Barkeep! A round of Nectar for the house!
That’s right, for the house. Tal Vignir just had his best day in ages, and he knows how to show appreciation.
Hey, mind if I squeeze in here?
Great, thanks. Good to see a fellow minor god of mischief in this place.
Oh, I can tell. It’s all over your face, chum. Tell me, what’s your gig?
No kidding, misplaced clothing! Damn, that’s got to keep you hopping. Bet it makes you enjoy a little downtime here at the bar, eh? Of course, downtime’s all I’ve had lately. Want to take a guess what my little knack is?
C’mon, don’t be a spoil-sport. Guess!
Hah! Not even close. Want another guess?
Oh, don’t be sore. You’ve got your nectar, dont’cha? Fine, I’ll tell you. I, Tal Vignir, am the minor god of mischief for travelers losing their way.
Doesn’t sound so bad? Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it’s been very bad. Ever heard of a thing called Global Positioning System?
No? Well, socks don’t have GPS in ‘em yet. Give it a few decades, you’ll see. You’ll be just as sore as me. Of course, GPS wasn’t the first thing to cause me trouble. Cell phones so people could call for directions, interstate highways… Truth be told, it’s all been downhill since the very first maps were made.
You trying to tell me my business? Think I don’t know there are a lot more people traveling now? This is my thing, Mac, and you’re just gonna have to take my word for it. The business of making travelers lose their way takes a heap more effort than it used to. But today? Today was priceless.
Yep. Today… it was pretty awesome.
Oh, for pity’s sake, aren’t ya gonna ask what happened?
Right. So, I was minding my own business, hanging out on a Red Sea beach. Blending, you know. With the mortals. But, I’ll tell ya, Mac…
Well, I knew your name wasn’t Mac, but you haven’t seen fit to introduce yourself.
My deepest pardons, Lank.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Red Sea. So, I’ll tell you, Lank… It shoulda been great. December sun, nice breezes, and all that. But I couldn’t enjoy it. Know why?
Exactly! I was feeling irrelevant. And you know that’s a dangerous thing for a minor god of mischief to feel. A short step from there to oblivion. So, I was watching the people walk by, half of them chattering into phones, which undoubtedly had those blasted GPS thingies. Sitting around, feeling sorry for myself. I had to get out of there. One second…
Hey, barkeep! Another nectar for me and one for my pal Lank here.
Yeah, I had to get out of there and quick. So I went the quickest route to get away from the people. Sploosh! Right into the water. Now, water’s not my element. It’s too fluid, I can’t shape it or nothing. A shame, too. You know, people have got every square foot of land mapped and analyzed, but the ocean, it’s still pretty much an alien realm to them. But, well, that and a coupla drachmae will get me a falafel sandwich, right?
Anyway… I was cruising through the water, just rattling around in my own head and I came to this rinky-dink volcano. It was down on the ocean floor, sputtering along, not doing much of anything. And I watched that pathetic little thing and I had myself an idea.
What if I could give that volcano a nudge? A little boost, you know. So, I try it. Just shifted things around a touch, let everything flow a bit more and… Boom!
Yep, boom! My little volcano became a star. All that magma shot out, hit the water, formed a nice little island, right where one had never been before. I got to hang out and watch some fishermen have fun trying to route themselves around my new little creation. Travelers thwarted!
So, whaddya think, Lank? Have I still got it or what? I’ll tell ya, you may have steady work and a mischief god’s gotta respect steady work. But I wouldn’t away trade my brand new island. No sir, not for all the lost underwear in the Mediterranean!
Michael Haynes lives in Ohio with his wife and children. He enjoys writing and reading, particularly science fiction, fantasy and mystery. He also likes watching movies, going to hockey games (go Jackets!), and cooking. He blogs regularly at http://www.michaelhaynes.info about writing and whatever else crosses his mind.