Private jet plane flying above dramatic clouds during sunset.

Preparations

“Luis, I want you to do some extra research for this trip. I want you to make me a list of two-threes. Understand?”
“Oh? Is it that time, Master?”

Like everything else in life, flying on a private jet has pros and cons. Sure, you could eat and drink as much as you wanted. You could even stretch out and sleep in an actual bed instead of nodding off and drooling on some stranger’s shoulder. On the other hand, you did not get to meet anyone annoying, and you did not have to put up with babies that enjoyed crying for seven hours straight. Wait a tick! Those were supposed to be cons, weren’t they? Sorry. Unfortunately, it is true that some things have more pros than cons.

Trying to come up with bad things about having a private jet reminded me of an incident that happened a while back, but I could only attribute that to my listening to the wrong voices in my head. When designing the bedroom for your private aircraft, do not opt for a waterbed. One time, my jet hit this particularly nasty current, and the turbulence caused my waterbed to bounce me clear off it and onto the floor. Thank goodness for shag carpeting—gods, how I loved the sixties. If any era can be attached to a deity, that one was mine. And the roaring twenties as well.

As progress deemed necessary, both those items were replaced with memory foam, and medium pile wool fiber. I did not mind the changes too much since my team used these toys of mine more than I ever would in my time. You see, Lynyrd Skynyrd almost had it right when they talked about being a simple kind of man. I was a simple kind of god. Just because I could afford everything, it did not mean that I needed everything. My thyrsos, my feet, and a direction were usually all I needed to make for a good day. That had not changed for me in thousands of years, nor would it.

I was never the type to stay in one place too long. Whether I liked it or not, I got this urge to travel, and that did not mean to walk down the street and come back. I had been known to go on a walk and come back a week or a month later. Or sometimes I didn’t come back at all because I didn’t know where I was anymore. That was why Luis became so good at tracking me down. Before Luis and the age of technology, previous caretakers used to have teams dedicated to following me from afar just to keep track of my whereabouts. 

A soft cough and the sound of rustling papers snapped me back to the present. I refocused my eyes to see Luis and his associates sitting across from my desk, looking at me patiently. When it came to traveling, my feet couldn’t hold a candle to my brain. I blinked a few times and scratched my beard, trying to push my mind to get back to work.

The flight to Napa was a long one, considering that it was almost on the opposite side of the world. One good thing about not being involved in the daily operation of my empire was that I could use up hours upon hours when the time came to be updated. Luis, his two assistants, Mariela and Ricardo, and I sat for most of the flight’s duration, including stopovers. We poured over everything that I needed to know and would forget within the space of this meeting. I did find it comforting that Luis was with me to help keep me in the loop in more ways than one. 

I found it funny that a lot of people partaking in this event started using the term The Calling. It made everything sound very mysterious and cult-y, didn’t it? I had to admit that as much as I groaned at the lengths some of my family would go to be gaudy—or is that Goddy?—I also had some of those tendencies when the mood struck me. And every now and then, this simple kind of god likes to throw a party for his followers. I was starting to think the clock was about to strike now and then because I was feeling the urge to let loose, and I thought everyone else was picking up on that, too.

“Luis, I want you to do some extra research for this trip. I want you to make me a list of two-threes. Understand?”

“Oh? Is it that time, Master? I admit it has been a while, but is there something specific that brought this on? You know how most everyone likes to attach a theme to these…gatherings.”

“Yes, yes! A theme is always a good thing. It adds more flavor to flavor. I think we should go back to basics with this one. Let’s make it a home theme since I returned home.”

Luis gave me a look full of fear, and I saw him put effort into swallowing dry air as if something got caught up in his throat. “Back to basics, sir? How far back are we talking about?”

I gave Luis a look, and that was enough for him to lower his head and pinch the bridge of his nose with a deep sigh. “As you wish, sir. I will make a list of…two-threes. I should have something for you by tomorrow.”

With that, I reached out and placed my hand gently on the back of Luis’ neck and pulled him close, resting my forehead against his. “You know you worry too much. If anything, it looks to me that you need this a lot more than I do.”

“You can’t expect me to be worry-free after entrusting me to run daily operations, Master. Much less adding a…celebration to the mix. It is all simply too much.”

“Of course, I don’t expect you to be worry-free. I chose you to run things so I would be worry-free. But I also chose you because I know you can handle things, and I know you know how to delegate. In the end, I have not built this empire for me. Millions of people not only survive, but thrive through all this, and most of them have no idea that I am behind all that. I prefer it that way. And if you need to hire more personnel to help in this, do so.”

Luis gave me another sigh but nodded in understanding, which made me nod as well because our heads were still attached. “I understand, sir. Thank you for the vote of confidence, sir.”

“Go get some sleep. I know Richyardo and Marinella are using the bunk beds, so feel free to use my bedroom. I will not be sleeping anytime soon.”

Luis pulled away and gave me a half blank, half questioning look. He groaned a bit in an effort not to reply. Instead, he stood and nodded before making his way to the back of the plane where the master suite was. Twelve times I butchered the names of his assistants. I knew I was horrible with names, but at least I was consistent about it. Eleven times Luis corrected me, so for him to pass on this latest opportunity, I was certain it meant he was nearing exhaustion. Even so, I knew he would be up in just a few hours making calls and researching things for me.

I truly loved Luis. He, his family, and his ancestors had been part of my mortal family for generations. Reflecting upon my feelings for Luis and all he had done for me, my mind drifted to Mourgo, and I wondered again about this new bond between the big cat and me. With a loud gasp at my own self, I closed my eyes as the image of Mourgo appearing on the wing of the jet, claws digging into the metal like the Gremlin from Twilight Zone’s Terror at 2000 Feet popped in my head. I pushed the thought away, quickly stole a glance outside again, and relaxed a bit when nothing grasped at the wing of the plane. Shaking my head violently to clear my thoughts, I got back to reading the seemingly endless stacks of charts and company profiles scattered before me.

Dionysos (Peter Farmer)
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