James L. Wilber
I blame my brother. All the shit that went down. All the people that suffered. I never wanted any of that to happen. But to be perfectly honest, I have a hard time feeling sorry about it. Still, I blame Zeus. I know he planned the whole thing. It would be nice if someone told me why.
He had come down from Olympus for the first time in years. That should have been my first clue. I had taken him out to a club because that’s what you do in Necropolis. It’s all about the nightlife. We stood on a balcony overlooking the dance floor, drinks in our hands. Below us, the well-dressed partiers writhed to a languid tune. I lifted a knowing eyebrow at him and he smiled at what he surveyed. He never saw shit like that back home. Olympus was all about pubs and “ladies night” and drink until you puke. In Necropolis, we did things in style.
“You don’t fool me,” he said, his booming voice cutting through the music.
I turned around and leaned my back against the railing. “Oh?” I swished the ice around in my empty glass. No need to yell. Talking in the clubs is all about pitch. My voice always managed to slither under and through the throbbing bass.
“You hate this. It bores the fuck out of you.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
But the bastard had already done it. He had planted the seed. Did I hate this place? This city? These people? Hate was a strong word. Bored, maybe. I had seen it all. Done it all. I had built this town to be my own personal playpen and now I was stuck in it. All the jaded pricks who lived here were obsessed with fashion, which included wearing a persona that pretend not to give a fuck about anything. They all went to great lengths to show each other how unimpressed they were. All of them were so wrapped up in the galleries and the clubs and the parties and their own fucking image. Not a single one of them noticed they weren’t actually living.
Zeus turned to face me. He stood out with his cream colored shirt, grey hair and beard. No one in Necropolis would suffer a grey hair to go undyed. Keep young and beautiful, that’s their motto. I guess I should consider myself lucky. My black hair and beard are still natural, even though I’m the elder.
“It’s not an irreparable problem,” he said, looking me in the eye. “You just need to get out. Get away. Stop worrying so much about your job.”
“Yeah, well if I didn’t worry about this place no one else would.”
“Perhaps, but maybe it’s not a place that requires all that much worry.” He drained his drink and softened his tone. “Look, I’m not saying quit. Fuck knows I don’t want the job.”
That’s one thing about my family. You can’t count on them for shit. Just ask our parents.
“What I’m saying is, get out. Take a vacation. Take a trip to the wine country. See something else than this gloomy fucking place.”
Actually, I liked the weather down in the valley. Cold and dark suited me just fine. But getting out didn’t sound too bad. I did like wine.
“Gather up an entourage. Take a limo. Just a day trip. Get trashed. Here….”He handed me an old pack of cigarettes.
I peaked inside and saw three perfectly rolled Js. “I don’t need this. I got plenty of coke.”
I went to hand them back but he waved it away. “That’s the problem. You take all that shit that winds you up. You need to relax. I’m telling you, this is the good shit.”
I looked at the joints again. They were, of course, just joints. “What makes them so special?”
“It’s a special hybrid. It’s called narcissus. It chills you out but doesn’t make you sleepy. I know how you hate that.”
Sleep always reminded me of being dead.
“Plus, it’ll get your pecker up.” He winked as he said it.
That sealed the deal. Not that I cared for an aphrodisiac, I just thought it best to keep it out of his hands. The last thing my brother needed was another excuse for a hard-on.