Thank you

My Stories

I started this blog in late 2019 , but did little with it; so it languished in loneliness and neglect for a year. In mid-November 2020 I found myself with some much appreciated free time on my hands and worked to revitalize it with thoughts, old stories, my attempts at poetry, and some shared scribblings from other good friends with blogs.

May 25th, just over 6 months from my “re-launch” and I have reached 100 followers. I have no idea if that is an impressive number of followers in 6 months or not, it’s not really my goal here. Three digits just seemed like a good time to tell everyone who follows, comments, likes, or in any way just checks out my little ramblings – Thank You.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I enjoy writing, and like any writer, I enjoy being read. I think anyone who writes can honestly admit that they hope what they put down on ‘paper’ in some way touches or resonates with readers. Why else would we punish ourselves like this? (it’s a joke, I kid, well, sort of). Hopefully something here clicked with you.

If it didn’t?

Well, I will keep trying. I hope you’ll stick with me as well as I try new things and scratch down new combinations of words and letters that will hopefully resonate for you.

Thank you so much, and as always,

Blessed be you and your muse,
Wayne Davids aka Dinlas God of Hate & Jealousy.

Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

Ancient Keys

My Stories

As the God of Hate, thousands of years old, I have seen countless generations of wise and insightful mortals come and go. Of course I am partial to the Greeks, I make no apologies there, but they hold no monopoly on wisdom. Every week I share my favorites and a thought on how their insight from thousands of years ago is still relevant today. Please enjoy these, I know I have through the years and they guide me every day.

A Great Leader

My Stories


I shared a bit about Julius Caesar in a previous post and now I am going to share about the greatest Greek General, and possibly greatest military mind, that ever existed.

Alexander III of Macedon otherwise known as Alexander the Great.

Alexander was born in Pella in 356 BC. The son of King Philip II, he succeeded his father to the throne at the age of 20. From there he went on the greatest empire building military campaign in the history of the world. At the time of his death, a mere 12 years later, his kingdom stretched from Greece to India, including all of Persia, and into northeastern Africa, including Egypt.

Alexander studied under the great Aristotle until age 16. This served him well later to learn calm deductive reasoning, which ran counter to his often rash and impulsive nature. And while his mother imbued in him a sense of destiny and immortality (she told he was the son of Zeus) his father provided the competitive impetus, through his own conquests, to drive young Alexander to be even better.

As a child, young Alexander once lamented to a friend about his father. Would leave him “no great or brilliant achievement to be displayed to the world“. A statement that while Alexander recognized his father’s greatness, he sought to downplay it and promote his own victories as more significant. I suppose the rivalry between fathers and sons will always exist.

But victories and brilliant achievements awaited him. Alexander led his troops in no less than 20 major campaigns and no enemy ever defeated him. This despite him often being significantly outnumbered. His military genius, ability to inspire troops, and tactical intelligence are all taught in military institutions even in modern times.

I fought with Alexander only once, at The Battle of Issus, against an army personally led by Darius III. It was Alexander’s second great battle of his Persian Campaign, but the first where the two leaders personally faced one another. Here my Greek brethren showed his superior military genius.

Leading up to the battle, Alexander had already pushed deep into Persia, in the area of modern day Turkey. Darius sought to blunt his advance by moving unexpectedly into position, cutting his supply lines. This maneuver forced Alexander to adjust and march to Darius to secure his flanks as well as re-open supply and communication lines through the narrow mountain passes that traced the region. We faced off against Darius, and established a front. Outnumbered over 2:1 by the most conservative of guesses, still we held a distinct advantage. The significantly larger Persian force could not field itself as long as we could, hence they would be forced to retreat or attack while we could battle from a defensive position.

The battle waged at The Pinarus River, not far from where it emptied into the Gulf of Issus. Our troops struggled against both Grecian mercenaries who fought against us and the overwhelming Persian cavalry who threatened to overwhelm our left flank. General Craterus can be credited with holding them off, at great odds, long enough for Alexander himself to drive a wedge in the Persian line with a wedge of infantry to which I was attached. On this day I saw my father, Ares, smile on the Macedonian king as Alexander splintered the cohesive line of Persians with our infantry charge. That being not enough, Alexander then seized a horse and in conjunction with our cavalry, launched a direct frontal assault on Darius’ personal retinue that routed the opposing king and drove him from the field.

