There has been a buzz around Olympus since my sister and nephew announced they were pregnant. These past nine months have just been a whirlwind of events. And now they are expecting twins. In chatting with Eros and Clio, I volunteered to help them in any way I could. They have planned to have the baby shower on the night of Samhain, or Halloween as we now call it. They assigned me a game, Baby Stroller Olympics. I have to say I squealed with joy because, well, OLYMPIC anything and I’m in.
I needed to find out what exactly this entailed, so I Googled it. Google said I should map out an area. Okay, that’s easy enough as the shower was going to be outside in the Olympus Gardens. I thought it would be simple to set a course through there. According to Google, they held most of these showers in mortal homes or event halls. I thought about this…wait, we aren’t mere mortals playing a game here…hm. I need to make this a god worthy competition. So I wrote down the first task.
What’s next, Google? Create obstacles in the path. I smirked and giggled to myself. I know exactly what to do here. Next, each player gets a baby…wait, what? A real baby? I read a little further…oh, no. It’s a doll…phew, I sighed in relief. Then Google listed the supplies I would need and a few links where I could get them.
I called Clio. “How many people normally play such a game?”
“To be honest, Nike, I have no idea. There will be at least twenty there that have RSVP’d, but you know how our family is when there is a party…”
“Alright. So how many supplies should I pick up?”
“Hmm…what number sounds good to you?”
“How’s six sound? If there are more players, I can have teams if that’s alright with you?”
“I don’t know, Nike. Hold on.” She muffled the phone.
“Sorry, Nike, Eros wanted to know what you needed.”
“No worries. What did he think?”
“We think six is fine, and if you need to make teams, then that should work. Eros just thinks it’s funny how into this you are.”
“Well, it is the only Olympic competition I’ll have this year. That mortal virus took that from me this year. I mean, if it says Olympics, I’m there for it.” I giggled, trying to cover my disappointment. “Thank you! I’ll see you soon.”
“Thank you, Nike, for handling this game for us.”
“Sure thing, it’s the least I can do. Night, get your rest.”
“I’ll do my best, thank you!”
After hanging up with Clio, I searched online to find a place that sold the stuff I needed. I found the local toy shop Imaginarium Emporium. And next door was Baby Place, where I could pick up all the other things like strollers, diapers, and talc powder. I needed bottles, and a thing called a diaper bag for carrying all the baby goodies. I placed my order over the phone at both places and said I would pick them up tomorrow.
`In the morning, I flew over my course to scope it for the game. I laid it out by moving a few fallen trees and using them as the edge of the course. I then wanted to rig a few things as obstacles for the players to avoid. I made sure not to change too much of the gardens.
A pitfall, a sliding wall, and an oak tree shaped like a fire-breathing dragon were just the kinds of obstacles a deity would encounter when out for a stroll with their baby. I stepped back and admired my handiwork. I sighed with relief that I hadn’t forgotten to rig the garden with monitors and cameras, so the partygoers that were not playing could see what happened to each of the players and their baby charges.
I picked everything up and called in reinforcements to help me prep things for the game. Cara was over in a flash. She helped me install the batteries in each of the dolls and unpacked all the umbrella strollers. She knew a lot about this stuff. Francisco also helped by packing the diaper bag with the bottle and diapers and a small container of talc powder. We then had to figure out how each of the strollers opened up. I wanted to be sure that everything was in working order.
Party day arrived. Loading everything into boxes, I flew it up the mountain to where the planners were setting up. They had mapped out the placement of everything. When I looked at their map, I explained that I moved the game a little further on the edge of the garden because these were Gods and Goddesses, and the space they had arranged would have been too easy for them. They laughingly agreed, and I showed them what I had in mind. They looked at me with wide eyes, but I assured them we wouldn’t hold them accountable if something went wrong.
Hm, wait, could something go wrong? I thought to myself. Nah. My tricks are minimal this time. I smirked as they helped set up my game.
I flew home to get ready for the costume party. I’d picked out the best ones for my siblings and me. We were going as the Black Panther movie characters. Kratos went as M’baku, furs, and all. Zelus went as Golden Jaguar Killmonger, and both Bia and I went with a variation on the Black Panther costume. My hair was up in two small buns, while Bia’s twist braids were down. Once we were dressed, we met in my living room. Before we headed out, we all crossed our arms in front of us and did the shoulder shake, shouting, “Wakanda Forever!!”
Kratos wanted to drive, but I pointed out it was only a short distance. He reluctantly agreed to fly. We landed in our usual formation, side by side.
“Aw look, the God squad has arrived,” Eris said sarcastically.
I could hear oohs and aahs amongst the deities that were already there.
Kratos did not like the attention. “Nike, I’m not staying here long.”
“Chill, Kratos, it’s a party,” Zelus replied.
“It will be fine, Kratos. It’s only a baby shower,” Bia thought to us.
“Hmph,” Kratos scoffed. He hated not being in a suit around the others.
I bumped his shoulder. “Come on, I see them over there.” We headed towards Clio and Eros.
