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The Essay
Show #130
The River Styx Motel
David Gunn
Last time, Apollo had sent Amen-Ra, Athamas and Judo to intercept Vulcan and Ronald at the River Styx Motel. Somehow, refuting the constant of Mount Olympian daylight, the sun did set when they got there, creating a stygian gloom around the lodging premises. Concealing themselves in a kennel of dogwood trees, the three surveilled the motel. All was quiet in units 1 through 5 and 7 through 12, so they focused their attention on unit 6, whence an odd assortment of moanings and low shrieks issued. Suddenly, a bright orange glow shot out of the window, followed by Horus, the god of harlotry. Framed in the window in a silk toga teddy was Dagmar, Horus' employee -- who knew many of the other gods, if you get my drift ii brandishing a bench warrant. Although the exchange of words was muffled, it was clear that she did not hold Horus in high, godlike esteem this day. Vulcan and Ronald appeared, beat up Horus a little bit, then approached unit 6. Ronald knocked at the door, but Vulcan pushed him aside, barged in ... and came face to face with a scene of such mythically depraved proportions that the cause of godliness was set back a million millennia. Zeus, god of animal parks, and Europa, goddess of small British sports cars, were locked in an embrace which no set of keys could ever open, although Freon, god of refrigerators, would later try to cool their ardor. The inventive intertwining of Poseidon, god of disaster movies, Pan, goatgod of severely critical skillets, and Marilyn, goddess of platinum, ultimately led to the invention of the party game, Twister. And Osiris seemed anything but dead as he put moves on Cora, goddess of apple centers, that would have humbled the Chicago Bulls' starting five. In the corner documenting the event with stone tablet and chisel sat Freya. Vulcan didn't see her, else he might not have departed so hastily, but he was, after all, expecting to meet with Apollo. Ronald, however, was eager to continue his apprenticeship, so he stayed and, eventually, entered the Freya. Amen-Ra, Athamas and Judo emerged from cover and strode towards the motel. Fearing another thwacking, Horus skulked away.

As Vulcan backed out of unit 6, he accidentally stepped on the foot of Judo, who instinctively let him have it with a chop to the jugular. It was a mighty blow and Vulcan keeled over, no longer able to "live long and prosper." Appalled, Amen-Ra began to berate Judo, who, involuntarily again, thwacked him with Athamas, a perfectly innocent bystander. Observing the senseless carnage from the kennel of dogwoods was Atlas, god of road maps. As a clearly overstimulated Judo pushed open the door to unit 6, Atlas hurriedly dialed Pluto's private number.

Meanwhile, back at the godatorium, Fauna and Flora had ended their convoluted narrative and had repaired to the lobby to meet with Hoffius, president of the Mount Olympus Labor Union. Aphrodite, unable to make heads, tails or hooves out of the story, was about to seek out Juno when the phone rang. It was Thor, god of thenthitivity and colleague of Pluto, who warned her of Judo's brutal behavior. As she subvocalized the news, Apollo, an accomplished lip reader, summoned Asgard the guard and posted him at the entrance, armed and dangerous. Unfortunately, the first to approach was Jupiter, and when he was challenged by the by-the-book Asgard, the annoyed CEO turned him into a sarcastic remark (which scholars have since translated as le flambeau oriange).

As fierce and omnipotent as Jupiter was, he nevertheless failed to watch his back, which is whence Judo attacked. Seemingly completely off his godly nut, Judo pummeled the Olympian monarch until Jupiter's red spot bled and he broke up into 12 tiny moons. With blood on his hands and bloodlust in his heart, Judo then entered the godatorium.

Weak resistance was offered by Flora and Fauna, whom Judo brusquely dispatched. Venus, who had stopped by for tea, suffered a similarly rapid reduction in her vital signs. Aphrodite had changed into the North Wind and blew herself safely out to sea. Mars had lined up Neptune for a fatal clobbering, but he couldn't draw a bead on Judo while he was in the godatorium. That left Apollo alone to face the Olympian martial artist. But, what's this? Who should materialize out of fat air but Marlin the Fishamagician! Unfortunately, the piece of air in which Marlin emerged was the same piece in which Judo was placing a karate kick. Thunk! went Marlin's head, as it unceremoniously detached itself from the rest of his body. As Judo briefly let down his guard to savor the serendipitous moment, Apollo drew four cabalistic runes on the floor and uttered a series of unequal tempered pitches which scholars would later credit as being the first attempts at music. But Apollo surely didn't have ASCAP aspirations on his mind; rather, he was attempting to summon his last hope. And while Aldeau didn't magically appear in a cloud of carbon tetradioxide, he did pull up to the front of the godatorium in a 1954 Hudson Wingback at that instant. More important to Apollo, and subsequently to Judo, was the fusion energy device he concealed under his titanium jerkin. Comprised of an improbable assemblage of magnetic coils, vacuum chambers, six-inch strips of lithium, and a hundred other elements as alien to Mount Olympus as were coin-operated vasectomats, Aldeau's tokamak represented a bridge from the old world to the new, a bridge that Judo was determined to burn. He faced Aldeau, his face contorted into a maze of wrinkles that resembled the arable fields west of Rangoon when viewed from space. But Aldeau, who had recently ridden in the Hudson's back seat as it followed a mining shack, two-thirds of a radio tower, five crop circles, and a kilomile's worth of Beaufort Sea from one misguided dimension to another to another, the sight of another biped, no matter his mental state, was anything but daunting, especially with his trusty toroidal magnetic chamber by his side. It had taken him a total of 14 different realities before he had gotten the device properly wired together, but now he was expert in its operation. Sensing the Olympian predicament, he set the box down on the ground and flicked a toggle switch to "On." At once, the godatorium was bathed in an eerie, blue-black luminescence, and many architectural features of the structure began to flow into and out of focus. One organic item, too, started to waver between two unlike realities, and that, to the dismay of Judo, was Judo. His arms disconnected themselves from his shoulders and reattached to his feet, making walking somewhat easier but making hair combing next to impossible. Adrift in a temporal morass, Judo bobbed erratically towards Aldeau, unclear as to his purpose. But Mars had no such difficulty in deciding his course of action, and when Judo had cleared the godatorium's front porch, he fired Neptune at him.

Now, you'll recall that Neptune was a really big planet, and if reality had been playing with a full deck, Mars would have kayoed Judo, true, but he also would have smashed to bits the godatorium, Apollo, Aldeau, the Hudson, Mount Olympus, Cleveland, and the rest of the world, too. But luckily for him, the tokamak had already replaced a lot of Big Hill components with discombobulatingly cross-dimensional realities. So, while Neptune did indeed dispatch Judo -- and good riddance -- it then got sucked into a universe newly manufactured by the tokamak where, to this day, it charts its own course across the celestial heavens, chased by Pluto, Saturn, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter's 12 moons, and Mars, too, all of whom followed the big planet like lemons into the sea. How Jupiter managed to reconstitute himself, and where Uranus, the asteroids, and a fleet of space vehicles the size of the Parcheesi Subnebula moored to interstellar antimatter came from are mysteries better left to another Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this 130th episode of which will now pause for a word, perhaps many more, from Kalvos.