It descended upon the city, slowly swirling in, high above even the tallest buildings. But what was it?
Marcel looked up and noticed that these clouds were different then the ones he’d been studying. These clouds…weren’t clouds…
It was smoke. Taking another drag on a gigantic cigar, Zeus furrowed his brow at the city.
And then he blew.
But nothing came out but a small gust of air.
Having smoked cigars for many years Zeus’ lungs weren’t all they were in his younger years.
Zeus re-dragged and re-blew with success. The tallest towers disappeared and Marcel knew that he was to blame because
he dared Zeus the night before to explain the weight of smoke. Zeus employed a method learned from Sir Walter Raleigh long ago…
Sir Walter Raleigh – whose exaggerations were legendary – once told Queen Elizabeth I that he could determine the weight of smoke.
Weigh cigar. Smoke cigar, ashing onto scale. Weigh ashes. Difference between weight of cigar and ashes = weight of smoke.
Why a mortal like Marcel was daring Zeus to do anything was a mystery. Marcel forgot that Zeus had a sick sense of humor.
Had Marcel remembered the story of Leda and the Swan, he’d know not to give Zeus any excuse to interact with mortals directly.
But it was too late. The sky was now “thundering,” but Marcel knew better. It was Zeus, with his deep, bellowing, smoker’s laugh.
Zeus had called his bluff, clearly proving his cosmic superiority. Marcel, undeterred, shouted up to the clouds. “I’m not…
Zeus was clearly willing to do anything, but Marcel was a man of his word. He paced back and forth, thinking of what to do next.
Eventually he decided to call the fire department. “I need the biggest ladder you’ve got,” he said.
Not the type that took kindly to loaning out equipment, the Chief politely told him to eff off. But Marcel, undeterred as usual,…
Pulled out the yellow pages and looked up
“Ladderrific! For ladders to Zeus.” He dialed the number and heard a recording on the other end say: “You…
doofus. The only way to reach Zeus is via the Unending Escalator, located in…
the 7th stall in the 4th floor ladies washroom of the Marshall Field building. Thank you for your inquiry.” Marcel was elated.
But the elation quickly died down, replaced with skepticism. “God, that recorded voice sounded familiar,” he said aloud.
that swan. “There were so many things I didn’t know about her,” Marcel said before making his way to the Unending Escalator.
A mythology professor from the University of Chicago,
his children, all eight of them, all boys, except one, one girl, one little girl who was the key to this big plan
stood on the sidewalk, watching. “Hey you,” Marcel shouted to the U of Chicago professor. “Can you and your daughter come with me?”
“Either we all come or none of us do,” said the professor. Marcel had no choice. “To the Unending Escalator!” he yelled.
Off they marched to Marshall Field’s, Marcel leading the way. Briefly, a group of tourists followed, thinking it was a guided walk.
In time these tourists fell back, captured by the alleged allure of the American Girl store. At State St., the group realized…
they needed a suitable tribute for Zeus. “A virgin? Gold?” asked the professor. “No,” said Marcel. “Zeus has that. We need…”
They had been walking the wrong way for 20 minutes. Marcel thought, “Is the unending escalator even worth it?”
But he trudged on. “We need…,” he stammered. “We need…we need…What exactly do we need again?”
“The list is clear!” screamed the professor. “We need a Ginger, 7 daisies, and a Hellenologophobic. Zeus loves irony.”
The little girl held on to a plush Alf doll, which Marcel grabbed. “This orange mess of ginger hair works. Surely Zeus has no Alf.”
They then passed a Sbarro, spotting Daisies Fuentes, Duke, Irani, De La Hoya, Foote, Duck and Ms. Daisy having their weekly lunch.
“Our seven daisies!” screamed Marcel as he stopped the group in their tracks. “Someone get them!”
The Daisies jumped up and tried to run for the door. In the commotion, they forgot the exit was a pull door. 7 Daisies, check.
“Ay dios mio,” yelled Fuentes, “my triple cheese slice fell on the floor!” Duke, meanwhile was hollering for her cousins Luke & Bo.
