Lesser Greek Gods
She found him in his rooms, playing the lyre, pausing only to scratch either the tiny wings sprouting from his Achilles tendons or his groin. He was nude. There were cups strewn about, sheets draping the bed, the couch, and a couple of chairs, remnants from the last bachelor party. Knowing the bachelors as she did, she estimated this mess would be cleaned sometime next century.
When Hermes finally noticed her entrance, she initiated the conversation with a shrieking demand: “You have got to do something!”
Hermes regarded her state for a moment, then rolled over to grab his himation laying on the floor on the other side of the couch. “Zeus send you?” he asked.
“Are you listening to me? There is a crisis brewing and you have got to do something.”
“Okay, Zeus didn’t send you,” Hermes said, standing facing the young woman who failed to notice his fine male attributes.
“Are you the Messenger of the Gods or are you not?”
Hermes grinned at the young woman. Casually, deliberately pulling the himation over his head, he covered himself, irritated that she still had not paid attention to his physique. “Yea, verily, I am,” Hermes pronounced.
“Then you’ve got to warn the humans they’ve really done it this time.”
“This time? What have they done this time? And what makes it any worse than anything they’ve ever done before?”
”Didn’t you attend the last meeting of the planets?” The possibility that he had not attended seemed to have not occurred to the woman, not until she asked the question.
“No, I never go those things. Zeus and his brother get to comparing notes on how they did their daddy in and Aphrodite stands staring at a mirror while Ares polishes his sword. Same old, same old.”
“Well, then my friend, you missed a meeting for the ages.”
This piqued Hermes’ curiosity, enough that he finally asked what had happened.
“Well, for one thing, I finally made it to the big time list of gods and goddesses still recognized by humans. You know that little rock out beyond Hades? They decided to name it after me.”
Hermes grinned his congratulations. “Calling it Discordia, eh?”
“No, you ninny; they used my real name, Eris. None of that Roman crap for me. So, I’m gonna be around as long as people live in this solar system.”
Hermes considered Eris for a moment before continuing the conversation. Everything he knew about her sent thrills of caution through his being. “I’m pretty certain,” he said at last, “that you don’t want me telling the humans you are just pleased as punch to have a planet named after you.”
“We are now getting to the crisis, Hermes. If you’d been at the meeting; you’d know how serious this is. I am not a planet, not according to the International Astronomical Union, I am in a new class of bodies…”
“I’ve always admired your body’s class,” Hermes interjected.. Eris frowned her annoyance but plowed on with her explanation: “…to be called dwarf planets. Ceres and one other are in my class.”
“Ceres was never in your class, babe,” Hermes said before her words completely sank into his perception. When they did sink in, he asked: “One other?” dreading the answer he suspected was coming.
“Hades has been re-defined as being in my class,” Eris confirmed.
“Oh my stars and garters!” Hermes moaned, beginning to understand the calamity approaching. “Tell me what happened.”
“At the meeting or on earth?”
“On Earth, 75% of the idiot astronomers went home before the meeting was over leaving less than 25% of the entire assembly the opportunity to push their own agenda. The passed the motion to define a new class of solar bodies named dwarf planets and they put me and Ceres and Hades into it.”
“And the regularly scheduled meeting of planets came to order before Hades arrived; the damned fool is never on time to anything. He arrived on the Mount to find the doors closed, Zeus having ordered the meeting closed to all but planetary gods and goddesses.
“Hades pulls up before the Assembly Hall, those black nasties of his stomping, breathing fire, not cooled a bit by getting out of Hades for a while. He jumps from his ebon chariot, strides up the steps as gaudy and prideful as ever to find the door barred to him. He looks around seeing Ceres, Pallas, Hestia, Hygeia and I all standing on the steps like orphan children. ‘What is the meaning of this?’ Hades demands, his query aimed more at Hestia than anyone else. Hestia says to him ‘You know they were meeting on earth and you know what they were going to be discussing.’ Comprehension dawned slowly, even as Hades constructed the reasons for denial: ‘They didn’t have the votes,’ he complained. Pallas made the mistake of jumping into the conversation: ‘They waited till they did have the votes,’ she said, her tone conveying her satisfaction at Hades’ consternation.
“’They can’t do this,’ Hades growled as if it were Pallas’ fault, his look threatening mayhem. ‘They did it,’ Pallas countered, her shield and sword conspicuously in readiness.
“’But I sm one of three most powerful gods in the pantheon; they cannot demote me.’
“It was Hestia who told him to get over himself. She and her sisters were children of the same parents as he and none of them had a planet named after them.”
“You’re women,” Hades said as if that answered that objection. Pallas chimed in with ‘funny thing, so is Aphrodite.”
“How could they do this?” Hades stormed. “How can they demote me while that puny Latin flower child, Saturn, has a major planet. He’s Roman, for Gaia’s sake!”
“’They can and they did,’ Hestia told him. ‘You are now in a class with Ceres and Eris, here, and that class is dwarf planets.’
“Old Hades drew himself up to his full height and he’s pretty damned big, you’ll remember. His voice comes booming out that ‘those petty humans would regret this action.” He jumps into his chariot yelling over his shoulder that ‘evidently, some forgot about all the fires of hell,’ and he drives off into the sunset.
“So,” Hermes asks, “what’s the problem? Hades is pissed; I get that. But, so what? Not enough people believe in him for anything….”
“All the fires of hell,” Eris repeats, her interruption a clear signal that Hermes is missing something.
“Yes, all the fires of hell, so?”
“There are many millions of people who believe in all the fires of hell.”
Seeing the confusion still on Hermes’ face, Eris provided the final sound byte: “You ever hear of global warming?”