“Why? What was wrong with that?” I asked Alessandro.

He twitched and swung his arms in every direction, snapping at everyone within earshot, “Somebody, please tell me what I’m looking at! What’s with those rocks? They were never in this scene!”

Alessandro clumsily spun around, looking like a drunk monkey as he continued to point out what seemed to be the most obvious problems to him. “Look! Even the lighting is wrong! Could somebody please get my technical director over here now? Pronto!” 

Everyone was growing increasingly nervous the longer he milled around feverishly, rubbing his head. Come to think of it; he looked a lot like his production assistant Paulino. “The entire scene was wrong! Why? Why do I always end up with a crew that refuses to follow directions?”

Although, I was amused by what was going on, my thoughts were even funnier. Tickled by the entertainment, I skipped over the little bits and pieces of beach debris, giggling, as I made my way to Alessandro’s side.

“God. You again! You’re like a fucking insect. Why are you all over me?” he asked with a hint of wickedness in his eye. “I don’t have time for you right now. I have to deal with props and lighting before anything else!”

Thinking about it, who could blame him? Most mortals were easily rattled with the slightest of change, and this was fairly significant. But who could blame me? The first set was entirely wrong. He just didn’t see it. Everything about that location was unacceptable except for the sand and water, and even then, the colors were wrong. There was also my issue with the pretend rocks. They were styrofoam, for goodness sake. That was when I drew the line. 

I was the real deal. Therefore, my surroundings had to match me. This sorceress had no tolerance for anything artificial. 

The rocky coastline of Aeaea would have been the perfect location. But it wouldn’t be right to take them there. So, I did what any proactive goddess would do. I made the executive decision to make a few unrequested and unannounced adjustments. Well, technically, it was one big change. I simply moved the entire set to a more believable spot. I relocated everyone and everything to Caprera Cala Coticcio, Italy, not far from the coastline of the Cantabrian Sea, Spain.

How could this have been a problem? Seriously. The Odyssey was about me, well, Odysseus and me, but you get the point. That fact alone gave me even more reason to transport the set to an area that appropriately represented the time Odysseus and I spent together! 

Fortunately, Caprera Cala Coticcio happened to share the same waters with Aeaea. Both were located in the Tyrrhenian Sea with brilliantly crystalline blue waters, and the commanding rock formations were quite similar to my original home. Although looking as if they were fountains spewing up from the sands, they were a solid formation that created a natural fortress wall that provided a sense of privacy and safety. Then again, these mortals wouldn’t know the similarities, even if they had seen my home away from home. 

Maybe I had been a bit drastic. Maybe I should have consulted with one of the producers before acting on what I wanted. 

Ha! That was a very short-lived moment of remorse. Asking anyone in charge around here would have held the entire production up for months! We needed to have things happen right now!

However, rest assured, I did nothing until the casting director kindly recruited me for the role of Penelope. That’s when shit got real!

“Excuse me. What did you say your name was?” I asked with a slight sneer. 

“I’m sorry. I thought you knew my name already. Unbeknownst to me, you’ve been hanging around here for a while now. My name is Claire,” she said.

I gave her a nod and thanked her. “It’s very nice to make your acquaintance, Claire.” I reached out to shake her hand when she abruptly turned to make a gesture towards Alessandro. “Uh, huh.” Tapping her on the shoulder, I continued, “I don’t believe I heard your question properly. Would you mind repeating it for me? What did you want with me?” 

She spun back around and pleaded with her hands clasped. “We’re really hoping you’d be open to jumping in and playing the part of Penelope. Do you have any acting experience?”

I  waved my hand and pointed my finger at her to object. “Hold that thought and indulge me for a moment. Tell me. Who am I?”

Clearly taken aback, Claire jerked her head as if my query was a slap to the face. “You’re Circe.” In the same breath, she mirrored my posture, yet dramatically highlighted her irritation by drawing circles in the air with her finger as she declared, “The one and only! I know. I’ve been told. But that has no relevance to my request. The actress playing Penelope had to leave for an emergency. Trust me, I heard you when you first announced yourself weeks ago. We all heard you.” 

She went on to underscore her final thought by spreading her arms as wide as possible. “The entire crew knew your name with that first introduction. This request has nothing to do with who you say you are. You are my only option. I don’t have time, nor do we have the budget for me to fly off somewhere to scout out another Penelope. I am asking you on behalf of the production company. Are you willing to fill this one role?”

Astounded by the audacity and ignorance of this mortal, I coyly agreed to step in for the ailing actress. At the same time, I was confident that I’d also be filling the role of Circe soon enough. That was the mission since meeting Paulino on the beach and my entire purpose for hanging out on the set.