Alexander inspired confidence and loyalty in his generals and troops again and again over the years by fighting with them, not over them and talking to them, not at them. The mark of a great leader is to create a bond that binds followers through obedience only after inspiring them through trust. Great leaders always command the trust of their followers, and they actively work to cultivate that trust by showing the same care for their people as they expect their people to show to them.

If his ego existed, he kept it in check and made sure to lead by example. Never considering himself too good to do what he asked another to do.

This despite believing he was the son of Zeus.

Image by Thanasis Papazacharias from Pixabay

Pirates and Senators

My Stories

I’m Greek, so as far as Romans go, I’m not much of a fan. But there is one who I simply cannot put down as being like ‘all the rest’.

Julius Caesar.

Et tu Brute? Yeah that guy.

Despite his well-publicized death, I want to talk about his early life. Julius came from a significant, but not exceptionally wealthy family and had more than his share of hardships, in addition to becoming the dictator of the most powerful empire in Europe at the time.

When Julius was just 25 years old he traveled to Rhodes to study. While en-route his shipped was attacked and seized by Cilician pirates, who were unaware of his identity, and kidnapped him for ransom. When the young Caesar discovered that the pirates had demanded 2o talents of silver (about 620kg or 1375lbs) he became incensed, demanding they ask for more. He considered such a low request demeaning and told them to raise the ransom to 50 talents (1550 kg or 3400lbs) of silver, which they did.

The pirates dispatched several of Caesar’s companions to fetch the ransom, leaving Julius mostly alone. But did he cower and wait for the payment? Not in the slightest. Reports from other captives later claimed that Caesar all but bullied the pirate captors the entire time, at one point even demanding that he not be disturbed at night because he needed his rest. During the day he made them listen to poetry and speeches he composed, directed them in their chores and daily routines, and even exercised as well as played games with his captors. Collecting the ransom took forty days and there is no disputing that by the time it was paid most of the pirates treated him more as their superior than their hostage. Some later claimed to greatly respect him, despite his young age.

At his release Julius informed the pirates that while they had joy, fun, and a season in the sun, he did not appreciate the whole captivity thing and he planned to hunt them all down and have them crucified. Apparently none believed a private citizen had this sort of clout, so when he arrived a year later with a private fleet he hired, he captured them quite easily and reclaimed his silver.

After their capture he did follow through, as a man of his word and got the authorities in Pergamon to find them guilty and execute the entire lot. Moments before the crucifictions, however, Julius showed a modicum of compassion and slit all their throats to ease their suffering, rather than the hours or days it would take to die on their crosses.

What a soft-hearted guy. I suppose that summer frolicking in the summer Med with them meant more to him than maybe he let on.

Interesting fact about his death. Sixty senators plotted against Caesar to kill him and they all agreed to stab him so none would be able to determine who made the actual kill. When his body was examined post-mortem, Caesar was found to be wounded by twenty-three stab wounds. Of those, only one was actually a killing blow.

That means barely a third of the people who signed up, actually did what they promised to do.

And of those who did do what they promised? 95% did an ineffectual job and were useless.

Let this be a reminder the next time you get forced into a group project at work or school. Because from experience? These percentages still ring true.

And finally, always remember, politicians are more always vicious and blood-thirsty than common pirates and thieves.

Until next time,

Dinlas
God of Hate & Jealousy

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

From the Multi-Verse: Kestric

My Stories

Dinlas continues to pursue the thief who stole Hades’ gem and now finds himself deep in the Multi-Verse in an alternate dimension consisting of only a large meadow surrounded by dense forest. From there he discovers a world of different from anything he considered existing, even as an immortal deity. Follow along as he begins to realize there are far stranger places in existence than the Underworld.

Click here to continue following Dinlas and Kestric in the Multiverse.