The last thing they needed was a Hellenologophobic. “Be on the lookout for a Hellenologophobic, everyone,” asked Marcel.
“What IS that?” asked the girl. “It’s someone who’s afraid of logos with Hellen in it,” said Marcel. “Duh.”
Marcel thought, “distractions.” All of the sudden the sky changed & it was a massive haboob.
He was mistaken. “Actually, it’s someone afraid of Greek terms,” the professor chimed in. “So like a Roman?” asked his daughter.
A roman or things like aeropostle or anthropology.
As they got to Marshall Field’s, a prison bus drove by. “Look!” screamed the girl, pointed frantically. “It’s Roman Polanski!”
“That’ll do,” said Marcel. “Stop that bus!!” Ms. Daisy, trailing a little behind the rest of the group, jumped in front of the bus.
The haboob was gaining strength & Marcel was the only one who showed concerned.
Thankfully the bus stopped as there is nothing worse than a smushed Daisy! Out stepped the elusive Roman
as the professor guarded his kids. “Stay away!” But Marcel needed a Hellenologophobic, aka a Roman, so Polanski fit the bill.
“Come with us Mr Polanski and all will be well,” said Marcel.
The haboob kept building as Marcel tried to get the ginger, the 7 Daisies & Roman the Hellenologophobic to the Unending Escalator.
Oddly enough the escalator had moved to just inside the door so no one was able to escape its clutches.
First up was Roman, then Alf, a few Daisy’s the professor and the kids.
Then the rest of the Daisies, and bringing up the rear was Marcel.
Ms. Daisy was confused. “Where are we going sir?” she asked Marcel. But Marcel didn’t answer. He kept shoving her up the escalator.
When they reached the top waiting for them was
Zeus. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he said. He exhaled deeply, parting the haboob. “These are for you,” said Marcel, sheepishly.
It was as Robert Plant imagined. A Stairway to Heaven. But to what end? A bunch of flowers in a dust storm hardly seemed worth it.
Zeus looked around. “Ginger, check. 7 Daisies, check. And Roman Polanski??” he asked as he put the Stairway to Heaven record on.
“Damn right,” said Polanski in between Plant’s chorus. Marcel tried to shut him up so he could explain Polanski’s relevance.
“He’s our Hellenologophobic,” explained Marcel. “You know, because he’s ‘a Roman’?” He used air quotes for emphasis.
Suddenly they all started singing along to the song.
“…And she’s buying a stairway to heaven,” Zeus, Marcel, the professor, his 8 kids, Alf, the 7 Daisies and Roman Polanski crooned.
And off into the mist they all went.
Ha! That was an amazing story. It was so funny. One of the better ones we’ve written, and we’ve written some pretty good ones. I’m really happy for Marcel – he made Zeus happy. And let’s face it, if you’re given the option of making Zeus happy or making Zeus upset, you probably want to go with making him happy. So good for him. And good for the 7 Daisies. I’m kind of jealous of them getting to go to Sbarro’s for weekly lunch. But the person I’m definitely NOT jealous of? Roman Polanski. He served a purpose.
Thanks to myself for supplying the photo. Just kidding. Kind of. And thanks to all of the writers. You guys really brought it. @nella22, who almost always is one of the first ones to jump in and always makes me laugh. @officerpupp, who’s a newb but acted nothing like one. @FeliciaCago, who tried as hard as she could to end the story after 4 lines, but we wouldn’t let her. @swanieson, who stuck with me all the way to the end to wrap things up. @jsetlak, owner of the triple-tweet, who this time came through with the quintuple tweet. @hwtibbs, whose obscure references has me googling stuff all the time. @Chrisa_Hickey, who’s great at cutting right to things. @_Benny_K, who’s getting more involved each week, which is awesome. @jimmydoestea, who can tweet all pronouns and I’ll still laugh. @vnarvasa, who scolded me for not giving her a heads up that I was writing a story. And last but not least, @rickmurray, who snuck a line in right at the end that led us to a different story ending.