Or, The Gods Must Be Crazy
Hera was p.o.ed. Royally peeved. Absolutely livid. Madder than a disturbed nest of hornets. Besides all that, she was not happy. Not happy at all. How dare her husband make a fool out of her again. She went off and spent one weekend at the spa for some well-deserved R and R. Wanted to prettify herself just for him. And what did hubby do? Zeus, her husband of the past ten millennia and the king of all the gods, went out chasing skirts again.
‘Course Zeus would protest like he always did. He said that it wasn’t his fault. It was his charismatic personality. The women saw that grin on his face and those teeth whiter than white. Next thing he knew they wanted to feel his thunderbolts. Yeah, right. Like he couldn’t fight the women off, the big show-off. Hera had had enough of her husband poking the first dumb blonde he took a hankering for. Before you could tweak Poseidon’s nose, the papparazzi would be asking her all those Princess Di questions.
Just why had Hera ended up with the big Z anyway? What had a practical, level headed young goddess seen in the Playboy of the Universe in the first place? Back in the olden days, she could have had her pick of the litter. Poseidon. Hades. Even the sun god, Helios. But no. She had to go with Thunderbolts. Thing was that she’d been impressed with his management skills. He could multitask like he invented the word. ‘Course he did invent the word.”This is the guy for me,” she said after their third date. If she had it to do over again, she would follow the advice of the Who when they sang, “Won’t get fooled again.”
But that was then. This was now. Like a lot of CEOs, Zeus got used to having his own way. Getting to travel in the corporate jet. Staying in the penthouse suite. Having his pick of the secretarial pool. Thing was that lately Zeus was bored. “What’s a god to do if he can’t have any fun?” he said to Hera after a long argument about his indiscretions. “Boys just wanna have fun.”
“Fun, my butt,” Hera threw back at him.
“Look, if I don’t do this, I’m going crazy. There’s only so much ambrosia a god can take.” Then he pointed one of his thunderbolts at her.
She took a glare at him that would have killed a lesser god. “You know where you can stick those thunderbolts, don’t you?”
Well, Z went out and did his thang. And he did it a lot. Finally Hera had had enough. It was her way or the highway. In a moment of trying to please, Z promised to give up his philandering, his womanizing. But he just couldn’t. To give credit where credit was due, he did give it the old college try. He even tried Sexaholics Anonymous. The problem was that he picked up three women at his first meeting. A little poke here. A little poke there. Pretty soon you got a hokey pokey. Before they knew what had happened, all three were knocked up.
So that was that. No more S.A. for the big guy. And now he was out chasing a woman named Leda Swan. Pretty soon there’d be a demigod here, a demigod there, a demigod everywhere. Then one of those demigods would be sitting on Hera’s doorstep, asking for a place among the stars, wanting his own constellation. Can you imagine the gall of it all? Well, there would be none of that this time.
Sure she was fond of Herakles. He was named after her after all. And he was cute in a crude sort of way. But dumb. Real dumb. How could anybody get talked into doing that labors thing?
Hera sent Hermes to go find Aphrodite. He found her alright. The goddess of love was modelling her latest nightie from Victoria Secret for Ares, god of war and regular all-around tough guy. Hermes showed up just as Ares was about to make his moves. Aphrodite loved his moves, that was for sure. But when Hera called, she knew she’d better go running off to Olympus
First thing Hera said to Aphrodite, “Where’s that little bastard? I am going kick his butt all the way to Hades if I get a chance.”
“Now, Mom, it’s not Cupid’s fault that he’s such a malicious little troublemaker. He takes after his dad, you know.”
Hera wasn’t looking for any excuses. This was the last straw. She wanted to kick Zeus in the place it would hurt the most. Right between the thunderbolts. That would teach the big galoot. So what did she do? She called a War Council. The other gods and goddesses showed up under protest. Everybody but Artemis. She hated politics. Somehow Apollo got his little sis off the hook. It wasn’t easy but he did it.
All the council was thinking they better find a way to calm Hera’s anger. Or there would be consequences. Last time anybody took on the Big Guy, he had them for lunch. Atlas still had the scars.
Hera called Exhibit A to testify to Zeus’ transgressions. Europa. You’d think Europa would have known better than to get involved with Zeus. The girl had heard the stories. About Semele and Thalia among others. But what young woman could resist the attention Z gave her?
It was downright flattering that the king of the gods would even be interested in her. After all, her nose was slightly larger than the rest of the maidens. Her friends always made fun of it. And her breasts were a little bit too small. The guys said so. But Zeus went for young ladies with a few imperfections. I mean Semele had big ears and Thalia a rather large rump. And small breasts and a big nose was a real turn-on for him. He promised Europa a continent of her own. How could she resist that? What with the price of real estate, she’d be richer than Warren Buffet and Bill Gates put together. So what the heck?
Besides there were those blonde curls of his. She couldn’t resist running her fingers through them. And she just loved the big Z on the chest of the god who loved her. Reminded her of Zorro. That was enough for Hera. She knew that tattoo very well. It was Z’s chest that it was on. And the beard. Europa remembered the beard too. It tickled.
After the testimony, Poseidon tried to calm Hera down. “It’s just Zeus. You know how he is. These flights of fantasy don’t mean a thing. It’s you he loves. Always has been. Always will be.”
But there was no quenching Hera’s thirst for revenge. But what to do? the Councilors asked each other. If they weren’t careful, war would break out, then they, the gods, would have to choose sides. That just wouldn’t do. Brother against brother, sister against sister, sister against brother, brother against sister, mother against father, child against parent, parent against child.
So the Council adjourned to give the whole matter some thought. Knowing that it wasn’t good to think on an empty stomach, they threw themselves into a feast.
Z came home that night. He took one look at the feast and said, “You guys threw a party without me?’ They all nodded yes, not wanting to give the Big Guy a clue about what was going on. But he took one look at his wife’s face. Knew he was in trouble and that is Trouble with a capital T. He didn’t know what he had done but he knew he’d better come clean with an apology. “I’m sorry,” he said. “No, you’re not,” Hera answered. He should have known that was coming. Already he was digging himself in a hole and he wasn’t sure how to stop.
Zeus gave her that smile, you know the one with the dimples and the boyish grin. “My friends,” Zeus said to the Court of the Gods, “do I not look like I am sorry?”
“He’s sorry,” Hades said. “Yep, he’s really sorry,” Athena chirped in.
Hera held her peace and faked her forgiveness. She gave Zeus a big hug.
Relieved, the others finished their libations, then dozed off. The next morning Zeus was up bright and early and on his way, checking out the world to make sure things were a-okay. Hera called the War Council together again. “Give me what I want,” she demanded. “Or there is going to hell to pay. And you know I can make you pay it.”
“What did you have in mind?” Apollo asked.
“Your daddy is partial to the city of Troy. So I am thinking we can do some real damage to the place. Then he won’t be able to pin anything on us. When it’s all over and we have leveled the city, I can tell him why.”
“We can’t go down and blast Troy to Sodom and Gomorrah,” Athena said. “Daddy wouldn’t let us.”
“No,” Hera said. “But the Greeks can.”
Well, all the gods and goddesses liked this plan. It had been a long while since they’d had a first class war. It was going to be a lot of fun.
“Now where did you say that Paris was?” Hera asked Aphrodite.
And that was how the Trojan War really was started.