Even better, follow along here for the whole Multi-Verse experience, courtesy of Graves Publications.
Check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

Time & Travel

My Stories, Uncategorized

I continue to be trapped in this unfamiliar place, the Multi-Verse. As I try to understand what is happening I start to realize that things here are even more bizarre than I first realized. Nevertheless, I continue my search for the thief that stole Uncle Hades’ priceless gem.

Thanks to Graves Publications.

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

2021 – Let’s choose not to repeat 2020

My Stories

Wayne here-

Dinlas usually writes the blog, but he took a few days off to go back to Greece, check on the family, rest and recuperate.

2020 has ended, the year that started with so much hype and enthusiasm. At the end of last year, everyone had their 2020 Vision and somehow all the troubles and worries of 2019 were going to evaporate and melt away, like fog in the face of a strengthening morning sun.

But it didn’t happen, and in a spectacular way. What started as scattered pneumonia-like illnesses caused by a strange virus turned into the biggest world changing event of easily the last 100 years. It laid bare the inefficiency and at times incompetence of not only our world leaders, but also agencies like the CDC designed and implemented for just this type of scenario. It also allowed the opportunity, as crisis always does, for hucksters and scammers to take advantage and profit from the very people suffering most. From selling faulty or ineffective devices and/or remedies to throwing up bogus crowd source campaigns, claiming non-existent COVID hardships in order to make a few quick bucks.

We can, however, juxtapose that with the heroic behavior and attitudes of everyday people who stepped up to do, or try to do, the right thing for the people around them. From frontline healthcare workers making their own PPE out of garbage bags and duct tape in order to continue treating sick patients, to everyday neighborhood heroes collecting food and funds for people displaced or out of work and truly unable to support themselves.

We have seen much this year and even as it happened we all made choices about how to conduct ourselves that ultimately reveal the true nature of who we are as individuals. Quarantine, Levels of socialization, social-distancing, and the attack on personal liberties that some perceived mask-wearing to be are a small fraction of the new terms and ideas we have all had thrust upon us and been forced to process. Many of us doing so in widely different manners.

So here we are, in the infancy of 2021. And just like we did at the end of 2019, we are optimistically, almost superstitiously, clamoring for a New Year to save us.

Just like 2020 is only a number, so is 2021. If anyone in the world still writes checks, it’s the symbols in the upper right corner that we have all agreed denote this passage around the Sun. It’s a great idea, a wonderful hope, and human nature to look to such new beginnings as a time for things to change for the better. But in a very real way, we are setting ourselves up in 2021 for the same heartbreak that we experienced in 2020. Time is a human construct; our molecules, cells, bodies, society, world, galaxy, and universe care naught for what arbitrary symbols or numbers we use to classify, file, or catalogue the events of this year. The universe sees no difference in this orbit around the sun than the last one, surely it won’t be the force that acts to make things better based on our trivial decision to call January 1 a New Year.

But the truth is, we have the ability to make things better with every choice we make in our lives. Choices about how we treat the people around us, help those in need, and give assistance to those in greater need. Random acts of kindness they call it, but maybe we need Patterned acts of kindness. Maybe it’s time we look at those around us and really pay attention to how our behavior affects others. Change does start from within and there is no greater time than now to make that introspective journey. Instead of waiting for the tick of a numbered year to change us and make things better, like a Sequential Santa Claus that will bestow emotional and spiritual gifts on us after the New Year starts, maybe we need to take matters into our own hands and be the 2021 change we wish to see in the world.

Hug family members, show patience, humility, and take a hard look at your decisions and how they affect other people. If our behavior is hurting someone then maybe it’s time to change. Communicate, meditate, explore, and learn to be a student, but as always practice self-care as we love and accept ourselves, but always strive to be better.

I hope everyone who reads this has a better 2021. I also hope and pray that daily change for the better becomes a ritual practiced on a daily basis. Smile more, care deeper, practice empathy, but remember it is always acceptable to distance yourself from narcissists and users for your own protection, until they truly are ready to grow. And of course make sure you are not the problem with objective self-examination.

Come November, lets make sure we are living fully, and not praying for 2022.

