So It Goes

I.


Garbo looked at his watch. Slowly the second hand of the clock whirled around the face while the minute hand and hour hand kept stout in their place. He sighed before looking around his empty shop. The sun glowed brightly and shone through the small glass panels that were his windows. Slowly, he started to turn from the counter and walk into the back of the store, stopping to turn to look at the door. Garbo paused, then kept walking on and went in the back. The walls differed back here than in the front of the store, various holes made in them, each with a story how they had gotten there in the first place. Garbo lowered himself into his important chair: A brown cushioned chair that he had sat in for every day since he had opened the shop. While it was no longer busy as it was in days past and Garbo had let all his staff go or rather, all his staff had let him go, he was still the only one to sit in this chair. Like Archie Bunker, he would pummel, throw a hammer or kick at anyone who sat in his chair. If it was a woman, Garbo would ask kindly to get up from his chair though he preferred his other tactics. Now that the shop was empty except for him, there was no one else to pummel, throw a hammer, or kick at. He was all alone. Did he prefer it that way? Garbo straightened himself up in the chair, remembering he’d fall asleep if he let himself relax too much. Now, what he had been thinking of…oh, that’s right: Did he like being alone? Garbo paused in thought and as he did, he sunk deeper into the chair. No…he…actually…didn’t…hammer…oh… Then, out of the blue, Garbo awoke at the sound of a ring. At first, it was a bothersome noise and he was ready to throw a hammer at it but then, as he slowly woke himself up, he recognized it as the ring on his desk. Quickly, he got up, and as fast as his old, arthritic legs would carry him, he ran to the foot of the store.

II.


Today, as I sat eating my breakfast, I took a look in a magazine. It was one of those cheap magazines that one could pick up at the store for no charge at all. I usually picked it up as something to kill the boredom as my family checked out. Filled with a variety of ads, some for a new ice cream place that opened up, others for a car dealership where most fat, sweaty old man in off colored suits who rip you off 15,000 for a piece of junk from 2006. I skipped through the ads, looking for something that would catch my attention. Eventually, I turned a page away from an ad about a pizza place and came across something that did. At the top of the page, a rectangular blue box spread across with a title ‘Have You Seen…” with two descriptive boxes of people, most of time kids following it. Missing people were always so interesting, I thought. The first box was about a young boy, age seven, who lived nearby in another reactively small town. They were all the same, I thought as I moved to the other box. This one however caught my eye:

Fred Menendez, a middle aged man who lived in Clatson and had been missing for about a month now. From his picture, he didn’t look with Spanish, rather from some other country. Possible the Philippians, I thought as I studied him more. As I did, a back story started whirling and creating itself in my head. Often times I did this as a way to kill time and possible use it for future pieces of writing. Fredrick Menendez had come to America when he was three years old and, though he knew Spanish from his parents, he had accepted English as his major language, hardly ever speaking Spanish to anyone besides his parents and his high school Spanish teacher. A very good student in school, he graduated from high-school forth in his class. He attended Rider University before returning to lovely, lovely Clatson and working in a bank. When he turned thirty four, he met Isabel Garza and married her after two years of dating. Eventually, he had a few kids: Two sons and two daughters. However, in 2008, he was laid off from his job at the bank along with several other employees. Not knowing how to provide for his family, Fred became a house keeper while his wife worked. Slowly, his mentality changed and soon, he could no longer take it. Then, last month, he left, following the trail of an abandoned rail road, leaving behind that whole life for something new. What? Even he didn’t know.

That’d be too funny if it turned out to be true; I chuckled before flipping the page to read about a new café.

III.


Adrian Focus stood by a bus stop, looking around. He, unlike the three other people waiting in the furious heat, was not waiting for a bus. Rather, he was trying to get out of the way of the sun so it wouldn’t turn his already dark skin even darker. Adrian frowned at the thought: He hated being tan. It would darken his skin to the extent where people would mistake him for being black. Adrian didn’t have anything against black people: He just didn’t want his skin to be dark. Eventually, the bus pulled up and a cool blast of AC flew out from it as the doors swung open. Adrian soaked in the cooling air as the three people climbed onto the bus and paid the fare. Adrian walked closer to the door, contemplating joining them just for the AC.

“You comin’ or what?” Something or someone growled. Adrian was pulled from his thoughts and found the bus driver, an ugly man who had multiple rings on his fingers and the stench of a cigar that floated all the way to Adrian’s noise even though they were quite a distance apart. He simply shook his head and the bus driver growled, shutting the doors and pulling away from the sidewalk, leaving Adrian in the heat of things.

I wonder what Giacomo is doing, Adrian thought before walking away. His Italian friend probably wouldn’t be too busy, though Adrian wasn’t sure if he had a job or not. Either way, he decided to show up where his best friend was. They had been friends since middle school, though not inseparable, close friends through and through everything that happened. Adrian had helped Giacomo through his break up with Claudia, another of Adrian’s friends, and Giacomo had helped him get Julianne, Adrian’s girlfriend. He mused that it was like a cycle, though he didn’t want Julianne to break up with him so that Giacomo could get a girlfriend.

