Monday, March 24, 2014

So Apollo walks into a bar...

The Amores #3

Athena


“So Apollo walks into a bar…”


“Dite, I’m in no mood for jokes.”
“Which is exactly why I’m trying to cheer you up, but no. This is a true story, I swear.” Aphrodite twisted her blond curls around her finger well aware the mortal men were beginning to stare at her.
“So instead, this is this going to be another one of these ridiculous pranks Eros pulled on him? I mean that Daphne situation got a bit out of hand,” Athena said with a frown.
“That was a joke and he was a child then. Apollo should know better than to pick on a little kid, really,” Aphrodite scoffed throwing her hair back over her shoulder. She never saw her son in the wrong, ever. It drove Athena mad and she marveled at how level-headed Eros grew up to be, despite being spoiled and undisciplined as a child.
Aphrodite switched tactics. “No, it’s a funny story of his own making.”
“A lesson in hubris, I daresay,” Athena mumbled and took a sip of her wine, but she couldn’t help but let the corners of her mouth rise at the thought.
“Something like that.” Aphrodite looked around the small new bar, The Grape Vine. She “accidentally” made eye contact with a thirty something businessman a couple seats away. She bit her lip, sneaking a look back at him, and then quickly turned her away as if she were shy. She leaned over the bar a bit as if she were trying to get the bartender’s attention, letting the plunging neckline (if you could call it that) plunge a tad more. She crossed her arms as if cold, which pushed her bosom up, but it wasn’t the bartender she was seducing; in fact, Dionysus rolled his eyes at her, gave her a lop-sided smirk, and finished cutting the garnish fruit before he approached her.
“So? Apollo?” Athena asked beginning to grow bored. Being out wasn’t her thing. There was a book she had just started that she was desperate to get back to and the dissertation on the ethical implications of biochemical warfare needed finishing. For the first century in history, she could go to school for whatever she wished and she wanted to collect degrees like Aphrodite collected boy-toys. 
“Hold up, I need a drink,” Dite responded. She ordered a glass of wine that she knew to be the most expensive.
The businessman cleared his throat and called to Dionysus, “Put that on my tab please.” He gave Aphrodite a small smile. She returned it, blushed on command, and thanked him in a small voice feigning innocence.
“By the beard of Zeus, you’re just so…” Athena paused for the proper word.
“Fabulous, amazing, beautiful…” Aphrodite began to supply.
Athena cut her off, “No, cunning, manipulative, a devious seductress. Poor men really have no chance.”
Aphrodite completely ignored the insult, finding it flattering actually. “I have precisely five minutes to tell you the story before I become rude to my worshiper over there and I mean to score a few free drinks before we go.”
“I’ve been waiting on you.”
“So Apollo walks into a bar, and he scouts the place out. He doesn’t see anyone he knows, so he relaxes and goes to the bar to have a drink. The truth is Eros and I are supposed to meet him there, but we miss one another. We were staying in a small town, and it was the early 1970's, I think, because I remember the bell bottoms I was wearing when he told me about it. Anyway, Apollo's having a drink.”
“Yes, that was already established,” Athena muttered. She knew Aphrodite was long-winded with her stories, that she’d repeat herself, and would supply needless details, but she just didn’t have the patience for it at the moment.
Aphrodite gave her a look that could kill. Athena diverted her eyes not wanting to hold that gaze for long. She could outwit Dite any day, but she did not have that goddess's confidence nor tenacity to stand up to her, particularly now, especially feeling so lovelorn.
“In walks this pretty girl. I mean, not as pretty as me but not bad for a mortal.”
“Dite…c’mon.”
“Alright, alright,” Dite sighed. “You know you’re no fun. Fine. Apollo walks into a bar…"

