Zeus was sitting on the edge of the bookshelf. He was fed up with it all. “Enough of these myths, they ruin the honesty of good things.” He mumbled as he stood up to stomp around and fume a bit more like only one of his stature could. “Relax, they always made you look good. Don’t make such a big fuss about them.” Said a faint voice from among the dusty books, only to be followed by a tiny flash and a yelp.
The bookshelf was an oblong four-foot black piece of almost-real teak. The leaves of the fern bellow will reach the shelf in a year or two if left untouched. Zeus hated this. No way that this no good weed shall reach the top of the sky. He mildly tolerated the dust on his books. Except on Tome Six. That one he kept spotless. Except for those particular singe marks and of course for those few missing pages. Other than the loose threads, a couple of seemingly perpetually wet spots, it was in perfect condition. Oh, don’t forget the inescapable layer of dust. Zeus was always pissed about that. The Tomes were leather-bound, of course, with a cheap golden looking finish. There were a couple of pinkish softcover books with friendly and giggly lettering on their spines wedged between Tome Three and Four. Zeus seemed unusually conflicted about these and almost invisibly started to blush every time somebody asked him why these particular books seemed less dusty than the rest. He would declare that Zeus wasn’t all knowing and that he hated it. What ‘it’ meant in this context remained unclear. The rest of the room wherein this bookshelf was situated was far away. Sometimes they could see lights flicker or hear ominous thundering that went on for millennia. Zeus claimed that the Titans were the cause of this, but he always became paranoid if he was left alone for too long.
Today was different, just like yesterday or tomorrow will be. Zeus was fuming, although that wasn’t that extraordinary. That Tome Six had a tiny new singe on its side was a bit odder, but nothing you would roast a Cherub for. What made today different was the fact that today would be a real day. “Why can’t they just, you know end where we stop telling them Herm?” Zeus sat down again, sounding a bit more tired than angry now. “Every time, it starts out good, then turns bizarre and wildly interesting with a dramatic ending and then it just simmers on into forgotten agony like Dyonisus’s cooking skills.” The faint voice tried again, this time sounding more cautious and maybe even like it has prepared himself with a piece of straightened metal wiggly thing that looked like it has been used before in such situations. “I don’t see what the big deal is anyway, Zeus.” Suddenly, he remembered to let the wiggly thing go, otherwise it wouldn’t matter. “People know the good stuff, the rest is afterlife. Isn’t it? See them as your personal diary, or garden as you seem to treat them.” Herm prepared for the zap and grabbed his long earlobes, they always tingled for hours if he didn’t. After a couple of seconds, the wiggly thing fell over. It didn’t even make a sound or anything that might be of comedic effect. It just fell over and he was looking at it, almost expectantly. Not even a spark. Zeus sighed and looked toward the books on his shelf. The tiny god looked downward towards that overreaching, self-righteous fern that was slowly mocking him. It wasn’t how it used to be. When there weren’t so many Tomes. When they weren’t so dusty. When Tome Six wasn’t only an outstanding masterpiece hidden among the rest, but the one that became by deeds and tales. The more there appeared the less they mattered. This Zeus damned bookshelf was his curse. They gave him a headache, but the only thing he could do, was to zap Herm and that was far less entertaining than what Athene did on an off day. Full armor, he thought, that was true, but it’s not like anybody ever mentioned the backward shinguards. Then he heard the scribble again. Zeus jumped to his feet and padded over as fast as he could. He hated Tome Nine for this, it was such a punch to his stature.
Herm wedged himself into the Last Tome, the Myth must go on and he must and mustn’t do his duty. ‘Zeus was sitting on the edge of the bookshelf. He was fed up with it all. “Enough of these myths, they ruin the honesty of good thing.” He mumbled as he stood up to stomp around…’ Herm then stopped to the sound of something falling over something else as it was cursing out loud. Herm was quite satisfied with Tome Nine, it added a well-needed lightheartedness to it all. ‘…and fume a bit more like only one of his stature could.’ If he could only get more done every time he got in there. If Zeus could only understand instead of acting like, well like he always acts. Maybe that should be something for the next Tome. ‘The graceful years of Zeus’. It had a certain ring to it that he liked. Especially if he disregarded the static in his ears. He should have learned by now; wire first, talk second.
As the bookshelf hang in the room, the space around it filled with a soft and warm light. Water came pouring at the stems of the fern onto the soil plateau that it grew from. It never questioned where it came from, but enjoyed the feeling as it soaked the ground around its roots. They were a bit cramped up and sometimes it wished that the day of release would come again and the soil would loosen up so that his poor old roots may shoot further. But it enjoyed the water as his roots sucked it in. As it got pumped up through his stem and out towards the tips of his leaves. He felt fresh again. A light breeze moved it’s leaves aside and some more water drizzled onto the last dry spot on his shady side. He liked it when such a breeze came around on such an occasion. It was good.
