current Therapist."
"So the proof of the virtues of married, settled, faithful love as opposed to mere erotic love is right there in the personalities of the gods who symbolize them!"
But that would be that night. A whole day of studying Trevor's family was ahead of her. She was determined as long as she had made it this far to figure her husband out. Finally!
And the gods were so eager to be figured out! She went out into the street a few minutes after breakfast and suddenly half a dozen deities she recognized from her mythological studies practically pounced on her loudly volunteering and even begging for medical examinations, wildly gesturing at her in the way Greeks do imploring , "Please figure us out for your scientific journals!" And then a couple of Centaurs started right there on the street telling her the most intimate details of their very long and stormy marriage!
Flusterated she ran back into Venus and Mar's "palace."
Rhodos was still there feeding Beatrice. She said amazed, "Wow! You have groupies! And you don't even play anything!"
Claire sighed and put her head down on the table!
Uncle Mercury explained it to her later, "Because you are a Scientist, Claire Bear. And figuring out people and things is how you worship. And do you know how long it's been since some of us have been worshiped?"
He became her body guard and then went around the city delivering a message from Hera that she was to be left alone unless she approached them. So in a couple of hours things calmed down and she could walk the streets of the city of the Olympian gods un unharassed and unafraid.
Little things checked out with what "Trevor" had told her through the years: The unpaved dirt parking lot in the downtown area that had stayed unpaved through all the circlings of Time because no one could agree on what technology to pave it with; Asphalt which was cheap, concrete which was expensive but lasted longer, Nano-crete which was even more expensive but repaired itself but put beings out of work by so doing so? The Fate's pond next to his Mom's palace where he had swam and caught Frogs, the Wildflower Field where he and Sasha had romped and she had once playfully ripped off his arm only to have it grow back in an hour so no one, not even him had cared, the huge, old Olive Tree in the back yard where he had lay under and omnipresently watched the Universe including Star Trek with his family which started filming that same fateful day his arm was ripped off, ("the best time of his life" he had said "because his father, Mars had watched it with him when he could"). Claire didn't know how she felt about that. Her husband was a god and his biggest childhood happiness had been provided by a TV show?
It seemed it didn't matter what you had if you didn't have the love of family you were in trouble! And while his mother had loved him Mars seldom had. And what love the god of war had provided had been stern and not quite the right fit for the little god of love!
But somehow Cupid had found his way! She had helped! There was no doubt about that! But it was always the patient's doing when one succeeded. The Therapist could only help what was inside the Patient already and the determination had to be there! In "Trevor" it had been!
Claire got up the next morning half asleep and almost stumbled over Sasha who did not like being stumbled over. She roared her protests!
This is a very efficient way to really wake up REALLY quickly: being roared at by an angry Siberian Tigress!
Anteros came running out of his room and put his arms around his brother's Pet. "Calm down, Kitty! She didn't mean to startle you!"
Mutual? Hoped Claire, "Yes! Easy, Big Girl!
Rhodos came out of her room her mouth full of tooth paste. Her eyes were wide.
Venus came out naked as the day Mortals had made her. She wasn't the least bit shy and neither of the kids seemed traumatized by it either. She said, "Oh dear! Claire do you realize since you haven't had any ambrosia yet if she'd gone at you with her teeth or claws you'd have been badly injured? Since we haven't made any permanent pearl memory patterns for you just the temporary ones that were used in your trip in here, you'd have had to go out of here with those injuries and had to heal the old fashioned way if you even could!"
Claire shuttered and nodded, "I sort of understand."
Venus said, "We get so used to the fact if Sasha hurts one of us it is merely a few minutes inconvenience we completely forgot what she could do to a much more vulnerable Mortal! Anteros take Sasha outside NOW!"
"Ah Mom!" Then, "Yeah I guess you are right! It has to be done. Come on you big throw rug!"
He tugged on the big Cat's neck nape and she docilely followed him calmed down by the presence of not one but two gods of love.
Venus continued, "Dear, the sooner we get some ambrosia into you the better!"
Claire nodded. She couldn't agree more!
Venus said, "It will take a few hours to arrange it so I suggest we do it tomorrow. In the meantime you have other gods to meet. Hestia wants us over for supper tonight and Uncle Apollo wants to meet you and King Neptune. Well scratch him. I forgot. He's too busy trying to do something about global warming and what it is doing to his oceans and will be too busy. But there are others, dear! I have a little time to take you around myself today. So what if it slows down Folks falling in love? Maybe that will keep Earth's population down a bit and give my husband a little less to do for a little while!
How in the Universe did their marriage hold together?
They went out the kitchen door to the garage and Claire was not surprised to see a golf cart there.
Venus looked at Anteros, "Charged up?"
The little guy nodded and held up his finger, "Yes Mommy. I slow zapped it myself."
Venus got in and Claire joined her. Anteros climbed on behind. She felt a bit uncomfortable at first riding in a golf cart with a nude woman in public but as they went down the street, up a very tall hill and into the business district area of Olympus no one even seemed to notice that Venus had no clothes on and quite a few others also did not. A few did wave but it was friendly neighbor type waiving not leering type waving. People were walking around doing regular in town type things. Some had on robes. Some had on modern clothes. Some had on clothes that could have been from the Victorian and other eras. So the day before yesterday had not been some kind of costume party? It was like the gods had raided Mortal's closets all down through time and put on whatever they fancied to wear or nothing at all and most of the clothes they did wear were not in the best of condition. Just what was going on with that? Many had on absolutely nothing. A few both male and female that had on nothing were wearing shoulder bags because without clothes one does not have pockets. A few nude folks had towels over there necks to put down when they wanted to sit down because benches can get hot to naked butts.
Venus parked the golf cart in a dirt parking lot and walked with Claire past a lightning store that said, "Mount Olampus." They came to a little medical clinic that said of all things, "Dr Claire McCrae! MD." Claire could hardly believe her eyes!
Venus smiled, "It's been waiting for you since Olympus was built far in the Future. It was known you would join us someday."
"Then why didn't Trevor know about this?"
Venus smiled, "It didn't pop into position next to Mount Olampus until the proper time in our matrix, both the one in the city square and the one in our minds. Olympus the city and ourselves are all one program really. We don't even have free will as you Mortals understand it and so working with us as patients as going to be very difficult. But we desperately need you and we will try very hard!"
It was not locked. It did not need to be. Olympus had no thieves at that present moment and no trouble makers other than Cupid and he had been sent down to the Mortal realm for help. Venus lead Claire up some narrow stairs to her clinic. She swung the door open and a little bell chimed.
The inside was decorated with golden art deco. It was exactly as Claire would have decorated it herself!
She was home!
This was where she was supposed to be!
Venus smiled, "Welcome to what will be your Afterlife. Now be reassured just because you made a promise to Cupid during his delirium to come to us and help us that did not damn you. It was not the same as making a deal with the devil. And your prayers to Whom it May Concern concerning the future of your operating system have been accepted. Since you were not sure as to His real existence it was very wise to pray like that. You took every possible precaution and let Him know you were open to His help which freed Him to be allowed to help you under His free will regulation and clause. If that restriction weren't there He'd be a monster. Because do you Mortals really want God to just be able to just enter you and do any thing He wants to you without your permission? What a violation of dignity and privacy and everything else that would be! Believe me you don't! We gods are in that position with you Mortals who created US and it's awful!" Venus closed her eyes to fight back tears and Claire wondered what she was thinking about. Then she swallowed and continued, " More Agnostics ought to have the common sense to pray to, To Whom it Might Concern! Because you did, "To Whom it Might Concern" has a mansion for you over there in the Bigger Keep too. It's just it is going to be the most unlived in abode in all of New Jerusalem. Your husband is not allowed over there of course and you are going to be working over here and be very very very VERY busy so that place is just not going to be even visited by you much!"
Claire frowned, "A shame."
Venus shrugged, "Well no one is homeless who had the sense to ask Christ not to be so not so much a shame as one might first think. New Jerusalem has the RAM to take every Living Thing in the Universe, even from all time lines and those homeless Ghosts out there chose their misery just as folks in the Mortal realm refuse to come to you Guys for help, Dr Claire McCrae! So it's not like its being empty is causing someone else to be homeless as a similar neglected dwelling in downtown Queens would. Neither will it get all paint peely and weedy. The rare times you do make it over there you will enjoy it. Now time to meet my brother Apollo. He's a musician!
They met Uncle Mercury entering at the same time they got there. He had been summoned.
Uncle Apollo had a long beetle hair cut and a very annoyed look on his face. He was peering up the barrel of a flute. He barely acknowledged Venus, Anteros, Uncle Mercury and Claire coming in to see him in his sunny music studio by the virtual Mediterranean.
"Hi Apollo!" said Venus. "Meet Claire the Promised One. She's going to be Psyche."
"Glad too meet you. Your timing couldn't be worse! I have a COCKROACH up here!" He gestured with the flute.
Venus said, "A Cockroach! Oh come on brother! We do not have Cockroaches in Olympus!"
He groaned, "Well we do now! And here it is!"
Anteros said, "Let me see! Let me see!"
Apollos handed him the afflicted instrument and the little god peered into it and started giggling, "You do have a Bug up here!"
"No?" said Uncle Mercury. "He does!" The tall god took the flute from the short god and he too peered in its barrel and started laughing. "Its an invasion!" he intoned menacingly The invasion of Olympus! First it was Titans! Now it's Bugs!"
Apollo howled, "The Titans were easier to get rid of, if there ever really were any. Do you remember any? Really? Zeus always says there were some but I don't remember fighting any!"
Uncle Mercury shrugged, "Well he IS going around the bend! Giants indeed!"
Everybody looked up at the nine footer and started laughing.
Uncle Mercury added embarrassed. "Well you know what I mean!" Then he added, "But this Bug sure is real!"
Apollo said, "I wonder if it is immortal? And what do I spray for Cockroaches? There is nothing in the budget for Bug spray! And how did a Cockroach get in here? We aren't suppose to have Cockroaches in Olympus" He started getting really upset. " Is this now an immortal Cockroach since everyone in here is supposed to be immortal? So what can I spray to get rid of immortal Cockroaches since by definition if it is immortal they can NOT be killed? He started swearing a flood in Greek and Claire was suddenly very glad she hadn't learned much Greek!
Venus tried to comfort her brother, "Easy! It probably just rode in through the pearl on someone's pants leg and got translated into here. Forget spraying for one little Bug! The spray will hurt us worse! Just give it to Medusa and tell her it's a fancy new kind of Pet!"
