Hook Up of the Gods (short fiction)

In the Company of Ogres

Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest

The demi-god watching the door glanced at Franklin. “He can’t come in.”

Grog, great god of the orcs, said, “He’s my plus one.”

“He’s mortal.”

“He was mortal. Now he’s post-mortal.”

“It’s no big deal,” said Franklin. “I don’t need to—”

Grog’s five heads sneered in unison. “He’s my plus one. There isn’t anything in the invitation that says post-mortals aren’t allowed.”

“It’s assumed,” said the demi-god.

Screw that. If I wasn’t allowed to bring him, it should’ve said so on your damned invitation. I even RSVP’d. So don’t give me that.”

The demi-god sized up the tremendous orc deity before him and decided he wasn’t paid enough to stand in Grog’s way. “Whatever.”

Grog and Franklin walked into the party. For Grog, it was an old scene, a mixer of gods and god-like things from across the universes. Franklin’s bare soul would’ve melted, screaming, exposed to such raw divine power, but Grog put a shield around his post-mortal guest.

“Hey, thanks for bringing me along,” said Franklin.

“Forget it,” said Grog. “I generally hate these things. Nice to have someone here who isn’t a complete asshole.”

A multi-dimensional being with a thousand eyes and two thousand tentacles stumbled past Grog, jostling the orc god, spilling its nectar and rum on him.

“Ah, jeez, guy,” said the being. “Sorry. I didn’t see you there, pal.” It lurched away drunkenly.

Grog grabbed some napkins from a passing server and dabbed at the liquid on his armor. The point of these mixers was for gods to chat it up and kick back. It wasn’t always easy being a god, and a universe wasn’t easy to manage. Here, they didn’t have to worry about blowing up worlds with a careless act. Here, they didn’t have to face the dilemmas of power and what to do with it. Here, there were no mortals to watch over and for a while, the concerns of everyday omnipotent immortal life could be put aside.

It was just a shame he didn’t like them more, but Grog didn’t like many people, mortal or immortal.

A comely goddess of oblivion, shimmering like an ocean of stars, sidled up to Franklin. “Well, hello, you delicious morsel.”

“Beat it,” said Grog. “He’s with me.”

The goddess shrugged and walked away. She continued to eye Franklin from across the room.

“She probably just wants to devour your soul.”

“Might we worth it,” said Franklin.

Grog chuckled.

He stepped aside as the Red Goddess helped herself to some punch.

“I hate these things,” she said.

“Who doesn’t?” he replied.

“You’re an orc god, aren’t you?” she asked. “We have orcs in my universe, though they don’t have a god to call their own.”

“I’m not looking to expand,” he said. “I don’t like the ones I have.”

The Red Goddess laughed. “It isn’t always easy, is it? Keeping these mortals from screwing everything up.”

“Tell me about it,” said Grog. “Ungrateful bastards.”

The goddess raised her cup. “I’ll drink to that.”

He tapped his plastic cup against hers.

A little while later, Grog pulled Franklin aside. “Hey, Frank, I think I’m going to take off.”

“Okay.” Franklin slammed the last of his drink and finished off a pig-in-a-blanket. “I’m ready.”

“Uh, yeah.” Grog’s second and third heads nodded toward the Red Goddess waiting for him by the door. “I love you, buddy, but this might be a third wheel situation.”

“Oh.” Franklin nodded. “Sure, I get it. I’ll get somebody else to take me home.”

Grog slammed his giant hand across Franklin’s back, and Franklin fell on his face. “Cool, buddy. You’re the best.”

“No problem,” said Franklin. But Grog was already out the door.

The shimmering goddess stood before Franklin. She smiled as she took his hand and helped him to his feet. Her touch was warm and a tingle ran up his arm.

“I couldn’t help overhearing,” she said. “Do you need a ride?”

“I wouldn’t want to trouble you.”

“Nonsense. It’s on my way.”

“I didn’t tell you where it was.” He didn’t know himself. He was only a post-mortal. He didn’t understand the multidimensional omniverse. He thought maybe his universe was to the left of that one with all the vampires, but that might have been completely meaningless.

“My dear boy, everywhere is on my way.” She put her arm around his shoulder and pressed her tender body against him. It was like getting a hug from the sun. Warm and enticing and fatal in large enough doses. “We’ll have to stop by my place along the way though. I do hope that’s okay.”

Franklin, who by all rights should’ve fallen into oblivion long ago, figured there were worst ways for a post-mortal to end his time in this omniverse. The sparkling eyes of the goddess alone held wonders that priests would die to know or NOT know, depending on their particular theology. There was no telling what other secrets her body might hold.

“Sure. Why not?”

The goddess took his arm, and they strolled out the door.

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