Zeus bent the wiggly thing double and threw it aside. He didn’t know where Herm got that thing from, but Hephaestus would learn to smite in a day if he ever saw him flutter around with it. “Where was that wretched child again?” murmured Zeus as he walked past the Tomes, listening as he went. “Ah, damn his wings,” Zeus grumbled as he heard the sound of scribbling as he came to Tome Nine. He took two steps backward as he prepared himself. “Deeds and Tales” Zeus shouted and lunged forward. As he slammed into the leather-bound Tome, there was an audible ‘Oompf’ and the sound of paper tearing somewhere deep inside. Then it went quiet for a long time. The tiny god stood up, and while rubbing his shoulder he walked over to the broad side of the book wearing a smile on his face that could almost be described as satisfied. For once he didn’t hate the fact that those books were such a burden. Especially since now it was a bigger burden to someone else. A muffled sound arose from within the pages of the Tome, something sounding like a moan and a vain attempt to put a pen to a page. As far as such a thing can produce a sound that can be perceived by anyone else than a God frustrated by the story of his own existence. With a swift kick, Zeus slammed the Tome shut.
Herm wasn’t prepared for this. He has been zapped, yelled at and has gotten numerous kicks to his hind parts. Zeus went to far this time. Couldn’t that wretched old fool see that he was doing him good? No more useless strains on a weary deity. No more titans, monsters or boring phanteonal politics. It was his gift to him. This quiet and relaxing existence should have been good for him. No, it is time. Maybe this will learn him to appreciate what Herm was offering him. As carefully as he could, he climbed upwards on the page that he had just started. “The bloody fool ruined this one, I even did my best to find the finest paper for him. Like a bull in a temple that one. Can’t see what Europa saw in him, the ungrateful maniac.” The mumbling pensman reached the top of the Tome and carefully peered down the side. His thunderous ‘protege’ was inspecting his footwork. Probably assuming that Herm retreated to the other realm to lick his wounds. “Oh, the pitiful fool”, sighed Herm. His hands reaching down into his satchel and pulling out a tiny red booklet. “I saved this one for Ares, but maybe he will appreciate the honor. It will suit him well as his final Tome. But I will have to be quick, can’t stand it to have him a day without one.”
It was a blissful feeling. Zeus found himself smiling as he concluded that he didn’t hate this feeling. Even the bookshelf seemed more homely. To test his new found peace he wandered over to the edge and looked down at his high reaching adversary. “Ha, your climb is futile! You shall never reach the height of Plank Olympus.” He bellowed at the fern. Yes, he still hated the plant, but more in a defiant way. A slight tingle spread between his fingers. The thought ‘This will be a good night!’ almost had a chance to cross his mind before he heard the thud. Slowly he turned around and looked in full astonishment at the tiny rectangle standing erect next to that wretched Tome Nine. He hated it. The thought that never made it, made place for a ‘You filthy little trickster!’ that came from the deepest parts of Zeus’s mind. The Red Tome began to grow, pushing away the collected dust to make a place for its presence. He saw a figure stand up on top of the Ninth Tome and jump down towards the new one. Sparks buzzed and the air smelled burnt, but all in vain. Herm slid inside his new safe haven. As the tome grew, Zeus could see the lettering. This, he did not hate, it simply infuriated him. There was no time for hate; “No God shall ever be more!” Zeus ran over and tried to kick the book but it didn’t even budge. The shelf seemed to envelop him for a second but the tiny deity shook it off and roared in agony. His scarlet fate was now starting to tower above him. “…never be more.” Zeus gripped the face of the book and started to lift. He started to feel the pain of Atlas, but the book didn’t want to rise. His muscles tensed up as he mustered the lightning. Slowly the ever-growing burden lifted and Zeus trembled. He managed to find his footing and for a second his form became one of a heroic column, one that was trying to hold his own against the wear of time. Slowly he took a step and turned towards the edge, sinking slightly through his knees as the Tome grew ever larger. The red leather started to turn black at his fingertips, as the sparks dug ever deeper. Inside Herm felt the fear as he was rummaging through his satchel. The pen, the pen is broken. It won’t hold his ink anymore.
Zeus took two more steps and felt that those were the last ones. Slowly he started tipping the book towards the edge of the black, almost-teak plank. This was his monument and it was time to tear it down. Silently he let it go.
That night, a book fell to the ground next to a potted fern. It’s pages blank, except for one tiny red smudge on the first page. Somewhere high above a satisfied smile hung in the air before being whisked away.
“Graceful years my…”