Nyx’s 2019 Gift Giving Yule Event
Dolos’ easy laugh fell on my ears as I approached him, his sister standing beside him with a grin on her face and a dark twinkle in her eyes. They turned to me simultaneously as I came within earshot, and I couldn’t help but smile. Though they are far grown and mature by now, it was hard for me to not still see Dolos’ chubby cheeks or Apate’s sweet smile from when they were younger. I pulled them into a quick hug, kissing both their foreheads, avoiding jostling their drinks, and beamed at them.
“Are you two enjoying yourselves? Staying out of trouble, or mostly, I hope?”
Dolos started to answer, but Apate snorted and cut him off with a wicked smile. “As much as we can, miteras. It has been a chore trying to keep Dolos from causing mischief among the staff and guests.”
I raised an eyebrow…
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Dinlas settles in with his new legitimate and illegitimate business ventures. The money rolls in and he decides to hire an assistant. He falls for a candidate who, clearly, is interested in more than just a business relationship. What he ends up with may very well be far more than he can handle.
This post contains sexual situations.
By Wayne Davids/ originally published July 21, 2019
I retreated into my library and dropped a few ice cubes in a glass. Next, I poured two fingers of bourbon and went straight to the bedroom. There, stretched face down across the bed, was an ivory-skinned ginger with gorgeous, waist-length hair. She stripped naked for me earlier, and I securely tied each wrist to the bedposts. I then labored to tie the knots around her wrists, making sure each one sat square and uniform around her wrists. From there, I told her to wait for my return. I purposely left the air conditioning running on full so the room remained frigid. As she raised up on one side, she bared her breasts to me and I could see she was quite chilled.
“Sir, why did you leave me waiting for so long?” she purred.
I didn’t respond but took a sip of my bourbon and ice, then set it down on the nightstand. At the foot of the bed sat a wooden trunk with reinforced metal bands, like a strongbox. It was old, heavy, and covered in nicks and scars from its many years of service. I opened it and savored for a moment the soft, sweet scent of cedar and leather, before removing a ball gag and a bamboo switch. I closed my beloved trunk, letting my fingertips run across the top of it for a moment as I returned to the side of the bed and sat down next to my new friend. She watched quietly as I checked and tugged at the intricate knots on each rope that bound her. I felt compelled to make sure they were snug, but not excruciating. But if she tried to pull, they would only get tighter. Once content, I turned and addressed her.
“Estrella, are you still comfortable with my interview process? We discussed it before, but I need to be sure.”
“Yes, I’m ready for my interview and training.”
Her voice sounded husky and her tone subservient as she twisted her head to look at me while speaking. I tugged gently once more on the ropes that bound her delicate arms above her head, to the heavy wooden posts on the headboard. She smiled, then twisted her wrists several times. We both knew she wasn’t getting free.
“And you remember the word?”
“Jealousy,” she whispered, “but I won’t say it.”
“Very good, but we shall see. The first part of your session will be about manners. You addressed me when I entered the room a few minutes ago. You do not address me during session unless first given permission.”
I leaned forward and squeezed her mouth open with one hand. Then, with my other hand, shoved the ball gag into place to reinforce my directive. She gagged for an instant, then pushed it forward with her tongue to a more comfortable position. A moment later, I tightened the straps behind her head. I pulled her hair back, and to the side, careful not to tangle her beautiful red locks in the clasps as I cinched them tight.
I sat on the edge of the bed and admired the intricate tattoo that ran her entire length on one side. It started behind her ear as a delicate line of art, then meandered down her neck until it parted at her shoulder. One line swirled down the side of her breast in the front, while the other fanned out across her back in a beautifully complex pattern. The pattern extended almost to her rear before it then joined again with the front line at her hip. As it moved onward, it continued as a single airy design that curved inside her thigh and spiralled her leg all the way to the ankle. It traced a breezy pattern that her milky skin tone only enhanced. It looked as if it were a beautiful vine growing up her side. A vine that rooted in the heel of her dainty foot, complete with perfectly painted toes.
Or perhaps it was a spider’s thread that swirled and dangled from her hairline, that thick mane of strawberry hair. From there, it fluttered down and around her breathtaking form. A form perfect from head to heel. I stuck my finger in my drink and held an ice cube between my thumb and index finger as I looked at her multi-colored body art. It seemed to shimmer with her every move or undulation.