Uncle Mercury said thoughtfully, "She probably already has one back in that cave of her's. She told me she's got Giraffes, Elephants, Kangaroos, even a Platypus, anything that has no concept of Human beauty so looking at her won't turn them to stone. So why not add an immortal Cockroach?"
Anteros asked, "Uncle Apollo how will we know it is really an IMMORTAL Cockroach until we go through all of the circlings of Time with it? What if it just is programmed to live a very, very long time, say two trips around the Circle of Time but it isn't really immortal and it will die someday of old age anyway?"
Uncle Apollo exploded, "Blast it to Tartarus and back again and then back again to Tartarus and back and forth and back and forth! "I don't CARE if it's immortal or not! And I'm not even that old! Just get it out of HERE!'
Claire started giggling so hard she could not quit. She finally had to sit down to avoid falling. Uncle Mercury laughed with her. In fact he lay down on the floor and giggled, his lanky legs kicking.
Finally Claire collected her whits and commented, "Listen does Dr Hippocrates or anyone around here have some spray on Lidocaine?"
Venus nodded, "I believe so. Dr Hippocrates has practicality everything in that little Doctor shop of his."
Dr Claire McCrae smiled triumphantly, "Then there is the solution!"
Claire wasn't sure what she was expecting but she was relieved to find Dr Hippocrates had a very modern and well stocked medical clinic, a little hospital actually. It was true much of the equipment was not brand new but all of it was state of the art. Some of it was futuristic in fact and she was hoping no one would ask her anything about some of it because she had absolutely no idea what some of did!
Dr Hippocrates greeted her this way.
He said, "Hello my dear! I usually don't greet someone this way. But would your husband please die as quickly as possible so he and you can move up here? Because I can hardly wait for you to come to Olympus permanently! I am sooo ready to retire! Wouldn't you be too if you had been in practice for over five thousand years?"
Oh dear! What was she getting herself into!
While she was trying to recover from this he asked "What did you all come to see me about today? Who's my patient this time?"
Venus held up the flute. "This is your Patient, love. I know you never had one of these to treat before!"
Dr Hippocrates smiled a tolerant smile, "Well! I've treated everything in here from Baby Pegacorns with Worms to delusional Nymphs who insisted they had bunions on toes that were not even there. This would be my first flute patient!"
Claire smiled, "It's very simple. Your patient has a case of Cockroach sursum suus tergum terminus. To treat it you squirt some Lidocaine up the barrel of the flute and that puts the Bug to sleep for a few seconds and he relaxes and you turn the flute sideways and shake it and Mr Bug slides right out."
Dr Hippocrates smiled some more, most amused, "Then what?"
Claire stared at him in surprise! "Then what? Well of course! Your choice! Most people would practice the Big Stomp and feed the round file technique to dispose of the Insect but with the Big Bug softy here I guess we'd better put him outside the god keep where he can breed with all the other Cockroaches, and if he is indeed immortal and immortality is heredity we will have created a species of immortal Cockroaches!"
Dr Hippocrates laughed, "It's not hereditary. And unless this Roach has drank Ambrosia or gotten into our supply of Tree of Life leaves we distill that from it's not immortal either. It just snuck in here through a pearl somehow and it's just the virtual remake of an ordinary Cucaracha. OK here's the spray!"
In a few moments Bug and flute were separated from each other and Uncle Mercury was running at his amazing speeds towards the zapper to free the Bug.
Dr Hippocrates said, "You aren't going to tell on me, are you, Dr McCrae?"
She asked, puzzled, "Tell on you? For what?"
He sighed and looked at the floor and shook his head. "Well I'm a sort of fraud. I have been practicing medicine now for several thousand years. When I started they did not have medical schools as you know them. I was just another so called 'Doctors' Disciple. And they did not give out medical licenses after passing any tests. When your teaching Doctor deemed you were ready he set you loose on your own or you just decided you were ready and left and started right up in practice. No one regulated anything except your own conscience. So I really don't have a license. We are in Greece and they do have strict laws about practicing medicine without a license same as anywhere else. I could get in big trouble if you told on me to the local Authorities down below. I admit collecting me to prosecute would be difficult but still...I'm such an Honest Cuss if they tried to come after me I'd probably turn myself in."
Claire's face clouded over in sympathy. "Oh my! I think I will just keep my mouth shut and for good reason. Practicing medicine for thousands of years! What you must have learned during that time would put what I know to shame! Would put what anyone else in practice today knows to shame! And surely you must be grandfathered in? There must have been a time when early Doctors were and did they take those laws off the books? But anyway these patients of yours still need you! Because my husband may be all Mortal but he's alive and kickin and takes really good care of himself and has no major health issues other than thinking.." Then the expression on her face was wondrous to behold as it suddenly dawned on her things had really changed.. "No I guess that old worry isn't a health issue after all. Of course he thinks he's Cupid! She laughed at the silliness of what she had just been about to say. "So I'm sorry! We won't be in this neck of the woods anytime soon permanently. You have your practice for years yet. Sorry!"
He sighed, "Immortality! My gift and my curse! Just like my patients!" He gave her a warning frown, "And soon yours too my dear! Soon yours!"
She nodded, swallowed and left with Venus and Anteros.
Oh yes! Just what was she getting herself into!
Later she reconnected with Uncle Mercury and walking down the street back to Venus and Mar's "palace" Claire commented wryly. "Reminds me of something C S Lewis was asked. The Guy believed Animals go to Heaven. Obviously he's correct about that. Someone asked him where God put the Mosquitoes. C S Lewis said "to answer the question on the level I am being asked it a Hell for Humans and a Heaven for Mosquitoes can be very easily be combined!'"
Uncle Mercury laughed.
Claire grinned mischievously. "So. Where DOES God put the Mosquitoes?"
Uncle Mercury grinned. "Right in New Jerusalem flying around with everything else. Everybody is powered directly by Primal Energy in New Jerusalem. Eating is just for fun so Mosquitoes don't have to suck blood over there. So they don't. For that matter they don't have to suck blood even when they are alive accept to reproduce so it's only the Females who are Vampires." Uncle Mercury chuckled and stuck his tongue out at Claire. "The Males are the harmless ones for a change!"
Claire laughed. "How do you know?"
He grinned, "About the Mosquito's reproductive habits? Way too much television with your husband! The rest: I've been to Heaven lots of times. I'm allowed in there. I'm the only little g god that is regularly though Vulcan was allowed in one time under heavy spiritual mind guard to install Wifi between here and there so Einstein, Millard Crumbly and him and many others could communicate between the various keeps."
Claire stared at him, "I've read the myths and wondered how they interfaced with Christianity. The myths said that the god Mercury was the only one allowed into the Mortal Afterlife. But I thought it was Tartarus, that is Hell you could get into, not Heaven!"
Uncle Mercury shuttered, "I would not want to go to Hell! And there isn't exactly really one in existence. It's true the Sun goes nova eventually and turns into a lake of fire and takes a lot of homeless Ghosts with it when that happens. But they will burn up completely after awhile. No eternal suffering. So there is no Hell. But then again there sort of is. There is a sort of mental hospital where Christ tries to straighten out some Folks who still have a chance who did not accept Him while alive due to mental illness or other reasons beyond their control. These are the ones the Bible says he preached to in Hell. Most finally listen to Him and make it over to New Jerusalem before the Universe goes crunch again. But then there is a ward in there where folks are locked up who are just so evil they will never get out, the closest to a real Hollywood Hell the real Universe has. It's a pitiful, horrid place due to the inhabitants pretty much torturing each other. It might as well be Hell as Hell has been conceived of. But God is not doing the cruelty there. He never does. It is the residents themselves! They've even set off nukes in there! No one told them to build those! These are folks you just can't let run around lose not even outside New Jerusalem with all the other homeless ghosts! For instance what would you get if you locked up a bunch of immortal criminals for eternity in a wonderful environment and gave them great supplies as compared to doing the same thing with a bunch of immortal Girl Scouts? See? It is who goes to the so called Hell that makes Hell hellish, not the environment. It was really meant to be therapeutic but just isn't being so unfortunately." Uncle Mercury sighed. "The Big Guy tries as good as anybody can with what He's got to work with but there are a whole bunch of nail holes in Him that show just how well He is doing at times, alas. The only way to prevent this would be to eliminate free will and that would require a major rewrite of all laws the next Time Circling, the elimination of multitudes of really fun and interesting Beings and lead to boredom Universe. It would break His heart! He prefers the nail holes! He punished Himself for the real mess He did indeed make to shut up all His many accusers that say He bungled things and for the PR that earned Him His Kingdom and most important of all, to teach us all how to forgive by the example He set of putting up with letting you Mortals do that to Him."
Claire asked, "Just why do they let you in New Jerusalem and no other little g gods?"
Uncle Mercury smiled and shrugged, "I am so good natured I do the place no harm, Claire Bear. That's why." He grinned, "I do not harm its perfect, flawless, beautiful, love, joy, peace, cheerfulness, and serenity. No other little g god can manage that. Not even my Cupid, the little g god of love, even though the Big G God of Love loves him greatly and calls him His 'little mirror.'"
Claire said, "Wow! Jesus calls my husband that?"
Uncle Mercury nodded, "Because they both are so full of Love. Cupid is supposed to restrict himself to erotic love but you KNOW Trevor! You know he doesn't. He just glows with every kind of Love there is! Sinless he definitely ain't! We knowwww Trevor! But he's got the Love part down reaaaal good!"
Later Venus said, "Dear you treated Apollo's flute and the patient definitely lived! I think it is high time you take a look at our most pressing need for a Psychiatrist while you are here don't you?"
Claire knew it was coming and she had been both dreading it and also looking forward to it! Slowly she said, "Zeus!"
Venus nodded. "We would really appreciate it. Dr Hippocrates tries but he isn't trained in the psychiatric profession or as he pointed out to you really anything. He reads and reads and reads medical journals and has kept up really well. But it's not the same as having any real training. Plus getting medications is hard!" Her face brightened. "The internet sure has made that much easier! But I am sure you can come up with something to help the old dear that Dr Hippocrates hadn't. I am sure of it!"
Dr Claire McCrae was certain of it too!
She said to herself silently as they ascended the steps to Hera and Zeus's palace, which did look like a palace and was at the peak of the virtual Olympus inside of the Box. "He's just another psyche patient. He's just another psyche patient." That was an attempt to slow down her rapidly beating heart! Uncle Mercury walked beside her and held her hand and smiled at her. Venus held her other hand. They could tell she was scared and with good reason! Claire had never had a patient before who could just on a whim hurl a lightning bolt at her!
Venus said, "We will try to protect you dear. You are very beautiful and that will help a lot to keep him calm and cooperative."
