If you missed the previous installments, they can be found here:
Chapters 1 & 2
Twilight of the GodsD.J. Gelner
“The mortals never pay us heed! I grow tired of marble stew for the ten-thousandth fortnight in a row!” Zeus yelled.
“Perhaps if dear brother would quit whining and complaining like spoiled child, he would see the disarray that his rule has caused!” Poseidon interjected. His long beard flowed in the subtle breeze as he puffed out his barrel chest.
Zeus reached back, grasping a thunderbolt in his hand. Poseidon countered by raising his trident above his head, poised and ready for battle.
Zeus stopped dead in his tracks. He looked down and blinked three times, almost comically over-exaggerated. Artemis stood, bow in hand, string still aquiver with motion as she narrowed her eyes.
“Funny, dear uncle; I see two spoiled children here this afternoon.”
A loud chorus of guffaws filled the square. Zeus covered his mouth with his hand in feigned embarrassment as Artemis turned toward the crowd assembled outside of the Trevi fountain and took a bow. Poseidon and Zeus quickly rushed to her side. Each grabbed an arm and took a deep bow.
Soon the rest of the Pantheon rushed toward the group and joined in on the next deep bow. The cheers grew louder with each prostration. Aphrodite elicited some catcalls and whistles from the tourists and passersby, and offered a wink at her adoring public. She became furious when Athena and especially Artemis garnered even more male attention for their performances.
When they had all made their way up front, they pointed over at Apollo, who stood off to the side and took his own shallow bow.
“’Tis not me, but the actors that deserve the accolades!” he protested hollowly.
Hermes, disguised in a bushy, over-the-top black mustache that didn’t match his auburn locks, scurried around the makeshift stage, gathering up the bills lavished upon the performers, even as the crowd dispersed.
“Well?” Zeus raised an eyebrow at the messenger of the gods.
“Another record take. I do believe the gods dine as such again this evening.”
“And drink as well?” Dionysus asked with a hiccup.
“And drink as well,” Hermes confirmed with a nod.
“And have some left over to donate to the Sierra Club?” Artemis asked.
Hermes rolled his eyes, “And have some left over to donate to the Sierra Club,” he confirmed with a sigh.
Zeus shook his head. Who could have possibly imagined that he would be making a fool of himself for the entertainment of mere mortals but a few short years ago?
Not that he necessarily minded; once Apollo had described the feeling he received from being a beloved performer, from bringing joy to so many of the curious little short-lived creatures (plague notwithstanding), that they all had rushed to try it out.
It didn’t hurt that a career in street theater kept food in their stomachs and wine flowing down Dionysus’s throat.
Even more than that, even though Zeus still resented the fact that these mortals failed to pay him and his fellow deities the requisite level of respect and worship, maybe there were more important things presently available to them in this world. Maybe for once, after all of those years and years of serving as inspiration for the greatest works of human art the world had ever known, now the gods could show how a wholly human art form, that of the theater, could be transformed with proper effort and dedication from deities.
“Excuse me, who’s the leader of this troupe?” A man with slicked-back hair and a million-dollar (if artificially-whitened) smile asked.
The gods looked around, first at Artemis, who shook her head even before the question had finished.
Hermes did the same. Even Apollo, who, truth be told, was the leader of “the troupe” as presently constructed, deferred to the large, imposing older fellow with the shiny white hair and a thunderbolt attached to his back.
“I am,” Zeus confirmed with a nod.
“Ronnie Silver, pleased to meet you,” he shook the god’s hand. “Say, that’s some killer stuff you guys have there, just really dynamite! Terrific! What would you say if I could turn you folks into real stars? We’re talking not just Rome, but Paris, London, even the bright lights of Broadway?!”
Zeus, Poseidon, Artemis, and Hermes eyed each other skeptically.
“Beyond stage—with my help, you guys could become cultural icons, conquer the stage, the screen, the world!”
Zeus shook his head and chuckled. Yes, perhaps making art for humans would be enough…