I looked up from the recon reports I was reviewing when the phone buzzed. I pressed the button to see what was going on.
“Sir?” came Estrella’s smooth voice over the intercom, “There is a Mr. Hades here to see you.”
“Mr. Hades? Please send him up,” I replied. A minute or so later, the girls perked up their ears and I could hear my uncle’s footsteps on the iron staircase that led up to my office. Hades gave a quick rap on the door and stuck his head in immediately.
“Come in, Uncle. Sit down,” I said as I rose and gestured to one of the leather chairs across from my desk.
“Thank you, Dinlas,” he replied as he shook my hand, then sank into the chair. Both my girls, Hate and Jealousy, got up to greet him and get their ears rubbed.
“I just wanted to stop by quickly and see how you are doing. You know, last time I saw you, well, you didn’t seem to be doing great.”
I nodded and replied, “That’s fair. I’m, uh, I’m doing better. Nana Hera helped me out with Zeus, so that’s all straight. And the nightmares…”
Hades interrupted me. “I heard Ares fell on the sword for you.”
I shifted in my chair. I knew never to lie to Uncle Hades. He could sniff out a lie instantly. But I thought he wouldn’t catch me glossing over and omitting part of the story.
“Well, yes,” I replied, “he did tell Zeus he authorized it. I never heard what Grandpa said. All I know is I never heard anything else about it.”
Hades smiled. He was, as always, impeccably dressed. He was wearing a black slacks and a sport-coat that tapered in at the waist over a plain button down white shirt. He also had on a pair of black Italian loafers and as always carried his walking stick.
He looked like the coolest mortician ever.
“You need to give credit where credit is due, Dinlas.”
I shifted again. “I know, it’s just that, well, never mind.”
Hades smiled again. “It’s hard after all these years, but I do think he is trying. But I came to ask about you. Seriously, how are you doing? You started to say something about nightmares. Has Morpheus been deviling you?”
I shook my head. “No, no sign of Morpheus. I’m doing better. I just have been having trouble relating to these mortals. You know so much has changed now. These mortals are so enamored with their technology that they have forgotten about their spirituality.”
Hades laughed openly, “The God of Hate and Jealousy is upset about a loss of spirituality?”
“Well, I don’t know how to describe it. These mortals worship hate towards one another, but not The God of Hate. They worship war, but most have never heard of Ares. And death, they pray for death to each other, but all too often your name is nothing more than a punchline in a joke.” I shook my head as Uncle studied me intently. Then I continued, “It’s as if they deny our existence so they can assume the role of god themselves.”
Hades shrugged and replied, “Things are different for you, no doubt. From my end though, things never really change. People die, Charon ferries them across, and I take over from there.”
We sat quiet for a moment, then he commented,“What else?”
I looked at him for a moment then said, “Well, Phobos and Deimos came to me for jobs. Still not sure if Mother put them up to it or not.”
“Did you hire them? I see you hired Markos away from Heph and Ares.”
Damn, he doesn’t miss anything.
I shook my head. “No, not sure if I’m going to, either. And just so you know, Markos came to me. Said he liked Uncle Heph well enough, but really didn’t like Ares at all.”
“Well, I know Zeus may have some work for Phobos and Deimos if they are interested.”
“I’ll let them know,” I replied.
Hades simply nodded. We sat quiet for another minute then he spoke up.
“I talked to your Aunt Demeter. Both she and Hera were grateful for your help with Hera’s issue.”
I shrugged. “It’s Nana Hera. I would never miss a chance to help her, or you.”
“Well you’re certainly making a name for yourself as a fixer within the family. I also heard you helped your father tracking a killer with the girls. We need that same feeling of charity amongst the rest of the family. That is, if we are going to make a successful return here.”
We again sat quiet then I said, “Oh, I’ve been on a few dates with my secretary.”
Hades sat up straighter in his chair and replied, “Oh yeah? Who? That redhead or one of the others off to the side?”
“Sweet baby,” he said, “have you given her the old…” He trailed off, but made a pumping motion, like a piston, with his arm.
“Actually, I have not,” I replied. He frowned, clearly disappointed.
“But, we have, well, I have been giving her some training.”
“Training?” he echoed. He had a confused look on his face.
“Yeah. She’s into, hmmm, well how…I guess I can just say it. She’s into bondage and discipline. She’s a submissive, but that’s all I’m going to say.”
Hades whistled and really sat up straight now. “That’s all you’re going to say? You’re killing me here, Nephew. Do you have any video?”
“Huh, you must really like her if you’re being so coy with me on the details.”
“I do. I’ve been in relationships like this before, but this time, it’s different. It’s like I’m addicted to this mortal. When we’re apart, I want to see her. When I see her, I want to touch her. I just can’t stop thinking about her.”
“All this and you haven’t been with her yet?”
I nodded and replied, “If she touches me, even if it’s just here in the office, I feel like I’m on fire.”
“Well, she caught my eye straight away,” Hades said as he chuckled, “especially that tattoo on her neck.”
“Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t mention that first. You should see that thing. It goes from the hairline above her ear to her ankle. It’s positively mesmerizing.”
Hades sighed. “Well, I’m glad you found this mortal if she makes you happy. You know, just be careful. Even though we’re gods, we can still get hurt.” He stood, then added, “I guess I should be going.”
I stood as well and stepped around the desk to give him a perfunctory hug.
“I’m glad to see you smile, Dinlas,” he said.
“Thank you. I really am glad we had a chance to talk, Uncle. Are you going to teleport from here?”
He smiled, with a twinkle in his eye, as he headed for the door, “Oh no, I’m going to get another look at this redhead on my way out.”
“Suit yourself,” I laughed as he exited and closed the door.
I stood for a moment reflecting on our conversation. Uncle Hades wasn’t the most touchy-feely kind of guy, but it was nice he stopped to check up on me. I tapped out a cigarette and lit it as I sat back down at my desk. The girls got up and nuzzled me for more attention. I alternated rubbing them behind the ears.
Damn, now he’s got me all worked up and thinking about Estrella again…