[Mount Olympus--the home of the gods.]
HERA: What do you think of this manIxion?
ZEUS: Why? Are you contemplating an affair? I think you should do ithe’s a fine sort.
HERA: He is not! He’s a villain!
ZEUS: I’m intrigued by this little outburst. Is there something going on I should know about?
HERA: There most certainly is!
ZEUS: Well? Go onthe anticipation is killing me!
HERA: You don’t have to make fun. It’s hard enough for me to tell you as it is. The wretch!
ZEUS: Ah! If he’s a “wretch,” you must certainly tell me all about it. I know what “wretch” means on your prudish tongue. Who has he been making love to?
ZEUS: You? Really? And he seemed so sensible.
HERA: It’s been going on for a long time. At first, I noticed him staringout of the corner of his eye, you know, but glancing away when I caught himthen he started in with the sighs and groans.
ZEUS: Maybe he was constipated.
HERA: I’ll ignore that little remark. I wasn’t sure either, at first, but whenever I hand my cup to Ganymede, he insists on having it next and slobbers all over it, kissing more than drinking, and lifting his eyes to me again, and that’s when I knew. I would have told you then and there, but I thought his mad fit might pass. It did not, however, and today he has crossed the linehe actually dared to speak to me!
ZEUS: Speak to you?
ZEUS: Ah! So you haven’t actually made love yet?
HERA: I left him weeping and groveling at my feet. I stopped my ears so as not to hear his impertinences, and came directly to you. It is for you to determine his punishment.
ZEUS: Wow! I have a rivaland with my own wife! Fascinating! Here is a rascal who has tippled nectar to some purpose! Well, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We admit these mortals to our table, share the celestial nectar, parade before them all the beauties of Heavenis it any wonder that they fall in love and form ambitious schemes? Love is all-powerful, after all, and not just for mortalswe Gods have sometimes fallen victim to his potent darts.
HERA: You’re certainly a chronic case, eternally under his sway. You’re like a little toy, Love’s pawn, he leads you about by the nose, and you assume every shape at his command. I know very well how this will endyou’re going to pardon Ixion because you’ve had relations with his wife and turnabout is fair play.
ZEUS: Ah! I’d forgotten all about heryou have a better memory for these little outings of mine than I have!
HERA: Stop reminiscing about your adventures and tell me what you plan to do about Ixion.
ZEUS: Well, it would never to do banish himthat would just cause a scandal. No, since he’s so fond of you, perhaps we should just satisfy his appetite, you knowallow him to glut himself on this strange desire.
HERA: What?! You want me to open my legs for this mortal?!
ZEUS: No, no, of course notbelieve it or not, you still have a few charms left, and I’d like to keep you for myself. I was thinking we could make a cloud-phantom in your image, and after dinner, you know, as he lies awake dreaming of you and vainly striving to soothe his desire, we’ll lay this phantom-lady at his side. He’ll think you’ve come to satisfy him, and the conquest complete, he’ll move on to a more willing victim.
HERA: Never! The presumptuous devil!
ZEUS: What harm can it do if Ixion makes love to a cloud?
HERA: He will think I am the cloud and that he’s working his wicked little will on me!
ZEUS: Oh, don’t be ridiculous. The cloud is not Hera, and Hera is not the cloud. It’s just an illusion. He might as well be doing himself.
HERA: While he’s thinking of me!
ZEUS: You don’t think that’s happened already?
HERA: Oh! You men are all alike! What if he goes home afterwards and brags about how he’s made Hera scream like a little girl, and made a cuckold of Zeus in the bargainthat won’t bother you?
ZEUS: If he says anything of the kind, I’ll plant my thunderbolt so far up his … well, somewhere that won’t be very comfortable for him! And it’ll serve him right! Not for falling in loveI see no great harm in thatbut for letting his tongue wag.
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Copyright © 2008 by Baudelaire Jones
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