Claire thought to herself, Amazing! My Boss, Charles Milton Greeley had a hunch and said the exact same thing would happen when he turned my future husband over to me! Like grandson. Like grandfather!
They reached the door of the palace and it swung open automatically. Claire wondered if one of her companions had done that psychokinetically, if Hera or Zeus inside had done it that way, or if it just had an electric eye. Any one of these was an equal possibility. Around here Magic and Science coexisted because they were exactly the same thing, just from different eras.
Claire and herprotecting, supporting companions entered.
The inside looked like what she suspected. Most of it consisted of an outdoor courtyard with a small indoor area off to the side that was two storied. Greek carved marble benches circled around the courtyard. It had a beautiful view of the virtual valley overlooking the virtual Mediterranean and a sky too blue and beautiful to be real because of course it wasn't. This was one of Cyber-Disney's contributions to Olympus. Seagulls danced in the sky, calling joyfully to one another, playing with and being loved by Aeolus, riding him. There were potted plants in Grecian urns and marble and granite statues and fountains scattered around. Zeus was sitting on one of the benches looking outwards a the sea, or seemed to be.
Hera came towards them wearing a gorgeous, long silver sequined gown and yet it was ragged in places. Again there was some problem with cloth here thought Claire.
Hera greeted them warmly though not as warmly as Venus had. She was older than Venus and while handsome not near as pretty. She looked very careworn and she had a right to be. She was the real ruler of Olympus and did all the things Zeus was supposed to be doing as the little g god/elemental spirit in charge of the Greek/Roman area because Zeus just couldn't any more. Plus she had all the problems and heartbreak of watching a beloved Husband who had once been kind, gentle, cheerful and very wise go down hill with a violent mental problem. And she had been doing this for thousands of years!
No wonder she looked careworn!
Hera said, "Dear I know you will forgive me and understand why I am not doing the fun, polite, good host things and inviting you for wine and cheese and making small talk and all of that. I'm not snubbing you. I am so very grateful, really! I am just too busy! And I am a goddess but I am just too darn tired! I should drink more Ambrosia! I know! I Know! But the thing is it won't help! Because we all know it is no substitute at all for mere sleep, won't work at all without it and when am I supposed to find the time for that!"
Claire suddenly double-appreciated the wisdom of Uncle Mercury's gift to her that first day!
Hera pointed, "So there he is! Please go attend to him, sister in law, love child of my husband and valuable, valuable Doctor while I go off and have just a few precious minutes to myself!" And she scurried off.
So with her "orderlies" beside her if needed Claire cautiously approached the patient.
Zeus continued to stare out at the blue, blue sky and sea, not even realizing or at least not acknowledging their presence. Claire wondered if she was supposed to bow or curtsey or something but finally decided No. Absolutely not! She was an AMERICAN and not a worshiper of them anyway. She had grown up in an Episcopalian environment. And She was A SCIENTIST now and going to be a little g goddess herself apparently. And as Captain Kirk had so properly put it, "The One is sufficient!"
He was a patient and as any patient was going to be treated with respect! That was enough!
"Hello Zeus" was what she finally settled on as a greeting. "May I speak with you, sir?"
He still did not acknowledge her presence.
"Careful." Venus said, "Try not to get him annoyed."
Dr Claire McCrae asked quietly, "What does Dr Hippocrates have him on?"
Venus said, "Snake root mostly. That we can always get. We use Thorazine when we can afford it but the stuff's very expensive."
Claire's face clouded over in sympathy. "It's not like Greek gods have insurance. I can tell you right now this is a big part of the problem. Yes Dr Hippocrates does mean well but what I am seeing is a patient who is basically chemically straitjacketed to the point he can't function not even to acknowledge our presence. Since you are having trouble keeping the dosage regular due to problems obtaining medication this is making this even worse. He's old and his body and brain can't adapt to the up and down levels he's getting. And what he is on is the wrong stuff completely. Tranquilizers remove inhibitions just as alcohol does so it often makes anger problems worse not better unless you put the patient on so much you lose the patient. I see this all the time and it gets People put in jails and prisons and People injured and killed especially if they mix it with alcohol which I bet you are doing. Yours is a wine drinking culture and I know you have not been able to keep that from him. Probably shouldn't. I see how thin he is and if you can get him to eat ANYTHING you should! But tranquilizers, plus alcohol plus a problem holding his temper due to a brain deterioration problem plus the ability to hurl thunderbolts! Why isn't this place jolted to pieces?"
Venus said, "Because the Olympus program refreshes it dear. He's had half the place torn down so many times we lost count thousands of years ago."
Claire said, "Oh. Too bad it isn't doing that to his brain!"
Uncle Mercury nodded, "We know! Some of this we do not understand at all! We are immortal and our limbs can get cut off and we heal and yet Vulcan's leg never does and my brain won't fix itself and this happened to Zeus and he didn't deserve it! Why do our Creators allow these flaws to stay! It is so hard sometimes to keep the faith that they love us and care about us but just when we were about to give up we were sent you, our savior!"
Claire didn't know how to respond to this and yet she realized it was actually true. She said nervously, "I know there is a precedent for it but try not to nail me to any poles!"
Venus said gently, "Don't worry dear. The one time that was done paid everybody's dept in full even over here and will not ever have to be done again. You aren't that kind of Savior."
Claire was very glad about that!
Uncle Mercury said, "But Trevor was told by that Savior that you, our little g god savior was coming to help us. Because since Christ is the Big G God He can't get inside of us, (also gods) and help clean us up from the inside out the way He can you physical Mortals when invited in! So you are needed to help us here, the way you Shrinks do it, just by talking to us and medicating us and so forth. He says it will have to do, slow as that will be, but that at least it's something and since we are immortal over a great deal of time progress will be made!"
Claire smiled "That's good to know that I have such a stamp of approval from that High Up and that 'progress will be made!' And I know I will make a lot here today. Number one I will myself arrange somehow to have Zeus mailed a steady dose of better medication and number two I'm putting him on a glutamate blocker that should calm down his rage attacks a whole lot better than chemically straitjacketing him with a major tranquilizer did without causing you to lose him into way too high doses of a major tranquilizer! I think he just has epilepsy not Schizophrenia. Or if it is not Epilepsy maybe Alzheimer's that is taking a very long time to cause deterioration because of his immortality or assumed immortality. You gods really don't know if you are or not, really. Antero's comment about the Cockroach could apply!
Uncle Mercury shook his head. "No. Christ told us we are immortal, remember?"
Claire's face reddened, "Oh! That's right! Well in that case I may be looking at what Alzheimer's does if it becomes chronic instead of progressive due to the patient is never, ever going to die! Either way, Alzheimer's or epilepsy, the same glutamate blocker seems the best gamble because that is used to treat both conditions with some success."
The gods nodded.
Claire smiled, "They are being used to treat Autism too. So if Vulcan wants to try a glutamate blocker to help him sleep and to calm his temper down I will write him a prescription and make arrangements to send him some too. But don't press him. He's had a hell of a life!"
Uncle Mercury smiled, "I can persuade him very easily. He always used to beg me to give him something to help him sleep and he still uses what I recommended. That much herbal medicine I do remember."
Claire said, "Some theorize that Alzheimer's actually is a kind of late unset, progressively worse, severe Autism. If so glutamate problems may run in the family and Trevor's metabolic problems as a toddler gaining weight and Delightful's current problems doing the same may all tie in because Autistic People often have digestive problems too and not all Autists have their brains damaged so that they act weird. Some don't so they pass for normal but brilliant at least most of their lives until they get too much glutamate from some source such as the hydrolyzed protein in vaccinations and foods and what-have-you. So Trevor is very, very careful of both himself and our daughter with their diets to avoid glutamate and casein and gluten even though they are very hard to avoid and he is warning me about my Mother and myself because we show mild signs of this same condition. My Mother has strange social deficiencies and I also tend to think first and feel second which is an Autistic trait. Anyway after everyone knows how they are responding to the glutamate blocker and decisions one way or another have been made about keeping them on that or not, also try taking Vulcan and Zeus off of all gluten foods such as wheat and barley and foods with casein in them such as milk and cheese, ah, that is if you can! See if that helps because sometimes this can in this situation. Now mind you they may get a whole lot worse before they get a whole lot better because if this is part of their problem it will cause them to go go through withdrawal as if it is an additive, opiate drug because to them it is!"
Uncle Mercury smiled, "Claire, Vulcan is ahead of you on that. Gluten affects him but for some reason milk doesn't.
Claire asked, "You are using unpasteurized Goat's milk around here, not Cow's milk aren't you?"
Uncle Mercury nodded.
"That may be why."
Uncle Mercury said "He also went to a couple of sites on the net called Msgtruth dot org and truthinlabeling dot org and found out how glutamate is allowed to hide in foods under forty different names by the FDA. So by avoiding the rare American foods we eat in here that have glutamate in them he calmed down considerably. But I don't know how American Autistics would manage to do avoid it. It hides in so many American foods!"
Venus said, "I don't think we will have a bit of trouble switching Zeus to a different pill or powder but I don't think it will be possible to control his diet. But at least he doesn't eat many American foods."
Claire nodded, "At his age it would be difficult to change his diet."
"And he is so psychokinetic he could reverse-hurl bread right out of the town square bakery if he wanted it with the flick of a finger and float Milk Goats out of their fields all the way from the other end of Olympus and milk them himself at thunderbolt point. He's a very powerful god!"
Claire swallowed and nodded. "Hera must go through hell!"
Venus nodded and there were tears in her eyes, "I try to relieve her sometimes and it is sooo hard!"
Claire went up to her and Daughter in Law and mother in law hugged in shared sympathy.
Suddenly Uncle Mercury cleared his throat very loudly and they looked up.
The subject of their conversation had "woke up" for a few moments as people with these conditions sometimes do. He had his old twinkle back for a few moments and was that ever heartbreakingly familiar! And yes, the same family smile! Claire felt her stomach twist into knots because what if his condition is heredity as Trevor and her had talked about a few times!
Zeus smiled and said, "My! You are a very lovely Mortal! Did you bring me an offering?"
Claire said quickly! "Yes I did Zeus. An offering of knowledge! Did you know if you stayed off of bread and milk and cheese you might feel worse for a few days but then you might feel better and better?"
Zeus smiled at her. "Really?
Claire felt her heart pounding! "There is a chance that might work."
