Party Time

December 13, 2012
History repeats itself. As an immortal deity, Zeus knew that better than anyone else.
Old blunders were the last thing on his mind, though, as he picked his way through the crowd of partying mortals. He wanted the chance to get away from Olympus and relax for once – he hadn’t gotten any down time since the Internet was invented. So he’d slipped out of the palace of the gods and headed down to the first big city that came to mind, Miami, to take a break and act like a mortal.
The people here were nice, at least. He’d had to clear out of the last bar after he got into a fistfight with some random guy who thought he was flirting with his girlfriend. Luckily, Zeus had still had his wits about – this watery junk the mortals called alcohol had no effect on him. He sat down at a bar and started chatting with a young woman. She was pretty, with dark brown hair and green eyes that shone with amusement as she talked. She was just getting to a story about when their toaster burst into flames when a raised voice made him jump in his seat.
“Zeus!” The angry shout startled several inebriated people. “Where is that infernal man? He was supposed to be home hours ago!”
Cursing, he jumped to his feet.
“Where are you going?” the girl asked, grabbing his arm. He had a stray thought that she looked familiar, like they’d met before, but he had more urgent matters on his mind. If Hera, his immortal and perpetually jealous wife, caught him with another woman again, she’d probably make good on her threat to handcuff him to one of Hephaestus’s metal bulls for a year. He had no desire to be handcuffed to a bull.
“Come with me,” he told the girl. She followed him, giggling when he pulled her into a storage closet and closed the door carefully. She set her hands on his shoulders, but he pushed them off and pressed his hand on her forehead. She shivered and collapsed with a slight gasp. Then, with a shimmer of light, she turned into a cat with silky brown fur the color of her hair. Quickly, he scooped it up and was carrying it out the back door when he ran into Hera.
“Where have you been?” she thundered. She’d changed into mortal clothes to blend in to the crowd. “You’ve been gone for hours.”
“I, uh, lost a bet,” he lied tensely. “With Poseidon.” He could always bribe his brother to back him up later.
Unsatisfied, and looking ready to break the nearest building, she demanded, “Why do you have a cat?” As if hearing her words, the cat stirred sleepily and blinked up at her with vivid green eyes.
“Uh… some guys dropped it in the punch bowl. I was going to put it outside.”
It was a feeble lie, but something flickered in his wife’s eyes. Thoughtfulness? Before he could pin the expression down, she scooped the cat out of his arms.
“I’ll let it out,” she told him sternly. “Go inform your brother that it would be unwise to send the king of the heavens out to mingle with mortals for his own amusement again. I’ll be waiting for you.”
There. A memory flared up as she strode away, the cat cradled in her arms. The girl had looked like Io, a young princess he’d visited in secret back in Greek times. He’d had to turn her into a cow to hide her from Hera’s wrath, but she’d seen through the ruse and asked if she could keep the cow. She’d taken it and set Argus, one of her monstrous creations, to guard it so that she couldn’t return to her human form. No doubt Hera was setting some awful guardian to guard the cat now. He’d just doomed another young girl to years of misery.
With a long sigh, he turned and slipped out the back door, heading off to go talk to Poseidon. He wasn’t in the mood to party anymore.

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