Thank you-
Wayne Davids

Image by Elias Sch. from Pixabay

Eye of Charon

My Stories

A new Dinlas story. It’s the dark Middle Ages and Dinlas has been tracking a group of thieves that stole a valuable ruby pendant, The Star of Charon, from the Nekromanteion. The Nekromanteion is a temple dedicated to Hades and Persephone and Hades tasked Dinlas with tracking the thieves and recovering the valuable gem. After locating their lair, Dinlas corners one of the thieves who chooses to fight rather than talk.

That’s when the story takes a bizarre turn…

https://multiverse.gravespublications.com/the-eye-of-charon/

Thanks to Graves Publications for an opportunity to be part of the Multiverse.

Image by Peter Lomas from Pixabay

Mr. Franklin’s Fiery Finish

My Stories


Everyone pictures Zeus, or even Ares, as the deities with short tempers. But the truth is Hera could be just as impulsive as anyone. When his Aunt Demeter calls him in the middle of the night frantic, because Hera smited a mortal that displeased her, Dinlas knew better than to ask questions. Instead he high-tails it to the offices to find Demeter frantic, and Hera long gone. Leaving the others to clean up her mess.

Knowing her nephew was looking for new fugitives to track down, Demeter slips him information on an international fugitive with a large bounty on his head as her way of thanking him for helping to avert an incident with the dead body spread all over Hera’s office.

By Wayne Davids/originallyAugust 6, 2019

I left Aunt Demeter’s office, my head swimming. The girls stood beside me, still growling about being scolded by her. I scratched them both behind the ears and hushed them as I thought what in the world Hera was thinking when she smote a man in her office.

“Both of you stop being bitchy. We have a job to do.” They both yipped and half-ran to the elevator, then turned and looked back at me.

“I’m coming, I’m coming. Just settle down,”

We took the elevator up to Nana Hera’s office. The doors opened and Hermaphroditus stood staring at me. The girls growled low, then whined as I patted each on the side of the head.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” I said. One of my siblings, another child of my mother, whom I despised.

He answered, grinning, “We. What the fuck are we doing here.”

“Excuse me?”

“We, I am we. When my old self joined with Salmacis, I no longer thought of myself in the singular, but as they. We are Hera’s personal assistant now. It’s been a long time, Dinlas.”

“You, I mean they… well look, I’m here to get the body.”

“Right this way then.” They led me to Nana Hera’s office and the body lying on the floor. Well, the remains of the body.

Hermaphroditus stood quietly while I pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and inhaled deeply. “So kid, did Nana Hera hit this guy with fire or lightning?”

Hermaphroditus responded, “Lightning, I believe. Does it matter?”

I took another drag on the cigarette, “Not really, just curious.”

I finished my smoke, then set to the business at hand. First, I found his left hand in the room’s corner, practically under her desk. Then I rolled it along with the rest of the body, up in a small rug. Hermaphroditus stood watching impassively.

“Okay,” I said as I wiped sweat off my face, “I need to call Aunt Demeter real quick, then I’m gonna teleport out of here. You wouldn’t have any iced coffee, would you?”

“We do,” replied Hermaphroditus. “We will be glad to get you some while you make your call.”

I was already dialing the phone. “Thank you, Hermaphroditus.”

Wait, thank them? I sighed. I’m gonna screw this all up.

Aunt Demeter’s voice on the phone brought me out of my thoughts.

“Yeah. Have you got him? Is it done?” she blurted.

“We’re getting ready to teleport out of here now. Did you dig up anything on him?”

“Oh yeah,” Aunt Demeter replied. “He’s up to his neck in debt. He gambles in the mortal game of chance called Wall Street. Apparently, he owes a significant amount of money.”

“Good,” I say, “he sounds like someone who might be ready to end it all.”

“No, not suicide. I want it to be an accident,” was her curt reply before she hung up.

Hermaphroditus returned and stood patiently with my iced coffee until I finished my call. When I put the phone away, they handed it to me.

“Here you are, Dinlas. May we ask what we are to do with the dogs after you leave?”

