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.”
“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.
Nyx finishes out a long evening of gift-giving to her immortal family and friends
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.
Nyx’s 2019 Yule Celebration continues as she pampers those she loves with gifts, and more importantly, her love.
“Neith!” I almost felt bad trying to catch up to the doe-eyed goddess; her attention was fully on the goddess standing beside her in a beautifully sparkling gown, reminiscent of the celestial bodies. Neith finally looked over and flashed me a radiant smile, looking stunning in her own golden dress that hugged her curves. I […]A Primordial’s Tradition, III (Rewrite) — VOICE OF THE NIGHT
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.”
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.