She squirmed when I touched the tattoo behind her ear with my frozen finger and lightly dusted its multiple paths down her body from start to finish. I paused only once to lean forward and brush a kiss where the ink lines joined at the cup-shaped hollow on her hip. She moaned, low and muffled, when my razor stubble dragged across the delicate spot.
I stood and commanded, “Roll on your stomach.”
She did so, crossing her arms over her head as she turned. With no warning, I dropped an ice cube onto the small of her back, right where her waist curved in to meet the rise of her exquisite tush. She twisted and gasped at the frozen gift. The ice cube fell onto the silk sheet below.
“Oh no, that won’t do,” I said as I retrieved it and placed it back in my drink.
With the bamboo cane, I gave her three smart lashes on the bottom of her feet. She pulled her knees up to escape the sting. Doing so caused her pelvis to rise quickly, then grind slowly down again as she stretched her legs back out across the bed. A whimper caught in her throat, but nothing escaped the gag in her mouth.
I reached, again, into the glass for an ice cube. “There is only one rule here. If the ice touches the sheet, then we re-start your lesson from the very beginning.”
I dropped another cube onto the small of her back and this time; she held perfectly still. I swirled and savored another taste of bourbon and waited several minutes. As I waited, I watched and paced my breathing, feeling the heat of my ardor rise. A pool of cold water formed in the small of her back and still I sipped my bourbon. She kept her head down, but I knew she enjoyed me watching her lie there helpless. The cube continued its excruciatingly slow melt. Finally, like a lover’s release, it melted enough for a trickle of water to escape the hollow and run down her side. Estrella shivered again in the cold room. Then she remained still. Nothing said. No sounds made. She averted direct eye contact. She wanted to impress me with her gift of submission and her role in our blossoming relationship.
“Now, may I call you Stella?”
Estrella lifted her head, careful not to jar the half-melted ice cube, and nodded yes as drool formed around the ball gag: shiny, slippery, and sticky. I watched as it gradually fell in several long strings, puddling onto the sheet in front of her.
I flexed the switch between my hands several times, then flicked it back and forth in the air next to the bed. It cut through the air with a swishing sound that was most satisfying.
I looked down at her, bound securely, and said, “Let’s start the interview process, shall we?”
Dinlas, still settling into the mortal world has established himself as an up and coming bounty hunter. His other-worldly skills work well for the work, including his superior hand-eye coordination, expertise in a fight, and ability to always sniff out a lie are invaluable as he brings in fugitives from all over Europe. It doesn’t take long for his brothers to show up and see how they can benefit.
By Wayne Davids/originally published July 20, 2019
After I let them into the inner office, I dropped back into my chair and looked at my two younger brothers, Phobos and Deimos. They’re twins who often work for my father and were harmless enough. I mean, as harmless as Fear and Terror can be. With a sigh, I pointed to the two overstuffed leather chairs on the other side of the desk. Deimos fell into one, but Phobos wandered and checked out the office as I lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply.
“Nice place you got here, Brother.”
“Thanks,” I replied, then added, “don’t you two know it’s bad manners to teleport right into someone’s living space?” I waved my hand at the two black wolves at my feet. “Next time, I’m gonna turn these two loose on you.”
The twins looked at one another, then grinned and shrugged, but didn’t reply.
“What do you two want? I’ve got several things lined up this evening. You two don’t fit into the schedule.”
Deimos feigned hurt feelings. “You don’t have time for us? Here we thought we were your favorite brothers.”
I smiled and flicked my cigarette into the ashtray. “You two are my favorite twin brothers.”
“Funny,” responded Phobos as he checked out my collection of Greek theater masks on the wall. “We’re also your only brothers who are twins.”
“Is there a point to this?” I asked as Phobos moved on to sniff at my liquor decanters from a small cabinet on the far wall.
“Well,” said Deimos, “we heard you’re doing more than just bounty hunting. We heard you were making a little something on the side.”
“Who did you hear that from?” Then I snorted and answered my own question, “Dad?”
“Ares won’t return our calls,” answered Phobos. He was rummaging through my two oak filing cabinets. No matter, they were empty since I had so few clients.
“Don’t change the subject,” cut in Deimos. “We want to know if you are running an illegal side business.”