Both girls growled and my sibling took a half-step back.

“Oh hush, both of you,” I reprimanded them, “both of you need to meet me back at the warehouse.” They stood looking at me like they wanted to go with me, not back to the warehouse.

“Go,” I said, “take a stroll and hunt something.”

When they heard hunt, Jealousy yipped excitedly, causing Hate to lick her on the side of her face. Both flickered for a moment and the wolves morphed into two Mediterranean beauties wearing little black dresses. Hate gave me a coy wave. Then they locked arms and disappeared out of the office.

Hermaphroditus chuckled, “My, that was something we haven’t seen before.”

I shook my head and looked at them. “Wolves, promise them a kill or two, and they are putty in your hands.” I drained my iced coffee, and Hermaphroditus immediately reached out and took the empty cup.

“Go,” they said, smiling. “We will take care of cleaning up here.”

Aunt Demeter gave me the car keys from Mr. Franklin’s car earlier, and the parking space number they assigned him. I grabbed him and teleported down into the bowels of the parking garage under the building where I then shoved him into the driver’s seat, went to the other side, and got in the passenger seat.

Once in the car, I slid to the center and started it. With my left hand and foot, I drove the car out of the garage. We headed east out of the city until we hit a set of train tracks that ran along the edge of Olympus National Park.

I parked the car near the tracks, then turned off the engine to wait.

I dozed lightly when I heard the train horn. I sat up and saw the train, still several hundred yards away and coming fast. I reached out and grabbed Mr. Franklin and the car door.

“Waiting… waiting… waiting…”

The train was right on top of us

Okay, Mr. Franklin, I thought as I looked over at him for the last time. I’m sorry to do this, but I’ll be more sorry if I screw this up for Aunt Demeter and Nana Hera.

With all my will, I teleport the car, Mr. Franklin, and myself the last few feet onto the tracks. To the train engineer, it would look like the car just lurched forward.

An instant later, I teleported out, about fifty yards away. The train slammed into, then flattened, the car. Wedging it under the nose where moments later it exploded in a spectacular fireball. There wouldn’t be enough left of Mr. Franklin to scoop up and put in a small bucket.

I teleported back to the building in front of Nana Hera’s office. Aunt Demeter and Hermaphroditus were overseeing the cleanup in the office.

“Crap, I forgot the rug in the car…”

“Is it done now?” asked Aunt Demeter.

“Yeah, he fell asleep at the wheel after all that working late to make extra money, and had an unfortunate accident.”

Aunt Demeter held up her hand. “We don’t need to hear anymore. We can read about it in the paper tomorrow.”

I nodded and said, “Well, I’m out.” I patted the manila envelope under my coat she gave me earlier and added. “Thanks for this as well. I will take care of this problem. I will eliminate Anthony Santiago and his network of traffickers.”

She looked serious. “Don’t you take over trafficking his women. I won’t stand for it, nor will your Aunt Athena, Nana Hera, Artemis, well the list goes on and on.”

I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “I promise, no trafficking or slavery.”

She hugged me back. “Good. For all our sakes, try to be good.”

I laughed. “I always try to be good, Aunt Dem. It’s just that sometimes it doesn’t work out.” With that, I popped out and teleported back to the warehouse.

The girls weren’t back yet. Still on the hunt. Good for them.

I put my clothes in the closet and fell into bed. After spending all night disposing of a dead body for Aunt Dem and Nana, I was beat.

Time for sleep. “Hypnos take me, Morpheus leave me be.”

Image by Peter Mayer from Pixabay

Nana Hera Saves the Day

My Stories

Initially a two part short story it has been edited into one.
Dinlas returns from being away several weeks and drags his feet going to see his Grandfather Zeus about the workers he spirited away from his grandfather’s grand project. He isn’t thrilled, because he knows he will be called on the carpet about it, but he also knows he must face the music for what he did.


By Wayne Davids/originally published on July 9 and July 11, 2019

The elevator finally appeared, I took it up to the administrative offices, and when the door opened again, I walked into a large foyer. Sitting at the desk in front of Zeus’ office, her face partially obscured by a large computer screen, is Aphrodite, my mother.  She is no one I want to see. I move forward and she raises her head; it’s not Aphrodite. It’s just some blond-bombshell look alike.

