The lights were still flashing as the last song of my set played. The euphoric crowd of mortals were still pumping their fists into the air as the lights cut to black; this was my cue to leave. It’s dark, but I’m used to it. The stage crew, on the other hand, were trying to get me safely out the exit. Ever since I took over Coachella, it’s been festival after festival, groupie after groupie. I thought I would love all this praise and worship, but even I’ve grown tired of all the attention.
This God needs a break, but how? I didn’t want to break Zeus’ rules, not after being allowed back into the Pantheon. I jumped into the backseat of the black suburban; the driver asks me where to. He’s assuming, like every other night, I want to hit up some after-hours party, but not tonight. I reached for my water bottle, cracked it open and looked at the driver. “Can you just drive?”
I opened my window to get a breeze moving through the car and rested my head back on the seat. It’s not long before my phone starts to buzz. Notifications from my Twitter account, Instagram – all mortals were tagging me and telling me how much they loved me. I pushed mute on all notifications. Some nights, I just wanted it to go back to before Zeus and his big ideas. I missed the days of solidarity on the mountain and before I had the crazy idea to be adored by millions; when I could actually rest and enjoy the Nyx Sky.
The driver stopped at a street light, and I looked out the window. A tiny coffee shop had its open sign still on. A coffee shop, open, this late at night? That can’t be right. I asked the driver to pull over. Maybe I’d be able to get a decent cup of coffee and be able to sit in silence for a while.
The coffee shop was dimly lit, old couches strewn about with a few lounge tables here and there. I counted five heads in the building, including the barista. I took the closest seat to the door in case word got out I’m here; I would need the quickest exit.
The barista was a lonely looking mortal with circles under her eyes. “What can I get you?”
Keeping my head down, I asked for a regular cup of coffee. Nothing fancy, no whipped cream, or syrups, just plain black coffee.
“Hey, aren’t you?” The tired barista looked at me closely.
I gave her some slight acknowledgment. I didn’t want to be completely rude. Then I raised my finger to my lips. “Shhh.”
She nodded and took off for the coffee bar. If Nike knew I was at any other coffee shop than hers, she would be upset. But her Starbucks was on the other side of the country, and sometimes breaking away from this mortal body just to fly across the country for a plain cup of Joe, which Starbucks frowned upon anyway, wasn’t worth it. I made a mental note to make it up to her later.
Just as I was settling into my cup of coffee, my phone started to vibrate. It’s Nike. Holy balls!
“Uh, hey, Nike, what’s up?”
“Have you seen Prometheus?” She sounded nervous.
“Err ― no ― but I just finished up a show, and I’m kind of bagged.” I tried to get her off the phone in a hurry.
“Yeah, see, I dropped him and Aphrodite off at your gig and well ― I can’t find him now.”
“You lost Prometheus?”
“Mm-hmm, and I lied to Daddy about it. I borrowed Daddy’s car; I was only going to drop them off and pick them up. This was never supposed to happen. But you know how Prometheus gets after he’s had a few drinks in him,”
~sigh~ I rolled my eyes back in my head, looking up at the yellowed ceiling.
“So, if you could find him quickly, that would help.” I could hear the eagerness in her voice. “Oh, and he may have taken Daddy’s car, too.”
“All right, but you’ll owe me. I’ll have my driver take me back and get the security to start looking. Don’t worry, Nike, we’ll find him.”
“Thanks, I’ve been very worried…”
“Yeah, don’t mention it.” I didn’t mind helping out Nike, she was one of my favourites. Always a free spirit and full of love.
“By the way, Big E, you know I can serve you plain coffee, too, right?”
Shit. I had been caught. “How’d you know?”
“I’m Nike, coffee barista to the Gods and mortals. Of course I’d know if you went somewhere else. Next time, I’ll send an Uber eats to bring you the coffee. Don’t worry about flying over here after your show; I know how much you need the rest.”
I laughed. “Okay, little one.”
“Just go find Prometheus,” Nike begged.
I slammed back the rest of the coffee like it was a shot of Jagger and walked out the door feeling a bit revived. The driver tucked his newspaper under his arm and circled back round to the driver’s side. “Where to, boss?”
“We need to go back to the club. Someone’s missing and possibly in trouble.”
It didn’t take long to circle back to the club. Most of the stragglers had emptied out, and I was able to slip back in unnoticed. I went straight over to the bar where Scott was cleaning up. Not a lousy mortal, pretty straight edge for being a bartender. I knew if anything unusual happened during the show, he would be the one to remember.
“Scottie.” I approached him as if we were bros; raising the pitch in my voice like I’ve heard other male mortals do.
“Hey, Big E, what brings you back? Was the after party no good?”
“I wouldn’t know, I didn’t go. Do you remember seeing anything out of the sorts tonight? Maybe a beautiful woman with a disgruntled looking man who seemed out of place?”
Scottie stopped stacking the glasses and snorted. “Oh, those two.”
I don’t know why I was surprised to hear that he remembered seeing Aphrodite and Prometheus. I mean, once you meet a God, its kind of hard to forget us. “So, something happened?” I raised an eyebrow.
“I’d say.” Scott wiped down the counter in front of him.
I continued to wait as Scottie finished up behind the bar. My patience was growing thin. The sun would be coming up soon, and Nyx would be waiting for me. It’s not like I wanted to chase Prometheus all over this Gods damn earth.
“Well, she was over in this corner for the majority of the evening, scoring free drink after free drink. I mean, a woman with her looks, that’s not surprising; its not the first time I’ve seen it. But she could have had every man here wrapped around her finger. Anyway, the two got in a heated discussion from the looks of it, and when some guy tried stepping in, a stack of empty glasses was knocked over. Security came over, and the boys were thrown out.”
“You don’t know what they were fighting about, do you?” I scratched my forehead, already knowing the answer.
“Not a clue, I don’t have time for that shit. But your boy Dion was here though, maybe he can shed light on what happened.”
My phone began to buzz. I reached out a hand, thanking Scott for his help.
I looked down at the caller ID. Unknown name and number.
“Erebus?” It was my wayward grandson. There was a lot of noise coming from wherever he was calling from.
“Calling to brag about getting out?” I was curious to hear the story. Instead, there was a long pause. It sounded like he was crying.
“Is she back?” Prometheus finally said.
~sigh~ I was beginning to sense a theme tonight. “Who are you talking about? Where are you, Prometheus? Nike is worried about you.”
“Never mind.” Static and people yelling came in through the line. Prometheus yelled over the noise. “I’m in Bristol. They’re throwing me into a cage, please I—”
The call dropped.
Shaking my head. Bristol was easily two hours away, but I’d rather go myself than talk to another deity. What kind of shit storm did I get dragged into?
My phone buzzed again. A text from the wife.
“Erebus darling, I have a gig for you.”
~sigh~ No rest for the wicked.