She leaned her head against the window and almost reflexively touched her sunglasses. Almost. She closed her eyes and said to the little boy sitting behind her on the train, "Don't tease my hair." She didn't turn around to look at him. "They don't like it."
There were quiet whispers from the boy's mother and father. She couldn't hear them. But her hair could taste their words with flickering tongues.
She sighed and opened a piece of tiny piece of chocolate. The shiny blue foil wrapper told her, "Do what feels right." She laughed and carefully flattened it with her thumb over the cover of her book. It fluttered like a heartbeat as she made a marker of it. The train slid into the wide steel arched station. She checked her sunglasses and pulled down her black patent bag from the overhead compartment. Her bag matched her shoes. Her dress. Her sunglasses. She let the others leave the train first. She checked her lipstick for chocolate streaks. She wasn't quite ready yet. Now that she was finally here, she wasn't sure. Still, finally, she walked out. Let the conductor help her down. Thanked him with a red lipped smile. Walked through the pulse of people and no one turned to look at her as she went by.
Well, the Minotaur in a crisp tailored blue suit with a chocolate brown tie that matched his eyes. He watched her. She walked a slow swing in her step. He didn't follow her or ask for her number. Which made her smile widen further yet.
Out into the rushing streets. Surrounded by people at crosswalks. Waiting for lights. If she'd had a hat, she'd have tossed it. She didn't toss her sunglasses. But she did smile at the city's beat around her.
And when a thief snatched at her bag as she stood marveling at the corner, she let her glasses slip and looked at him over the top to let him know it was a thing not to be done.
Well, old habits die hard.
Luanda's shadow winked shyly at the girl. She picked up her needle and thread and sewed it back to his foot. The shadow bled, while the flesh, being stone, did not.
She paused. Stitch picked the shadow back off and took the shadow’s hand as the moon set over the hills.
Bacchus stepped into the Opera house armed with a bottle of mineral water and a plastic tray. He handed over his print out and received a plastic wrist band in return. And a wine glass stamped with the logo, "City Annual Wine and Food Extravaganza." He slid the wine logo wine glass into the slot in the plastic tray. He grinned at the list of participating wineries and made his way to the marble staircase. He snapped his fingers and a dozen maenads spread out behind him armed with glasses of their own. He'd already planned his attack.
He winked at the matching booth babe and bronze at the first floor vodka booth. He said, "Strategy never survives an encounter with the battlefield, don't you think." And took a shot.
The rest was laughter.
Innana checked her inbox. "Oh, I don't think so!" Her exit would have been more dra(g)matic if the crank on her window hadn't stuck. She cursed it to stars and flew out the wind(ow). Once she'd gathered her posse of armed love gods (Eros, Freya - the usual crew), she headed to the Circle park for the demonstration.
Afterwards, all she'd say at the police stat(e)ion was, "We were making love and not war."
Sky-father came with bail a few hours later, but by then the damage was done.
The mall was full of Sumerian zombies and Cindy Lu didn't have a dress for the prom or a date or like everything sucked. Which is how she ended up at Starbucks pouring our her life story to a Kitsune in this awesome hand painted printed T.
The dress was awesome and if it disappeared at midnight, well, she'd brought a robe. Seriously, he was a Kitsune. Went with the territory. Glass slippers though. They drank plum wine out of those when they snuck into the annual opera wine brawl later.
Getting a fox tattoo hadn't been the plan. But hey, if she hadn't wanted it, she wouldn't have accepted the first macchiato.
Oya tilted her head and tilted the horsetail between her hands and tilted the world. Well, truth be said, it tilted. She shook it right. She shook it left. She spun on one foot and there may have been a tornado. She was going all out today.
The doors to the mall opened and the crowds rushed in. Oya laughed a breeze of air conditioned blast and castanetted her fingers. There was change in the air. And lightening. And tornadoes. She narrowed her eyes. Sumerian zombies.
She sent Innana an unfriendly text, because it wasn’t all love and war, and got down to business.
The butterfly house at the center of the Museum of Science at the center of the Botanical gardens had finally been finished and what happened? Horny or was that horned gods trashed the place. Itzpapalotl scowled and drank some blood from her thermos. She snapped her wings and snapped her bone fingers and snapped her butterfly net.
Goat boy was going down.
The Fox looked at the Wolf.
The Wolf looked at the Eagle.
The Eagle/Zeus king of the Gods slid between them and said to the Fox, "Hey, baby. What's your sign?"
The Fox solemnly nodded at the Wolf.
The next morning, Hera received a box in the mail. She opened it and scowled. She refused to lend the Eagle her peacock feathers. Even when he begged.
Red Riding hood did a slow grind with the Wolf in the dark club. She had a butcher knife to his heart and his teeth were at her neck. Nothing for it, but to listen to the driving beat of the music in the dark and dance.
Snow looked at the ripe red apple and she looked at Red. "You're kidding me, right?"