“You Dinlas?” she asked as she ignored all the normal mortal customs of greeting.

“Yes. And you are?”

She smiled and ignored my question. “Zeus will see you in just a moment.  He’s finishing with the appointment ahead of you now.”

I sat down, but almost immediately, an explosion rocked the large double doors leading into the inner office.  A man, burly and hard, shot out, headed for the elevators. He rippled with muscles covered in tattoos. Scars chiseled his body like testaments to a life lived hard. Looking at his face bore those testaments to hard truths. 

He’s crying like Aunt Demeter in late fall when Persephone returns to the Underworld.

“Your turn,” the blonde receptionist smirked.

I stood and headed for the still open door.  I could see Zeus. A snarl graced his lips and a bright blue nimbus of light encircled his right hand.  He saw me and smiled a crooked smile that screamed, I just figured out who I’m going to take my frustration out on.

I looked at the secretary as I went by her desk.  She couldn’t wipe the laughter off her face at my predicament. “What’s so funny?” I asked as I paused.

She leaned forward, with her elbows on her desk, and rested her chin in her palms.

“I’ve had to listen to him rant about you for three weeks while you were off on some vacation.  It got old real quick. I am so going to enjoy hearing this through the door.”

I looked back at the door as another low rumble of thunder emanated from the office.

“Ok,” I thought, “here we go.”

I swallowed hard, but just as I reached the door, Nana Hera swept out of a side office and grabbed me by the arm. She startled me, but I didn’t resist her effort.

“Dinlas, my darling.  How are you?” She closed grandfather’s office door and redirected me to a smaller, but still beautiful room.  From the CEO’s office, I heard a sharp crack, and then the long, low rumble of thunder that lasted almost a minute.

“Oh, honey,” Hera said over her shoulder to the secretary, “be a dear and get Zeus to sign all those permit applications I gave you earlier.”

The receptionist ceased all smirking.  She sat upright and rigid, as if she thought it would better facilitate all the color draining from her face.

“You want me to go in there now?” she asked with a sidelong look at the closed door.  Thunder rumbled again on the other side.

Hera smiled and said, “Yes, dear.  It’s time for you to realize he has two sides.  The one where he comes out here and flirts with you and then, well, this side.”

Hera closed her office door between us and the dumbfounded receptionist without waiting for an answer.  She turned to me and looked me up and down.

“Dear, you look positively gaunt,” she commented after she finished examining me.  “Do you want something to eat? I can get something brought up from the bistro downstairs.” I shook my head.  Nana Hera is part mama bear, part wolverine.  The side of her you see is really up to you.

“No, thank you, Nana,” I answered after giving her a hug. “I’m fine.  Zeus called me in about the labor issues here at the Olympus.”

“Well, dear, it upset him when the workers all disappeared.”

“I didn’t realize those workers came from this project.”

Nana gave me a look, and said, “I don’t remotely believe you.”

I shrugged and responded with a weak protest.  “How could I have possibly known?”

Nana sighed and pointed to a chair and said, “Dear, sit down.” I obliged, so she continued, “Everyone knows this is the biggest construction project in history since the Pyramids of Giza.  I find it extremely difficult to believe that you had no idea where those workers came from. There is a shortage of skilled construction labor for five-hundred square miles.  Where did you think those Italians came from, if not here?”

I looked down and when I looked up; I did my best attempt at puppy-dog eyes.

Nana sat down across from me.

“Do not,” she said, “lay those sad black eyes on me.  It will not work this time. You knew better than to do this; you have enraged your grandfather.” 

“I know.  After I collared Eddie Pastorini, I got access to all his men.  They said they needed money, and I needed work done at the warehouse.”

“You will return to Zeus all of his Italians.  I will speak to him so he doesn’t smite you when you least expect it.”

“What will you tell him?”

“I don’t know yet.  It doesn’t matter; he’ll know I’m covering for you.”

