This all started when I stepped in piss. It was an experience I’d all but forgotten, but certainly hadn’t missed. I was barefoot at the time, so I tracked the urine all through the dining room before cleaning it up. Sera, my dog, was sitting in a corner. She looked pretty guilty about making the mess. She was a potty-trained dog, with access to the outside, so I knew that there was something wrong with her. One of the interesting benefits of making most of the microorganisms with my brother was that I understood parasites and diseases on a fundamental level. Some of you might hate me for being a part of their creation, but most of the weird stuff was Epimetheus’ fault, and without microorganisms, life wouldn’t exist. No, Sera was sick, and I suspect her age had something to do with it.
Sera wasn’t a young dog; she didn’t run around the house and chase things like I’d seen in your videos. Still, she was a sweet dog, always happy to see me, and going out of her way to bother me when I was on the computer or watching something. I didn’t want her to suffer, so I took her to the vet.
Sera didn’t mind getting into that little box. The vet was a strange mix of cleanliness covered in an unidentifiable filth. It was the sickness, death, and misery that clung to it. The other pet owners were upset, annoyed, and grieving. The older they were, the less they let their emotions showed. I don’t think it was an issue of learning not to feel, I just think that you learned how to cope with loss. I think that’s why the pantheon is so willing to kill you or use you. They’ve gotten use to you dying. I keep wondering if World War II was the last moment of horror for them. Did they still care when millions died in Maoist’s China? I’m sure Hades did, but I doubt he was choked up about it.
The thing is that we are the same as you. Change doesn’t come easily to us. Based on your estimates, I was more or less the same person for three and a half billion years. I say your estimates because we didn’t have years back then. I’ve been using your science to try and piece together my past. Most of the Olympians seem to act like they’ve only been around for two or three thousand years, but that doesn’t make any sense. I made the first life on Earth. It wasn’t a short time between that and giving you fire, but it also didn’t feel that long. We were different back then; millenia must’ve passed like years to us.
They called me to the front and started asking me a lot of questions. I tried to get them to focus on Sera and get help for her, but they kept talking about me. They wanted to know this number and that number, and I didn’t have any answers. Finally, they told me that they couldn’t help me. I understood that the woman wasn’t personally mad at me, but she wouldn’t risk her job for the health of my dog. In the end, I had to thank her and carry Sera out to the curb.
I didn’t get very far before I started crying. I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about my misery, but it still bothers me. It’s not that I was overcome with grief for the death of a single animal; it was my responsibility in her suffering that hurt. I’d kept the dog with me because I thought I could’ve given her a decent life. The reality was that owning her was only keeping her from getting the care she needed.
It was then that something unexpected happened. This man came to my side and asked if I was okay. I’d seen him in the vet talking with another man over a caged iguana. Well, to avoid confusion, I’m going to name the man that talked to me outside, Zar, and his friend was Iggy. Iggy was still inside taking care of his iguana, and so Zar had about an hour to kill. He offered to give me a ride home. On the way back, I told him about Sera, and lied to tell him that I lost my ID card. Zar was sympathetic, and suggested that Sera could just have a bladder infection. There was some kind of specialty food I could buy. It was nice for someone to go out of their way and help me.
When I got home, I let Sera out. She’d already peed inside the box again, so I gave her a little wash down. Once she was dried, I held Sera for a long time. I wished I had the power to take away her sickness, but I hadn’t created life in a very long time. I wasn’t even sure if I could, and I didn’t want to try. Sera went to eat and fell asleep in her little corner in the den.
Later that week, I ran into Zar at the gas station. I wasn’t there long since I was on my dirt bike, but he gave me his number and told me that he was going out with his boyfriend that Friday. It was my first real attempt at making a friend. In the moment it felt nice, but as the week went on, I thought about all of the ways things could go wrong. If they were going out to a gay bar, I’d embarrass them by being so ugly and awkward. If they were going out to a movie, I wouldn’t be able to understand all of the references, and ask them a lot of stupid questions. If they were going out to play a game, I might throw a fit when I lost, or let my teammates down because I lacked any physical skills. In the end, Friday came, and I didn’t call Zar. I’d made the right choice.
You have enough going on in your lives without the Gods getting involved.
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