I looked between the two of them and sighed. “This stays between us, that’s non-negotiable. Although if you two know, then that means at least one other person already knows. Yes, I am going after high-level bounties. People who have a criminal organization under them. Once they I turn them in, I go in and start getting protection money from legitimate businesses in the area, and I take over some of their less than legal businesses. I’m making far more from the networks than I could ever make from bounties.”
“Nice,” said the twins in unison as they grinned at one another again.
“Incidentally, do either of you know what a grow operation’ is? Apparently, I acquired a big one that backs up to the Olympus National Park. I don’t really know what it grows or where it is, though.”
My two brothers shook their heads. Neither had a clue.
“Maybe I could ask Artemis?” I said, more to myself than either of them.
Phobos announced, “We want in. We want to work for you. You know, as enforcers. Who better than Fear and Terror?”
I looked at the two of them before I answered. “Did Dad put you up to this? Or Mom? Mom did it, didn’t she? She’s got you two idiots trying to spy on me.”
“I swear we are not spying for Mom,” answered Deimos. “And Phobos is telling the truth; Dad hasn’t returned our calls in weeks. Says he has nothing for us because he’s doing all of Uncle Heph’s work at the forge. Nana Hera said he’s ‘turning over a new leaf’. Can’t wait to see how long that lasts.”
I leaned back in my chair, looking at them. “So you two want to work for me?” I said after a minute of eyeing them.
They looked at each other before Phobos answered, “Well, yeah. I mean if Grandpa Zeus is eventually going to make us all get jobs, then we might as well work for you. I mean, we really aren’t qualified to do anything besides wreaking havoc by instilling fear and terror in the general populace.”
“You sound like you just read that out of an encyclopedia.”
“Or,” said Deimos suddenly, “we could work for a haunted house.”
Phobos and I both looked at him, but neither of us responded. No one accused Deimos of being the smartest god in the room.
“Let me ask you this,” I replied as I slowly turned back from Deimos, “who even said I was hiring?”
Phobos smiled and replied, “C’mon, you’re Hate. Who goes better with Hate than Fear and Terror?”
“Let me think about it. In the meantime, you two lose yourselves. I have to interview my new assistant. I’m running late already.”
“We’ll wait to hear from you,” replied Phobos. Without a word, they both disappeared, replaced by the soft *pop* sound of displaced air as they teleported away.
I thought about their offer for a few minutes. I had something else important on my mind, so I decided only to decide about it later. I locked my office door, then retreated into my private living quarters. I didn’t want to keep my candidate for personal assistant waiting any longer in the bedroom. We needed to spend the evening getting acquainted…
Dinlas makes his first collar as a bounty-hunter, the cash from which enables him to begin building his business properly. In the midst of his preparations however, he falls into one of the depressive episodes he is prone to experience. Harkening back to the worst mistake he ever made, he finds himself wallowing once again in remorse over his actions in destroying the city of Lamark and slaughtering the innocent citizens therein. As he always does, Hades searches for Dinlas to bring him home, so someday he might heal.
By Wayne Davids/originally published July 8, 2019
I never turned my head at the crunch of gravel behind me. I knew who was standing there as I stared out on the barren plain of jumbled scrub and broken rock.
“What are you here for, Uncle?”
Hades cleared his throat and replied, “Nobody could ever sneak up on the Guardian of Lamark.”
“I see. You’re just here to taunt me.”
“No,” answered Hades, “no, that is not why I am here.” I grunted but didn’t reply. Instead, I reached over and patted the wolf Jealousy on the head. Hate stirred at my other hand.
“How are you doing, Dinlas?” he continued.
“I’m fine. You came a long way to ask me that.”
Hades edged forward, just into my peripheral sight. He glanced at me, then turned and looked out onto the plain.
“How long have you been here, Dinlas?”
“Thousands of years,” I replied.
“I meant this time.”
“I don’t know. Maybe two mortal days.”
Hades sighed. “Three weeks, Dinlas, you have been out here three weeks. Your business has barely launched and your people are wondering where you have disappeared. They are not the only ones. Zeus is looking for you.”
“Yeah? What’s he want?”
“He is wondering why no one is working on his fancy new office tower. Work has stopped, and the contractor says no one has shown up for over a week. Your grandfather is furious. He came back to the modern world to make a splash and be relevant, not to do any hard work.”
“Oh, yeah, the Romans. They are renovating my warehouse. Apparently this guy I brought in, Eddie Pastorini, was important in something called a ‘union’ for construction workers. When I put him away, I hired his former crew. They had some contacts and brought the construction workers over to work on my warehouse renovations.”
