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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Manning the Handbasket"

This poem is spillover from the May 1, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles and siege.  It has been sponsored by technoshaman.  This poem belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis, and you can read more about that on the Serial Poetry page.

Manning the Handbasket

Things must have gotten pretty bad
because Hevarre came in person,
disguised as a kindly old man with twinkling blue eyes,
but Shaeth recognized him at once as the God of Good.

"What do you want?" Shaeth asked.  "Make it fast. 
We have a presentation tomorrow
at the tavern and my new priest
hasn't finished learning all his spells."

Hevarre gave him a charming smile.
"It seems that nobody wants to take over
your role as God of Evil," he said.
"I can't imagine why,"  Shaeth muttered.

"With nobody manning the handbasket,
the Seventeen Hells are getting disorganized,"
Hevarre said.  "Something must be done."
"Not my problem anymore," said Shaeth.

"Well, yes, but -- surely you could help us out?"
Hevarre wheedled.  "It's very important."
"I don't recall you  helping me  out," Shaeth said,
"when I wanted to learn about being Good."

"Oh, you're doing fine on your own,"
Hevarre said breezily.  "Look at you now --
a new priest, a new job, everything is grand!"
"No thanks to you," said Shaeth.

Hevarre tried another approach.
"We just wanted you to recommend a replacement,"
he said.  "My job is harder with nobody on the other side."
"Fancy that," Shaeth said.

"I've talked to all the other deities,
with no luck," said Hevarre.  "Could you ...?"
"Nobody listens to me," Shaeth said.
"Try one of my former devotees, though."

"We would," Hevarre said,
"except that we can't find  any of them.
They've all gone into hiding.
Besides, they aren't actually gods."

"Some of them are immortals," Shaeth pointed out.
"Zargon, my old high priest, is almost 800
and Agleca, my high priestess, is just under 700.
Either of them could stand in until you get another god."

"All your former associates have disappeared,"
Hevarre said.  "Nobody knows where to look."
Shaeth laughed.  "Immortals who desire power
will always out themselves eventually," he said.

Just then Trobby came over to them. 
"You should leave now," he said to Hevarre. 
"Do you know who I am, mortal man?"
Hevarre asked, leaning over Trobby.

"Some other god," Trobby said with a shrug,
"and not a very bright one at that.
None of you would lift a finger to help Shaeth,
so you've no right to come bothering him now."

"Just keep watch for mayhem," Shaeth advised Hevarre.
"They really can't keep it down for long."
Then he turned to Trobby and said, "All right,
let's get back to practicing those probability cantrips."

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Current Mood: busy busy

3 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: July 27th, 2012 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. Opposite problem of the one set out in Piers Anthony's seventh Incarnations of Immortality. Interesting.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 27th, 2012 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed this.

There was a book covering the Incarnation of Evil, too; but it covered a slow descent, rather than ascent.

It seems that in this setting, the roles are things that someone has an affinity for, but the role does not subsume the personality. Face it, Hevarre is an idealist but also kind of a dick.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 30th, 2012 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Yeah, Trobby keeps his eye on the practical bits. But he's also had a LOT of experience with people who are your best friend when they want something from you, and are the first to split when the cops show up.
3 comments or Leave a comment