He shook his head. "But I feel fine dear! But thank you anyway. You bless me so much with your presence and you have more wisdom than most Mortals. They usually bring me useless trinkets, gold, jewelry, stuff I cannot really use." He made a brushing away motion with his hands "I have storage closets full of that useless junk! I would rather have knowledge brought to me. So good Girl! I will file that away in my mind and if I ever do start to feeling poorly I will try it."
Claire smiled. She was seeing signs of what he had been at one time and that was very wise indeed!
He yawned, "Now I think I shall go take a divine nap!" And suddenly he just wasn't there any more!
This startled Claire who turned to Venus for input as to what to do.
She smiled. "I'm scanning him with my selective omnipresence dear. He just went up to his bed chambers and is laying down which is what we want him to do at this time of the day but often we just can't get him to! So you were a wonderful influence on him. Just your beauty calmed him down. It acted like a tranquilizer!"
Claire thought to herself. When he was still in the hospital my husband told me my beauty was doing that for him and he would lay in his room as much as they would let him and think about me to "double and triple the dose."
Venus said, "So this went absolute perfectly. We got a better diagnoses and hope for a better treatment! And some extra help we weren't expecting for poor Vulcan too! And you didn't get thunderbolted and Zeus went to his afternoon nap on his own and Hera gets to go for a walk which she hasn't got to do in two weeks!"
"Now it is time to go to Hestia's and celebrate my dear! You've earned it!
Eating Dancing at Aunt Hestia's Kitchen
In every culture we dream of eating in a grand way in the Afterlife. The Vikings believe their Heroes spend much of their afterlife fighting and feasting until Time begins again. (They do too if that is what they really want). The Christians have the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and Jesus vowed at His Last Supper He would not drink new wine again until He had His Kingdom. (I am very glad Science was able to give it to Him). The Star Trek Q Continuum has a diner. Ditto for the Ancients of Star Gate where Ancients serve Mortals they choose to interact with there anything they want to eat. Quantum Leap has Al's Place and the world of art has that haunting painting, "The Nighthawks," where Diners eat in a dreary, lonely, florescent lit establishment with no way to get in or out. (Sometimes we imagine this place as a nightmare!) In 1984 Gottfried Helnwein repainted this with James Dean Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. This version is called, "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams. (But why should we choose to let dreams remain broken when we can fix them?) And let us not forget, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" from, "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" which is a sarcastic but definite example of this archetype.
We dream of This Place. We keep reinventing it! So we know it must exist! We wonderful, wonderful, incredibly inventive and tenacious Mortals will make sure of it!
Hestia's Kitchen is of course a toy version of this Eternal, Grand Eating Place That Is To Come just as Olympus is a toy version of of the entire New Jerusalem, and as as Second Life Dot com and Worlds Dot com are to some extent. The Internet is the earliest beginnings of the Physical Building of Heaven. When you contribute to it you are helping to build Heaven.
The main entrance that lead to the Big Room had sturdy wooden tables and booths and red and white checkered table clothes. There was a golden glow to the place and a feeling of peace and love there. A huge Fish tank the size of a semi truck turned up and down was in one corner and two Goldfish named Fred and Ethel the size of Hammerhead Sharks lived contentedly in that tank and have since Olympus had been programmed. The tank was a keep within a keep for while the gods without saw it as just a Fish tank to decorate the place, Fred and Ethel within were experiencing a whole ocean to swim in with a whole school of Fish to keep them company and didn't realize they were trapped in just a tank.
The place had two stories and the tank was two stories tall. There were giant, jungle sized Potted Palms and large Philodendrons and other huge Plants everywhere. There were bubblegum machines and peppermint machines and other interesting coin machines with little toys and what have you hidden here and there about the place but none of them took coins. You could just have what was in them as much as you wanted by pulling their handles which made a pleasant dinging sound and they refilled automatically, refreshed by Olympus every few seconds.
The walls held all sorts of inspirational and funny saying and pretty little paintings, none valuable but all just pleasant to look at. There were shelves with knickknacks full of that kind of stuff too.
There was an old fashioned ice cream parlor off to one side and a pizza parlor off to another.
And the smell! Claire had never smelled a restaurant that smelled this good!
There were thousands of little rooms you could go off in and eat in each with their own themes and one Big Room. The Big Room had the kitchen right in the middle of it so you could watch your food being made and talk to Aunt Hestia. She loved it when you picked that room for she loved to talk to folks!
And the first think Claire saw of her when she first caught sight of her was this adult goddess was sucking her thumb.
Oh goodness! Thought Claire. Is there not one god or goddess in Olympus who will not be my patient? I would just like a few friends here!
But the minute Hestia caught sight of Anteros she said, "Oh be a good lad and fetch my first aid kit! And so he did and the thumb sucking stopped when the big splinter she had rammed into her thumb from one of the hickory logs she was cooking on was pulled out. Claire didn't even have to do it. Venus was able to handle this "operation." And being a goddess once the wood was out of her thumb her little wound was gone in a split second. And that was it. That was the extent of this goddess's 'problem.' For once Claire wasn't going to have anything to do!
Except eat and drink and enjoy herself.
And with plenty of company.
For one thing Hestia's Kitchen was the heart and soul of Olympus. For another the god grapevine soon communicated to everybody that Claire was there that night. So almost every god in Olympus soon was too just to be near her. Even Vulcan came which filled Claire with hope that he at least wasn't so unsociable that he wasn't willing to be near his fellow Olympians. He came in powering his wheel chair himself sort of slow and low flying. He even sat with them or maybe it was just with Uncle Mercury but it certainly wasn't by himself!
And Hestia served her roast beef and garlic mashed potatoes and when Claire complained they were fattening Hestia's dark eyes twinkled with a very familiar twinkle and she put her right finger up to her lips and pointed out that Claire was a goddess now and goddesses were allowed to have weight on them and to prove it pointed out the goddess Athena! Short little Athena, the goddess of wisdom certainly did have on quite a few pounds!
And a notebook computer she was peering into with owl like glasses. Goodness was that anything to take to a restaurant! But yes! Apparently so if the smile on her face was any indication. Because wasn't that the proof of the pudding? That it was making her happy?
The old question as to tell an Introvert from an Extrovert was "Would you rather read a book or go to a party?" But so many Folks these days took books to parties and read then there. Or went to parties just to see what was on Folk's book shelves! So how did you mark that question?
Now portable take-with-you computers and Wifi in public places made it even harder to define who was and was not introverted. Athena was here and also not here, talking to who knows who by chat with someone half the World away in America. So did that count as making her more sociable or less?
There was a big iron soup pot right in the middle of the room and Hestia came over to Claire and asked her to try a spoon of the soup and asked her what it needed. Claire told her, "It needs more paprika.'
Hestia smiled at her and thanked her. There was that same family smile again!
And now she was giving the gods recipe advice! What next?
Then came a huge piece of chocolate cake. And "No! She refused to believe that in Olympus cake has no calories!"
"Good girl!" Venus laughed, "You can tell when we are spoofing you! But you should eat it anyway! Because would you at least believe us if we told you this cake is so good it is as if it is made by the gods!'?"
After bellies had time to be filled people got up and danced. And how they danced! The gods could fly and so they did not limit themselves to the dance floor but also took to the area above the tables and danced above them, darting in and out. How they avoided crashing into one another was amazing! Apollo and Pan were playing their flutes and their traditional pan pipes and someone who looked just like a Vulcan from Star Trek had a harp and was going at it like a country and western Good Ole Boy just a pluckin and a pluckin! A couple of Fauns were cutting the rug together and the stomping sounds they made were just like tap dancing because of their hooves. Several Angels had joined the little group and this was the first time Claire realized Angels knew how to blow Dixie land jazz on their horns!
Many of the dancers were naked but painted every color in the rainbow. Many were using brightly colored feathers of Dinosaurs and Tropical Birds to decorate themselves. Many of the gods seemed more like South American Natives than Greeks. Well thought Claire, this culture has had thousands of years to evolve. People's cultures do not stay stagnant. (But Claire found out later there was a reason for some of the lack of use of cloth). Some were more traditionally dressed and looked quite ancient Greek. A few wore pearls and jewels and velvet and lace. It seemed what the gods wore or did not wear was completely up to them. They had no "fashion police."
And they danced and they danced and they chatted and they talked. Gods came and went. Claire saw Thor come in with his hammer and the rest of his enormous and powerful family and Quetzalcoatl and much of his family came and many other gods and spirits who were not Greek. Venus explained that Olympus was not exactly a gated community like New Jerusalem was and anyone who wanted to was allowed to come in. So they had visitors from the other keeps come all the time, even gods and spirits from other planets! Even Angels could come and did quite often for while no gods but Uncle Mercury could go to New Jerusalem anyone from over there could visit over here and often they did.
Even Ghosts came sometimes but for some reason they just did not want to stay long though at least some of the gods would have tried to help some of them. What kept them from having at least some kind of a home that could survive the coming nova of the Sun and then the Big Crunch/Big Bang was the same thing that had kept them from finding peace with Christ. For all they had to do for help was ask but they would not. And that was so sad! Like frightened feral Cats who would not come to Cat lovers who hold out tins of food and pleadingly call out to them to come to them, the damned always damn themselves!
And the gods danced and they danced, wildly and "savagely." It was all a kind of worship of course, the worship of Life itself.
Claire asked, "How often do you guys do this?"
Venus smiled, "There are a few more doing this tonight than usual because you are here but usually there is always quite a crowd anyway. We really haven't anything else to do. We dance because we are alive. The whole Universe dances, Claire, every particle in it. Many Ghosts will even dance as they go into the flames of the lake of fire when the Sun goes nova, the last thing they do for they know that at least they lived! Oh what a wonderful thing it is to LIVE! And what a close call it is to not having had the chance! Each one of us is an incredible miracle! Each sperm was a race that got won, one out of millions of other sperm and before that the generation before that there was another race that was won equally chancy, one out of millions of sperm and eggs and before that the same and before that the same, and so forth and so on billions of generations of so many chances one might never have come into existence! To exist! Oh dance, Claire! Dance every chance you get!"
So she did! She got up and danced. Uncle Mercury got up and danced with her but it was really with all the Universe she danced, all the atoms in it, and she danced for To Whom It Might Concern. She knew Who now. But that would always be her favorite Name for Him.