Hades stepped forward again. He now stood in front of me, blocking my view of the accursed plain. Impeccably dressed as always, he wore a tailored suit and polished oxfords. In his hand he held a cane. His sharp attire provided a stark contrast to the otherwise broken and jumbled landscape around us. He took off his sunglasses and looked down at me sitting on the ground.
“Let it go, Dinlas. What is done, is done We cannot change it now. We all made mistakes about Lamark and there is blame to go around. You were the tool, but we all wielded and manipulated you. For my part in that I am sorry. If I could go back in time and change the things I did and said there, believe me I would.” He paused when I didn’t respond, then finally added, “Is it Morpheus? Are you having nightmares again?”
I shrugged. “Not as much as a few thousand years ago. But I still get them.”
Hades brushed at a mote of dust on his trousers. “Morpheus loves to drive gods and mortals mad. Morpheus knows our desires, our fears, and knows just how to use it against us.”
I forced a chuckle. “Uncle Hades, have you ever, in your existence, had a nightmare?”
Hades furrowed his brow for a moment before he replied, “No, actually, I have not. You know, I count mortal souls all day long and when I go to bed, I sleep like Dionysus after a weekend in a winery. But I am not the topic here, you are. If you are going to survive these modern times, then you must put the past behind you.”
I looked down to pull myself together for a moment. Once I was back in control, I responded.
“Morpheus has no interest in driving anyone insane. Madmen pay no heed to nightmares. They can’t even tell the difference between wake and sleep. No. Morpheus is a beast. A beast that drives a man to the edge, to the brink of insanity, but never willingly pushes him over. Morpheus is like a new lover. Exuberant and energetic the first time, riding you over and over with enthusiasm and passion. Dreams and nightmares spring up at every nod of sleep for hundreds of years on end.” I stopped, and Hades looked at me over the top of his sunglasses, waiting to hear more. I lowered my voice and continued, “Then the dreams stop, when you crack. Like a practiced courtesan rides you to the edge, then stops. She works, almost imperceptible, while she watches you try not to explode. Like the lover who smiles and straddles you, brushes her lips against yours, but barely strokes, always keeping you on the edge. That maddening razor’s edge between self-control and total abandon. There you are, trapped in anguished ecstasy. Forced to endure the eternal struggle between trying to pull back and regain control or giving in and surrendering to the madness. So easy it would be to give myself over and become lost forever, mired in the dreams, spells, and nightmares of blood and gore. Embrace the screams and wails, then sing along to the begging and pleading of the citizens that Cerberus and I slaughtered.”
I paused and removed my glasses to pinch the bridge of my nose.
Hades cut in before I could continue. “Dinlas, I really did not understand. I am sorry it has been like this after all these years. Stop punishing yourself, you are the only one opening the door for Morpheus one-night stands.” He tapped the side of his head and continued, “Until you fix what’s in here, Morpheus will keep coming back for those occasional strokes whenever Morpheus feels like it.”
I nodded my head, replaced my sunglasses, and looked back out at the desolate plain. Once a thriving city of healers and physicians, now there was no sign it ever existed.
“You are right, Uncle. I will rid myself of this unwanted menace.”
Hades nodded. “I will speak to Morpheus, but you know Morpheus answers to no one. In the meantime, you must go see Zeus. Do not delay. His anger grows with every moment that his giant tower, his monstrous… concrete phallus, is not complete. As far as that goes, I have delivered his dispatch, the rest is on you.”
I nodded my understanding and stood to dust my pants as Hades watched me. I tapped a cigarette out of the pack and lit it, inhaled deeply, then asked as I exhaled, “Uncle Hades, tell me truthfully, do you have any regrets? Regrets that have eaten at you for thousands of years?”
For the briefest of moments, a pained look crossed his face. It was the look of love lost, love abandoned, and love forsaken.
“No, Dinlas,” he responded when the moment passed and his face hardened again, “I have no such regrets. Now go. Zeus is waiting, and his patience is at its end with you.”
Dinlas brings his first arrest to a conclusion, while attempting to get his career as a bounty hunter launched.
By Wayne Davids)/first published July 6, 2019
The bouncer fumbled with the door handle of the nightclub, then finally opened it. We followed him inside and he led us across an empty dance floor to the bar where five men stood.
