Authors: Clea Hantman
Our story finds our three Greek goddesses in a land…
“Thalia, Thalia, are you with us? We’re talking about socioeconomic…
“And then he leaned in and just stared at me.
“Here is the list, Thalia. I already got the water.
He just sat there, smiling at me.
Polly here. I still can’t believe that we’re here on…
It’s me, Thalia, again.
I have to say, I don’t miss the pomp and…
“I think we should come up with our own diabolical…
I didn’t admit it to my sisters, but Dylan from…
Era here. So yes, I admit it, it wasn’t the…
While Era and Polly were at that survival class, I…
I thought about him throughout Bio. Which was hard, considering…
Claire and I met Dylan at the bench. He looked…
“So tell us again, why did you stay over at…
I had decided to just make bean burgers. I didn’t…
“I can’t take it, I just can’t take it,” I…
Apollo, as Dylan, arrived at Thalia’s door nervous and excited.
I woke up on our couch, in our living room,…
Three days later and a million miles away…
“Do you want half of my banana-and-peanut-butter-sandwich?” It was Polly,…
ur story finds our three Greek goddesses in a land unfamiliar—earth. Athens, Georgia, 2002, to be exact. Forced by their father, the great Zeus, and their evil stepmother, Hera, to go to high school, get good grades, and use none of their goddess powers, they must each complete a special challenge to return to their heavenly home. And while they know the Furies are in town to torture and torment and keep them from reaching their goals, they have, thus far, foiled the evil ones’ evil plans. Still, the girls are wary, for it’s almost certain that the Furies are, at this very moment, planning their demise.
Meanwhile in Olympus, Apollo, heartbroken and distraught, is clueless as to the real whereabouts of his spunky true love….
. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
“Ow! Hey, sir, I thought you said we were square,” cried Apollo, who had just been grazed on the ear by a lightning-fast tennis ball.
“I win again,” exulted Zeus with a grin, revealing a set of teeth as bright as the moon.
“Yes, again. You win
Is this making you feel better? Because it’s not really helping me.” Apollo rubbed his ear, scowling. That ball had hurt.
“Why, yes, I do believe it is making me feel a tad better,” Zeus answered cheerfully. “Thank you. Anyway, it’s just good to get out of the house. It’s been a touch
depressing with those three girls gone. Thalia was always making me laugh, and I miss Polly’s seriousness, her beautiful stoicism. And, well, Era, I miss the frivolity she brought to the palace. You know,” Zeus continued, tugging at his beard, “I have been meaning to ask you—how are you doing, young man? Have my daughter’s reckless shenanigans gotten the better of you?”
But Zeus didn’t really want to know, and he didn’t bother waiting for the answer. He just continued. “She’s a handful, that one.” He let out a long sigh. “Thalia, oh, Thalia. As much as I would have liked to have seen a match between you two, and, well, Hera would have loved it…er, Hera.” With these words Zeus paused, cringing a little. “You know she still has some lingering green around the ears, but she is a bit consoled by the addition of that music room out of Thalia’s old bedroom. Although I told her, I don’t know how long Thalia will be gone, but she—”
“Sir, with all due respect, this is the very matter I want to speak to you about. This tennis game was just a ruse.”
“Is that so?” said Zeus with a leering eye. He wasn’t paying all that much attention to Apollo. He was concentrating on a tiny little lint ball that he’d just noticed on his shoulder. He just wasn’t able to grab it.
“Well, yes, you see, I’ve thought long and hard,” said Apollo, “and I haven’t slept for a month at least,
not since the party, the incident, the Scyllia, and the green ooze. Not since Thalia was sent away.”
“That explains the lousy tennis game. I may be Zeus, but you are considerably younger than I. Beating you was a bit too easy.”
“Um, yes, perhaps. Anyway, I want to speak with you about Thalia,” said Apollo.
Zeus looked a little exasperated. “What do you want? I owe you for sure—just name it. Jewels? A higher title? A different daughter? What?”
“No, I don’t want a payoff, no, sir.” Apollo was a little insulted by the implication, but he carried on. “I do want something, though. I want…Thalia.”
Zeus’s eyes widened. “Are you mad? After what she did to you, to me, to Hera? Thalia will be lucky if any man wants to marry her at this rate. She might as well truly be green for all the men she’ll attract.”
“Please don’t talk about her like that,” demanded Apollo. Zeus’s eyes revealed he didn’t like being spoken to as such, so Apollo followed up with, “I say that respectfully, of course.”