Immortality by way of Dr Seuss' s Pipes
Mars the god of war had finally made it home in time to attend the ascension of Claire Bear to goddess-hood. He was made up in all his military glory with so many metals if the virtual Sun had caught him just right it could have blinded someone. (Maybe that is why People who start wars always wear lots of shiny metals; to blind Folks some way or another). Venus had put on a long flowing gown as well as her ruby crown. She had taken a wash rag and spit on it and washed Antero's face and slicked down his cowlick and he had quite naturally protested and it stayed down all of five seconds. Rhodos looked like a typical Teenager straight out of the mall. Apollo looked like a band leader which made sense because he was. Uncle Mercury had on his Postman's cap, a big grin and his best patched Peasant's outfit. Aunt Hestia had on her prettiest apron and a nice party smock. Even the gods who had chose to come naked had painted themselves like properly painted Primitives none of whom would have been caught dead outside their huts without the proper paint applied most carefully! Savages? Absolutely not! Nude cultures often have the strictest "dress codes" of all! The gods were going all out today to dress festively and act festively and quite a day it was! The Promised One was being turned into a real goddess. Claire Bear/Dr Claire McCrae was going to be turned into Psyche the goddess of Thought Science and Reason for real!
Today would be the day she would have her first dose of ambrosia.
Apollo had quite a little band going. It consisted of a motley crew of Centaurs, Nymphs, a couple of Lion faced Seraphim with violins who came over from New Jerusalem because it was their day off and "any excuse for a party" and many fine flute players with hooves. But one red headed Fauns had a saxophone instead of a flute and he was blowing into it with all he had which was plenty! He was also making moves like Elvis the Pelvis and Claire was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
Anteros giggled "We'd better be glad the American PTA can't get up here to us. Look at all this sax and violins!"
Rhodos tried to pound him on the head but he was too quick and ducked behind Claire knowing he'd be safe there. Rhodos would never risk harming a Mortal especially not this one! Claire gave up trying to keep a straight face!
Apollo's band chose to play John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Strips Forever in honor of "Claire Bear" being an American. This was fine. It is a beautiful, patriotic piece. It is just that between her Mother and Trevor who had picked up the same filk song from her Mother because all too often they were companions in mischief, so involuntarily all that kept running through her head to that tune was
"Be kind to your web footed friends
For a Duck may be somebody's Mother!
Be kind to all of your Friends!
For you never know who they are!
Ra Ra Ra Ra!
Be kind to your long eared Friends
For a Mule may be somebody's Brother!
Oh be kind to all of your Friends
You never know, you never know just who they are!
Be kind to your six legged friends!
For and Ant may be somebody's Uncle!
Oh be kind to all of your Friends
You never know, you never know just who they are!
She was very careful not to hum or sing this even under her breath! Who knows just how good someone up here's hearing could be!
Uncle Mercury was suddenly beside her though she wasn't sure how. Did he just run up really quickly or suddenly beam in? He pointed, "Claire, that is where your dose of ambrosia is coming from.
Claire looked at what he was pointing at. She found herself staring in disbelief at the most snarled mess of pipes she had ever seen in her life! The pipes were not even the same size in width. In places they were really narrow. In other places the same pipe bulged way beyond any practical use. Why?
Uncle Mercury gazed at them too. "Yup. They are a mess alright. A lot of them go nowhere and do nothing like certain conduits on the Starship Enterprise."
"Why for goodness sakes?"
Uncle Mercury grinned, "Well the computerized recreations of all the Mortal Geniuses that made Olympus all took their turns making the various parts and components of Olympus. Can you guess which Genius made the Ambrosia Dispenser?"
Claire shrugged, "I would hope it was some famous Doctor who fought to extend the Human life span."
Uncle Mercury nodded, "Multitudes of those working together are of course who invented Ambrosia and then made the actual Ambrosia Maker. But Dr Seuss made our Ambrosia Dispenser!"
Claire groaned, "Why for Heaven's sakes WHY!"
Uncle Mercury lifted a finger and pointed out with a certain logic (admittedly). "Because no one but Dr Seuss has the mind for making such magnificent pipes! Look at them, Claire Bear! They go up and up and around and up to forever!"
She looked. They did indeed do just that. They soared up into the virtual, sapphire Greek sky and twisted and seemed to dance a solid forever-dance in their twisting. They were obscene almost and yet not. They were a joke and yet a profound one. They were painted a rainbow of colors and flags and pennants of every nation conceived and many most thankfully, inconceivable hung from them. Surely there wasn't really a Shangri La? Claire suddenly realized there were also company flags up there. Oh for goodness sakes! What did the oil company, Exxon and some tire company she had never heard of have to do with immortality!
Uncle Mercury frowned, "the only problem is somewhere in there we have a clog and there isn't enough Drano in creation to unclog us."
Claire felt her heart sinking. "So I won't really get to be made a goddess because a computerized recreation of Dr Seuss was the Cyber-idiot who was allowed to make the immortality dispenser and it has a CLOG!"
Uncle Mercury grinned, "Oh no sweat, Claire Bear. Our friendly neighborhood mad Scientist has been forced by necessity to become a darn good Plumber too. He'll find our clog. He always has before. This would be, oh let me think, about our one thousandth clog in at least in the last one hundredth years. Ambrosia is sticky stuff when it settles and in at least a few places these pipes that are Grandfather Oak thick are also lollipop stick thin. But anyway Vulcan will unclog us. And herrrre he comes!"
Uncle Mercury pointed at a tiny speck in the sky. "Behold Vulcan the wonder god and his flying wheel chair!" Uncle Mercury reached in his pocket and took out a square of white cloth about a yard wide. It had the helicopter landing pad symbol painted on it. Uncle Mercury dropped it to the ground and pointed wildly at it, doing a silly little dance as he did so.
Apollo had stopped his band now as everyone awaited the coming of Vulcan. He had been necessary to fix clogs in the ambrosia pipe for so long he had become a routine part of the ceremony and everyone knew he did not like loud music.
Vulcan came floating down, obviously not really needing the portable landing pad. In fact he deliberately, completely missed it. His wheel chair was strapped to his chest and lap with the same kind of belts that are usually used to keep feeble wheel chair Patients from falling out of their wheel chairs. He growled, "Will that joke Cupid and you started EVER get old enough you quit playing it!"
Uncle Mercury giggled, "Since we are immortal what are the chances? So are our jokes!"
Claire by habit rolled her eyes and looked to the Heavens for help then remembered just where am I that I expect help from the Heavens? I am HERE and THEY need MY help! She sure had her work cut out for her!
Vulcan looked at the Seussian mess and said, "Try it before we just naturally assume I have to fix it again."
Uncle Mercury shrugged and nodded. He went over to some very over sized, unsymmetrical and very Seuss-looking knobs that were painted gold and a bilious green and with very Dr Seuss like motions, cracked his knuckles and daintily turned them both. As he expected nothing came out the spigot.
Vulcan growled, "I notice you didn't even bother to put the cup under the spigot!"
Uncle Mercury said, "What are we? Christian Scientists? Do you really think my having faith would help?"
Vulcan looked up and up at his brother and growled, "TRY IT!"
Cheerfully humoring his brother, Uncle Mercury did. He put a banged up silver cup under the spigot and again daintily like a Character out of a Seuss cartoon, cracked his knuckles and turned the gold and bilious green, oversized knobs again and this time magnificent gurgling noises commenced. But again not one drop of ambrosia dripped out of the tap. Uncle Mercury grinned and said "Told ya so! So! "YOU! Go fix!"
"Woof woof! Wag wag!" Vulcan shot straight upwards like a rocket in his wicker wheel chair which had a bag of plumbing tools attached.
Claire was trying to analyze her own emotions. That Cupid's family existed at all was amazing. But the way they were! Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!
The pipes went up for a very long time and Vulcan flew upwards for a very long time. Claire thought of Christopher Reeve in his wheelchair. Superman. She sighed.
Vulcan seemed to know exactly where the trouble would be and he actually disappeared, wheelchair and all, squeezing out of sight into a tangle of pipes that twisted and loop de looped for no reason at all other than the Cyber-Dr Seuss had wanted them too and that of course had become the trouble spot.
Fixing them seemed to take a very long time.
It was for once Uncle Mercury's turn to have to cran his neck upwards. Most of the time he was the one making Folks have to cran their necks. He cupped his hands to his mouth and called upwards, "Vulcan you got it yet? Wait too long and Claire Bear will die of old age before we can make her an immortal!"
Vulcan's deep, raspy voice growled from above, seemingly disembodied due to him being out of sight, (but hardly sounding godlike). "Oh you do so exaggerate! I'll get it going! Patience! Rome wasn't built in a day you know."
Uncle Mercury nodded, "I know. I watched it go up. It was started by Aneas, one of my love kids by Venus too you know. It took about two hundred years for most of the major parts but when exactly is a city said to be completed? They are still working on it."
Suddenly there was a cacophony of bangings and clangings much of it rhythmic. (Maybe Vulcan should go jam with his brother, Apollo). Claire recognized the first part to "shave and a hair cut" and in the spirit of the general silliness that was going on spread her arms like an Opera Singer and sang, "two bits!"
Anteros giggled and slapped his knee. "We have us a Toon!'
Claire grinned. Disney. He is everywhere!
Vulcan finally floated down out of the overhead plumbing, still holding different sized pipe wrenches in both hands and wearing safety goggles, his long, uncut black hair rumpled and standing up and going in several different directions. Much more cheerful than he had been before he said, "I think I got it. Try it now."
Uncle Mercury put the banged up silver cup under the spigot, cracked his knuckles and daintily turned the knobs. More magnificent gurglings commenced and then wonderful rumblings and suddenly a few, impossibly huge, Oblac sized drops of a golden liquid started to drip-drop into the cup. "Yay brother! You did it!
Vulcan smiled. It was a lopsided grin and not pretty like his brother's grin but it looked so much better than his usual bitter scowl. Claire wondered if she could help Vulcan. But he would have to open up to her.
Now Uncle Mercury and Vulcan waited patiently for the ambrosia to drip. Anteros started singing "drip drip drip drip!" The words to a very old Sanka coffee commercial and then got his coffee commercials mixed up with a 'good to the last drop' comment.
Rhodos bopped him over the head, "That's Maxwell House you twit!"
A few more minutes passed while Rhodos and Anteros tried to kill one another. Venus serenely ignored this. Her kids were immortal. They could not hurt each other. Or that is they could but they would heal in seconds.
Sasha lay at their feet and chewed off parts of the Puppy who put up with this, very good natured. He too would heal in seconds. Sasha had already eaten him completely up several times.
Finally Uncle Mercury had a whole cup full of Ambrosia. He turned and handed it down to Claire.
She stared at the gold liquid, wishing with all her heart that she could have it analyzed. For she knew it had a real equivalent that would go with her through the pearl into her reconstituted body into the real world. Everything in here did. In front of her was a medicine that if she could take some with her to analysis and it could be reverse engineered and mass produced would cure practically every illness and make the Human body practically immortal and much stronger!
