It’s a rainy Sunday noonish, and a man with a violin is finishing his teaching for the day. Yes, of course it’s Senor Weaselo, who else would it be?
Senor: All right, done for the day. Maybe I’ll get a bagel and a haircut?
His phone starts ringing and popping up on the car Bluetooth, and unlike the last time this number called, he knows who it is: Hades, god of the Greek underworld.
Hades: Hey, Senor! What are you doing today?
Senor: Oh, hey Hades. Um… nothing, I’m free, what’s up?
Hades: Good, Hermes’ll be there in 10. Pro Bowl party!
Senor: What? Are we actually gonna watch the Pro Bowl?
Hades: Oh, gods no, who in their right mind would do that? No, when I say party, I mean party! You know,
Anyway, look as cool as you can, it’s not just any mortals who come to this, I imagine people’ll be impressed that you’re there. So look cool.
Senor: I understand, I’ll try my best. I’ll be home in 10 or so, and I’ll get changed.
10 minutes later, Senor is home and drops off his violin to look for another shirt. 2 minutes after that he hears a car horn—it’s Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and his souped-up Mercury Cougar.
Hermes: Hey, Weaselo! Get your ass out here!
Senor: Yeah, yeah, gimme a minute, I’m putting a shirt on!
90 seconds later, shirt on, Vans on, jacket on, out the door, in the car.
Senor: Hey, Hermes.
Hermes: Yeah, yeah, don’t “Hey, Hermes” me. You’re lucky I like driving this car, I’m supposed to be doing a run on the Beartooth Highway later.
Senor: How is that possible to be cruising around Wyoming, just regarding distance?
Hermes: I’m the god of messengers and travel, you think I can’t Doctor Who my way around when I need to? (Senor gives that “Yeah, all right” kind of nod.) It’s just tough to do it with mortals in the car since you’re squishy, you guys can’t be fucking with time and space. But hey, there’s actually open road, so I can at least show you what this girl can do!
He guns it and a ludicrous amount of acceleration occurs. And the Grand Central Parkway isn’t exactly a straight line, so it’s bit of a roller coaster ride, even if it isn’t frightening. 6 minutes later, with the car slowing down at the exit…
Senor: Goddamn. What a beast.
Hermes: No, what a beauty. Anyway…
(He pulls up to an area of Flushing Meadows Park by the Jamaica Yard Facility—it’s the closest the road gets to the entrance of the underworld.) We’re here. You better play the part, buddy boy, Hades doesn’t let too many mortals into his parties.
Senor: So I’ve heard. Thanks, Hermes, I’ll see ya later. Have fun!
And with that Senor starts walking into the park towards the rail yard, which for some reason has an entrance to the Greek underworld in the area. Don’t know why, but fuck, we’ll take it.
He sees what looks like a castle gate that has opened up, and either he’s never noticed it or it’s been conjured out of nowhere. Either way, it spans the width of the River Styx, which means he can just start walking across.
Senor: Well at least Charon isn’t working double duty. (He sees something coming towards him.) Ha, awwww Cerberus! C’mere, you! (The massive dog says hi.) Hey buddy, how ya been? Aww, down boy, don’t lick my face, I have to look presentable, Hades said so. Come on! Let’s go inside.
They walk towards the House of the Dead. There’s loud music playing.
I mean, I had to make an Orpheus in the Underworld joke at some point. Anyway, Senor walks into the House of the Dead and it seems the party’s already swinging.
He opens the door and…
Hades: Ha ha! Senor, my boy, how are you? Glad you could make it!
Senor: Hi Hades, I’m fine, how are you?
Hades: I’m well, business is, well, it is what it usually is. Let me just save Persephone from that conversation over so she can say hi… Sephy? (He points towards Senor so Persephone, the goddess of vegetation and spring [and his wife], can say hi. And more importantly, get out of a conversation that she looks uninterested in.)
Persephone: Pardon me, Darko. Senor! It’s good to see you again, dear, how’s the world above?
Senor: It’s… well, it’s still there, so that has to stand for something. So I guess I’m okay. You?
Persephone: I’m well, I still have a couple things to get ready for the spring. Wildfires always throw a wrench into the preparations, and we’ll be commiserating over our baseball teams in advance. It’s going be a long year for the Cardinals and Pirates.
Senor: Let me guess, you’re the Cards fan due to ornithological reasons, Hades is the Pirates fan due to… pirates killing people reasons? I’m guessing Poseidon’s a Mariners fan?