                                                                 *                    *                    * 

He sits down next to a beautiful woman, who is sitting alone, with a shot in front of her. She is tear stained, mascara running down her cheeks, but she is beautiful underneath the needless artifice. She’s blathering, but he’s a predator and he smells an easy kill.
“Hey, hey, none of that, darlin’ please smile.”
“Smile?” she gasps. “I can’t.” Next comes out a long story about a jerk who broke her heart. He grabs a barnap and wipes her eyes with it, creating an intimate moment only Hollywood, or Apollo the slithery, male-slut, snake, could create.
He pulls his hand away, but she grasps it. “Are you real?”
Apollo chuckles a bit and responds, “No, darlin’, men like me are myths.”
“Figured,” she smiles, the jerk already forgotten. Just to close the deal, Apollo lets out a little godly charisma, the little cheater (It is frowned upon to use godly charms to manipulate mortals).
"Who's she?" A voice rings out behind him. He turns to see a recent conquest who is very pregnant and stomping her foot.
"What are you doing here?" He asks her stupidly, not knowing what else he could possibly say.
"I should ask you the same." She retorts.
"Wait, who's this?" The new dew-eyed prey questions.
"Uh..."
"Really?" The pregnant girl laughs sardonically. 
"Uh..." Apollo repeats.
"I'm his ex, I guess. We were keeping up a long distance relationship while he backpacked through Europe, but something tells me he lied about that. Oh yeah, and I'm carrying his child."
They look at him for a response: "Uh..." is all he can muster.
"You unimaginable bastard! You guys are all the same!" She looks at her drink and his face but thinks better of it and downs the rest of her martini. Apollo sighs in relief that he won't be wearing it, but the feeling is fleeting and is slapped away by the girl's bitter hand.
He turns his attention to the pregnant girl awaiting this second remonstrance, but no slap comes. Instead she glares at him for an uncomfortably long time forcing him to speak first.
"I just got back yesterday," he says feigning excitement to see her.
Then she laughs wholeheartedly which completely bemuses him.
"You're so gullible, Apollo," she giggles.
"Iris?" He asks very unsure.
"Duh. Who else could morph into your jilted lover? Anyway, pretty stupid to piss in your own parade if you ask me. I could've been her. Out of the whole world, you're going to stay in the same town to pull some bids."
"You're mortal slang is atrocious."
"Not the point numb nutter."
"No seriously. You can't mortal to save your life."
"Save my life? But I'm immortal. That makes no sense."
"And 'don't have a cow man' does? Anyway, what do you want?"
"Just helping a friend out."
"Me?"
"Oh yeah, because we've always been so buddy-buddy," she said with a sardonic roll of the eyes.
"I don't have time for your games, Iris."
"Whatev's. I gotta message for you. 'Leave immediately.' And you're supposed to come with me. Pronto."
"That's it?"
"Yep."
"And who sent it?"
"Does it matter?" Iris scowled as if he were insulting her abilities to relay messages.
"Well, ye-ah. A message from Prometheus is one thing and a message from, let's say Dionysus wanting me to go to some soiree is another."
"I. Don't. Deliver. Crap. Messages." Iris attempted to reign in her anger at the inadvertent insults Apollo was slinging at her.
Apollo gets the message that Prometheus is trying to help him out, so he settles up his tab, and moves toward the exit. Before he can leave, the door opens and three girls walk in.
Instantly Apollo recognizes the first, a beautiful blond bombshell with large curves and thick legs.
"Oh," she says in a catty tone. "It's you two." She looks Iris down as if she is her mortal enemy. Apollo's ex before the ex Iris is impersonating, glares at them both.
"Wait," another girl's mouth drops. A brunette, with caramel colored skin, who spends her free time in the tanning bed, stands next to the first.
Unfortunately, Apollo recognizes her as well.
"No," the blond says to her. "You dated him too?!"
"No," the brunette said self-consciously. "We slept together and he never called me back. You never called me back." She directed her wounded gaze at him. Apollo swallowed hard.
"He played us all then," the third girl said. She was even shorter than Iris, frail, and thin, much thinner than Apollo remembered. This one he had liked, a lot, but she was lousy in the sack and Apollo definitely was not the god of love and was rarely led by his heart.
"Jenny," he smiled, hoping to appease the short one. They were the feisty ones to watch out for.
"Oh, so you remember my name. What are theirs?" She challenged raising her voice. 
He couldn't answer and lamented that he didn't write this stuff down. 
Jenny pulled her little fist back and released it in his eye. The pain was excruciating but he was distracted by Jenny's yelp as she hopped up and down holding her hand in pain.
"We need to go," Iris urged uneasily.
But he didn't. For the first time in a while, Apollo felt guilty, not for hurting her hand but for breaking her heart, for ditching her because she didn't sexually live up to his standards. He could've given her a chance, but he just moved on to her friends. Now, he felt awful.
He picked up her hurt hand and ignored her glare. 
"Lemme see if it's broken."
"It's definitely broken you moron. I heard something snap." Tears were pooling in her eyes but she tried blinking them away.
Apollo took her hand and turned it over gently in his; he channeled his strength and power, and mentally transferred it to her hand.
"What are you doing? Why does that feel warm?" Jenny asked in confusion. 
Iris's grip tightened on Apollo's arm in warning, but he had gone this far and he didn't care. He was making amends to one of the mortal women he toyed with.
He let go of her hand. Jenny looked at it astounded, flexed, and then looked back at him.
The blond asked what happened and Jenny shakily responded, without losing eye contact with him, "It's better. He...healed it."
Lightning flashed outside, followed by a peal of thunder. Iris cursed under her breath.
"How'd you..." Jenny couldn't finish the question, her blue eyes baffled.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Apollo said quietly as he left out the door, Iris in tote. The door closed behind them and they began to walk away.
"You idiot!" Iris hit his shoulder so hard he heard a crack. He put his hand over his shoulder, after giving her a sharp look, and quickly healed it. It would heal fast on its own, but he always liked to use his godly gift to heal to speed things up. "Seriously? You just risked exposure and he might kill her."
As if on cue thunder boomed and lightning danced across the sky: a warning from Zeus.
"Who is going to believe her?" Apollo scoffed. "Oh, my ex-boyfriend healed me just by touching me," he mocked in a falsetto voice.
"You're just plain stupid," she said gruffly as they made their way down a deserted alley, away from prying eyes. "I mean why?"
"I felt bad for her. I had really liked her."