Venus could almost read her mind. "Dear you Mortals will invent this stuff in the Future. If you took it to them now you would change history and not for the better I might add. You aren't all ready for it yet. This is just for you now. You are meant to come to us and help us, Psyche. We need you!"
She was right of course. Clare nodded and reluctantly drank it all, every drop leaving none to study. It tasted sweet but not too sweet, thick but not too thick. She suddenly felt a surge of strength go through her and a clarity of mind.
So now she was an immortal goddess. Just like that!
The Adults politely clapped and Anteros and Rhodos quit trying to kill each other. That wasn't due to the magic of the moment. They had just gotten bored.
Claire realized that her body was no longer sore. She smiled. So it had definitely worked! What an amazing thing and yet why the joke with the ridiculous pipe?
Then of all things! Right in front of all these gods of Olympus and Dr Hippocrates she farted!
Venus put her hand on her shoulder, "Don't be embarrassed dear. Ambrosia does that to us sometimes.'
Vulcan grinned up at them and this time it looked as handsome on him as on his other relatives. "Sometimes sis? Be honest! When has it not?"
Dr Hippocrates came up to her and took her pulse and blood pressure and listened to her heart with the most ancient stethoscope she had ever seen still in use. He explained to her, "One dose of ambrosia actually does not make you a full fledged goddess just yet, Dr McCrae. But it's a good start. You are now stronger, faster and a little bit smarter. In time you will start developing certain powers. But the only reason you are coming here after death not over there to that other Mountain is a matter of choice and the legal contract you accidentally filled out by recorded voice when you promised, "Trevor" you would come here after death and help us. That would have happened anyway even if you hadn't had the courage to come and climb this mountain just as I did, fellow Doctor and Mountain Climber!" He smiled. Then he added, "You seem to be adjusting well dear. Sometimes ambrosia can make the heart speed up too much and I have seen heart attacks happen which is so ironic. The stuff then cures the heart attack it caused but it takes a while."
Claire stared at him and marveled. It was amazing! He was a Doctor and he had done the exact same thing she had done, climbed Mount Olympus thousands of years ago determined to get medical knowledge to help Humanity! He had, from Uncle Mercury because this was before his brother Mars had injured his brain with a thunder bolt during a spat over Venus! But then when he had died he had chose to come here instead of New Jerusalem to help the gods because he had seen as she had that they too desperately needed our help not just the other way around.
And Vulcan needed help more than any of the other gods!
Claire had read the myths about Vulcan which were of course his childhood history and knew he had been flung off the mountain at his birth by Hera who as a young, first time mother had been terrified by his normal, newborn ugliness and that is how he had permanently hurt his leg. He had been raised by Mortals who found him at the base of the mountain injured, crying, cold, starving and terrified, and he had grown up in their midst hardly able to walk and in constant pain. They passed him from generation to generation as he slowly grew up at the much slower pace gods do watching significant loved one after love die as Mortals do. He learned he dare not love any one! No one ever lived that he dared love or else THEY rejected him and tossed him off the sides of mountains! But as a species he loved Mortals intensely and hated his fellow gods for what they had done to him until that horrible day he realized it was the Mortals who had created the gods and written him exactly the way he was in the first place! Then his heart broke, he became very bitter and he trusted no one ever again!
Not being in the clean, everything-done-for-one, virtual environment of Olympus as the other gods, he had been given by the Fates only dirt to play with. So he became a god of dirt. Or that is the metal hidden within it. He had noticed some natural iron pyrite melting one day from a cooking fire and that set his wild, brilliant imagination to flight. He learned to refine it on purpose, making at first only very rough beads. But no one there had ever seen forged metal before! So these alone made his entire tribe of Mortals rich beyond their wildest dreams! Such a great return this was on their huge investment of raising a crippled child who never seemed to ever grow up for over eighty generations! (There had been much arguing about that and being selectively omnipresent the sensitive, shocked and hurting child had "attended" every one of those so called secret arguments)!
In a few hundred years this troubled Di Vinci of the gods had a one-god project going the equivalent of Thomas Edison's Lab's or Bill Gate's Microsoft or the above mentioned Di Vinci's workshop! He was brilliant, heavy metal poisoned from all his experiments with smelting metal and slightly Autistic. He was also very emotionally disturbed way beyond what could be blamed on the biological condition of Autism. His brilliance and artistry earned his way back into Olympus. But he never felt he was loved for himself but only for what he could do and he had plenty of reason to feel this way. His was not a personality anyone could love easily. But Olympus was modified to make it wheel chair accessible with much cutting of doorways to make them wider.
He was as close to his brother, Mercury as he was to anyone mostly due to Mercury's cheerful, soothing nature and the fact the messenger god had been a brilliant herbal doctor before his own brain injury had ended that and he had tried to help his brother with his health problems once they had found each other.
Claire nodded at him, "Dr Hippocrates why doesn't Ambrosia work on him? Why won't it cure that bad leg of his? I wanted to look at it but he wouldn't even let me!"
Dr Hippocrates sighed and his face clouded over in a storm of anger and sympathy, "He knows it wouldn't even do any good, damn us! The ROM of Olympus is programmed to KEEP his leg malfunctioning not help it to heal!" He gave a bitter shrug, "Myths have to be fulfilled you know my dear. We mighty Mortals decreed it! The myths say that Vulcan has a bad leg and so he does! He can drink ambrosia and be just fine for about five seconds if he's lucky and then the Olympus program refreshes as it does sometimes even more often than that and he's back to being hurt again. About all ambrosia does for him is taste good and give him a pleasant fart!'
Claire said, "We bastards!"
Dr Hippocrates nodded, "Don't underestimate his ability to help himself! He has figured out how to get the control panel open. He takes out one ROM chip at a time, observes how that changes things and everybody and then puts it back in."
Claire's eyes widened in horror, "Dangerous!'
Dr Hippocrates nodded, "VERY dangerous!And the other gods let him. They are fed up with being controlled by us Mortals too, much as they love us. So either they are going to mess themselves up which may mess up Earth's weather patterns and other stuff and kill us too! Don't be fooled! Despite the Administration change they are still being allowed to do a lot up here to control things in our realm. Or Vulcan will figure out how to cure that leg of his. And Bacchus's alcoholism and Medusa's ugliness. Because dear, Venus can't undo what she supposedly did! Because Vulcan's leg is not the only problem hardwired in by us! Every time Venus tries to undo what she was forced to do to her sister Medusa Olympus resets that too! We wrote her to get very angry and give her sister Snakes and she had no choice but to make Medusa so ugly anyone turns to stone who sees her. Venus knew it was wrong even as she was doing it but could not stop herself even as she cast the spell! It was like an Autistic Person having a glutamate overdose anger melt down they can't control due to the FDA allowing glutamate to hide in foods and in vaccines under 40 different names so their brains stay poisoned and over stimulated by what is for them a government-allowed poison in the food supply! In just exactly the same way that what the FDA has allowed People who have rage reactions from glutamate to become is not really them, Venus was not really herself that day. WE did that to her! That furious anger that day at her sister, Medusa was not her usual moods or behavior. And once it was done, to her horror she has not able to undo it! Olympus just keeps refreshing its program whenever anyone tries. So Medusa has to keep out of sight from everyone." Dr Hippocrates gave a bitter smile. "Ironically she's been the only god to make any money. She took the same Wifi signal Vulcan set up to solve the unified field theory with Einstein and Millard Crumbly over in New Jerusalem and is using it to sell on eBay!"
Claire frowned. So that was what Venus had been talking about earlier about Mortals having the power to enter the gods minds without permission and control them! Talk about reality based paranoia! She was going to need a lot of help! Claire nodded and sighed "The poor Lady!'
Dr Hippocrates nodded. And other Writers beyond the myths have been used to fill in the gaps when the myths did not supply enough information. Much of what they write about the gods has been used to write the behavior routines for Olympus too, even fanfiction writing, and the gods are mostly trapped by them also. With a lot of help and willpower sometimes rarely they are able to overcome it!"
Claire said, "Trevor told me once, (and I of course thought he was being even more nuts than usual!) that, the Classic Trek episode, "Who Mourns for Adonais"will become reality. Apollo is going to have a mental breakdown someday and fly off thinking Olympus has been abandoned by the gods and get in a fight with the fictional Starship Enterprise which we are also going to bring to life for real. Everyone here knows this is coming but no one is even thinking about how to circumvent that!"
Dr Hippocrates shrugged, "They don't even want to! The novelization by James Blish has him siring a Child! So when it was realized that was programmed into the ROM instead of being horrified he was going to have a breakdown that may very well end his life Apollo started dancing around the town and giving out chocolate cigars! It makes him the last god to successfully reproduce time wise, though not the last generation since he's only second generation and Cupid is third generation. Delightful is the end for them that way, dear. You and Cupid have the last goddess ever to be born, the one and only forth generation goddess of Olympus! Of course they are immortal but that is small compensation for knowing they are all there ever will be of them." He smiled sadly, "Oh sometimes it is great to be a Mortal! And that is why though I reluctantly accepted eternal life to avoid my patients outliving me I refuse to be called a god! I won't fly, won't use any powers and they can't make me! Can't! Can't! Can't!" He shook his head and looked at the virtual skies and grinned. "Oxymoron though it is I am immortally Mortal and proud!"
The Origin of gods And Men
Claire Goes Home
Later when they were walking down the street back to Venus's "Palace" Claire asked Uncle Mercury about the ridiculous pipes.
He explained. "You know Arnold Shumway, the Man who was in charge of the project that brought us to reality, (heck we were mostly his idea, his baby!) was basically an Atheist, one of the last. By then the existence of God had been proven many different ways, but that didn't mean you Mortals had to like the idea! So Arnold did know the Universe was a done deal, but he just didn't LIKE the idea that it was. He didn't like it that he was being watched, and carefully assessed as to where he was going to spend his afterlife! Which was so silly! There was nothing he ever did in his entire life that would have been that big a deal if he'd just made Christ welcome in his life! He had no bad habits and he even gave to charity because he felt real compassion for others not because he expected any reward. He was more of a Saint than most of the so called Saints are Saints! Half the regular Pew Sitters of every congregation in the Universe could not have compared to his regular behavior when he wasn't even trying hard. His IQ was too high for him to be stupid enough to live sinfully! Oh Claire he'd have been such an easy fix! But tragically often it is those easy fixes who absolutely refuse to submit to Christ while the messed up Folks with enormous physical brain problems that can only be taken care of after their uploading haunt the gates of the Kingdom pounding on the doors, behaving so badly because of their problems they scare multitudes off!
