by Fred D. White
Hera carefully lifted her foot from the pedestal and massaged it, teetering slightly. At long last, her desire for movement was fulfilled. To be able to move, she’d had to shrink herself to the size of a human, but what use was being ten feet high other than to serve as a pillar—and, of course, to intimidate mortals. Give her mobility any day, even if it meant becoming vulnerable, ordinary, anything to escape this absurd predicament of being conscious in a plaster-coated concrete effigy of herself. Zeus, on the other side of the shopping arcade’s reflecting pool, gasped at the sight of his now-minuscule wife raising her leg. He tried to move his own massive feet, but nothing happened. He next tried swinging his sinewy arms. They didn’t shift so much as a centimeter. He couldn’t even turn his ferocious head, considering that it helped support the ceiling.
Zeus and the other Olympians flanking the pool with its gold-flaked bottom and white-marble rim often expressed their wish to be mobile; but to become human-sized in order to do so would violate their very reason for existence. Of course, if their collective wish came true, the arcade’s ceiling would come crashing down, but they couldn’t care less about that. They loved to laugh at the silly, diminutive oh-so-vulnerable humans as they buzzed about the arcade, zipping in and out of clothing stores and restaurants, although Hera envied their energy and mobility. But as far as Zeus, Poseidon, Aphrodite, Apollo and Athena were concerned, to become one of them, even if it did mean mobility, was out of the question. They were Olympian gods!
“I’m just thankful I can speak,” said Aphrodite.
“It’s such a hideous predicament,” grumbled Poseidon, “to have arms and legs—and a trident— and not be able to use them. But think of the terrible fate that would befall us if we were no larger than porpoises.”
After the mall closed, Zeus asked Hera what she intended to do with her newly acquired ability to move.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “However, I’m getting strange tingling sensations all over my body. She ran her hands across her bosom; then she bent down to rub her calves.
“Do that again,” Zeus commanded.
“Do what again?”
“Massage your legs.”
“It’s tricky. The humans didn’t make our plinths wide enough to allow us any kind of movement without losing our balance.” But Hera managed to comply. It thrilled her that she was becoming so flexible.
“Very nice. Now lift the hem of your gown.”
“I beg your pardon?” Hera felt her mouth widen into a smile. It was the first time in her existence as a shopping arcade statue that she did such a strange thing with her face. It made her feel even more un-statue-like than bending down. “Are you getting ideas, my husband?”
Hera felt something emanating from her throat—a sigh of pleasure? Yes! She was experiencing great pleasure from this new emotion. Perhaps becoming human-like was not so bad after all. She lifted her hem to her knees. “There. Are you satisfied?”
“No. Lift your gown higher.”
“Like this?” She lifted the hem to her upper thighs. As she did so, the plaster shimmered into a silky gown, which she swished about playfully.
Zeus uttered a strange sound, something between a growl and a rumble. “This is torture! I am the mighty Zeus, and look at me—paralyzed in this detestable shopping mall, unable to move anything except my mouth. I demand the power of movement!”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to become human-sized first, my brother,” Poseidon smirked.
Meanwhile, Hera cautiously eased herself off her plinth. Aphrodite gasped. “Are you out of your divine mind?” the love goddess exclaimed. But Hera paid her no attention; her entire body was becoming infused with indescribable warmth.
“Come to think of it,” said Athena as she gazed in fascination at Hera, “you are nobody’s captive, so go girl!”
Hera very gently lowered her plaster feet onto the polished marble floor of the arcade. The feel of contact with this vast new surface made her shudder with pleasure; she gasped with excitement and disbelief as she watched her feet, along with the rest of her body, turn from chalk-white plaster to rosy, supple, veiny flesh.
“Come to me at once, woman!” Zeus thundered.
Hera looked up at her husband, at what now seemed to her to be a preposterous plaster caricature. Zeus continued to vent his rage at her; but her mind was made up.
Turning her back on Zeus and the other Olympians, she padded her way to the exit, and into the chaotic but alluring world outside.
About the Author:
Fred D. White’s fiction and humor have appeared most recently in Better Than Starbucks, Deep Overstock, Fiction Southeast, and The Citron Review. He lives in Folsom, CA.