"If you really liked her, you wouldn't hurt her like you did. Apollo the god led by his..."
"Yeah, I get it Iris. I'm an asshole, okay? Does that make you happy?"
"Surprisingly, a little bit. At least you know you're a complete jerk."
Lightning struck right behind Apollo, right where he had been standing a split second ago. He turned and looked at the smoking crack in the pavement and up into the sky.
"Alright dad, I get it. I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
Iris stopped walking and looked around. "This is good."
"Where are we going?"
"Top secret mission. Prometheus needs you."
Apollo was stunned. This wasn't a normal occurrence. The god of forethought, who saw the entire future, needed Apollo's help. Surely he could prevent any scrape. Apollo scanned though the vaults of memories at all the prophesies he had dreamt that had not yet taken place, but no red flags appeared. If he didn't need him for consultation about the future, then it must be health related.
"Has something happened to him?"
Iris raise an eyebrow, touched Apollo's shoulder and they faded from sight leaving behind the faintest evanescent rainbow...
    
                                                  *                    *                    *

"So?" Athena asked. "Where'd they go?"

"That's all I know. That's no the point. The point was it was funny that he was called out and punched by a mortal, a tiny one at that." Dite sighed annoyed. It had been a funny story, in her opinion, and as always Athena took everything literal and had to pick it apart.
"Did Iris tell you right after it happened? Was it '72? Where were they? I mean where was Apollo about 15 years ago? You were with him you said."
"What's with the 100 questions?" Aphrodite snapped. She regretted agreeing to take Athena out. Apparently she was upset about some guy, which was unusual for her, but Dite was not forthcoming with the particulars.
"Nothing. I just wanted to know the mystery behind Prometheus needing him is all." Athena sulked and was lost off in her thoughts. She needed to know what it was about, but she had the nagging suspicion she already knew and she shouldn't go down that road. It could ruin everything that the future could hold. Prometheus would tell her if she needed to know, surely. She tried to suppress her curiosity and pretended to listen to Aphrodite prattle on.
As predicted, the man at the bar who had bought Aphrodite's drink came over to her and they started to converse. More drinks were ordered but Athena didn't touch hers. Her mind kept venturing off to Prometheus and this mystery that occurred about fifteen years ago. She decided she knew exactly what it was about. Fifteen years ago she turned a blind eye and tried to forget the past. She had done so successfully until now. And now she needed to know. She needed answers.
Aphrodite didn't even notice as Athena slipped from the bar like a ghost in a dream.

About Athena

About Apollo
About Aphrodite
About Prometheus
About Iris

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