Prelude in the Heavens
Zeus: Remember the day that Bartleby Willard came dressed to work as a cat burglar?
Zeus morphs into Hera and slides over next to where Zeus had been.
Hera: Ah, yes, but didn’t he turn out to be a cat burglar? Was it not subsequently reverted that his publishing work was just a over for his real career as the world’s greatest thief?
Hera morphs into Poseidon and slides over next to where Hera had been.
Poseidon: Indeed! The publishing getup was just to throw the law off.
Poseidon morphs into Athena and slides over next to where Poseidon had been (a semi-circle is being sketched by these sliding positionings).
Athena: And it worked! They didn’t catch up with him until it was too late and he’d disappeared after pulling off the greatest heist in human history and making off with the most valuable jewel known to man or god!
Athena becomes Mars, who says, “The hearts of all peoples in all times and spaces. Quite the haul! Quite the caper.” Mars completes the half circle from where Zeus had been. He walks towards Zeus’s spot as he morphs back into largest and most impossibly muscled of the Olympians.
Zeus: In short order, both the law and the Law cooled off and let the whole matter slide. And with good reason: A stolen heart’s not so much stolen as willfully shared. And what the infinite peoples of the infinite worlds received in exchange for their undying devotion and affection was well worth the trade.
Hera: A shared spiritual language! And with it the foundation for workable democracies!
Poseidon: And so mortals finally learned to govern themselves by together understanding how to share the divine sign that does and does not mind being called “Zeus”!
Zeus bursts out laughing: That one gets me every time!
But Amble is sitting on an old wooden chair off to one side as the Gods — who are all played by the shapeshifting Bartleby Willard — strut their eternal stuff.
“I want to have a part!”
Zeus morphs into the thin, flat-chested, lightbulb-headed, transparent Bartleby Willard in brown tweed suit complete with plaid vest, leather hightop boots, and a brown bowler. “You’re too puny to play a god!”
Amble leans back in the chair, which wobbles on its square legs and would fall, but Bartleby catches it with his mind and brings it back down onto all fours.
Bartleby: You want to be a human accepting the gift of fire from Prometheus?
Amble: Not really. I already have fire.
Bartleby: Yeah, but it’s not just fire. It’s also technology.
Amble: We already have that too — and way better than the ancient Greeks did.
Bartleby: If mortals know what’s good for them, they’ll shut up and gratefully accept gifts from the gods!
Amble: I thought Prometheus was a titan.
Bartleby: Same difference.
Amble: Well, I dunno, but I already have a cell phone, and I don’t think Prometheus ever did.
Bartleby: You want to play Xenophanes of Colophon?
Amble: Maybe. He’s got a lot of cool fragments.
Bartleby: “God is one, supreme among gods and men, and not like mortals in body or in mind.”
Amble: Hey! I’m Xenophanes! That’s my line!
Bartleby: “Accordingly there has not been a man, nor will there be, who knows distinctly what I say about the gods or in regard to all things, for even if one chances for the most part to say what is true, still he would not know; but every one thinks he knows.”
Amble: Stop using all my lines!
Bartleby: “These things have seemed to me to resemble the truth.”
Amble: I mean it!
Bartleby: “In the beginning the gods did not at all reveal all things clearly to mortals, but by searching men in the course of time find them out better.”
Bartleby: “The following are fit topics for conversation for men reclining on a soft couch by the fire in the winter season, when after a meal they are drinking sweet wine and eating a little pulse: Who are you, and what is your family ? What is your acre, my friend? How old were you when the Medes invaded this land?”
Amble: You can have that one. I hate sweet wine anyway.
Copyright: AM Watson