s t o r i e s b
d a r r a n a n d e r s o n
i will have my revenge
bastard tree that broke the neck
of albert camus
life after godhood
the old man & the
the last man
l i f e a
f t e r g o d h o o d
b y d a r r a n a n d e r s o n
Fame left like a toothless whore in the night taking
our credit cards and our faith in humanity. By morning we had lost
Before the fall we had centuries of ambrosia and nectar filled banquets,
wealth beyond measure, sumptuous orgies where milk and honey overflowed
and writhing bodies could be seen far as the horizon. We could reward
with plentiful harvests or wipe three generations of a family from the
face of earth at the merest drop of a hat.
We’d place bets on human endeavors, view them interactively, "50
to 1 on Achilles, the smart money’s on the Minotaur" throwing
obstacles in their way and weaving tragedies when we tired of love.
Theseus, Jason, Perseus, men with thighs like tree trunks and loins of
rippling steel pandered to our every whim.
We indulged ourselves with a thousand virgins and rivers of peeled grapes,
shooting swimming pools filled with lightbulbs and driving white cadillacs
into aqueducts until decadence made us soft, lethargic and obese.
After boom comes bust.
We were downsized, made redundant. Godhood was relocated to cheaper,
younger, more efficient applicants
Our debts were called in, instantly and without mercy.
We tried to ignore the summits of red letters at the door
and dodge the barrage of phonecalls but the bailiffs sneaked in disguised
as door-to-door salesmen, a Trojan horse you could say, to repossess
the prime real estate of Olympus.
You can’t do it," we protested with impotent fury as they
wheeled out our Ionic marble columns and our solid gold thrones. And
they built luxury apartments and a call centre on the spot where we had
forged the world and played nations the way chess grandmasters play a
multitude of amateurs simultaneously.
I don’t see the old crew anymore but from time to time
I hear reports. We are like the children of a deposed Latin American
dictator. Some of us have prospered, some have drowned.
Hermes works for a carrier service zipping through the smog and traffic
jams with registered deliveries,
Dionysus, cider-sodden, dances for change in the subway
and gets periodically arrested for indecent exposure,
a shadow of himself Zeus was ushered into a retirement home. Infantile
with Alzheimer’s he spends his days drooling on the park benches
and between breadcrumbs throws thunderbolts at the ducks,
Eros specializes in double anal, flamboyant money shots and preventing
his HIV being detected by his fellow actors or directors,
With wind tunnel facelift and botoxed to oblivion Aphrodite does advertisements
for cosmetics and spends her evenings violently lurching over a toilet
Demeter lives out in the sticks and in the bonewhite times since the
culls survives on EU subsidies,
Flea pecked and worm riddled Cerberus chases the wheels of cars down
pot-holed country lanes,
Athena couldn’t afford university fees so she works every waking
hour on a supermarket till, thirsting for weekends,
Ares signed up for a tour of duty and was acquitted of gang rape at the
High Court with four other squaddies after the masterful courtroom dissection
of the victim’s character,
Hephaistos’ hasn’t been the same since the shipyards closed,
Hera’s a single mother struggling to buy nappies and lottery tickets,
Chain-smoking in his silk dressing gown Apollo would occasionally send
out for an antique or a rentboy. One night he opened his arteries in
a hot bath and wasn’t found for several months until he dripped
down through the roof,
Hebe never regained consciousness following badly botched plastic surgery,
The Oracles ended up presenting weather forecasts and writing astrology
columns in tabloids,
The Furies are all managers and police officers,
Hekate all but disappeared
business at least remains good for Thanatos
Sometimes I dream that we still
have some faint power
that humans have been cursed by us
with one last gift
to work like Sisyphus
and shop like Tantalus.
Today I, Hestia as they called me,
sit by the fireside and reminisce
Christ, Allah, Yahweh
What will you do when the bubble bursts?
What will you clutch onto on the way down?
copyright © 2005 darran anderson, all rights