Uncle Mercury smiled and winked. "So we started off in our earliest beginning as as satirical game, Claire Bear, made to thumb our Creator's nose at the real God! Which explains the silly stuff in our keep including Dr Zeus's Pipes. Arnold had no intention of worshiping us or fulfilling myths except as entertainment! Or at least that is why he thought he was making us, to be merely entertaining and sarcastic! But the joke was really on him because we kind of think he was being controlled by the very Higher Power he was thumbing his nose at! The Big Guy's own kind of a joke because He does like us most amazingly! We were supposed to be like the video games are of your age. But we Characters have self awareness and the only plot in the game was to interact with us any way you choose. But he had indeed made us immortal unlike other Fictionals you Mortals brought to life with built in obsolescence. Because us gods are supposed to be immortal, right? But he hadn't thought out the consequences of that! Because we outlived our Creator, outlived the age where bringing Fictionals to life was fashionable (though it never did go completely out of fashion due to their usefulness and their own desire to keep existing). But you Mortals got tired of us gods really quickly and yet here we still are!
Uncle Mercury laughed, "Yes Claire! Here we still are! We live! And life is sweet for all its problems!" He raised his hands above his head and danced in the road. "Sweet and precious and I have seen my son grow up into someone useful and respected, finally! And I have a granddaughter, the only god who does and how can it get any better than that! I am such a blessed person! You did it, Claire Bear!"
He bent way down and kissed his Daughter in Law/Niece in law on the top of her head!
He smiled, "I have so wanted to do that for such a long time!"
Claire smiled at that and asked, "Are you "Merv?"
He grinned, "Now think! Just how many incredibly cheerful, dumb, long drinks of water that look exactly like moi COULD the Universe possibly produce? And you know how badly Tres Equs needs cheap labor! And relatives do tend to work cheap!"
Uncle Mercury laughed too."That's your answer about cheap, almost incompetent bar help at Tres Equis who look exactly like moi! Anyway concerning the origins of gods and Mortal-manity: After we were created so very much time passed at least by your standards. The Universe was going CRUNCH again soon and you knew it. And HOW you knew it! You Mortals were very frightened and knew you had to do something to preserve Life through the Big Crunch and it wasn't going to be easy! But everything, absolutely EVERYTHING was riding on you succeeding! You did at least have just barely enough time left to come up with Something!
We had doubled as experiments in how to make the Human body immortal and ironically the container our bitter Genius had built to house us, Olympus and other pretty containers he had done to house similar god games turned out to have some of the answers. Arnold had built Olympus out of something he invented that could survive the Big Crunch/Big Bang to thumb his nose at needing a God to do that for you. But that turned out to be just what was needed of course!
"New Jerusalem" would follow his sarcastic example but be done for all the right reasons not the wrong ones! Your own "Mortal keep" would save Sacred Organic Life itself not mere Fictionals who had been built as sarcastic, silly games! It is no, tiny box containing twenty four carat fictional characters each goofier than the next, like our god box. It is 1500 miles long, wide and high and covered in precious gems and inside are the most beautiful things Humanity will ever build and the most amazing Plants you will ever collect or breed and all the Animals, ALL of them! And many People too of course, as many as have the sense to give Christ permission to install Himself in them and clean them up so they are fit to upload!
"Because while you were at it you Mortals chose to evolve higher at the same time. It was time! The Universe needs its Omega Point!
But what were you to go do with us? You had made us! We were immortal too and full of life and longing to keep it, living as best we could the imperfect, immortal and often immoral lives that you had given us, our flaws deliberately hardwired into us and some of them major! It would have been the ultimate of cruelties to take away from us the immortal lives that we had been given and so longed to keep! And yet some of us are as good as damned for Eternity! But change our personalities too much and we would not be us anymore! We were that same problem the entire Universe has in a nutshell. Improve the Universe too much, same problem. It could be done but only at the expense of eliminating quadrillions who desperately want to exist!
"It was a close call. You almost voted to end us. But it was finally decided to let us live. Amazing Grace indeed! We are forever grateful, Claire! Emphasis on the forever!
"So you Mortals decided to put us to work. We were changed a bit, had some powerful programming added to Olympus and were given the assignments we had been named after. After billions of years of your monkeying with us we have become the actual little g gods! So my brother, Aeolus the wind god actually does help control the winds, Brother Neptune helps regulate the Oceans and so forth and so on. We became "elemental spirits." Because it turned out there is a some need for intelligent regulation of things. Papa Zeus helps with the weather along with other weather gods of other cultures. But he has gone around the bend and that has something to do with Global Warming. So it isn't all you Mortal's fault. Note NASA admits Mars is getting warmer too and the Sun is giving out more heat. But some of this is normal cycling and happens every few thousand years or so and the Sahara desert is placed there for you to turn green again to help regulate this. You can successfully overcome my father who is really just a tiny little component in Gaia that has gone a bit wonky because you are part of Gaia too and you need to do your part." Uncle Mercury smiled and said gently. "And you will. You are realizing it and already are starting to do something about it. It is just it is not your fault! So can it with the guilt trips! Dance! Rejoice! You were made to be happy and no one is mad at you!"
Uncle Mercury grinned, "Now obviously we gods haven't been the answer to eternal life. You may have noticed we are a tad neurotic? So like Thomas Edison's 200 ways NOT to make a light bulb he came up with before he figured out a good way to make one you learned something from us failed experiments; the wrong way to live forever! You went instead with adding a layer of Higher Self Awareness onto the first three layers you already have inside your own skulls so you stay your precious, individual selves but you also have access to a He Who is Beyond You to keep you mentally healthy. Some call Him the next Phase of Evolution after the Neo Cortex. He is Universal Consciousness layer that keeps the other three earlier layers, the Reptile Layer, the Mammal Layer and the Neo Cortex Layer, feeling loved and Sane. Some call Him the Cosmic Muffin because He feels like a warm, loving muffin inside your brains when you ask Him in! And you used black hole time travel to rescue the Galilee Carpenter from His tomb on Resurrection Morning and installed Him as the Head of that Layer. Because Who else more deserves to be Head of the Eternal Kingdom you were using Science to build? It is VERY important that He have an Organic Mind of His own as His Head since He has to interface with and connect together Organic Life. Ephesians 4:15 was well on its way to being fulfilled. "Rather Speaking the Truth in Love you are to Grow up in All Ways into the Head, into Christ."
"Then the Universe ended right on schedule. But you were well ready for it by then.
"Olympus had been built well and we also rode out the Big Crunch/Big Bang just fine. So ironically indeed considering our Creator's bitterness at God existing we were some of the Morning Stars who sang at the Beginnings of Creation! Of course you yourselves were the Omega Point that carefully did it, making absolutely certain that every particle launched right again to restart the exact same Universe. It was way too dangerous to leave something like that to mere chance! Because WOW! Even our slightly bigger brains can't conceive of the very many ways things could have gone wrong, wrong, wrong!
The expanding Universe was tended as carefully as a Mother Velociraptor guards her egg!"
Claire shuttered, "You would use an extinct Creature in your analogy!"
Uncle Mercury laughed, "The operating systems of every Bird who ever lived and will ever live is still a roaring and a romping and a flying high and rejoicing at sweet and powerful Life in that Big Old Cube you Mortals built. God is the ultimate Bird Lover and People cheerfully complain the Carpenter's built Himself a big Bird cage! (Well at least they don't poop any more). Birds were the first to be uploaded. 'Not even a Sparrow falls' Claire Bear. 'Not even a Sparrow falls apart from the Father!' So Life being Life, nothing whatsoever at all was left to chance that precious matter would not remain a Nest able to nourish more Life. "I AM that I AM!" is what He calls Himself. "I Exist that I Exist" And Life will always remain the Guardian and Guider of Matter. As as for the Velociraptors: Because Earth gets heavier and heavier with every leaf that grows out of Sunlight and then falls and composts and with every dust particle from Space that comes (and hundreds of kilos of them come each year), and every meteorite too, because of this, Birds have had to evolve a whole lot smaller as has everything else to cope with the ever increasing gravity. So Children of the Velociraptor still live among you, warbling their joy at being alive outside your windows in the mornings. The Dinos didn't all go extinct. They just got a whole lot smaller and their hearts longed to soar so they were allowed to obtain wings!
Uncle Mercury grinned, "And Mortal-manity is obtaining wings too, Claire Bear! The Universe is yours! We gods shall watch you evolve and soar past us on your way to Glory and all we can do is worship you on!"
He smiled, "and dance a lot! And eat and drink for we never, never die and the burden of Eternity is long! Let's go see what Hestia has a bubblin in her big iron soup pot tonight again! And Apollo shall make music again and we shall live, live live! Live because that is all we CAN do, all we know how to do! That is the burden and the joy you placed on us; eternal life with no ending, and no hope of future evolution, you darn darn, wonderful, horrible, incredible Mortals! I am glad you are going to be with us someday permanently, Psyche because wow! Do we ever need a good Shrink!"
Claire lay there in her air bed that night and knew because it was as if she were receiving "The Call." It was time to go home.
She had her answers after all. And wow! Her husband wasn't delusional just as he had insisted all along. He was indeed "colorful not crazy." And the roots of the problems he did have were indeed in his wonderful, messed up family, that and his many wonderful strengths! She had so made the right decision that fateful day when she had decided to quit fighting his accounts of life on Mount Olympus and treat him as any patient being analyzed, that is take his reasons for his feeling the way he did at face value and work from that to help him feel and function better since they were the only memories he had! She had reasoned at the time since he was a false personality with false memories who had really been created by the real original Personality to take his place, Olympus really was all he had. He really wasn't trying to fight her on that! So she was in the weird position of doing the equivalent of analyzing Mickey Mouse for the neurosis put there by memories of being swatted with a broom by the Sorcerer in Fantasia! But it had turned out to be the right approach and not too far from the truth since the gods turned out to be just that, self aware beings but no more "real" really than Mickey Mouse who apparently in time also would be given self awareness (including memories of being "directed by Disney" and "acting" in Fantasia!)
So no wonder poor Hubby kept insisting he was Cupid! He was!
So she had her answers and it was high time to go home as fun as it was to be here. Her vacation had been over, my God! Three days ago! By now Folks back home in the "real world" had to be going frantic!