Eventually, while he mused and thought, Adrian found himself standing outside Guiding Café, the place where he believed that Giacomo was working for the summer. Adrian shrugged and entered the café, which was kind of full though there were a few empty seats by the window. As he entered, the air conditioned air flew to him and gave him a cold embrace. It felt like such a relief that Adrian didn’t move for a few seconds’ afterwords and once he was done, started walking to the counter. At the county, a young girl stood, waiting with a badge that said ‘Molly’. From a first look, Adrian estimated she was only a few years older than him.

“Hi. Can I help you?” ‘Molly’ asked him once he had reached the counter.

“Yes. I’m wondering if Giacomo Derby is here.”

“Who?” She appeared confused, confirming that Giacomo was not working here.

“Never mind, can I have a Coke?”

“Sure,” She smiled as she returned to what she used to. When she was turned, Adrian rolled his eyes. She turned back after a few seconds’, handing him the cold drink. It felt good against his hand. With his free hand, he dug into his pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill. She took it and after a short exchange with the register, handed him back four dollars. Adrian took it and sat at a table near the window, a place where everyone else didn’t want to be.

IV.

Jog on, jog on, the foot path way,
And merry hent the stile-a:
A merry heart goes all day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.

-
William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale 4.2

V.


Zeus was being patient, slowly curling his lengthy white beard in his fingers. It had been an unusually slow day on Mount Olympus. Hera answered the prayers of the women wishing to give birth while Aphrodite ran off with her husband Hephaestus to some far part of the world, with Ares in tow. All the other gods were off doing what they wished and whatever they wanted: Torturing humans or simply sipping wines while getting entertainment from half-dressed muses. Zeus stopped twirling his bed and looked to the gold side table placed gingerly beside his throne. Slowly, he picked up a small piece of paper that was something called a ‘post card’ among the recent humans, nothing like the good old fashioned god fearing ones, thought Zeus as he started intently at the image on the front of the ‘postcard’.

On it, it showed a picture of Rome, with the large blue words ‘Welcome to Rome’ echoing the fact that it was clearly Rome. Standing in front of the broken coliseum, which Zeus had watched be built all those many years ago, was Romulus, holding a martini with a toga draped over him. Beside him was Poseidon, laughing and appearing to be having a fairly good time, holding a beer glass filled the familiar brown liquid. Zeus continued to look at the card for a second, before turning it around and reading the message:

“Hello brother. Hope you’ve been in good health since you’ve been pushed out of the number one spot by that God fellow. I was talking with a female the other day about him and he sounds like a pretty cool guy. All he says is follow ten rules on a stone tablet and you can do whatever else you want. I don’t about you Zeusy, but I’ve been considering following him, myself. Hope you’re not being a party pooper, Poseidon” with a smiley face and trident symbol following the signature.

Zeus frowned again as he tossed the ‘postcard’ to the floor which burnt up before it reached it. Who was this God fellow and how had he pushed Zeus out of the number one spot? Zeus shifted uncomfortably in his throne. Also, why hadn’t he heard of him before this? Had he really not gone out? He hadn’t left the throne room since…Even Zeus couldn’t recall it with his all powerful. Something was happening at the time between two countries, right across a channel of some kind. Something about an arc and a woman was burned for some reason. Zeus threw it off and stood up. The floor was shining which meant the cleaning staff was doing their job and this pleased him. For a few seconds, he looked out over the heavens. It had seemed different recently though the god king couldn’t put his finger on it. Then, the slam of the golden doors echoed behind him and Zeus turned to see Hermes, dressed in a green track suit and sneakers with gold chains adorning his neck.

“Hermes!” His voice echoed as the winged god nearly stumbled and cringed at the sound of the voice. He turned and found Zeus looking at him.

“Jesus, Zeus, I forgot you were in here,” Hermes said, walking closer to the god king. For some reason, Hermes’ voice sounded different to Zeus though again, he couldn’t put his finger on it, any ten of them on what was wrong.

“What is happening Hermes? Why have all of the humans stopped following me?”

“What’d you talking about, mate?”

“This God fellow. He’s the new god, no more us.”

“Well, that’s not true,” Hermes replied, starting to twirl his chains in his fingers. “We’re still here, aren’t we?”

Zeus frowned at the god. “That’s not the point. I think humanity has forgotten about us.”

“Oh yeah, no one follows us anymore,” Hermes said, before turning to walk away.

“Wait! Why don’t they follow us?” Zeus cried out, outstretching a hand to his son and messenger.

“How the he** should I know?” He called back as he walked off to some other cloudy room. Zeus found himself alone again and carefully walked back to look at the Earth. It seemed so peaceful though Zeus knew it was far from being anything like that. He looked on and then, swiped his hands over the clouds, shifting them from one place to another, giving rain. This made him smile and he walked back to his throne.

So it goes.





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