When the opportunity to write a story for the Everyday Immortals collection came up, I jumped at the chance. Had a character and plot all ready to go. One that had been rattling around in my brain for a couple years. It involved Anteros, Eros’s lesser known twin brother. I grabbed my pencil and notepad and started to write. This is what came out:
“Everyone out of the pool!” Poseidon, Greek god of the sea and earthquakes, but better known to the employees and patrons of the 10th Street YMCA as Maxfield Stanton, blew his whistle for emphasis.
What? Wait! Poseidon? Where did he come from? And what was he doing at a Y?
(I knew where Maxfield Stanton came from. Any old Sailor Moon fans out there remember that that was the civilian name of the villain Nephlite?)
Before I could do more than register the fact that the wrong Greek god had shown up for the party, he was off and running. The story was taking shape with very little input from me.
If you read Something Rich and Strange you’ll discover that Poseidon is like that. He does what he wants. When he wants. Or as he thinks:
He was a god. An elemental. A force of nature. His realm was action, not thought. He took what he wanted, when he wanted it.
While I’m not a fan of arrogant leads, there’s something kind of appealing about Poseidon/Max. Maybe it’s the fact that he has bad days like the rest of us:
Poseidon released an exasperated breath. It had been a long day, full of changes in insurance coverage meetings, safety procedure meetings, updated professional development guideline meetings, and dealing with sexual harassment meetings, as well as giving swimming lessons to people who shouldn’t be allowed within a hundred miles of water. He just wanted to go home, slip into his own pool, and have a chilled glass of something.
Or maybe it’s because the poor guy is dying. About to cease to exist. And he doesn’t know what to do about it.
Fortunately for Poseidon, there’s Greg.
Greg is a nice guy. He’s average. Ordinary.
He was almost fifty. A big man. Not fat, but a little chubby, with a double chin. His glasses hid his eyes and his best feature was his dirty-blond hair. It was thick and shiny… The man favored loud Hawaiian print shirts in red, orange, and electric blue.
But as Poseidon discovers, it’s not the outward appearance that makes the man. Greg is just the person to take his mind off his impending doom.
Greg’s response was an explosion of action that caught Poseidon by surprise. One hand came up to capture Poseidon’s head. His fingers dug into his scalp, tangling in his hair. His tongue dueled with Poseidon’s for domination. His other hand closed over Poseidon’s ass, pressing him closer to thrust against him.
Greg’s having his own bad day. The lover who dumped him is getting married. His apartment is being turned into a loft – with a rent increase. And his job is giving him headaches. But he’s there when Poseidon when he needs him.
Poseidon and Greg aren’t the only characters in the story. The three sisters, the Fates, make an appearance.
Looking like a trio of PopTart divas, the ladies drop by to wish the sea god good-bye in their own inimitable style.
The Moirai joined hands, dancing around him in a circle. They moved so quickly they became a blur of motion. Their forms and words ran together. The sleeves of their dresses brushed against him, feeling like the sweep of feathers.
“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
“For ever, and for ever, farewell, Poseidon for we will not see your like again.”
“Farewell, brother of Zeus. Farewell, to the greatness that was Poseidon.”
A sound like thunder shook the room, rattling the windows and doors. The lights went off, then snapped back on.
He was alone.
From a distance he heard a faint voice. Clotho’s he thought. “He might have invited us for a last supper.”
The scenes with these three are some of my favorite in the story. They just love to yank Poseidon and Greg’s respective chains.
As I said, I like Poseidon and Greg. I hope readers will, too.
Something Rich and Strange by Helen Louise Caroll is now available at Amber Allure.
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