“Boss,” the doorman said as he pulled on the collar of his shirt to stop the bleeding, “this man says he wants to talk to you. They’re dangerous…”
One man, older with gray on the sides, looked up. “Jesus, Billy, what in the hell happened to you?” His companions remained silent, but pulled a variety of guns and pointed them at us.
The gray-haired man reached into his pocket for a cigarette. He lit it, inhaled deeply, then blew his exhale in my face. Our eyes stayed locked the entire time.
“I am Eddie Pastorini. Now give me…” he started, then stopped to pick at a piece of tobacco on his tongue, “one good reason why I don’t kill you right now and then have my boys spend the afternoon taking turns on those two hotties?”
“Because you can’t.”
“That’s what I’m trying to say,” interjected Billy the doorman, “those ain’t ordinary girls.”
“Shut up, Billy,” I said before Eddie could say a word. “I don’t need an imbecile doorman to help me talk business.”
Eddie arched his eyebrows and looked back and forth among his companions. “Oh, this guy wants to talk business.” He turned to me and pointed with his cigarette. “Listen, asshole, I don’t know where you’re from, but no one rolls in here and demands to see Eddie Pastorini for business. I own every racket and black market for miles. I don’t do business, I am business.”
I listened to his speech and shook my head. “You’re old news. I’m here to take you to the authorities. If your men want a job, they’ll work for me after you’re gone.”
Eddie laughed, so his men followed suit.
“You are comical. But do you know what else is gonna be funny? When Johnny here takes you in the basement and starts shooting you in the feet, then casually works his way up.”
Johnny, standing slightly to my left and pointing his gun at my waist, heard Eddie’s threat and raised his hand on cue, shoving the gun in my face.
Billy stopped pressing his shirt to his neck and pointed to Jealousy on my left arm. “Johnny, no!” he shouted.
Like an old-time movie projector that jumps a couple frames, Jealousy flickered briefly, then disappeared. In her place, an enormous black wolf sprang forward and easily knocked the thug to the ground. His thrashing and gurgling screams ended quickly. In the next instant, Hate flickered and took out one of the other goons. I pulled my jacket back and drew both pistols from the holsters at my sides. I fired, hitting Billy in the temple and spraying his skull and brains all over the top of the bar. The second I shot a second in the head, as he slipped in Johnny’s guts all over the floor. The last man I brought down with several bullets in his chest.
Three more henchman burst through the doorway. Hate and Jealousy both sprang from their lifeless victims onto fresh opponents. They knocked them off their feet, but not before one fired a shot. I heard a whimper, but remained focused while shooting the last man as he retreated through the open doorway.
Eddie crouched as the bullets whizzed past him, then fired his pistol and yelled, “This ends now!” As he did, I aimed with my left hand and shot the revolver from his grip. His bullet embedded in the wall behind me and his revolver spun off to the side.
I walked several paces to the crouching crime boss. As I did so, I hit the thumb release on each pistol to eject the half-empty magazines and quickly loaded full ones.
“Hate, Jealousy,” I said, and the wolves detached from the victim they were still mauling and turned to snarl at Eddie. Jealousy pulled up one of her hind legs and limped a few paces.
I pointed both smoking guns at the wanted felon and Eddie cowered, shaking, with his hands in the air. He looked back and forth between Hate and Jealousy, then over to me.
“Who in the hell are you?”
I holstered my pistols under my jacket, took out a cigarette, and lit it. I looked at him and took off my sunglasses. The same way a cat toys with a mouse, I stood silent and watched him for a minute. He squirmed and glanced around for someone to show up and save him, but no one showed up. Finally, he repeated, “I… I as-asked you a question. Who are you?”
I pulled a long draw on the cigarette, then exhaled into his face. “I am Hate and I am Jealousy. I am your worst goddamned nightmare, because I am Dinlas. Now, move your ass, you’re under arrest.”
The story continues as Dinlas puts his plan in motion to get his floundering bounty hunter business off the ground.
By Wayne Davids/originally published July 4, 2019
The girls pranced and whimpered when I got back and unlocked the door to the warehouse. Both jumped to greet me, nearly knocking me over. They weighed seventy kilo each, and together they could knock anyone over.
“Okay, okay, ladies. I know.”
