Apollo had finished all his duties for the day, and was bored. As a rule (well, more like a lifetime’s habit) he liked to get up early, at dawn, and work through his “To Do” list in the morning hours leaving the afternoon free for self worship and play.
Hmm, let’s see, he muttered to himself after parking his chariot on the post office rooftop, Set Sun across the sky – tick. Dropped the numbers of next week’s Powerball into the dreams of some elderly lady who is comfortably well off and will just give all the millions to a cats home – tick. Invented a new limerick that doesn’t end with “-ucket” – tick. Cure for Swine Flu – I’ll give that a half tick. Inspired a new opera – tick. Sigh, I’m nearly done. Just got to pick up the paper and some potatoes and it’s not even noon.
After a quick bout of masturbation, Apollo looked down to what could entertain him. Mortals, he said as he wiped his hand clean on a nearby flag, always good for a laugh,
Clyde the Penguin was wandering down the street humming to himself. He was feeling, pretty much, on top of the world, which is nice considering last week where he was tied to his bed by the strains of a Boy Flu. It all began, he rehearsed hoping that someone would stop and ask him how was he feeling, on Friday as I left work. Hmm, I said to Sarah, I think I’ve got a bit of a throat coming on; funny, hey, me getting sick on a Friday! I bet you a hundred dollars it will be all cleared up by Sunday evening and I’ll be as right as rain for work Monday – just my luck! Ha! replied Sarah, and how we laughed.
What began as simply a tickle in the throat had, within the hour, turned into a right-on case of dizzy spells, wobbly vision and dribbling nose, Clyde practised. How strange for me – in bed by 8.30 – on a Friday! – but there I was, lights out, blankets pulled up, and me moaning in soft pain. My white blood cells must have been working overtime in my left nostril, the burning sensation I felt. Swollen as well, I was sure; if only I had the strength to raise out of my death cot and admire my complexion in the scalloped dressing room table (bows extra) the sight would have been my nose the size of a balloon! And not just any balloon – a hot air balloon at that! Praise the Gods (which one… Apollo; he does healing, doesn’t he?) that I felt somewhat better the next day, and fairer again the next again.
Clyde continued: How Sarah and I had chortled that Friday as we made their way to our respective public transport, and yet how lucky for me that Sarah had not taken me up on my wager, for while I was well enough to attend work on Monday (worse luck!) I was in no way well enough to fulfil my duties.Oh the pains I suffered throughout those days. Oh the simple agony I was in as I sat in my ergonomically designed chair. Every muscle in my back had seized and refused to function. Even the simple act of turning to answer the telephone was sheer torture. But did I complain? Not much. Just the merest wince; the slightest whimper; nothing more than the normal person – of my stature – would be allowed. And yet, still, my manager felt it was necessary to question my health! “Do you need to go see a doctor?” she accused; I was affronted! “Please, don’t alarm yourself” I whispered as some sort of reply, dabbing at my forehead with a monogrammed handkerchief, “I shall soldier on.” And I did.
And, indeed, I got better. Clyde the Penguin allowed himself a moment of congratulations at such a wonderful, modest, story. He just now sought a person to tell it to.
Apollo watching from his post office post, spied the young Clyde down below. He looked preoccupied, Apollo thought, as if he was trying to remember a list. Strange, thought Apollo, he looks somewhat familiar. Then Apollo realised: Of course! That was the little twerp I loaded up with germs last Friday! But what’s this – he looks cured! Well, we can’t have that; Wo ho, what a game we shall play!
With a glint in his eye Apollo reached around behind, plying out his bow and a single arrow, and aiming Clyde-wards, shot the arrow straight at the penguin fellow, sinking the bar up to the feathers firmly into his chest.
Clyde gave a little cough. Oh, he said pausing in his stride, that doesn’t feel right, but on he went; he didn’t want to run late for his date with Ashley and their afternoon of Gilbert and Sullivan favourites. Apollo, on the other hand, re-quivered his bow and with a whip of the reins set his fiery horse skyward and on to other mortals to torment.
Clyde soon met with Ashley feeling just the slightest of heads coming on. By the end of the concert, he was sweating and felt ill the stomach. As he was walking home (there were no trains) he at one point had to stop and rest in a bus shelter as he thought he was going to faint. But still, he made it home, and went straight to bed, and battling the drumming in his temples, and the weights behind his eyes, he drifted somewhere between agony and senseless sleep.
Tomorrow I must sacrifice a chicken for Apollo, whimpered Clyde later that night as he swallowed his Lemsip, he’ll look after me.
Inspired, somewhat, by Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips; a week long diet of chicken noodle soup, chicken Thai green curries, and, at my very worse when I didn’t have the energy to shop, a broth made from chicken-style stock and some withered spring onions; and ‘cos I’m sick of being so bloody sick! Still, holidays next week, and new adventures…