As Hermes was swinging through the skies a hell of a long time ago, flitting this way and that, inviting all he met to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, he noticed a young man in an orchard picking delicious apples. This young man was completely nude, as was the habit in those days, and from the hard work he had undertaken was glazed in a fine coating of dewey sweat. Hermes, like almost all Greek men in those days, appreciated the male nude form much more than he appreciated the female nude form, and so swooped down to investigate this young man’s body much more closely. In the back of Hermes’ mind was his mission to invite all to the joyous ceremony which was going to be performed by the grooviest of all gods, aegis-bearing Zeus of the stiff lightening bolts and even stiffer rod. He had only one invitation left to give out, to that of Eris called Strife, and decided that she could wait, all she ever did was cause trouble anyway . . .
“Howdy, my boy,” Hermes said, smiling lasciviously at the young orchard boy. “Those be some mighty big and firm apples you have there . . . are they juicy?”
The young boy was no stranger to innuendo, and saw that this was not simply a conversation about fine produce. He was one of the few men in those days who didn’t care much for the greased wrestling lifestyle, but at the same time knew that boinking a god could get you places . . . true, you might end up becoming a goose or a statue or something else equally ridiculous, but there were also rumours that you could end up living life on Limbo Peak, instead of becoming a shade in the depths of Hades. What was a quick roll in the hay, in exchange for a eternity in the heavens?
“So juicy they could squirt your eye out . . . ” the young man heard himself saying before he had even decided what to say. That was how the gods worked.
Before he could open his mouth to take back what he had said, the god of speed and agility proved his titles by having pounced on the poor lad, and was using him like a child uses a hobby-horse. All thoughts of continuing his mission were suddenly missing from Hermes’ perfect god brain.
This entire episode was being watched from far above by Eris, who secretly ruled everything but allowed others to believe they had something to do with it too, out of her unparalleled modesty. Modest she may be, but she is also very touchy about certain matters of decorum.
She watched Hermes porking the poor orchard boy, clucked with distaste at the stunningly poor performance he showed (and yet somehow kept his reputation as a fantastic lover amongst the Achaeans), and then stood up with shock as the Messenger God dismounted, rolled onto his back in the lush green grass, and fell promptly asleep. She floated down next to his inert body, and began to quiver with rage. THIS, she said. THIS IS THE MESSENGER THAT THE SO-CALLED WISEST OF GODS, THAT FUCKING RAGING HORMONE WITH A THRONE CALLED AEGIS-BEARING ZEUS, SENT TO INVITE ALL OF THE WORLD TO THE BIGGEST PARTY SINCE THE BIG BANG??? THIS LITTLE MILK-SOP?
She looked over at Mount Olympus, and could already hear the music beginning to swell. She could smell the flowers, and could feel the laughter and tears. The wedding was beginning.
Eris had to show that she knew of this outrageous snub, and wasn’t going to take it at all lightly. She had to make an appearance, yet a ingeniously subtle one. Let them know she was there, and yet not really there at all. Perhaps leaving a sarcastic gift would be appropriate?
Then a wicked smile slithered across her glorious lips. One thing could be counted on with the Olympic Gods; not their wisdom, not their power, not their compassion, no, the one thing that could be counted on in all situations was their eternal vanity.
Eris, who is rightfully called Strife, picked up one of the apples at her feet. The delicious fruit turned to gold within her hand, and she gazed at it . . . how to address it? “To Thetis”? That would cause a stir since the other witches would certainly want it, but would their prides let them steal a present from a bride in front of all the guests? Probably, but let’s work with certainties. Perhaps, “To The Lovely Lady”? That certainly leaves some room for uncertainty . . . probably enough to incite idiocy from Hera and Aphrodite, but she wanted more . . . she wanted full-on chaos.
Then it struck her.
The perfect inscription.
She wrote on the words, and then wandered over to Mount Olympus and rolled the apple through the doors, and floated back up into the sky to observe.
Pan, of all gods, found the apple first. He picked it up and read the inscription, “For The Bitchinest” then polished it on his fur, and held it out to look at it again.
Hephaestus noticed it, and leaned over. “S’that?” he asked.
“Oh.” said Pan. “It’s just an apple that someone gave to me. I found it here on the floor.”
Hephaestus leaned closer to get a look, but Pan kept moving it farther away. “Funny,” the lame god said. “I could have sworn it said ‘for the bitchenest'”
Pan said quietly, “It does.”
“Well, hate to say it, chum, but that’s my wife Aphrodite.” Hephaestus said.
“Oh,” said Pan. “You mean that loose slut riding Dionysus’ face over on the punch table? You think it’s for hu——-“
Pan’s last word was crushed by a rather large anvil that Hephaestus happens to carry with him, for situations such as that. He held up the apple, but was struck down by Ares, who believed that he was, in fact, the bitchenest of all the gods. As he grabbed hold of the golden fruit, a spear pierced his wrist and white blood poured out onto the marble floor. Pallas Athene grabbed the apple as it rolled from Ares’ hand, and said “Ta, big bro . . . I’ll take that.”
All the other gods had seen the apple by this point, and had read the infamous inscription, each believing they were the most bitchin of all the gods. And, with that, mayhem ensued.
It was hard to hear the laughter of Eris above the din of all the breaking bones and clashing swords, but she felt her point had been proven.