Apollo then began to walk and talk. “I’ve thought about this a lot. All those sleepless hours and, see, maybe Thalia isn’t ready for marriage just yet, today or tomorrow. I now know it was foolish of me to rush into things without openly communicating my feelings to her. She was blindsided. I don’t blame her for the way she acted.”
“I know someone who does,” Zeus said out of the side of his mouth as he conjured up a picture of his oozing, pussing, chartreuse wife.
Apollo was getting more nervous by the second. His hands were trembling; his voice even cracked. But he knew he had to defend Thalia. He knew others didn’t understand her, not even her own father, but that didn’t matter. He just wanted Thalia to come back home. “Well,
don’t blame her, sir. And I think we just need a chance to talk, Thalia and I, and we can work this out. I think I would like very much for Thalia to be my—my—my—well, if she will have me, my girlfriend. And see, I think, no, I know, deep down in the pit of my stomach, I know Thalia has great, wondrous feelings for me.”
Apollo twitched a little. He rubbed his nose. And then he said, more quietly, more thoughtfully, with a small smile, “Your daughter is the most special, incredible, creative, dangerous girl I have ever known. Your daughter is everything to me.” He couldn’t stop wringing his hands, rubbing them together, faster and faster. He gulped for air and then said, “I have come here to ask you to return her, and her sisters, of course, to Olympus.”
Now the whole time Apollo had been making this speech, he paced. As he paced, so did Zeus, just two steps behind. The two men slowly switched feet back and forth. They weren’t on a tennis court, in the traditional sense. It was more like a flat mountaintop on
the peak of a very tall summit. And now they were moving around it freely. And while Apollo wasn’t paying much attention to where he stepped, Zeus was. Right at the end of the speech Apollo went a step too far and almost went feet first down the mountainside. Zeus nabbed him by the back of his white robe and brought his feet back down to the dirt. Apollo didn’t even notice. He was lost in his thoughts of Thalia.
Zeus did seem a bit touched by the young god’s sentiment. He softened his shoulders. A small smile crept over his bearded face. He felt admiration for Apollo, who so obviously loved his wild-at-heart daughter. But then he said quite plainly, rather simply, “No.”
“Of course you can, c’mon,” said Apollo, who thought perhaps Zeus was just playing with him. Making him beg.
“No, I really can’t. I don’t believe they have learned their lessons just yet.”
“They can learn their lessons here in Olympus. This is unreasonable. Please, Zeus, for me?” Now Apollo was really begging.
“Look, Apollo, the girls, they hurt more than just you. Have you taken a look, a long look, at my wife lately? Why, I daresay I’ve never, ever seen her this angry, this incredulous, this abominably hate-filled in all my days. And I have a lot of days, if you know
what I mean.” Zeus was trying to be conversational, chummy, almost, with Apollo. But it just made Apollo more frustrated.
“That’s what this is really about, isn’t it? Hera has her grips in you. These are your daughters, your flesh and blood. How can you do this to them?”
“Apollo, this may be what Hera mandates, yes, but make no mistake, I believe this to be in their best interest. They need time away from the vast comforts of home.” In one sweeping gesture Zeus took in their surroundings. “Look around, Apollo—we live in heaven. Literally! Life here is easy. The girls were free to do as they pleased here, and they took great liberties with that freedom. Planning such a hoax, spoiling a perfectly good party, turning their stepmother green! Thalia is selfish. And the other two, well, they are practically grown, yet look at their behavior!” Zeus’s face had grown quite red by this point. “One can’t make a decision without the other; they meddle in business that is not their own. I love them all, but those girls have proved themselves to be spoiled and ungrateful. You of all people should understand that!”
Apollo’s forehead wrinkled. His eyes darkened a shade or two. “Well, I do not. I don’t understand. I don’t understand how a father can banish his girls to foreign soil, with no care or worry for their happiness. With no one to watch over them!”
“Oh, well…” Zeus stumbled a bit over his words here. “Hermes will be taking notes to the girls from time to time, I assure you…. And, er, you see, Hera has sent a few to look over them,” he continued, looking like he would be keen to change the subject.
“Who? Who, then?”
“This was not my territory,” Zeus said quietly, almost in a whisper. He actually looked ashamed. His crazy eyebrows turned downward, and his face scrunched a bit to show his wrinkles. “She sent the Furies.”
Apollo stood there, wide-eyed in disbelief. Then he screamed, “The
“You heard me”—and this last part he really did whisper—“the Furies. They’re posing as three mortal girls down on earth, at Thalia’s high school.”
“Oh, blast me! Oh, what have you done? What were you thinking?”
“They might not have been the best choice for the job, but frankly, the decision was not mine to make. Hera took care of it right after I banished the girls.”
