The muses run Cloud 9, the divine repository of inspirations, under the benevolent dictatorship of Hermes – messenger of the gods. The Olympians, devoted nepotists, almost exclusively hire their many and varied family members. The divine and semi-divine collaborate, stock, check-out, and deliver the inspirations of Cloud 9 to the world.
Hermes, draping himself across his chair behind Reception, directed several underlings with a look or a thought, then turned his full attention back to the god before him.
“And it’s not just the sleep thing,” moaned Morpheus, leaning across the desk to look Hermes full in the face. “I mean, I get that – god of Sleep and all. But just because he’s the god of sleep doesn’t mean he gets to sleep on the job!”
Hermes cocked an eyebrow at him.
“I mean, just… Urgh!” Morpheus pounded the desk. “Why do I have to be his delivery boy?”
The other eyebrow went up.
“Sorry,” said Morpheus. “Forgot who I was talking to.”
The golden youth behind reception tilted the large, black-suede recliner forward and patted Morpheus’s fist. “Hey, don’t worry about it,” he said. “You’re in this game long enough, things work out.” He turned to glare at a gangly, red-eyed youth. The boy burst into fresh tears and ran toward the Potential Tragedies section with a stack of freshly created inspirations. “See?” said the messenger god. “I just love messing with that kid.”
“Which one was that?” asked Morpheus.
“Oh, Nicholas?” Hermes jerked a thumb towards the rapidly retreating figure. A path of used hankies littered his wake. “He’s just one of Melpomene’s kids, works tragedies, a bit weepy but a nice kid.”
“Melpomene? Muse of… Tragedies; right?”
“Oh, GODS, yes,” replied Hermes, laughing and reclining once more. “Whoever wanted to have kids with her needs his head examined, but… well, you know. They’re still nice kids. Bit annoying, but nice.”
“But I’m not in charge,” said Morpheus, bringing the conversation back to his complaint. “I deliver all the inspirations through dreams, etc. but Hypnos gets the credit. Now THAT’S annoying!”
“Are you nuts?” asked Hermes. He snapped his fingers. A jar of Jordan almonds appeared beside him and started throwing themselves into his mouth. “Mmmmmm.”
Morpheus straightened and began to turn.
“Ok, ok, ok, sorry,” said Hermes. “Just hungry. What I meant was, don’t you pay attention? You get a lot more credit than you realize, much more than Hypnos. Just google it sometime.” His eyes rolled up and his mouth moved silently. “19,300,000 hits… more or less, for just YOU! Hypnos only got…” He rolled his eyes again. “880,000! You WAY outpace him.”
“Title isn’t everything, dude. I’m telling you, you’re the one people recognize.”
“I’m still tired of being his delivery… uh.” Morpheus cleared his throat. Hermes watched him squirm. “Of… not having a more efficient delivery system. I mean, you’re in charge here! The muses organize things, you manage, you don’t have to deliver every single inspiration in person.”
Hermes snapped his fingers. The jar of almonds disappeared. “Oh, don’t worry. We’re upgrading. Alien Love Child has given us some great inspirations for that sort of thing.”
“Perks of the job?”
“Of course! Anyway when we upgrade humanity, install new software, we should be able to just download the inspirations directly into their heads.”
“Won’t that… what I mean is, won’t that effect the gods? US? Don’t we need human dreams and devotion to survive?”
“Oh, it’s fine,” said Hermes. “We’ll just program them to keep doing that. I mean, what could go wrong?”
I hope you enjoyed my Friday Flash. This is part 2 of my ‘Cloud 9′ series. My intent is for each installment to stand on its own, yet fit into the larger whole. To this end, I added a short introduction (that will appear before each installment). Does the story stand on its own? Do the characters, setting, and plot work? Feedback is both welcomed and appreciated.