Bemused, I watched as Zeus continued to swing back and forth outside of the window, driven mostly by the winds from the nearby tornado that he manufactured. With each passing moment, his lovely hair and precious Armani suit were becoming more and more saturated with his own rain. I had to stifle my delight every time the angry sky spit out a rush of hailstones that pelted him mercilessly. It was about time that he got a taste of his own medicine.
“Really?” he yelled. “Are you really going to leave me dangling as nightgoyle bait for leverage?”
“Uh huh, I am,” I replied as I delicately untangled the bird’s talons from my hair. Finally released, it flopped onto the windowsill, looked at the storm that still raged outside and opted to hop down to the floor. I watched as it staggered towards the overgrown jungle that covered the entertainment pit.
“Ok, I respect that. What are your terms?” he called up over a clap of thunder.
“Well, first tell me exactly what you want from me, Z.”
“Fair enough. I want you to head up our Public Relations Firm for the Olympus Administration.”
I laughed. “Public Relations? Seriously? I don’t know anything about PR.”
“Sure you do. You’ve been planting thoughts in mortals’ heads for millennia. I just want you to do it on a much bigger scale, using technology and mass media.” His eyes widened and he began to struggle against the vines. “Uh, Mox? They’ve spotted me.”
“They?” I asked. “Oh! They. The nightgoyles, you mean. Better talk fast then.”
“Moxie! This is no time to act like me! Pull me in, now!”
“First, you have to promise that you’ll cause no more damage to this mortal.”
“Also, you need to agree that we’ll work out a fair compromise and no micromanaging, Z. That means that you’ll keep your nose out of the details of what I do in this…this job.”
“I can live with that,” he replied, his eyes fixed on the creatures above. “Now! Moxie! Now!” he screamed.
I yanked the vine, hoisting him in just as three pitch black masses swooped passed the window.
“Whew. That was close!” he grumbled. “Now get me out of these.”
I nodded agreement and unfurled the vines, releasing him, “So, what was that blue pulsating hole about? They seemed to be coming from there.”
Zeus picked off the last of the vines and turned back to survey the sky. “I don’t know. It wasn’t my doing. I watched the hole close up and disappear just as one last nightgoyle slipped through.” He turned back to me, shaking his head. “This makes no sense, though. It’s morning. Those creatures should have fallen like a stone and smashed to pieces on the sidewalk in daylight. ”
I pointed to the window. “The sky is dark. Too dark. You need to clear that up if you want to ground them.”
He stroked his beard, pondering. “Good point.”
Within moments, the first beams of sunlight broke through the clouds and the tornado fizzled, collapsing onto itself. As predicted, we watched two of the nightgoyles fall passed the window. In a few seconds, they would hit the ground and burst into a thousand shards of what would appear, to the casual observer, to be concrete.
“That should buy us some time to wrangle up the rest of them. We’ll need to get them back to Tartarus before nightfall.” Zeus said as he walked over to what was left of his desk. He tugged and pried open a mangled drawer, pulling out a cell phone. “I need to call Hades and find out what is going on.”
I shuddered and rubbed at my arms trying to ward off a distant memory of my own horrifying experience with nightgoyles. Let’s just say that you don’t want to run into one of them after dark, let alone a whole wing of them. I’ll give you all of the gory details another time.
“Huh. That’s odd,” Zeus said as he slid the phone into his pocket. “He’s not answering.”
“Hades? Not answering? That’s not like him. He’s pretty obsessive about promptly responding.”
“Yeah…” he replied, staring off lost in thought.
“Z? Z?” I snapped my fingers in front of his eyes.
“Oh! Yes. Just wondering about my brother. Those things are nasty business…” he trailed off. “Speaking of business, you and I have a deal then, right? You’ll head up our public relations efforts.”
“I said I would, but If you think I’m going to white wash our history and the daily nuttery that goes on with this family, think again, big guy.”
“Whitewash? I didn’t ask you to whitewash anything. I just want people to remember who we are. Get the word out to the masses.”
I chuckled. “You sure about that? Granted, Homer, Hesiod and that bunch told some pretty tall tales and even outright lies just to get invites to parties, but you and I both know that some of it is true. Do you really want all of that dredged back up?”
“Look, I never begrudged those fellows making coin for singing their songs, producing their plays, and generally spreading fake news to the henchfolk. A guy’s gotta eat, or in Socrates’ case, drink. Plus, it was good for business. Mortals worshiped us. They feared us and that kept them in line. Most importantly, they knew who we were. We need that again.”
I shrugged. “Suit yourself, but I’m not gonna lie for you. I’ll get the word out, but that includes the ugly truth, too.”
“Haven’t you heard that all publicity is good publicity?” he said as he futility swiped his hands down his ruined jacket trying to make it look more presentable.
“You say that now…” I replied, then smirked, “You are wasting your time, Z. That suit is trashed.”
“Yeah, well, I’m taking that out of your allowance,” he retorted.
“I don’t get an allowance.”
“Well, then I’m taking it out of your inheritance.”
We just stood looking at each other.
Finally, a mischievous grin broke across his face, “Oh, lighten up, Mox. This will be fun!”
I snorted. “Yeah, fun. So, are we done? Can I get going? I left my regular mortal parked at a hotel and need to return this one. Plus, I have a pedicure appointment…”
“Of course. You go do your thing. I’ve got to get this mess cleaned up and deal with the nightgoyle situation.”
I nodded and turned to leave.
“Oh! Moxie. I almost forgot. Here’s the keys to your new office,” Zeus called out and tossed me the keys as I stepped through the now glassless doorway. “Also, remember you promised to see your mother’s penthouse before you go.”
I snagged the key ring midair. The fob was stamped, “90th Floor.”
“I’m on the floor right below you?” I asked.
“Of course! We will be working closely together. Besides, you know you were always my favorite.”
I lifted a dubious brow. “Uh huh. That’s a load of malakíes.”
“Or maybe just keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” ran through his mind.
I pursed my lips. “I heard that, Z.”
He grinned sheepishly. “Good talk.”