Persephone: He’s actually a Marlins fan since their inception, but I wouldn’t recommend talking to him about it right now, he’s still sore. Where are my manners? I’ll take your coat, there’s beer in that cauldron, wine’s in that one, and that bowl on the table has punch, but be forewarned, it’s strong by our standards, so I don’t know how you’d take to it. I’m sure once word gets around that you’re a mortal you’ll have people flocking to you, so if you need to escape a conversation, well, you know the “Please, get me out of here” face.
Senor: Yeah. Thank you, Persephone.
Hades: Oh yeah, and I promise there will be some cool beings to talk to, Sephy can tell you.
Persephone: Oh shush, he doesn’t need to hear it from me, he’ll find out for himself!
Senor: All right, I’m gonna go wander off, see what happens.
And with that he goes to find himself a drink. There’s all types of beverages, but he quickly finds a new beer called Mouths of Cerberus. He reads the descrption on the label: “The three-headed dog Cerberus is as much an icon of the underworld as the River Styx, or even as much as his owner, Hades. To commemorate his three heads (and three mouths), we brewed a beer with three hot peppers—the fiery Dragon’s Breath, the tentatively named Pepper X, and the legendary Guatemalan Insanity Pepper, the Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango. You’ll feel the heat of the three mouths bearing upon you! And if you survive that, it’s a lush milk chocolate stout, giving it a surprisingly sweet finish.”
Senor: This beer sounds perfect for me. (He pops it open.) Let’s see if it sticks the landing. (He takes a sip and the peppers immediately hit him and his eyes pop open.) …Let’s see, wait a few seconds for the… yup, there it is. It’s that familiar taste even if these are different than the Reaper, and I tasted the chocolate from the beginning, and maybe it dulled the pain a little, but it’s still going and I’m pretty sure at this point the action’s from the Pepper X more than the Dragon’s Breath? Maybe the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper? Either way, this is good (takes another sip for some reason, shaking his head as he swallows as he knows how much it’ll hurt going down at this point) but I should not have multiple of these, need to not hurl in the house of Hades. Probably wouldn’t be allowed back.
(He grabs a plate and some pita chips. No hummus though… never got into it, don’t know why. But there is charcuterie, so he just takes a whole bunch of meats and cheeses and vegetables.) Well, it’s lunch for me, and it’s all good. And while I eat I can scope. Not sure for what or whom, but there will be scoping.
(He scans the room, just for who he can see and if there’s anyone he can recognize. And he can! And it’s not only the beings you’d expect! Sure, there’s Dionysus drinking and generally being Dionysus, and Adonis is doing his damndest to get his mack on. But it’s not all Greco-Roman. Moses is in the process of parting the dance floor to dance to… something, and Anubis, the Egyptian judge of the dead, is busy talking to Cerberus, and they’re managing to have a decent conversation about… something canine. There’s even…
Persephone: It’s rude to stare, Senor. But yes, that is them.
Senor: Sorry, I’m just surprised, the Helix and Dome Fossils aren’t gods of ancient mythology, they were meme-based gods of a hundred thousand people simultaneously controlling a game of Pokémon on the Internet.
Persephone: Who made stories and legends about the fossils and the Pokémon involved. Is that not mythology?
Senor: Wow, that’s… what does that mean about you guys? That by humanity making you up, we made you real?
Persephone: Well, if the ancient Greeks and Romans hadn’t written about us, would you be here?
Senor: (Thinking about it for a second) No, I wouldn’t. That’s mind-blowing. And I’m not even that drunk or high yet!
Persephone: (smiling) Key word, yet. The party’s still young, dear. Now go! Be social! You’re young and single, and there’s some pretty girls over there, talk to them! (She points to a sizable collection of redheads with remarkably similar ponytails and faces and expressions hugging each other, as if they also all know each other.)
Senor: I don’t know, Pers–(realizes she’s left him to sink or swim) I don’t know, me. They all look really similar, and if they’re here, and considering what I just learned about humanity creating our own gods a minute ago, then I have a funny feeling that I actually know who they all are. And in that case, if I talked to any of them… I’d probably be in for more than I bargained for. I’ll cool my jets for now, I think they’re catching up with each other. Don’t want to impede.
A woman suddenly comes up to him.
Woman: So, are you one of the mortals?
Senor: Um… yeah. Who are—
Woman: That sounds fascinating, still being alive and in the world today. They call me Babylon, honey. So… what do you do up there?
Senor: Well, I’m a musician professionally.
Babylon: That seems so interesting, honey. Do you sing or play or—
Senor: Well I play violin and I write, and…
Persephone: (to Hades) We should probably save him.
