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A Spoonful of Sugar
I sit at a small coffee table in the back of a Starbucks. Outside I see a large hill with a irritated looking man pushing his Volvo, which seems to have run out of gas. He nears the top and gets in to try the car again. Slowly, I see what the man cannot, the wheels starting their monotonous roll backwards. By the time he jumps out of the car and tries to stop its rolling, he's at the bottom of the hill again. He sighs, and starts to push.
I turn away from the window and look around. Only a few people in here. One man is muttering about the money. I can tell he has the debts, the bills, the taxes due, but he's trying to save up for one last shot, before he goes down. He doesn't seem to understand what I know. Those bills aren't going away, and those debts aren't gonna leave, and he isn't gonna get that last happiness. Ever.
So maybe I did some bad stuff. I know what your thinking. It had to be really bad to deserve the punishment grounds. Ya know the place you don't wanna go when you die? But that's what it was. Really bad. I check my watch. He's fifteen minutes late. God I hate people who aren't on time. He comes in shaking out his wet hair.
“Sorry, kid” He calls across the room. “I had to find some dry clothes, running for that damn river for all of eternity gets you pretty dirty.”
This is Tantalus. Perfect example of stupidity by the gods. He makes a few mistakes, does some rotten stuff, and the gods punish him forever. He's that guy that's lost in a huge forest. He's dying of thirst and he can hear a huge river running, but though he chases after it, he never gets there. Pretty sucky idea, huh? I mean after like a week he figured out he wasn't gonna find it, and just kinda walked around. Still got pretty dirty though. Wasn't a real big hygiene kinda guy. He sits down,and I call the waitress over. Tall, pretty, her name tag says Agatha. I know her from the visiting pen. I heard that sometimes she comes down to say hi to her late husband. She's pretty good friends with Persephone. But her hubby, Otus, who “offended the gods” is down here. Okay, I mean I guess it kinda is offensive to try to dethrone Zeus, put Ares in a jar, and rape Artemis. But come on, I mean if the gods are going to punish him they can't at least get a good punishment? I also feel obligated to point out that try was a key word. He didn't actually do anything really bad. Agatha comes over, cracking her gum. Tantalus glances up and then back at his menu, slowly raising his head again a few seconds later to stare at her appreciatively. She was pretty hot I guess, but not my type. Too blond. Of course she was also married, but Tantalus didn't care much about that kinda stuff. Suddenly he speaks again.
“Hey kid, ya looking for a girl? Cause I got a few hanging around, looking for...company.”
I try to hide my smirk. Company. Me, I have a girlfriend. At least I did. Then I, well, you know, died. Life sucks sometimes. 'Course so do the gods. Even if they were slightly intelligent, I'd still despise them. Do you know how many peoples lives the gods ruin? Too many. Take Hera for instance. Queen of the Dogs. I mean she doesn't even pretend to be nice. I mean, these days people don't work real hard at being good. After the idea of the gods disappeared, people kinda forgot about Tartarus...idiots.
I saw a friend of mine, Christie, who had operated a national smuggling ring famous for its murders, and waved her over.
Tantalus looked her up and down, and dissatisfied that with her business suit, frowned. I got the feeling this wasn't going to end well.
Tantalus drew out his sentence “Well, what do we have here?”
Christie simply smirked and sat down. She looked at me and winked, then mouthed something I couldn't make out, I nodded, than wondered what I had gotten into. I was infamous throughout the underworld for some...sticky...situations I had gotten myself into. Most of them ended up involving girls. But not all of them. For some reason dying seemed to have killed some of my hormones...okay thats a lie. But still. I had never really been popular at school...I was kind of the outcast emo kid. Now though I'm the coolest outcast criminal you'll find in the underworld.
The punishment. That's all that really seems to matter now to people. Me? I can see what people want...their hopes...their dreams, and I, only I, know that they are going to be crushed. And I hate it. I hate knowing life sucks for other people too. Cause you know, when your in the underworld, self pity is like a spoonful of sugar. It helps the medicine go down.