Prometheus Goes to the Market

Writing Prompt: Two powerful warriors (soldiers, supers, etc.), sworn to fight to the death, keep finding increasingly ridiculous excuses not to do so just yet.


Prometheus tapped his toe impatiently as the elderly woman in front of him emptied her coin purse onto the counter. She slowly began moving each coin to the side, counting softly as she did so. He eyed the little pile of pennies and nickels that began to form. His toe tapped faster. For how much he had given and sacrificed for these people, she should have let him go first. All he had was laundry detergent, kitty litter, and a box of Oreos. Why was the damn ten-items-or-less line closed, anyway? Does it ever even open? He had been to this market dozens of times and had never seen it open. Well, there was one time when the light was on, but no one was waiting by the register. He had stood there for almost five minutes in defiance, but no one arriv—

“Prometheus?” said a familiar voice from behind him, “Is that you?” Prometheus continued staring at the pile of coins, pretending not to hear. “It is you, isn’t it?” There was a pause. “I know you can hear me.”

Prometheus turned slowly, until he was facing the poorly dressed man. He had a long, white beard and a full head of wavy hair. A thin piece of cloth was draped across his chest, exposing all of the right side of his chest and arms, extending down to his brown sandals. A crown of oak leaves rested upon his hair. Prometheus quickly eyed him up and down. They had been allies once, but that was long ago.

“Oh, hey Zeus. I didn’t see you there,” said Prometheus.

“I thought you were visiting your mother today?” said Zeus.

“I am, I’m just grabbing some stuff for her,” said Prometheus, silently shifting himself to block Zeus’ view of his items.

“Right. No, that’s cool. That’s totally cool. I’m grabbing stuff for my girlfriend.”

Prometheus turned his gaze toward Zeus’ shopping cart. It held six different brands of pregnancy tests, a heavy-flow tampon box, and a loaf of bread.

“Oh, great. Great. That’s cool.”

“Yeah,” said Zeus. “I, uh, I just like to be sure. I already have so many, you know? I can barely keep track of all their names.”

“Right,” said Prometheus. “So, look, we’re both here. Should we just do this?” he said, quickly changing the topic.

“I mean, I’d really rather not. Today isn’t a good day for me. It’s kind of that time of the month,” Zeus replied.

“But you’re a guy?” Prometheus said. He wondered if he was, in fact, a guy.

“Yeah, I mean, not for me. For my girlfriend. You know. I want to be there and whatever.”

“Oh, right. It’s just that, you know, we’ve been putting this off for, what, thousands of years now? I think we should just get this out of the way. I mean, how many times can your car break down? Not to mention the fact that you don’t even need a car to get around.”

“Totally, I’m totally with you there. But, you know, it was not just my car. It was my friend’s car, I couldn’t just leave it at the mechanic and let them over charge him. I had to be there to verify the work they were doing. Plus, it’s not like you haven’t been avoiding this. How many times have you had your glasses broken and fixed? Do you even wear glasses?”

“I do, I wear glasses. I’m not right now, though. I have contacts in. Well, I don’t have contacts in. I just don’t have anything in. But I’m ready now to get this out of the way if you want to.”

“Do you even remember why we’re supposed to fight?”

“Well, you kind of chained me to the Caucasus and had my liver eaten by an eagle every single day. I mean, that’s part of it.”

“Yeah, but you directly disobeyed me. I really had no choice – there are so many people who look up to me, you know? I had to do what I did.” Zeus stood for a moment. “Look, if this will help us move past this, then maybe we should just do it.” Zeus rolled up the sleeve covering his left arm. He was so muscular—intimidatingly so. Prometheus paused for a moment.

“Wait, what day is it?” he asked.

“Wednesday,” Zeus replied.

“You know what? This isn’t a good day for me, actually. I have to go to the vet to put down, I mean pick up my cat. She’s at the vet now. If I’m late, they will charge me extra.”

“I thought you were going to your mothers?” Zeus said.

“Yeah, it’s her cat. I need to bring it to her house.”

“But you just said it was your cat.”

“You misheard, I said I needed to go pick up my Mom’s cat.”

“Oh, okay. No, that’s cool. I’m actually a bit sore today, honestly. I feel like I wouldn’t give you the fair fight you deserve. Yesterday was leg day, so I’m just really burning in my quads and hams.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get that. I hear you. Look, let’s post-pone this, then. How about next Friday? We can meet in a field—maybe Elysium or Citi Field?”

“Next Friday is no good for me,” said Zeus. “I’m in a play, we’re putting on a live-rendition of The Passion of the Christ. I have rehearsal that day. How about that Sunday?”

“No good for me, unfortunately. I—uh—I have flying lessons. Really getting into planes lately. Can’t move the lesson, though, or they’ll charge me a fee. You know how those things can really rack up.”

“I hear you. Well—“

“Next,” said the cashier from behind Prometheus. He quickly glanced over to see the elderly woman slowly waddling toward the door, pushing a cart brimming with plastic bags.

“Oh, hey, I really don’t want to hold up the line,” said Prometheus as he turned back toward Zeus.

“Of course, of course. Look, let’s just plan this later. I’m always available, you know, so just let me know when works for you. I’m so ready for this, right? It’s going to be great, to finally clear the air between you and I.”

“Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll look at my planner later. We can definitely do this soon. A good ol’ fashion battle to the death. Will be very cleansing.”

“Great, it was nice seeing you.”

“You too, tell your girlfriend I say hello.”

“Who—oh, right, yeah. Girlfriend. You got it.”

Prometheus turned back toward the register and began lifting his items onto the conveyor belt.

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