The little schmo looked up at the burning sky and cried: “I need food! I need water!” Again and again he said it to the relentless sky, until his thin legs folded beneath him.
High above – above the layer of burning blue and the copper sun’s lidless eye – a young god lay snoozing amongst other gods. He twitched as something like the buzz of a fly touched his prone mind: then he woke and heard a whisper:
“I need food…”.
Stretching his well-nourished limbs, the god sat up and poked the deity snoring beside him.
“Oi – wake up. Something’s asking for something called “food”. Know anything about that?”
The prod-awakened god lay blinking, then he rumbled:
“Food? Is that actually something? It’s not my department, I can tell you that!”, and promptly turned over, emitting a very loud snore.
The troubled young god stood up. Looking around, he saw a rapidly-ageing god trying to lower a bucket into the fountain of youth. Seeing an opportunity, he offered to help:
“Here, I’ll get that. And maybe you can help me with something.”
He lowered the bucket and drew out about half a litre of Instant Youth Elixir – the old god grabbed it with both arthritic hands and guzzled the lot. After much glugging, he lowered the bucket, emitted a loud belch, then stood admiring his hands as they lost their spots and straightened out. The young god never got tired of watching this transformation:
“Wow – that’s really something! How do you feel?”
The rapidly-regenerating deity snapped:
“How do you think I feel? Great! Don’t you know that ageing is one of the last grounds for dismissal around here? There’re only a couple of “sins” in O’Limpus, and mortality is the worst. Haven’t you heard of mortal sin?”
The young god was still young enough to blush as he felt foolish: “Oh, right…” he murmured. Then he remembered why he was here: “Um, sorry to bother, but maybe you can help me. I woke to hear something asking for something called “food” – do you know what that is?”
The god before him had become, well, toned like a god. He stretched himself up to his full bronzed and muscular 11-foot height; looked down his straight, perfectly chiseled nose and thundered:
“I don’t take requests! I have a set program of feats and wonders – NO REQUESTS!”
Down below the little schmo heard rumbles rolling across the cloudless sky of burning blue, but no sound came from his parched lips.
The rejuvenated god thundered off – literally – leaving the young god staring after him. Still he had no answer. He walked, head bowed, wondering what to do next – wondering if he should even bother. But he couldn’t shake that thin voice out of his mind, it seemed so important. Deep in thought, the young god almost knocked a bustling god off his feet:
“Hey – watch where you’re putting those big sandals!” he snarled, glaring at the young god over a stack of finely scripted crystal tablets.
“Sorry. Oh, those are very nice. Are they new? All the tablets I’ve seen are thick and made of stone…” said the young god, admiringly. “Of course they’re new – when last did you actually see a stone tablet? We can’t very well send new technology down there without upping our own game, can we?” tutted the laden deity.
“Absolutely,” agreed the young god. Then, realising that he’d found someone that seemed to know things, he asked: “I heard a voice asking about food – do you know what that is? Is it something that we do?”
Sighing loudly, the god put down his stack of thin crystal tablets, rubbed his back and, pursing his lips thoughtfully, replied: “Hmmmm – I’ve heard about that before. Now, I’m involved in Holy Resources and it’s not our department at all, but you might try Terrestrial Development. It’s just after Ancestors and Archives, then turn left at the Amnesia stores.”
“Thanks. Oh, er – what are the Amnesia stores exactly?”
“Ha ha – you’d think we’d given you a bit. It’s where we store something we developed aeons ago… we splice it into each one before it’s born … wipes out any residual recall so they can’t remember any lessons from their particular species’ past.”
He nodded solemnly at the young god:
“We have to, you know. If they ever manage (as a bunch) to learn anything from one generation to the next – well, they’d be in charge of their own destinies. And we can’t have that, can we?”