It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

This little jewel came about when I decided I wanted to write something starting with that phrase. Also inspired by my copy of Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons by Manfred Lurker (what a name).

It was a dark and stormy night and the mood around the table was no better. The assembled gods stared at each other, waiting for one to break the silence. Although nothing of true consequence to them, the great cosmic skein, time, slowly unraveled from existence, the breaking of every thread felt by the assembled host. Finally unable to bear the silence any more, Loki decided that it was up to him. He focused all his energy to the task at hand, assessed the right moment, and let fly a juicy fart.

This was not just any old fart, it was the fart of a god, and not just the fart of a god but the fart of the Norse god of Mischief. It was that kind of fart. The other members of the Norse group were no strangers to this; the other pantheons, however, were in for a treat. Thor recognized at once that this was not one of Loki’s usual blasts. As the evil spread around the room, it worked as intended, and the gods began to speak.

Above the murmurs and blinded by tears, “What the fuck was that!” was clearly heard coming from the usually demure Amaterasu. She flailed her arms at the invisible enemy, her flowing robes advancing her defense little; for each part moved away, another flowed in. If anything, she was helping to thin the cloud. As she focused every modicum of energy to combating the evil that engulfed her, she wondered how much more painful the tears in her eyes were to those that her mother had at her birth. One particularly violent gesticulation cracked like a tiny silken whip on the nose of Ganesha. “That tears it! I am leaving!” roared the mighty one. His trunk whipping through the air more to punctuate his speech rather than in combat with the ephemeral evil. After all, he could reach his trunk above the cloud for air. The giant rose to his feet, nearly upsetting the entire table. As everyone reached out to steady their things, no one noticed the smile on the face of Mictlantecuhtli. It was a case of forest for the trees. After all, every grinning skull has a smile, but somehow, you could tell, this was something more, a real smile; cosmic forces reshaped his skull, accentuating it even more. Wow, the Aztec thought to himself. That is a fart to write home about.

Now all of the assembled were muttering oaths and curses; now it was a din. Only Loki and Mictlantecuhtli were quiet. “I thought that there was going to be food,” inquired Adachigahara rather loudly, her “Hello! My name is” name tag clinging desperately to her clothing, sideways, the glyphs of her name written in red, slowly browning as the ink dried. She matched the cadence of her speech in time with the hammering of her dagger on the table. No matter the scale of the cacophony, it only took a small tap of Mjollnir on the table to bring the situation under control. Odin nodded his thanks to his son and rose. “Okay, okay,” he began. “Everybody settle down. I promise you that Loki will not do that again.” Loki glanced around the table, confirming that everyone was glaring at him; all save Mictlantecuhtli, who smiled slightly again and gave him an approving nod. Odin paused a moment, the silence of the room disrupted only by Adachigahara’s rumbling stomach.

Gilgamesh, please sit down.”

“I am Ganesha, you fish-breathed caribou fucker!” the god gently reminded him. To emphasize his point, Ganesha continued to stand, his trunk snapping back and forth like an annoyed cat’s tail. Shiva kept watch on the vacillating trunk; every time it snapped his way, he just knew that this would be the time that it would knock over his Fuzzy Navel. Don’t you dare, fat boy, thought the Destroyer of Worlds.

Fine, keep standing. Now, we are all here because of some unprecedented events that are coming our way. I learned just recently from Huginn and Muninn of a catastroph…” Everyone jumped at the booming sound echoing through the room. Several glanced in Thor’s direction but Mjollnir lay on the table by his hand. The thunderous sound came again, causing them to flinch once more. Eyes danced around the room, hands grasped weapons. Has it come already, wondered Odin. They expected the sound again, but instead a rolling groan filled the air. It was a yawning sound like doom. Shiva’s eyes were wide, bracing himself for the horror that could summon such dread in such powerful gods, or was it from the sound of the tendons and knuckles in Thor’s hand as he gripped the handle of Mjollnir? Adachigahara’s stomach had ceased its five-second report and Ganesha’s tempestuous trunk was still, frozen in mid-swing.

Everyone was facing the door now. The massive portal extended only slightly into the room, the alcove in which it was set was black except the thin, weak orange beam of light from outside. The normal interplay of the light on the floor was nauseating but no one noticed. The swath of light was diminishing, occulted as a massive shadow consumed it. As the shadow continued to ingest the light, a low airy growl was in its company. The noise became louder as the shadow grew. The collective cultures each had ideas for a possible source of the unseen enemy but none completely met the criteria. The shadow now had stopped or so it appeared. In any event, there was no more light on the floor. The room shook with a painful, deafening roar, concussive in its force. The lighter items in the room reacted violently to the tremors that now assailed it. The grumbling bellow began to subside. The gods began to regain their composure as the malfeasance lessened. Only Thor maintained his alerted state, Mjollnir was visibly shaking in his grip, the hammer glowed ever so slightly.

Forgive my interruption,” exploded a voice from the abyssal. Every possible construct of the room’s architecture that could amplify the voice did so with relish, continuing to punish the occupants. The source was moving into the room and as it did, the destructive force of the voice lessened both physically and psychically. Most at the table were still recovering from the acoustic bludgeoning but Odin was elsewhere, trying to recall any hint of this sort of manifestation in anything that he had learned from the Norns or from Yggsdrasil of the end times. Perhaps this knowledge requires the other eye, he concluded.

Excuse me,” came a now disappointing, weak voice, a voice that should not be, could not be, not after what had just happened. A diminutive creature appeared from the alcove, laughable not just to the gods, but to any of their mortal subjects. ‘I am sorry about that,” sniveled the little man, “sometimes these alcoves make one’s voice reverberate a bit.” The little man flashed them his best apologetic smile, vile in appearance. “I am sorry Mr. Odin but we have to get ready for the Epstien bar mitzvha.” Odin regained his senses but the auditory torture had bruised his mind and his words failed him. “But…” Although Odin was visibly floundering to say the next words, the little man interrupted him, programmed to do so at the first tone of any response. “I am sorry, sir,” he interrupted, his weak, powerful tone bringing the Traveler into check, “but your reservation was over fifteen minutes ago. Your party will have to leave.”

Odin donned his broad hat with a petulant motion. Loki smirked to himself. The other gods murmured their exasperation. Barely audible above it all was Amaterasu again, summing up her virtual comment card with the salient “Stupid, one-eye goat boy. You fuck ’round too much.” The assembly broke up quickly, the various groups gathering their things and making their exits, all avoided the gaze of the little man by the door. “I need to order something to go,” Adachigahara told the little man, who gladly scribbled her request, the color leaving his face as she continued. “Yessiree, that was some fart,” mused Mictlantecuhtli as he took to his feet and stretched. His impossibly bigger smile augmented now by a slight squint of his eye sockets; a single tear formed at the corner.


November 2006