Chariotless God Published with Kalopsia Literary Journal September, 2020 Words in Italics are from the Iliad
With such a name as Ares, I expect him to be more than the keeper of an orange apron and stale cigar smoke but when he speaks, I know this is folly. Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
I’m used to disappointment though. And audiences. He has two guard dogs. Or vultures. When I make eye contact, the skinny one looks down, engaging in ridiculous busyness. The bald one carries, holstered on his hip, the symbol of danger ready at his disposal. His gun is the summary of him.
Orange Apron is mired in a state of suspended anticipation in which things for him are started and yet nothing ever begins. He’s experiencing the wanting of something without knowing what it could possibly be. He is bored and he cannot take himself in hand. Instead he prowls, looking for a brawl. To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympus.
At first, I am disoriented, experiencing the unloveliness of this man’s permanent scars. Blood rushes up my neck and into my cheeks. I am reduced to lowest terms by him. Defined and then restricted. I don’t even exist in the whole universe. He is the kind of subtraction that turns me deadish. I’m temporarily held captive by the notion that I don’t talk back to men with gray hair.
“Well. Well. Well. Whose little girl are you?”
Orange Apron has had eight decades, at least, to commit to fathoming his inadequacies and warning others of them in good time, with apology and charm. Yet he persists here, jonesing for battle, a known quantity behind a retail counter, with the inability to harness the world without destroying it. Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.
“You wanna build somethin’? Take somethin’ apart? Or keep somethin’ from fallin’ apart? Which is it? I sell it all here.”
He leans over the wide counter all of his weight on his hands, his jaw jutted out arrogantly. The stench of his stale smoke fills my nostrils. But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous.
“I can help you with it all, Doll.”
Those things of which I can perceive the beginnings and the ends are not me. I am not the audible world. Nor am I the silence. I am not rooted in utterances or elapsed instants. I am not anyone’s.
“Well? Little girl, what can I do for you?” Long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky.
“I came here to have ten keys made. But there’s absolutely nothing you could ever do for me. You gods, you continue to disappoint.”
Tragic gods always under interpret. I’m certain there’s a dog at home he’s made mean. Chariotless god.