Hades: No, he needs this, one way or the other. And I need to see this, one way or the other. With another drink, you want a refill?
(Back to Senor…)
Senor: …and that’s why Bach was such a genius! I just also realized, I never gave you my name, it’s Senor. Um… can I get you a drink?
Babylon: Of course. (Stroking his chin) I’ll be right here.
Senor goes to the cauldrons and grabs a beer that isn’t millions of Scovilles for him and glass of wine for Babylon. But when he gets back, she’s nowhere to be found.
Senor: Wait, where’d she go?
Hades: Well, I’d say you dodged a bullet, Senor. And I’m impressed, too, it’s not every day that someone’s able to repulse the Whore of Babylon. Escape, sure, but she was the one escaping from you and it looks like someone else is her quarry now, so consider yourself lucky.
Babylon is now talking to someone else. Senor can’t make the guy’s face out because he’s wearing a luchador mask, but he clearly wants out of this and looking up at what looks to be his friends—a very stoned Irish boxer, a cyborg-man not wearing pants holding a brain in a sphere, and either a man in a very convincing gorilla suit, or a gorilla with an incredibly realistic action figure on his shoulder taking a drink from a thimble. They’re laughing at the luchador’s situation, but he sees Senor as Hades walks away.
Luchador: ¡Mi hombre! (hugs a slightly confused Senor and whispers in his ear) I need to make it look like I know you so that harpy sinks her talons into someone else. Zombies, demons, they’re no problem, but her? No thank you. Mis amigos son pendejos, they’re just laughing at me. Can you assist?
It’s at this point Senor sees that the luchador’s mask looks like a weasel. They both do a double-take.
Senor: Hang on, do I…?
Luchador: ¿…Te conozco?
They look at each other.
(Together): Nah, can’t be.
Senor: So! What are you drinking?
Luchador: Do you recommend anything?
Senor: Mouths of Cerberus if you like hellfire down your gullet, but even then you probably shouldn’t have more than one. Hops of Chronos is pretty good, but a bit hoppy and bitter so if you’re not into that, and… ooh, haven’t seen this one before, Hellas Bock… I’ll give it a whirl. Salud, my good man!
The two clink bottles, and as the luchador goes back to his friends, he gives Senor a nod.
Senor: I do like the mask, but I probably can’t rock the jacket. Hey, Hades, you can’t tell me who that guy was by any chance?
Hades: What, the guy with the weasel mask? You don’t know? Well, I’m not gonna tell you, that would ruin the fun. Oh, you’ve met Bruce, right? (Senor shakes Bruce’s hand or fin or whatever). How are you liking ton—(the doorbell rings) Who’s even using the doorbell? Don’t worry, Sephy, I’ll get it!
Hades opens the door, and two beings appear. It’s a little hard to describe what they exactly look like, but they are certainly gods or at least godlike. One, the male god, is wearing a yellow cape, and the other, presumably his female partner and/or consort, is wearing a gown with what looks like goalposts on each shoulder, with the span of each stopping just before her head. And at last Senor realizes who he is seeing; it is Bleergh and Shan’Khor, in the flesh.
Hades: Hey hey! Bleergh, ahhh good to see you! Shank’Khor, always a pleasure, mwah. I’m glad you two could make it.
Bleergh: So can I, glad we could swing it. Just watching that travesty to competition drives me to madness. And does anyone truly care about flags in the Pro Bowl? Even Hochuli mocked it! Hochuli, blight upon my ass on his best days, the f—
Shan’Khor: Bleergh! You’re out of the office, relax! Remember what Dr. Zhivago said about your blood pressure?
Bleergh: Right, Shanky, thank you. Deep breaths, deeeeeep breaths. So, my Canadian u-nion equivalent, Bleeurgh, is doing the Pro Bowl. They don’t have an all-star game, so he jumped at the opportunity, actually. I’ll get him a nice bottle of something, something he and Ruuzh can enjoy.
Bleergh: Yes, the god of one-point kicks, Bleeurgh’s partner. Shan’Khor and him go to Saturday boozy brunches all the time. And I believe I’ve never met you before, so who are you?
Senor: Oh, I’m so sorry, my lord. I’m Senor Weaselo. I’m a friend of Hades’s, and a member of the DFO congregation.
Bleergh: (rolling his eyes) All right, you’re here, and if you’re a friend of Hades, I guess you’re a friend of mine, but don’t go brown-nosing. I don’t need to deal with that here, I’ve got enough of that on the job, from Ginger Fuckface and Alberto Riveroshit. Got it?
