The museum was lit for the night. Mostly it was dark but the exhibits were spotlighted. The statue stood before Jeff, the security guard. Otherworldly like an angel, she was a goddess. Athena, all draped in white, her arms raised, her head neither bending nor looking up but straight ahead. Athena, mistress of Athens, the goddess who had given Zeus a headache, then crashed out of his head. Virgin, unlike the slut Aphrodite. Womanly with her small breasts. Athena who had always been Jeff’s favorite. The statue was almost alive.
Jeff turned away from the statue. Then he heard a voice, “She’s not so much.”
He looked where the voice had come from. There was no one there. Then it spoke again, “I tell you that if I’ve seen her once I’ve seen her a hundred times. And there’s nothing to admire. Really.”
A woman, at least seven feet tall, appeared before him. She twirled around in what was a transparent dress. “What do you think?”
Jeff’s legs gave way and he managed to sit down on one of the museum’s benches. To say he was overcome would be a misstatement.
She looked down at him and smiled. “Well, what do you think, big boy?”
Jeff closed his eyes and opened them again. Not once, but several times. If he told anyone about this, not only would his security guard job be gone. They’d put him in the loony bin. This is what he got for drinking all that coffee. His mother kept warning him.
He felt the woman’s hand on his face.
“Oh, come now. I’m not that bad,” she said, then laughed. “Of course not.”
“W-w-w-ho are you?” Jeff stuttered out.
The woman backed away and straightened herself. “Who do you think?”
“Well, tell him,” a voice from behind Jeff spoke. It was motherly and deep.
Jeff hesitated, then looked. His jaw dropped. This woman was at least eight feet tall.
“I will,” the first woman said as she reached over and turned his head back toward her. She was the sexiest woman he’d ever seen. His lust was overcoming the awe. “See. He already knows that I am Aphrodite.” She leaned forward and kissed his mouth. It was so deep he almost exploded. “The goddess of love.”
“Aw right. Let’s get this over with. Cut the nonsense and tell him.” It was the statue of Athena. She was alive. She stepped down from the pedestal.
“Just hold your horses,” Aphrodite said. “And let him take it all in. It’s not everyday we get to meet a mortal. And, Hera, good choice.” Aphrodite winked at him. “Such a handsome fellow I could just eat him up.”
“None of that,” Hera said. “Tell him.”
“Okay,” Aphrodite said. Then she said to Jeff. “We need you to judge a little contest. Which of the three of us makes the best impression. Sort of like Miss Universe, only without the swimsuits. The winner of the contest gets a golden apple. And you will be rewarded handsomely.”
Like so many others before him, and so many who came after, Jeff was pretty darned sure he did not want to get into this. He vaguely remembered the last guy who judged such a contest had started a war. A bad one. So Jeff dropped his head into his hands, resisting the offer, hoping the women would just go away. Yes, that’s it. Just go away. Then he started praying.
“Now, now,” Aphrodite said, rubbing her hands in his hair. “Nobody’s going to come and rescue you. This is your big moment. And I want you to think about this. If you choose me, you can have any woman in the world. Just think of it. Any woman in the world. Movie stars. Models. That cute girl you’ve been gushing over. Choose me and they’re yours.”
That got Jeff’s attention. That, and the erotic moves Aphrodite’s hands were doing to his face. How could any ordinary mortal resist those hands?
Athena stepped down from her pedestal, walked over to Jeff, pushed Aphrodite out of her way, and pressed the palms of her hands on to his bald head. His head felt warm from her touch.
“Now don’t you feel smarter?” Athena asked.
Jeff nodded. “Actually I do.”
“If you choose me, you’re going to be smarter than Einstein. And you do know that women love a smart man.”
A lightning bolt struck the floor beside Athena.
“Oops, you missed again, Hera,” Athena laughed. “Maybe Artemis can give you some lessons.”
Hera raised her arm to throw a second thunderbolt.
Athena stopped her by saying, “I wouldn’t do that. You know how mad Dad gets when someone else tries to use his thunderbolts.”
Hera rushed over, her fists ready to sock Athena, but she held her temper. Athena was smart. Hera never knew what trick she’d come up with.
“Oh, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. And he’s too busy right now to find out about a missing thunderbolt or two. He’s out chasing that Europa or giving a swan song to Leda.” Then she turned to Jeff. “You choose me you won’t need to be sexy or smart. You’ll be powerful. Powerful enough to stop whole armies.”
Aphrodite was in no mood to loose. “Nothing like a good woman.”
“Right,” Hera said. “Look what happened to Julius Caesar when he took up with that Mae West of a Cleopatra. He ended up et-tu-ing all over the place.”
Athena put in her two cents. “And Romeo ended up stabbing himself. Just because Juliet couldn’t wake up when the alarm clock went off.”
“How ’bout that Henry VIII,” Hera said. “I told him to stay away from Anne Boleyn. Did he listen? No. Miss Boleyn shook her booty and Henry went all ga-ga. And Josephine cost Napoleon to loose at Waterloo.”
Bling! an arrow sailed by Jeff’s head. He turned and saw an auburn-haired woman in a short white dress. She carried the largest bow he’d ever seen and a quiver of arrows. She pulled a second arrow from her quiver and notched it against the bow string.
Hera yelled, “Now, Artemis, quit that.”
“Scared you, didn’t I?”
Artemis smiled, rested her bow against her leg, and approached Jeff and the goddesses.
“You know you three are a bunch of trouble makers,” the huntress said. Then to Jeff, “Let’s go fishing. You like fishing, don’t you?”
Jeff thought about it for a few minutes. If he was irresistible to women, he’d have them fighting over him all the time. Just look how Solomon turned out. He ended up with seven hundred wives. That’s way too many for one man.
As for smarts, he knew a kid who was so smart that they drafted him. He became the head of some bigwig program and was always complaining how the government wouldn’t leave him alone. And who would want all that power? Everybody would hate you.
No, fishing sounded like a real good idea.
He stood up and said to Artemis, “Let’s go fishing.”
Walking away from the three, Artemis at his side, Jeff heard her promise, “I’ll teach you some usable skills. Like how to live off the grid. Won’t that be nice? You do know this internet thing isn’t going to last.”
Hera turned to her competitors. “We’ve got to do something about her. This is the third time this week.”
“Fourth,” Athena corrected her.
“Don’t give me any of your smart mouth. I said the third, and it’s the third.”
Athena shook her head. “You’re just going to have to learn how to count.”
Aphrodite stamped her foot. “Would you two just shut up.”