Ares Confronts dear old Dad

I climbed out of my Uber ride (who came up with the name Uber? I swear, the names mortals come up with totally blows my mind sometimes), and stood in front of the corporate office, which was ostentatious and pretentious. It figured the blowhard would fall for the “bigger is better” crap that people were always falling for.

Walking inside, I noticed the gorgeous receptionist that was sitting behind the desk across from the main doors. She looked like Aphrodite, which reminded me that I hadn’t seen her in a while. I smiled and waved at the receptionist, who immediately called out to me. “Hello, beautiful,” I said, giving her my biggest smile. “You are a bright spot in a rather gloomy day.”

“That’s so sweet,” she said, returning my smile. “Who are you? Do you have an appointment?”

I just stared at her, my mouth slightly open. Really? Who is this bimbo? Some temp? “I’m Ares, God of War.”

She just stared at me. “Doesn’t ring any bells, sorry. Do you have any I.D.?”

“Are you serious? I’m Zeus’ son. I have an office upstairs.” Okay, that part might have been true. I hadn’t stepped foot in my office in years. For all I knew, they had rented it out to someone else.

“Do you know how many people come in here, claiming to be Zeus’ offspring?” she said.

Taking a deep breath, I tried to control my temper before I went postal on the reception area. I pulled my wallet out and showed it to her. “Here is my driver’s license, my Mount Olympus Muscles R Us gym membership card, and my old Blockbuster video membership card.”

“What’s Blockbuster?” she asked. She looked at my driver’s license, then picked up her phone. “Hey, Cassandra, there’s some guy at my desk claiming to be Zeus’ son. Yeah, I know, the fourth one this week. Uh-huh, yeah, I can do that. Hold on a minute.” She held up her phone, took a picture of me, then sent it to whoever Cassandra was. “Did you get it? Okay, so…really? You don’t say. Okay then, thanks for the head’s up.” She hung up. “So you are the son of Zeus. He’s expecting you. Thirtieth floor. Cassandra is expecting you. She’ll show you to his office.”

“Thank you so much,” I replied. “They chose well when they put you here at the front desk. The face of a goddess, and the tenacity of a pit bull.” As I walked off, she growled and barked at me.

When I stepped off the elevator on the thirtieth floor, the image I had created of Cassandra was not the image that greeted me. While the young lady in the lobby acted like a pit bull, Cassandra looked like an actual pit bull. “It’s about time you showed up,” she snapped at me. “He’s been asking for you for the last three months. It took you long enough to get here.”

“I didn’t realize there was a time limit on my response.”

“You Gods think you’re all that and a slice of cheesecake.” She looked me up and down. “Frankly, you’re nothing special.”

Man, my ego was really taking a hit from women lately.

She led me down the hall and knocked on a solid oak door. Motioning for me to stay put, she went inside. I looked at the paintings on the wall while I waited and cringed. A nude portrait of dear old Dad hung near the door. It was going to take a lot to scrub that image from my mind.

“He’ll see you now,” Cassandra said when she came out. “Good luck. You’re going to need it.”

I walked in and found Zeus sitting on a Pelaton machine, biking his way through ancient Athens. “You want to explain this ridiculous message you sent me?” I said.

“What ridiculous message?”

“The one that says I have to get a job.”

“It’s not ridiculous,” he replied. “It’s totally legitimate.” He started to explain his plan for making the gods and goddesses great again, but I cut him off.

“I heard this plan three years ago,” I reminded him. “We had a deal. You asked me for an ancient flask and a wahini from Hawaii, and you let me off the hook regarding the job thing.”

“That was three years ago,” he said as he got off the bike. Grabbing his towel from a nearby chair, he wiped his forehead. “As the saying goes, ‘what have you done for me lately?’ The answer is not a damn thing.” He walked over to his mini-fridge, grabbed a bottle of water, then went to sit behind his desk. “It’s time for you to get a job, my son. I can’t keep showing favoritism to you while expecting my other children to work and contribute their fair share.”

“Who is going to hire the god of war?” I retorted. “I cause conflict, agitate minor disagreements until they become full-blown fights, which lead to all-out war.”

“But you also understand strategy, you’re excellent at finding malcontents, and your spying skills are second to none. You do have things to offer. You just have to, as these mortals say, ‘think outside the box’. Talk to the human resources department,” he said, reaching for scroll and quill. He scratched out a few lines and handed the scroll to me. “The head of HR is a woman named Ophelia. Don’t waste your time trying to charm her, either. Every woman in this building is immune to your charms.”

“I’ve noticed that,” I remarked drily. “Why is that?”

“Because I lost the last receptionist I had when you took off for Maui three years ago. I was tired of having to train someone new.” He saw the scowl on my face, got up and walked over to me. Putting his hand on my shoulder, he turned me around and steered me toward the door. “Don’t worry, son, it will all work out. I’m sure you’ll find something suited to your temperament, and you’ll find that getting a job will be a very rewarding experience.” He closed the door in my face once he had me in the hall.

I looked at his nude portrait and punched it, sending it crashing to the ground.

Ares (Teresa Watson)
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