Red smiled a charming smile and twirled the evil queen's crown around her index finger. "It is my birthday."
Snow sighed and bit into the apple. Yawned and lay back on the hard bed. As she fell asleep, she wondered what sort of kiss Red would wake her with this year.
Pippi Longstocking picked up the car and moved it so it wasn't straddling over the line into the next space. It wasn't like she needed to park. She didn’t even own a car. She had a flying pirate ship. She just hated jerks.
Maleficent was having a bad hair day. One horn was turned left. The other was turned right and her ravens were laughing at her.
She ate three fairies and picked her teeth with a sword and felt infinitely better. Until the fairies gave her indigestion.
She went back to bed and tried again.
Abu Saber looked out the window and smiled to see that the sun still rose.
It was a slow night at Caritas. (Jesus hadn't named it after the bar on Angel. Kind of the reverse.)
A trio of tired tourists (and wasn't that a footful) were tossed up by the City and heaved up to the bar. Iced marble. So hot outside, one embraced it. The bar often got that reaction.
Jesus went to the tap and poured water into three wine glasses and gave them what refreshment they needed.
Marici roared down the highway on her hog. Difficult, because no one else could see her. But not impossible. She sheared through the fog that clung to the West Side. She twisted down the long road that led along the sea. The road made a figure six. She put a cloverleaf in her hair and winked at the Weekend Warriors who couldn't see her as they rode along the sea.
The one at the end might have heard her rumble. She speared a lotus through his saddlebags as she went by. It would bloom as he rode. Road.
Marici roared down the highway on her hog.
White Tara wrung the grace out of her hair. It flowed into the water temple perched under the gondolas. There was a pure jade statue that looked out at the mist. It looked like solid plastic in the lamp light.
Green Tara wrung the grace out of her dress. It splashed the city streets like viscous rain. It clung to windshields and oozed over umbrellas. A little girl turned her face up and splashed in a puddle by the side of the road.
Obviously, the grail was the cup made of wood. The wooden chimes rustled over the wooden statue of a bear. A garden gnome giggled.
The problem was this was a burlwood shop in a row of burlwood shops along the Old Redwood highway. All the cups were carved of wood.
He wasn't a Mentalist. Well, maybe. He had a clever tongue and he smiled an untruth at his partner. He wasn't a criminal analyst. True enough. He didn't have a degree.
Athena said, "You're Watson to my Holmes." She arched an eyebrow at him. "Or should I tell you where on the plains of fair Illium you got your war injury again?"
Odysseus tapped his fingers on his war revolver and grinned. He knew Watson. He knew Holmes. He whispered, "The games afoot," and followed her as she ran.
The Monkey King swung idly on the jungle gym. Okay, it was a construction site, but he had King Kong in his sites.
He plucked a handful of bottle brush flowers and after a quick conference with the Flying Z Monkeys, he made his approach.
He had some serious apologizing to do.
Rainbow serpent smiled a billabong ring at Jörmungandr, who looked back at Rainbow uncertainly. Unused no doubt to smiles. Or rainbows.
Rainbow arched like a bridge and let the gods journey on his back. He winked at Jormangandr coiled and wrapped at the bottom of the bay. Rainbow cast aside his stick and his stones as islands. She swayed in the wind and was an oil slick on the water's surface.
She floated and sent a Selkie with a love note. "With stick or without?"
The reply was a bubble. "Both." Rainbow gathered up his islands and coiled down.
Osiris flicked at a bent corner on the cover of his glossy travel magazine. It made a repetitious scritch-scritch. He was wearing his "Safari" suit. The one with the one hundred and one hidden pockets.
Nepthys glanced at him and stabbed at her knitting project over the swell of her very pregnant belly. Pearls dropped and bounced from the yarn onto the floor.
Isis smiled at Set across the narrow table with its inlay of gold and electrum. She handed Osiris an envelope and said, "Happy Birthday, Desert Honey."
He ripped it open with rapid fingers. "Bora Bora." He let the envelope fall. "How did you know?"
Isis smiled and handed him a safari hat in green to match his skin. "Because, I love you." But Set was the one she smiled at. She ignored Nepthys and her rain of pearls.
Set really didn't like that smile. He texted his men. "Put away box. Save for next year." At the queen of Ethiopia's returned, "?" He sent back. "Tropical Vacation. Again." He smiled back at the sister that he wasn't married to, who was not pregnant, as he eviscerated a pomegranate with his fingers.
Cu Cuhulain sat in the optometrist's chair and sat very still. He had sixteen eyes.
This was going to take awhile.
Scáthach did not sparkle. She did not live in the redwoods. She did not go to high school even though she was hundreds of years old. She was not full of the eternal angst of being eternally young and pretty. She was not pretty. She was weather scared like a mountain. Her hair was black as the heart of a burnt tree. Her lips were red as old dried blood. Her skin was white as city snow. She was not young. She did not sparkle. Not even a little.
She ran a high school and the students who pissed her off wrote their essays in blood.