“Nana, just tell him the tru-” I started, but a knock at the door interrupted me.

The door opened, and Ares stuck his head in.

“Hey, Mom?  I can’t find Dad’s secretary and I just wanted to ask you something,” he stopped when he saw me sitting there.

Nana clamped her hands down on her knees and interjected, “Well, isn’t this nice?  Family reunion.”

“Nana, did you set this up?”

“She didn’t set anything up,” Ares said. “I didn’t even know you were here.”

I looked back and forth between the two.  As I made eye contact with Nana, she reached out and patted my knee.

“No, I set nothing up. Dinlas is here because there has been a misunderstanding about the construction workers.”

“Misunderstanding?” Ares snorted, “Well, I guess, if you want to call it that.”

“Yes, we would like to call it that,” she replied.

Ares looked from Nana to me, then back, before he said, “I’ll take care of it, Mom.  I’ll tell Dad I authorized the workers leaving to work on the warehouse and that I forgot to tell him.”

I cut in here. “Hold it.  Not interested. I’ll take my chances with Grandfather.” I looked directly at Ares and added, “The last thing I’m interested in is being indebted to you.  Why are you even offering? You don’t give a shit about me. What is this, some way to score points with Nana?”

Nana Hera cut me off immediately. “Stop it, Dinlas.  Ares is offering to help.  Put your pride away. Trust me, Zeus is irate.  After the sabotage at the forge and the anonymous threatening messages, he is more than a little on edge. There are some people who are unhappy about our return. He thought this work stoppage was part of that.”

I sat silent, sullen, and pointedly avoided eye contact with either of them.

After a minute of silence, Ares rubbed his forehead with the palm of his hand and sighed. “Look, Dinlas, you aren’t in debt to me.  This will not put you in debt to me.  I’m just offering to help.  I, uh, I’ve had many years to think about how I have acted in the past.  I don’t think for a second this washes it or makes it even between us. I just am offering to help here.  Take it or leave it.”

I continued to look away from both of them, but felt Nana squeeze my knee.  The last thing I wanted was a favor from my father, but I also knew Zeus would gleefully take out his anger on Ares rather than me.  I would be off the hook. “Fine, if that’s what you want to do.”

Ares glanced at Nana.  He clearly didn’t appreciate my tone, but Nana shook her head, almost imperceptibly.  He looked back at me and said, “Yeah, Dinlas. I’m doing this because it’s what I want to do.”  He turned and left the room, slamming the door on his way out.

After a few seconds, Nana broke the tension, “Dinlas, are you sure you don’t want something to eat?  I think I have some ambrosia cheesecake in the deity executive lounge.”

I smiled and said, “That sounds good, but maybe next time, Nana.”  Each of us got up, and she opened the door for me to leave. We stepped out of the side office at the same time the blonde receptionist flung open the door to grandfather’s office, soaked to the skin and carrying a stack of wet papers. I could see inside as rain poured and another rumble of thunder pierced the entire floor of the building.  Nana smiled as the blonde stormed past us and dropped the stack of wet permit applications on her desk with a splat and a spray. Her hair was hanging limp and everyone clearly saw her skimpy lace bra through a soaked and clingy blouse.  She turned to us and blew a limp curl of hair out of her own face.

“Here are the signed permit applications,” she said to Hera.  “Now if you’ll excuse me, I am taking the rest of the afternoon off.  I will see you in the morning.” She picked up her handbag and without a backward glance, exited the suite amid a chorus of catcalls from the other employees admiring her now transparent blouse.

Nana said, “Well, I’m impressed.  She may make it here after all.” Nana then turned to me and put her hand to the side of my face.  “Dinlas, just let Ares help you. He knows you two will never be close. Just let him do this thing.”  She kissed me on the cheek and smiled in her motherly sort of way.

I hugged her and nodded my head.  “I’ll talk to you later,” I whispered.  Then I turned to leave.

I paused for a moment because it was an enormous office.  For an instant, I forgot which way to the elevator. 

But then I just followed the trail of wet footsteps.

Image by Achim Scholty from Pixabay