“Happy to, Claire. But, I have—” I started to make a request until she launched a fierce interruption at me that was both rude and captivating.

“What? What is so damned pressing? Why am I still looking at you in front of me? Why aren’t you in costume?”

“I was only about to ask about—” Waving her hands in my face, she cut me off again.

“No, no, no! Please get yourself over to the costume coordinator immediately!”

“Fine. Where is this person?” I asked.

Without saying a word and with a quick flick of her wrist, she waved in the direction of the wall of rocks behind her.  

“Um, excuse me for asking this—” As I’ve heard it said, the third time’s a charm. I no sooner began to speak when her eyes rolled back and her head fell backward. 

“Seriously, Circe?”

Hesitant, yet amused, I answered, “Yeah. I don’t see anything.” 

Clearly flustered, she spun around to see what I saw. Nothing. “What the hell? It was there just a moment ago.”

“Are you sure about that?” I asked. “I suspect you are a bit stressed out these days.” 

“I don’t think so. I know exactly what I’m talking about,” she insisted, shaking her head as if she was trying to make sense of what was going on.

“You know,” I suggested. “I’m guessing you’re overheated and could use a break to cool off. I’ll walk over there and ask someone else how to get to the costume department while you take a break and get some rest.” Taking her by the arm, I went on to say, “Why don’t I grab you a nice cup of tea?”

“Trust me, I’m fine.” She said, quickly pulling her arm from my grasp. “You just need to get into costume, now.”

Reassuring her with a smile, I informed her that it really was no problem. “I have a very special blend, and I’m happy to share some with you. You deserve a break, and my tea will help you feel so much better in no time. Besides, your work is done, for now.”

“Hey, Claire! Where are the pigs?” Alessandro hollered from across the set.

“Huh? It’s not time for them yet.”

Alessandro raced towards her with great urgency, continuing to shout while trying to catch his breath. “I know! But they need to be here, and they’re nowhere to be found.” He placed his hand over his heart and tried to calm his breathing. “Where the hell are they?”

Watching this unscripted scene unfold was unbelievable! I had never witnessed such pandemonium and found myself really missing my little casita and tribe. How was Amber? I left her to keep an eye on the farm while selfishly taking a vacation. Well, I don’t know about selfish. I just couldn’t see myself ever travelling with an emotionally charged pregnant woman. She was already moody and tense to begin with, which became increasingly worse the bigger her belly became. So, I left that mess for Brady to manage on his own. That was their deal, and at the same time, home was pulling at my heart which meant, time was of the essence!

I no sooner had that thought when I heard myself loudly cry out, “Enough already!”

Within a split second, all eyes turned in my direction. Yet, while the wide variety of scowls aimed at me were highly entertaining, they did very little to interrupt the insanity on the set. These mortals officially needed a break, and who better to give it to them than me. I was the one with the power.

So, with a quick wave of my arms, every one of those crazy mortals was suspended in time. I felt a twinge of disappointment because I was really hoping to share some of my tea with Claire, but, these delusional humans left me no choice. I had things I wanted and needed to do, and their nonsense was holding me up!

With every crew member put on pause, I seized the moment to temper the madness and move things from chaos to completion. The time had come for me to take matters into my own hands. 

The first step was to scout out some local talent which led me to the nearest village on the island, Borgo di Stagnali. The goal was to borrow a small herd of pigs. Let’s be real. There was no way I could turn any of the backstage technicians into swine. These people were the only promise holding this circus together. 

But as luck would have it, there was not a pig to be found. However, I did come across a small group of young arrogant, and slovenly male mortals that I knew would benefit from a lesson with Circe. Why not take advantage of another opportunity to school the present group of compulsive and unimaginative humans? Quite frankly, it was reminiscent of my days on Aeaea with Odysseus. These young men were perfect candidates for this movie project.

I lured them over with some ale, even though that’s not what I was really offering. I’ve learned the hard way. It’s not easy convincing a human to do anything unless it involves a suggestive vice. So, I formulated a brew that had them drooling and wrestling each other for a swig. 

The point of my recruitment excursion was to get this movie over and done with. The people involved left me no choice but to take matters into my own hands. I graciously volunteered my time to play a part in this film but was the only one taking the work seriously!

At the end of each scene, I felt nothing but incompetent with all the redirection being thrown at the guys behind the scenes or me. Yet again, every actor was being scolded over their performance as if they were a feral child. From what I could tell, the directors and producers were projecting their incompetence and behaving as if they had the rest of their lives to be on this one set. 

Not me! I may be immortal, but there was no way I signed up to hang with this group of mortals for any longer than necessary. The time had come to rope ’em and dope ’em because I was seriously done. 

This was only meant to be a vacation, and I was longing for home.

Circe (Tammy Davis)
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