Senor: Yes, sir. (Bleergh glares at him after the “sir” part.) Sure thing, Bleergh.
Shan’Khor: It’s lovely to meet you, Senor.
Senor: You too. Where’s your son, if I may?
Shan’Khor: Oh, you know of Doink too? He’s in Florida with his grandfather watching the All-Star festivities.
Senor: Really? Even after Bleergh’s thoughts of the Pro Bowl?
Shan’Khor: I apologize, I should have clarified. Doink and my father-in-law are in Tampa for the hockey game. He loves the sound of the puck hitting off the post, and they sent me a picture! (She takes out her phone and shows a picture of Beergh, who looks bored, and Doink, who’s wearing a Steven Stamkos shirt and is really into it.)
Senor: Awww, that’s nice. Anyway, I won’t hold you too long, Bleergh’s already gone to get a drink, and…
Shan’Khor: Thank you, Senor. Can I get you anything?
Senor: Oh, I’m good for now (he shows his bottle), but thank you.
The next few hours go similar to the last. Senor eventually tries out the punch and doesn’t die, so that’s considered a net win. He keeps his distance from Babylon, with glances at the weasel-masked luchador when she’s close to either of them. And he doesn’t get a chance to talk to any of the redheads; they left fairly early, and one of them had a rather large axe that he did not care to be on the business end of. Eventually the party starts winding down and gets a little more chill, and at some point Persephone re-emerges from a greenhouse and starts rolling a joint.
Persephone: Senor, you are trying some of this. No excuses.
Senor: I mean, I’ve never gotten anything out of—
Persephone: No. Excuses. (She takes a hit, then passes it to him.)
Senor: All right, here goes nothing. (He takes a hit… and immediately conks out.)
Persephone: Oh. Dear me. I guess I need to make a milder strain for him next time. Hades, I’m taking Senor to the guest room, he just collapsed on me!
Hades: (by the door, saying good-bye to other guests) Too much to drink?
Persephone: No, hellweed was too strong.
Hades: Well I could’ve told you that, Sephy, we can’t kill the boy. All right, I’ll go get Cerberus tucked in. Cerberus, here boy!
The next morning…
Senor: …Shit, where the hell am I? What room is this, and… hello?
Hades: Oh, Senor! Glad to see you’re not dead, Sephy’s kush was too dank for you, as the kids would say. No? Okay fine, you took a hit of her special stash and immediately conked out, remember now? Come on, I got something to show you, it’s hilarious. (He turns on the TV.)
Prometheus, the Titan who gave the world fire: Welcome back to Sports in the Underworld. It’s Monday and in the United States of America they are starting their yearly weeklong bacchanal culminating in the American football championship known as Superb Owl LII. Wait, what? That’s what I said, Superb Owl. It’s not? Shift a letter? Superbo Wl? Wl is not a word. Anyway, the Philadelphia Eagles will be taking on the New England Patriots for the title. Sisyphus, who do you think will win?
Sisyphus, first king of Ephyra: Well, I feel I must take the Patriots of New England. I admire their refusal to die no matter what. Sports teams normally let up when they have a sizable lead, but the Patriots have shown that against them that is a critical mistake. They showed it last year, and they showed it last week in their victory over Jacksonville. And as someone who showed that same resolve and refusal to die, I have to appreciate that.
Prometheus: I understand your reasoning. But as champion of the underdogs, like humanity, I think I’ll pick the Eagles. Yes, I’m taking the Eagles, and I expect the Eagles to come and—
Oh gods, no! Not that eagle! Aaaaaugh, please! Get it off me! Help me! Helllllp!
Hades: Oh my gods, that’s great, he called it on himself. Aww man. Do you want anything, ambrosia, juice?
Senor: Sure. And I guess I’ll be going after that, it’s getting late. Actually, what time is it?
Hades: Well, it’s tomorrow. So yeah. And Hermes left a message, he’s driving around Nogales, so you’re on your own.
Senor: Oh, so yeah, I better get out of here. I had fun, Hades. Sorry if I couldn’t live up to the coolness standard, but I am a giant dork.
Hades: Eh, hopefully we’ll do it again sometime. Though I think Prometheus and Sisyphus might try and big-time you next preseason. Maybe I can get you some more damned souls. Good seeing you, Senor.
Senor: You too.
He makes his way back, across the River Styx (this time Charon has to ferry him across), and comes back outside. As he feared, Hermes is nowhere to be found.
Senor: Damn it. It’s gonna take me forever to get home now.