She would tell the gods tomorrow! Because she knew she would have to. The gods at least could not read her mind. No spiritual beings could read Mortal minds except the Big Guy, not even the devil who is real but just a part of scheduled, normal evolution picking off those dumb enough to earn their Darwin Awards. The Paranoid Schizophrenics who think their minds are being read either are being possessed with bad beings living right inside of them who could either be the physical parasite Toxiplasmosis or demons which are carbon based virus programs, or just merely delusional for other reasons. Though the supernatural is real Mortals have plenty of power to keep their thoughts to themselves! Trevor had told her that long ago to reassure her he was not paranoid and she had agreed he wasn't, (at least not in the usual Schizophrenic sense). Now that she realized just how right he was about the supernatural being real due to our own efforts to make it so, this was certainly comforting to know!
Claire sang herself to sleep to the tune from the musical Annie, "Tomorrow! Tomorrow! The Sun will come up tomorrow! And tomorrow I am goooooing home!"
Which was why of course the next day the gods did know she was going home. They couldn't not read her mind but they could hear her with their selective omnipresence and it turned out right through her guest room door with normal hearing. Or that is little Anteros could. Even on top of Mount Olympus "little pitchers have big ears."
He met her the next morning as she was leaving her bedroom on the way to the bathroom with her bladder full. "You are leaving us!"
She sighed and tried to comfort him, "Yes dear but since you have omnipresence you can watch me when I'm back home. And you live so long I'll seem to be back here in a jiffy."
"A jiffy is 1.01 tenth of a second. So no! You won't!" He started crying.
She took him in her arms and felt the leakage this caused, of course by him pressing against her very full bladder. He smelled it too and started laughing just as quickly as he had started crying. "You Mortals are so funny with your bodily fluids and stuff!"
She felt her face go red!
He laughed at that too. "My face turns red too sometimes when Rhodos teases me too much! We gods aren't so different!"
"But you don't pee?"
He laughed, "I'm teasing you. Yes we do actually in certain modes. But not here. But we have a bathroom for Mortal guests. Better hurry!"
She could not help smiling. "The immediate emergency need for it is gone now as you well know, you brat!" She made her way to the bathroom to finish the job and to clean up.
And of course little pitchers have big mouths too. By the time she was out of the bathroom Anteros had communicated by god grapevine to practically everyone in their little town that Claire Bear was going home and who he didn't tell got told by those he did tell.
A sorrowful crowd of gods and their assorted Pets suddenly congregated at Venus and Mar's front door!
It was like living in Bedford Falls! Except no one had any regulations keeping them anywhere for any particular period of the day so anyone could drop anything they were doing at any moment and come a running whenever they wanted to! And Folks ran around naked! And family feuds and spats and grudges and misbehaviors and the problems they caused were billions of years old! Claire sighed. She certainly did have her work cut out for her!
She went to the door and addressed them, "Yes it's true. I am going home and you know I have to. I have to keep taking care of Cupid as I was supposed to do according to the myths! And I have other Patients and my daughter, Delightful! What would you have me do instead?"
Thoughtful looks slowly crossed their faces and whatever objections they were going to make were aborted. Thank God! And this was going to work! They would listen to her!
When the time came after "Trevor" died, he and Delightful and her could come back to Olympus and make a BIG difference!
So she said, "So take me to your zapper! I see no reason to wait."
Sorrowfully they nodded and a Red Sea of gods parted and Claire Bear/Dr Claire McCrae/Psyche the goddess of Thought, Science and Reason went forth through the midst of them on her way back to her precious, sacred Mortal life.
Uncle Mercury trailed after her, her guardian and her friend. He would always be such.
He smiled at her, "You know if you waited a bit you could fly home under your own power. You still will learn to fly in time now that you have drank ambrosia but if you go home now it will take much longer."
Claire said firmly, "Uncle Mercury I have responsibilities! My family! Other Patients! My vacation was over days ago. By now I am sure there is a search party out there looking for me. It is unlikely but they may even find your little temple."
Uncle Mercury grinned, folded his arms and shook his head "Nope."
Claire said, "Yes! It could happen. When we Mortals get to searching for someone who is lost we hardly ever give up!"
Venus had joined them in their little walk back to normal life. She smiled sadly, "Besides the fact we Greeks are so poor and strapped for cash we have hardly the resources to mount the kind of search you Americans think always happens and would always mount yourselves when a Hiker gets lost in the mountains. So alas it just cannot happen. And no time has passed other than the time you spent climbing up here. Olympus is like Dr Who's TARDIS which you Mortals will also build for real soon as you can. It has its own internal time. So you are only one day late in your vacation, the time you took to climb up here and Trevor is only now starting to get a little worried. Ditto with your gang at work. But Trevor knows this area and how backwards we are. Even phone service down below goes out a lot so even that you haven't called is not a given that you have a real problem and he just answered Dr Greeley's call and told him that and that calmed your Boss down a bit too. But if you are going to leave now it really will stop the Ants from starting to swarm if you will forgive the analogy!"
Uncle Mercury grinned and held out his arms. "Since you won't wait to learn to fly yourself first you get to fly the friendly skies with moi!"
So leading a friendly, informal parade of gods and Pet Animals they went back to the little office room and Uncle Mercury and herself were zapped again. Wow! Was it cold outside of the god-keep! She had forgotten what it was to be in an environment that was not completely centrally temperature controlled as all of Olympus was! No wonder Trevor had complained about the heat on his first phone call to her outside of the hospital. While locked up inside of the hospital he had again forgotten what it was to be exposed to weather!
Uncle Mercury took her in his strong arms and they flew like Superman and Lois Lane through the skies of Greece and then across the Ocean to America. Except Superman had more colorful clothes that did not have patches. She asked, "Why don't you gods dress better?"
Uncle Mercury said, "Well for one thing when I leave the keep to do my duty as our Postman I have to blend in with the surrounding Mortals and right now Greece is in crisis. For another thing we really are poor, Euro wise. Olympus is wearing out, Claire Bear. We need some major repairs. Our clothing maker gave out a decade ago and Vulcan hasn't figured out how to fix it. We've been using the money Trevor has been sending us plus what little stingy, bitter Medusa will give to us from her eBay power selling to buy clothes for everyone. But there are over a thousand of us little g gods in there. Our only hope is you Mortals are progressing to the point where you can help us more. It's worse. Other things are also starting to break down! For instance we've been actually virtually growing crops for centuries. Hey the work does us good and we do have enough virtual space for plenty of farm land. With few Mortals paying us much attention any more that's actually been keeping us out of a lot of trouble."
He smiled sadly "Venus is just too kindhearted. Back when the clothing maker worked she kept giving gifts of clothes to Mortals all over the World that needed them. But there are billions and billions of you Mortals now, you cute, busy little Bunnies! And that was just too much for it. So it went belly up. Ditto with other things. If we didn't stop her we gods would be starving by now! We had stores of gold at one time; all gone now. Mortals need for it was just too great and we just couldn't take it! We just had to help! While we still could! But now for our own needs we gods have to look around the World now and raid coin returns! But what with cell phones and fewer and fewer People reading newspapers and vending machines taking plastic and dollar bills there is fewer and fewer of that kind of coinage for us too!"
Claire swallowed and vowed she was going to start sending money out of her considerable resources home to the "old country" too!
As they traveled rapidly across the ocean in the clouds slowly the horizon started to glow with light and it was, oh wonderful Mortal miracle, the electric glow of New York City!
He smiled, "We are close enough your cell phone will work. Want to call your husband from here?"
As she dialed suddenly there was the skyline and Lady Liberty and suddenly she realized she had meaning for "the gods" too! That was why Trevor had been brought to America! There was a sudden lump in her throat and she was crying tears of pride and joy!
Like a much Bigger God had to do it for new arrivals all the time in His Kingdom Uncle Mercury smiled and reached out a finger and wiped a tear from Claire Bear's cheeks.
She dialed and when a slightly worried husband/barkeep/ bar manager/ fallen but redeemed love god/answered Claire said, "Husband dear you won't guess where I'm calling from!"
We will let the two realm crossed love birds have the privacy of their amazed conversation to themselves!
As they flew the last half mile to touch down in the common area of their apartment complex with a mental force field/psychic veil around them so no one would see them but Trevor and Delightful, Claire nuzzled her beautiful face in Uncle Mercury's strong, chest and thought to herself, grateful to the Universe, grateful to the Big God and grateful to herself for having the courage to recognize quality and True Love where it had hidden; in the brain of the most "delusional" Mental Patient still able to function she had ever encountered in her career!
So! "Trevor"wasn't delusional, just "colorful not crazy" as he had insisted all along! And she was going home now knowing that! Her daughter would indeed develop powers soon! And so would she! But her husband never would again as long as he stayed in the Mortal realm and he would have to stay there for a Mortal life time! He would not be allowed to leave the Mortal realm for a normal Mortal life time due to his choosing to have sex with her before he had gone back! He had done so to guarantee that no matter what, crazy or not crazy, with his families approval or without it he would not have lost her nor what mental stability he had! It had turned out he hadn't been crazy and his family would have accepted her anyway. So if he had just waited a few more hours, maybe even just a few more minutes he could have had both her and his godhood back! But it didn't seem to matter to him that he had lost his godhood for a Mortal life time so much he loved her and Delightful! But he was about to be a Chicken married to a family of Eagles. Because soon they would be able to soar but he would remain Earthbound!
But she would always have to remember it had been him who had lead her to a way to soar! And make allowances for him and slow down to his level when it had to happen. For he would age. She would not.
That he loved her enough to deliberately give up his own ability to fly and do other amazing things for a Mortal lifetime to absolutely guarantee they would stay together no matter what! THAT he didn't even mind having no powers and having all the other problems of being completely Mortal for over fifty years or so!...
THAT as a certain crazy-wise god had said many years earlier...
"THAT good People is Love!"
My Next few stories will be a about a half dozen short stories already written. I just need time to upload. Reality Space is making many demands on me right now but at least things are getting gradually better after a period of great challenges and trouble for me. I am also working on an almost finished very silly story where Trevor runs a very high fever and starts seeing and interacting with his family that predates his marrying Claire called, "Cupid Hilariously Delirious." This is where Claire promises to become Psyche and go to Olympus instead of New Jerusalem after her death just to comfort him during his delirium. Uncle Mercury and Dr Leo are a hoot in this one and we get to meet Dr Greeley's granddaughter Tandy and her boyfriend. She is a natural Oracle. She can see the gods and goddesses. And we get to meet Athena the goddess of wisdom. She is also a female absent minded professor! On into Fall of 2010 as my physical and financial health improves I also hope with the Big Guy's help to be working on indexing what will be my first professional book, "How God Exists." I have much opposition and challenges some internal. :( Please pray for me that I will have the fortitude and courage to see through the task of getting it published! My past behavior has been to stop short due to self esteem issues, no connections and very little encouragement at home.