When I gave Hate a kiss on the head, Jealousy would push her out of the way, and when I tried to pat Jealousy, Hate would nip at her ears. I just started laughing because it felt good to have a plan, and it was nice to have these two. The only two ever happy to see me.
“Stop it, both of you. We have business to deal with as soon as possible.” Both stopped and cocked their heads. They wanted to hear more. I filled them in on the situation and the plan I hatched to capture Eddie Pastorini.
At the end I added, “I’m going out to get an idea of his place. I need both of you looking your absolute best tonight. Take a nap and then wash down. You both understand?” Jealousy turned and licked Hate across the top of her head. They understood. I petted and kissed each on the muzzle again then turned my attention to other matters.
My desk has one drawer which I keep locked. I opened it and pulled out the gift Uncle Heph ended up sending me several days ago. I guess he felt bad that he short with me in our first meeting, because one of his apprentices showed up two days ago with a beautiful pair of chrome M1911 style .45 caliber pistols. The slides and lower were embossed with intricate scrollwork. He even customized the grips. Each had an image of the wolves on it: one with a calligraphy Hate and the other Jealousy. I slipped on the harness with the pistols, grabbed a few extra magazines, and then threw my suit coat on over it all, to avoid annoying questions.
Sal told me the name of the club Eddie owned. Cadillac Lounge, not even an original name for the place. Honestly, it looked like a flea-market from the street. Maybe I could wrangle a future favor from some other local club owner if I knocked out their competition. I watched the place for a few hours in the early afternoon. Eddie arrived around two p.m. and according to Sal he would normally stay until early morning. I watched for several more hours until I decided I’d seen enough. He had a couple guys on the door, several on the roof and another ten that went in but hadn’t come out.
When I got back to the warehouse, it was dark outside. Inside, the girls were both sitting on the desk, waiting for me. They looked gorgeous in their slinky black dresses.
<Record scratch. Music stops>
I know what you’re thinking, so let me explain. You don’t get two supernatural wolves from Loki, The Norse God of Mischief, that don’t have a few special abilities. My two, Hate and Jealousy, can transform into human form when needed. Both were raven-haired beauties. Hate, a deep Mediterranean bronze, with an amazing smile. She looked as if she had stepped right off the island of Crete. Jealousy, darker, had narrow features, and high cheekbones, like an ancient Roman princess. You mortals speak of werewolves; this is not the case. These are wolves who morph into human shape when needed. They cannot speak and they always think and sense as a wolf. One other thing I might as well tell you now. For short bursts, they can move faster than the human eye.
So, as I was saying, they looked marvelous in their little black dresses. Wolf or woman, each of them always wore a thin leather collar. We left the warehouse, locked arms, and walked down to his club. They turned heads all the way as they slinked along, one hanging on each of my arms. I must admit, I did enjoy the attention in my black suit, vest, and shined leather wingtips.
When we reached the club, a doorman standing outside held his hand up.
“Club doesn’t open until 10:00 p.m.,” he grunted.
“I need to see Eddie Pastorini,” I replied, “for business.”
The enormous man at the door never turned to look at us, but replied, “Mr. Pastorini don’t see anybody for business without an appointment. You got an appointment?”
“No, I don’t. But I’m going to see him anyway.”
The doorman turned and looked at us now. It was clear he was irritated. He raised his hand to speak into a communicator on his wrist. Hate mistook the action for him attempting to strike me. One second, she was standing next to me, hanging on my arm with her head on my shoulder. The next, she had him pinned against the wall with both hands and her mouth at his throat. Her canines pierced the skin, nothing more than a superficial wound. I called her back before she did any real damage.
“Hate, Hate, darling, not here,” I said as she let out a low, guttural growl.
The man flailed against her, but she held him firm. She took her mouth from his throat and then curled her upper lip, close to his face. Her prominent canines, visible only when she smiled, were dripping with blood.
“Jesus, get off of me,” he yelled. “Look at her god-damned teeth. What the hell? Who are you people?”
Hate released the man as I pulled out a linen handkerchief and dabbed his blood from her chin, throat and exposed cleavage. She licked her own mouth clean until her teeth were pearly white again. As the doorman watched, she then nuzzled my ear and put her head back down on my shoulder.
“Now,” I repeated as I folded and tucked the bloody linen into my inside breast pocket, “I would like to see Eddie Pastorini, and this is the last time I am going to ask.”
