Coffee Shop Roulette
I looked up.
The sudden quiet startled me out of my reverie. Dead ahead, a stream of coffee had frozen from where it was being poured. In fact, everything had frozen. Behind the counter, the usual hustle and bustle of the workers had ceased; the impatient line was muted too. Even the outside world seemed to have slowed to a grinding halt. Time was completely still.
Except for me.
I stared at my laptop screen. Continue working or wreak havoc?
My face broke into a wide grin.
All around me were people to mess with. Baristas struggling to fill an order, suits grumbling about being late to work, students moaning about having to go to class. And not a single one could stop me from what I was about to do.
I closed my eyes, turned around in circles, and started chanting, “Eenie, meenie, minie, mo.” With my finger pointed straight ahead, I had found my first victim.
“Oh you do look like fun,” I told a pinch-faced woman. By the look of her, from her worn out face to her wrinkled clothes, I could tell she was a working mother. Those always were the best to tease.
Right as I was about to work my magic, a wave of warmth washed over me. I spun around, ready to curse whomever dared disrupt my amusement. But as quickly as rage filled, I deflated. Standing there, with the most profound look of disappointment I had ever seen on her, was Auntie Hestia.
“Hermes.” And with that one word, I was ready to cry and beg forgiveness. But of course, Auntie Hestia was too sweet for that. She would forgive me instantly. That just made me feel even worse.
“You know you’re not supposed to torment the mortals, sweetie,” she chided me gently. All I could think was how I promised her I would shape up, be a better god, take my responsibilities seriously. But here I was again. A screw up, again.
“I know Auntie. I’m sorry. But it just happened, I swear! One second I was managing the Olympian gods’ social media and the next, time was at a stand-still,” I said, even as I could feel the hopelessness of pleading.
“Hermes, honey, what are we going to do with you?” She shook her head. “Even Apollo’s grown up by now, and none of us thought THAT would ever happen.”
I hung my head in shame. It was true. Apollo and Artemis were getting along, Athena was inspiring academics all around the world, Hephaestus was cultivating mortal inventions in every corner, Ares was ushering in a new era of warfare, Aphrodite was teaching kids and teens everywhere to love themselves, Dionysus was helping doctors treat mentally insane patients. Every one of Zeus’s kids was doing something unheard of (especially Apollo and Artemis if I was being honest).
Except for me.
I was still goofy, little Hermes. Medical god, messenger god, trickster god, jack-of-all-trades god, nobody-special god. And to top it all off, I couldn’t even control my powers! I stood there, curled in on myself, ashamed of my actions.
Auntie Hestia sighed. I peeked up at her, head still hanging low.
“Come here.” I ran into her open arms. Auntie Hestia’s arms were the warmest, safest, happiest, most comforting place anyone could be. After every hardship, every mistake, every lecture from Father, she was there to make all the hurt go away. I leaned into her, a smile on my face as she smoothed the hair on my head.
“Let’s go home, Hermes. Being in the mortal world for too long isn’t healthy.”
“Okay Auntie!” I chirped and started towards the door. She cleared her throat pointedly and motioned to the coffee shop occupants.
“Oh, right. I didn’t forget.” With a snap, the place was chaotic in the morning rush once again. I took Auntie Hestia’s arm in mine, and we vanished into thin air.