Lesser Greek Gods
Haven't I Seen You Before?
When you walk into a bar named Cicero’s Pad and Pen, you should expect something out of the ordinary. She told herself that was precisely why she had come in but, now, she was having second thoughts. She looked at the grasshopper in the martini glass still resting on the napkin untouched and tried again to understand what the guys on either side of her were saying.
On the left, she heard a pleasant baritone murmuring; “Te laesisti ubi de olympo cecidisti?” while in the right ear a more soothing bass insisted: “fatum est!” and her brain seemed intent on correlating how falling from Olympus can be fated. Certainly she grasped the fact that both were attempting to seduce her, the blonde on her left and the dark bearded one her right. Both new to her yet both known from ages and ages past. Was it really all her life that had gone like this? Why had she not murdered Ovid when she had the chance?
Turning to her left, she asked the blonde: “what’s your name again?” striving mightily to ignore the incessant crooning on her right.
“Nomen meum? Mei amici me Adonis nominant.”
“Can you drop the Latin, and um, did you say Adonis?”
“I did say Adonis,” the blonde replied.
On her right Blue Beard murmured “Mei amici me Dionysus.”
Her head snapped around to Blue Beard, fire in her eyes,
fire in the question: “Then why Latin and not Greek?”
His reply turned her back to the blonde: “Say, that’s right. Why ARE you using Latin?”
“Because Ovid made me a Roman,” the blonde said, his face blushing slightly at the admission.
To her herself, she muttered: See? I should have murdered the old bastard! While she engaged in such recrimination, the basso profundo on her right observed: “Since you are not doing any damage to the grasshopper, may I suggest a Garnacha Noir?” His right hand moved the green concoction to his own right where no one sat while his left hand summoned the bartender. Rather than protest his action, she found herself distracted by the offer. “Is that one of those wines from Samos?” she asked. “Or, no, since you’re offering, it must be from Hios or Thassos, right?”
“Ah, you offend me, my dear. No, this wine I’m about to introduce you to is from Spain, Priorat to be exact. Tasting it you will discover a cherry flavor, very round, great character.”
From the other side came a not unexpected protest. “Hey, don’t pay attention to the wannabe snob; Garnacha Noir, indeed! Look, now, and I will be you deer.”
”My dear? I asked you to be my dear?”
“Nay, fair maid, I just remember that once you so invited me, to be your deer.”
She reached across the dark bearded one, retrieved her drink and downed a half. During the drink, her mind raced over the blonde’s words. She’d invited him? When? Why? And why did she not remember?
“Are you certain you do not have me confused,“ she started but Blue Beard finished for her: “with someone who gives a damn? Go away, boy, and leave these matters to your better.”
“His better?” she turned on Blue Beard, much to the blonde’s delight. “What makes you his better? Do you know something I do not?
”As old as he is, he ought to know much more than you do,” Adonis offered.
“Ah, you pup of a man, you know she has age on me,” Dionysus.
She stared in disbelief at this Dionysus even as Adonis behind her purred: “And now he chooses to insult you. Older than he? When you it was who described yourself without one wrinkle in your brow; your eyes grey, and bright, and quick in turning; your beauty as the spring doth yearly grow, your flesh soft and plump, your marrow burning; your smooth moist hand, were it with my hand felt, would in my palm dissolve, or seem to melt.” That was you and that remains you.”
“Plump? You think I’m plump?”
The bartender, returning with the wine, stood waiting to be told where to place same, the woman obviously drinking her grasshopper.
“Even as Titian remember you,” Adonis said, “plump and sensuous and…”
“Oh, c’mon!” Dionysus snarled. “Even Titian would look at her now and know that he’d better paint her as Degas would.”
She turned again to Blue Beard, looking at him in disbelief, then looking at the drink she still held as deciding which was more confusing” a drink named after an insect or insect claiming to be a god. Finally, the only words that came were “Degas? You think I’m pin-up material?” There was no smile of appreciation in accompanying her question. Awaiting an answer, she downed her drink.
“More than pin-up material, dear one; you are beauty embodied.”
Hearing the bar door open, she turned to discover another man entering, a man whose face filled with welcoming smile when he saw her watching his approach.
“Hey, babe,” the newcomer called, “sorry I’m late. You ready to go?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m ready,” she said standing. “I am so ready to clear my head and remember exactly who I am.”
The newcomer helped her off the bar stool and flashed a bill on the bar. “Will that cover her drink?” he asked and the bartender, still holding the glass of red wine, nodded enthusiastically.
Taking her arm, the new guy said: “C;mon. Thena, we don’t want to be late to your mother’s dinner party. She’ll be spitting apples if we are.”
As they walked out, wrapped in each other’s company, Blue Beard turned to the blonde watching the pair exit: “Venus had a sister?” he asked, his expression as confused as his question indicated.