“That’s just great. Just plum. No, that’s it—now I demand you return the girls, or I will just have to go retrieve them myself!” Apollo’s own handsome face was tweaked unrecognizably from anger. He was frantic at this point.
Zeus held back his laughter. He actually got a kick out of young insubordinates like Apollo. And Thalia. But he knew this was serious.
“You forget who I am. I am the great and powerful Zeus!” And with that, lightning filled the whole sky. It happened every time he uttered those seven words. It was one of his favorite tricks.
Apollo crumpled to the ground and sat there in a lifeless heap. He was worn out, tired, exhausted with worry and fear and love. He gasped for energy, for breath, for words. “Please, Zeus, you are indeed powerful, great, even, I daresay, mighty. Please let me go and bring back Thalia.”
Zeus looked slightly amused. Apollo wondered if it could be that he was responding to the flattery. Apollo thought it best to make the most of it. “You are in fact the single most powerful being in the whole of the universe, and you command respect from all corners of the universe.” Apollo was clinging to the flattery as if it were his last hope of bringing back Thalia. “Your stature, it is envied by everyone, every single being, both animal and human. Your strength is unparalleled, your wisdom unmatched. And did I mention attractive? You are a stunning-looking fellow and—”
“Okay, enough. This is getting pathetic, really. I don’t need some kid telling me how handsome and strong I am. But I do like you. I tell you what. I will make you a deal.”
Apollo’s eyes perked up. His ears twitched. He jumped to his feet with renewed energy.
“You may go down to earth. But I cannot let you go as yourself, for Hera specifically forbids ‘Apollo’s’ earthly assistance. Therefore you must go as someone else. You must go in disguise.”
“Sure, a disguise. Maybe a goat or an old cobbler.”
“Now, listen, you may not retrieve the girls. However, you may help them along in their efforts to fulfill the challenges Hera and I have set in front of them. Once they complete those challenges, they are free to return home.”
“Oh, thank you, Zeus. You won’t regret this,” said a smiling Apollo, who hadn’t grinned like this since his and Thalia’s engagement party. The one where she turned herself green to avoid marrying him (and, thanks to the Furies, accidentally turned Hera green in the process).
“But wait, this is delicate. You must listen and obey, or the girls’ very lives are at stake. Remember, I forbid you to tell the girls who you are. If they find out, Hera will surely banish you to the nether reaches of Hades for all eternity, and I suspect my girls will never be allowed back in Olympus. Hera has the power. And as much as it pains me, I am fairly certain she wants them gone for good. Any misstep, any mistake, any reason to banish them forever, and I fear she will jump at the opportunity. The Furies have already reported some small use of magic, and it’s taken a lot of cajoling on my part, and quite a lot of jewelry, to keep Hera
from inflicting the strictest punishment. Do you understand the severity of the situation? Do you understand the dire consequences of your actions?”
Apollo understood. Down to his bare feet. His whole body shivered at the thought. “I’ve got it, sir. Thank you again for this opportunity.”
“Please keep your goal close to your heart. Your purpose, Apollo, is to assist the girls with their earthly challenges. You may encourage Thalia to be more selfless, Era to be more assertive and strong, and Polly to find her own way, her own life—but nothing more. This is not the time to try to win my daughter’s heart, do you understand?”
“Yes, of course. I will leave tonight.”
“And make sure they’re getting good grades in this school. Hera is chomping at the bit to see one of them fail.”
“Yes, sir, of course.”
After a quick bow Apollo turned on his heels. His heart was glowing, the hope inside him renewed. He headed toward the court exit.
But Zeus stopped him. “Apollo, there is one more thing.” He took a deep, almost cavernous breath. “You know my daughters were sent to earth. But what you don’t know is, I accidentally banished the girls…into the future.”
“Whoa,” Apollo replied, stopping in midstep. “Okay.” He really didn’t know what to say to that.
“And,” continued Zeus, “it appears I have sent them to the United States of America.”
All Apollo could muster in response was a quiet, “Huh?”
Zeus closed his eyes, bowed his head, and sheep-ishly said, “You’ll find the girls in Athens…Georgia, um, 2002.”
Apollo blinked a few times, bowed again, and continued on his way. He’d have to figure out the details later—this was a lot to take in. He had no idea what this new place or time would be like. He didn’t even know if they would have goats or cobblers there.
But then, maybe a goat or a cobbler wasn’t quite the right disguise for this journey. Because even though Apollo planned to follow most of Zeus’s rules, he couldn’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, he’d be able to win Thalia’s heart a little while he was with her on earth. And to do that, he needed the right image.
So the big question was, what was he going to wear?