An Explosive Afternoon

After leaving Dad’s office, I considered not going to see the woman in Human Resources. But then I decided to humor the old man, so I took the elevator down to the tenth floor.

The elevator doors opened and I walked out into a very ordinary looking reception area. Compared to the lush carpets, oak desks, and Tiffany lamps that were on Dad’s floor, this department was like a place of sanity in the middle of the chaos. Berber carpet, an extra-large receptionist desk, comfortable looking armchairs, and an area with coffee, water and donuts surrounded the young woman behind the desk. She looked up from her work and smiled. “Good afternoon,” she said. Her name plate said Samantha Lewis. “May I help you, sir?”

“My name is Ares, Ms. Lewis,” I replied. “I was sent down here to talk to a woman named Ophelia.”

“Oh yes, we’ve been expecting you. Let me see if she’s free.” She picked up the phone and dialed a number. “Ms. Ophelia? This is Samantha at reception. The young man you have been waiting for is here. Yes, ma’am. I’ll take care of it. Thank you.” She hung up and looked at me again. “Ms. Ophelia is finishing up a call, but she’ll be with you in a few minutes. May I interest you in something to drink?”

“I see a bottle of water over there. I can get it,” I assured her. “I don’t want to interrupt your work.”

I walked over, took a cold bottle and walked around the room. The confrontation with Dad had me tense, and I did some deep breathing exercises to help calm me down. While I did that, I tried to imagine what Ophelia might look like. Names could be deceiving, so I pictured a woman wearing a grey suit jacket over a buttoned up white shirt, grey skirt, and black shoes. It made me think of the evil woman in the movie “From Russia With Love” who had the switchblade on the tip of her shoe. I’d have to remember to stay away from Ophelia’s feet.

“Ares?” a soft feminine voice said from behind me.

I turned around to see a young woman about thirty-five, raven hair, brown eyes, wearing a red shirt, black pants, black suit jacket, and red high heels. “Yes, ma’am, I’m Ares.”

She held out her hand. “I’m Ophelia,” she said. I shook her hand; she had a strong, firm grip. “Would you come this way please? Samantha, could you hold my calls please?”

“What if you know who calls?” Samantha asked, eyes looking up at the ceiling.

“He can wait. And if he doesn’t like that answer, tell him too bad. He’s not more important than anyone else around here, regardless of what his overinflated ego tells him.”

Samantha grinned. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll be glad to tell him that.”

I followed Ophelia down the hall to her office, which was just as comfortable and unassuming as the reception area. Closing the door, she walked over to a small table that was in the corner. “Why don’t we sit here?” she said. “Much more informal.”

Sitting down across from her, I handed her the scroll Dad had sent down. She took it from me, leaned over to her left, and tossed it in the trash. My eyes went wide. “He wanted you to read that.”

“I’m sure he did,” she said nonchalantly. “I’m not interested in what he has to say about your career goals. I want to know what you have to say about them.”

“Well, I’m not sure what I can do,” I answered. “I mean, I’m the god of war. I start fights, kill people, ravish the lands, things like that.”

“But there is more to you than that,” she replied. “You’re good at managing hundreds, if not thousands, of people at once. You know how to delegate authority; your strategy skills are second to none.”

“I suppose that is true,” I admitted.

“There have been times when you have done things for your parents that required you to locate and study people and locations. That means you would have to ask questions to learn things. You can be very protective of those you care about, and I am referring to Aphrodite and your Amazonian daughters. I think you should consider opening a private detective agency or a private security firm.”

“That wouldn’t involve starting a war, would it?”

“Not unless you want to,” Ophelia said. She shuffled through a few folders on the table before sliding it across to me. “There is a nice building located a couple of miles from here. Not as big as this one, I’m afraid, only ten stories. But the top three floors are actually private apartments, which would be good for your employees. They could live onsite, and be on call in case of emergencies. There is a penthouse apartment that would be perfect for you; then you wouldn’t have to live at your father’s house.” She opened the folder and turned a few pages. “There is a parking garage, as well as a basement to store your equipment. It has an elevator that will take the equipment up to the garage level. What do you think?”

“It’s certainly something to consider,” I said. “May I check it out?”

“By all means,” Ophelia said, getting to her feet. She walked over to her desk, opened the middle drawer, and pulled out a set of keys, which she tossed to me. “You’ll find the address in the folder.”

I caught the keys just as my phone rang. I pulled it out and checked it. “I’m sorry, I need to take this. Do you mind?”

“Not at all. We’re done anyway. Take your time, check out the building and information I’ve provided, and let me know. But I think you’ll find it’s a good fit for your skills.”

I shook her hand, grabbed the folder, and answered the phone as I walked out of her office. “Hey, Moxie, what’s up?”

“Your brother has done something really bad,” she said.

“Which one? You’ll have to be more specific than that.”

“Hephaestus.”

I pushed the down button on the elevator. “What’s he done this time?”

“Just get down to the museum.”

“I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

“Thank you,” she said before hanging up.

The museum she referred to was Zeus’ new project. He had Hephy (as we called my brother) building this monstrosity so Zeus should showcase all the things that had been saved from his childhood. A lot of the company’s budget was going into constructing this…ego stroking eyesore. My brother had been complaining about it for months. He had also informed me that money that had been earmarked for my future job had been funneled into that museum. But Hephy had managed to requisition a few necessities for me: landmines, grenade launchers, missiles, and a few other weapons. What? You have to be prepared in case of an emergency, right?

When I arrived at the building site, Moxie was waiting for me, looking rather distraught. “He’s really done it this time,” she said when I got out of my black Dodge Ram.

“How bad can it be?” I said as she dragged me around the corner. I stopped dead in my tracks. “Oh, that’s bad.”

Hephy was sitting on the tailgate of his work truck, a cigar in his mouth. When he saw me, he removed the cigar and grinned. “What do you think of the museum now, bro?”

Where the museum had once been was now a fiery pile of nothing. “What did you do?”

“I blew the damn thing up, that’s what I did! Does it look great?!”

Dad was going to be so pissed about this.

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Ares (Teresa Watson)

Ares (Teresa Watson)

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Ares is written by mystery writer Teresa Watson, author of thirteen books. She loves all things that involve sports and war movies. | Original God (OG) - Charter member of All in the Pantheon |
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3 Comments

  1. Ares:

    Whomever that Ophelia was, she was definitely trying to butter you up.

    “Your strategy skills are second to none” …?

    Come on. We know strategy is MY jam and something you always tease me for caring about.

    Watch out. I don’t think she can be trusted.

    XXOO,
    Pallas Athena

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