“Oh, my goodness, Clio, you look ravishing,” Zelus said as he approached Clio to hug her.
She smiled and hugged him back.
Bia signed, “The glow about you, dear one, is radiant.”
Clio signed back, “Thank you.”
“Clio, look at you…such a beauty. And by the look of things, you might…” I stopped myself after seeing her face. She looked nervous. Taking her hands, I said, “I bless you with a victorious birth. May it go smoothly.” Her smile returned.
“You guys aced that unison landing. I love it when you do that. You look perfect,” Eros said, handing both my brothers a drink. Kratos nodded, and Zel chugged his quickly. Bia moved to the bar in the blue part of the party. I went and had a look around to see everyone.
Not long after we arrived, the games were announced. My game was the second one called, and I checked the sign-up sheet but only saw two players signed up. I turned to my siblings and begged them to play. Kratos refused, Zelus almost choked on his fifth drink, and Bia just shook her head no. But me being me, I got them to play, anyway. “Goddess of Victory,” I said and winked at them. Perfect; five players were better than two. I had made up cards to explain the rules:
1. When Clio says Go you strap the baby into the stroller.
2. You must get the baby across the finish line IN the stroller.
3. There are obstacles that you must get around, and you must complete the whole course.
4. The first one to complete it wins.
I handed each player a doll, a diaper bag, then lined them up behind their strollers. Eris stood there, holding the baby doll upside down by its leg. Kratos held his in one hand. Aunt Amphitrite cradled it correctly, as did Bia. Zelus held it in a burping position. Rolling my eyes at them, I nodded to Clio and took to the air. “Oh, and one more thing. You can’t use your wings as that wouldn’t be fair to Aunt Amph.”
“Come on, Ni!” Zelus grumbled.
“Wow, Nike, really?” Kratos rolled his eyes at me.
Eris just snorted at me.
“On your marks…get set…”
Each player stepped to the line.
“Go!” Clio shouted.
And as quick as they could, each one tried to figure out how to strap in the baby. Zelus was the first to finish, and he headed through the course, followed by Amph, then Bia. Eris had their baby upside down, but it was strapped in. Kratos was last.
While I flew overhead, I clicked on the cameras I had placed throughout the course and watched to make sure no one cheated. Zelus reached the first task, Sit and Feed Your Baby. Looking in the diaper bag, he found the bottle. Leaving the doll in the stroller, he fed it. Next on the scene was Amph, and seeing what Zelus was doing, she did the same.
Zelus finished and was off by the time Bia and Eris arrived together. Amph was just finishing up. Bia took out her bottle to feed the doll. Eris, having no idea what was what, watched the others, found the bottle, and fed the doll upside down. Kratos arrived as the others left.
Zelus arrived at the next task: Get Across the Pitfall. It required them to push the stroller over a tree bridge. If he slipped, the fierce beast below would devour him and the baby. Okay, they weren’t really fierce beasts, just a pit full of stuffed animals of the jungle. Amph had arrived, and she watched as normally surefooted Zelus slipped. Down he and the stroller went into the pit. Looking down and seeing he was not hurt, Amph got across the bridge without a slip, followed closely by Bia. Eris, seeing Zelus in the pit, wiggled their eyebrows at him as they passed. Zelus was out of the game.
Amph had moved to the next task: Change the Baby. Now, being the Goddess of the Sea, she did not understand what this was. Bia arrived, and she knew what to do. Amph watched her, and so did Eris. Both of them attempted to change the diaper, discovering the hidden surprises I had in each one. A melted candy bar for poop, mashed up green peas for baby blow out, and yellow stuff that came with the dolls. It was hilarious watching the diaper mess gross-out each of them. Kratos threw the diaper at me because I was laughing so hard. All the deities were laughing at them, but they completed the task together.
They headed on to the next obstacle which I had moved in earlier, a 40 x 40 footwall. The sign said: Let Nothing Stop You From Getting the Baby to Safety. The four of them looked at the wall.
“No flying,” I shouted.
“Damn it, Nike!” Kratos shouted back.
Eris vaporized to the other side. Amph saw the lake nearby and called forth the water to move her over the wall. Kratos, feeling frustrated by the whole thing, punched a hole in the wall. Bia rose to catch all the falling bricks, using her telekinetic powers. Both of them caused their babies to fall out of the strollers, and they were eliminated from the game.
Now it was between Eris and Amph. As they continued, they came to the final task: Defeat the Fire-breathing Oak Tree Dragon. Amph swirled the water she’d rode earlier and doused the dragon. Eris, seeing that Amph had the tree contained, continued running with their baby.
Smoke from the fire billowed around them both, and a loud boom sounded, thrusting them forward to the finish line. When the smoke cleared, there Eris sat with four babies on their lap and their doll still tied upside down to the stroller.
I floated down and declared Eris the winner, handing them the golden diaper bag and a medal that read, Best Nanny! Everyone cheered.
“How the hell?” Eris asked.
My siblings all looked at me and smirked. I nodded back at them. They knew what I did, and they approved. Goddess of Victory, after all.
Everyone deserves a win once in a while, right? Wink.