This wasn't a curse.
As she did a double back flip, shattered a board and caught an arrow in mid-flight, she grinned at the latest batch.
She winked at the venerable celestial five fingered dragon, who taught poetry not martial arts. He sent her a poem in a paper airplane. She liked his aerodynamics.
It was a four poster bed. A wrought iron four poster bed. With silk lined handcuffs dangling from the frame. Banu Goshasp glanced sidelong at her best beloved husband, Giv. He kissed her cheek and climbed onto the bed. His arms out stretched. She said, "It's not even my birthday."
He smiled. It was their anniversary. She snapped the cuffs in place and began...
Sekmet strolled through the gym and lept on the elliptical. She put on her headphones and dialed it up to 11. Red beer and blood wasn't exactly low cal.
They hadn't started regression testing, the release manifest was three lines on the back of an envelope and the servers were about to croak.
Durga laughed until the office shook. "Why is the rum always gone?" Then she made the sign of "Deal with it".
She dealt it.
The sound of her steps clip-thudded down the walkway. She could have replaced the iron leg years ago, but Vishpala liked the way she sounded as she ran up the stairs.
The men at the convention drew back and she took the stage with a click-clang-thud. She wore a Doc Martin on her other foot and that shoe hadn't yet dropped.
Later as she sat with the Tin Woodsman at a stool in the bar, they had an axe throwing contest. It was a draw. No one lost a limb.
The hero twins looked at the spread of footie scholarships on the bed and grinned. Slapped palms together and said, "Full ride."
Which isn't to say that they weren't still thinking about how to avenge the sad death of their father, One-Hunter, and uncle, Seven-Hunter, but a full ride to college was a full ride.
Percy threw the witches shared glass eye into the bog and laughed.
The eldest witch clicked the clacker that sounded the alarm in the middle of the eye. As they crawled toward the noise, they laughed too.
The sirens went off. The sirens were always going off about something. Never where Persephone had gotten off to, but still.
That's why they had a local cable station. To get out the word to the world.
"Green eggs and ham? Seriously, Sam I am?"
The fox in his socks shrugged at the rabbit in his tar black coat. "It was all I could get after the wolf with his sticks blew the pig's house down with TnT."
The cat in the hat picked up his fork and dug in.
When Maria Rosa raised her right hand, the ground was strewn with white roses. When she raised her left hand, the ground was strewn with very sharp swords.
She put her hands on her hips and smiled at the bank robbers with their bandoliers and considered her choices.
The djinn said, "And then he took my coat of feathers."
The selkie turned up the collar of her fur coat and took her hand. "My sister, tell me about it."
The djinn clasped the lock of her son's hair in the locket around her neck and she did.
The selkie pushed some paperwork across the table. She was a Wolf Seal and the Juris Doctorate on the wall gleamed with shiny gold seals.
The Shen of the Sea were pissed. First they were stuck in a bottle for one hundred and fifty years and then, and then! They sighed and picked up the next issue. The current plot arcs of the new 52 were incredibly inconsistent.
Along the wine road, there are a thousand houses. Each in a different style. French castles over rolling hills. Italian Villas terraced. Ziggurats and Flying S with Windmill to lift you high.
But at the end of the wine road, down by the sea, there is a House of Secrets. Across the way, perches a House of Mystery and the waves rumble below.
In the red lacquer House of Mysteries, Mary will tell you a mystery. Dinner theater, six nights a week and one matinee.
In the bronze House of Secrets, Lilith will serve you salt waves and cream water and will whisper a secret in your ear.
No one ever makes it there. As was mentioned, there are a thousand houses along the way.
On the tallest skyscrapers, where the tips pierce the sky, there are no observation decks. The cries of the wind goes unheard. The sway of steel. What happens there is supposed to stay there. If clouds sometimes burst forth with a rain of god babies, that’s what the flying spider monkeys in their biplanes are for.
Spider said, "Go Fish."
Coyote reached into the fish bowl and pulled out a fish. It was slimy and blue. He ate it.
Raven said, "You're not supposed to eat it."
Coyote lolled his tongue and licked his lips. He waggled his eyebrows. “Go fish.”
Hiawatha was in a street corner band with Childe Roland and a rolling group of guys. They drummed barrels. Blew pipes. Made noise with their toes and hands and feet. He yelled out to the gathering crowd, “I call this one Longfellow,” and clanged two trash can lids together.
"Red rover, red rover, send Fate right over."
She smiled, adjusted her shoes and came right on over.
Time was having a grand time. She'd waltzed. She'd tangoed. She'd been swept back and forth and now she'd let down her hair. The strands coiled damply on her neck. Her heart beat faster than a double time drum.
Death cracked his spine and held out his hand as Danse Macabre began to play.
~Sleeping Beauty (Disney)
13:Abu Sabir, the value of patience
~South American RPF
32:Contestado War and Maria Rosa
31:Cat in Hat, Fox in Sox, Green Eggs and Ham