After returning to Gaea from the Underworld Dinlas quickly discovers that making money is harder than it looks. Having set up his business he quickly realizes there is more to it then just calling yourself CEO, but never doing any work. Fortunately the smart-mouthed cigarette smoking God of Hate and Jealousy is cunning enough to figure out how to work both sides of the street.
By Wayne Davids/originally published June 18, 2019
The first thing I learned is that being mortal is harder than it looks. I gotta admit, these brainless mortal meat-sacks really do endure a load of shite. Grandfather Zeus agreed to me setting up shop outside the Olympus Complex, but that meant I pay rent. Me, pay rent to some mortal. In addition I bought a computer, apparently everything in the world is now done by computer and I needed to learn how to use one. It is nice that I have been able to watch and absorb a lot of the current and past media on it. Since that helps me blend in better when I move amongst mortals.
Business has been slow. I go to the courthouse every day and talk to the bail bondsmen, but nobody is interested in doing business with me. No one wants to deal until I make a capture, but I can’t make a capture until someone is willing to deal. No money coming in means no money to pay for office equipment or furniture, so the building is still empty. I’ve been sleeping on the floor in the office with Jealousy and Hate. They go out every night after midnight to hunt for dinner. Rabbits, stray cats, the other night it may have been a homeless person. They smelled awful in the morning and I had to give both a bath. All in all though, I’ve had worse accommodations. At least it isn’t Tartarus. There, I was lying on the bare ground with Titans moaning and sniveling all around me.
On a positive note, I discovered coffee. Puts quite a buzz in the brain first thing in the morning. I’ve been going to a place down the street, Sal’s Delicatessen, and getting coffee in the morning. When I haven’t eaten for a day or two, then I indulge and get a thing called a bagel with a schmear. Still not sure what the schmear is, but it’s good.
Today, I’m sitting and sipping my coffee while trying to come up with a grand plan to get this thing working, when I see two guys come in and start talking to Sal behind the counter. I can’t hear what they are saying, but it’s clear that Sal is unhappy. I keep watching and after a few minutes, Sal goes in the back and comes back with an envelope. He gives one of the guys the envelope and they leave. I hear them say as they go out that they’ll be back tomorrow. I finish my coffee and as I’m headed out, I stop at the counter to talk to Sal.
“Hey, what was that all about?”
Sal glanced over at me and answered, “Nothing. Thanks for coming in, now mind your own business.”
“What?” I said. “That looked serious. What was that about?”
I guess Sal must’ve warmed up to me being there every morning, because looked around and said, “It’s a protection racket. They make all us shop owners pay them each week for protection.”
“Protection from what?”
“Protection from them coming and tearing the place up. Or worse, busting both my kneecaps.”
“Who does this?”
Sal looked around again before whispering, “A guy named Eddie Pastorini.”
“Pastorini?” I said aloud. “Sounds Roman to me.”
Sal shook his head. “No, he’s Italian. He’s a wanted felon.”
Now I was listening. “Wanted? Like by the police? Is there a reward for him?”
“Sure, a big one. Only thing is no one has ever lived to collect it.”
“So, if this Eddie guy was gone, would that make your life easier?”
Sal shrugged. “Maybe, but probably not. Most likely someone else will just take his place and charge even more. I mean, there are people running scams like this all over the city.”
That’s when it struck me like a ton of arch-stones. A plan for exactly how to make the money I need. The idea started in the back of my brain and raced forward, like a cool breeze on the neck, that made me shiver. I felt startled by the suddenness of it.
“Sal,” I said as I turned back to address him, “what would you and the other business owners think if I said I could get rid your problem? Specifically, I will get rid of your Eddie problem in exchange for half what he is charging. Then I will make sure you’re protected after that. For me, if I need any of your services, well, I get them for free. Is that a deal?”
Sal looked thoughtful. “Well, yeah, I suppose. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we would take that deal. I mean, do we have a choice? But are you gonna take on Eddie by yourself? He’s got fifty guys working for him.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ve got backup. Just tell your friends to get their money together. I also need a list of all the businesses, so I know who everyone is and what everyone does.”
“Okay, you got it. Good luck. Just so you know, if they carve you into little pieces, I’m gonna swear I never heard of you.”
I nodded and waved my hand as I headed out the door, then fumbled to light a cigarette as I trotted across the street toward the warehouse.
This was going to be a good night. I needed to get everything ready, especially my girls.