Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Good Help Is Hard To Find"

This poem came out of the May 1, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siliconshaman.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Good Help Is Hard To Find

Not long after he turned 10,000
Shaeth made a horrifying discovery:
being Evil got boring.

If you'd seen one battle, you'd seen them all.
People looked alike once you ripped them open.
Nothing new here, move along.

Sacking cities was always the same.
There were only so many times
you could roast heretics over the flames
before it seemed like a waste of time
even to cut sticks to put them on.

Corrupting souls lost its appeal
when you could predict exactly what it would take ...
when the owner was not even five years old
and you'd have to wait at least eight or ten for puberty.

Shaeth had been the God of Evil
for all that time and he was heartily sick of it.
So he quit.

This turned out to be easier said than done.
He tore down all his terrifying statues and temples
(all right, that  part was easy: he was good at destruction)
but then he had to build new ones that weren't  terrifying
(as mentioned above, not so easy).

He tried to sneak peeks at what the other gods were doing,
the ones who were good at being Good,
the ones who were good at creating  things.
They grumbled and shooed him away,
hunching protectively over their creations.

Well.  It wasn't as if he tried to touch  anything.
This time.  Honestly.
(That honesty thing turned out to be harder than it looked, too.)

Shaeth made things, but they kept turning out
terrifying and monstrous.
It was less boring than being Evil,
but not much more satisfying.

His disciples and minions and followers
were no end of trouble.
Many of them, of course,
simply quit when he announced his change of plans.
They weren't bored with Evil yet.
(He wasn't surprised.  The oldest wasn't even 800 yet.)
That cut his staff down by a lot,
but his income had been cut down by everything
because nobody wanted to make donations
to a former God of Evil.

Shaeth tried to attract new worshippers,
but the people interested in things other than Evil
already had gods who were experienced  in ...
well, anything other than being Evil.
The Good worshippers wanted nothing to do with him.
That left him with those of his people
who were too lazy or stupid or morally torpid
to pack up and leave when their god switched sides.

Regardless of his efforts to teach them
how to create instead of destroy
(a difficult feat given his own lack of success with it)
they tended to wreck whatever they touched.
Then they looked at him with huge puppy-dog eyes
and waited for him to praise their Glorious Mess.
They couldn't figure out why he was no longer pleased
by burnt offerings or beheadings or any of the usual stuff.

One of the hapless idiots finally tried
to decorate an altar with flowers.
They turned out to be foxgloves.
Shaeth flung his cloak over his head
and slunk away in despair.

While wandering in the forest,
he tripped over a young man
who was sleeping beside a log.
"What are you doing asleep out here?"
Shaeth demanded.

"Oh, I'm a drunk," the fellow said.  "Name's Trobby.
Nobody wants me around, is all."
"Nobody wants me around either,"
Shaeth muttered, plopping himself on the log.

"Oh, are you a drunk too?"
Trobby asked.
"No, I'm a god," said Shaeth.

"What are you the god of?"
Trobby said.
"Nothing, right now," said Shaeth.

"You could be the god of drunks,"
Trobby said.  "We don't got one,
since nobody likes us."
"Well, what do you need from a god?"
Shaeth asked, trying to be helpful.

"Place to sleep.  Cure for hangovers,"
Trobby said.
Shaeth thought he might be able
to procure a place to sleep
if he threw someone else out of it.
Not a great beginning.
Healing hangovers was right out,
unless he could convince
Abredin the Herb Goddess to give some tips.

"Anything else?" Shaeth said hopefully.
"Maybe keep me from getting drunk so much,"
Trobby said.  "I need a job,
and I can't hold one when I'm drunk."

"Are you evil?" Shaeth asked.
"No, just drunk," said Trobby.
"I'm sort of looking for non-evil minions," Shaeth said.
"I can probably keep you from getting drunk."
At least he could break bottles, burn down taverns,
and drag Trobby away into the night even kicking and screaming.
Shaeth was quite confident of his skills in those areas.

"Sounds good," said Trobby.
So he shared his mossy bed by the log,
and Shaeth spread his cloak over them both,
and neither of them got drunk or bored that night.

"Well, I suppose that could have gone worse,"
said Hevarre, God of Good.
"Sure, but now who will we get to supervise Evil?"
Abredin wondered.
"Don't even  ask me that," Hevarre groaned
as he buried his face in his hands.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, writing

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