Never Doubt A Myth #blogbattle #shortfiction

This month’s #blogbattle prompt is ‘myth’ which you can find here.

Gideon Parchment eyed the newcomer warily. He disliked Wednesdays and this was a particularly friable example of his midweek malaise. And now this, another smarty-pants, he thought. Still, the training emphasised a calm demeanour and a non judgmental approach so he indicated the seat, averted his eyes as he, she, they manoeuvred themselves in place and looked up, plastering on what passed for a smile.

‘We need to start with a few formalities, if that’s alright?’ Like it matters if it wasn’t, he thought sourly, wondering why some people thought fancy dress was funny. ‘Your name?’ He held his fingers over the key board.

‘Cerberus.’

‘Address, Mr Brus.’

‘No, it’s Cerberus. One word.’

‘Er, right. Is that your given name or surname?’

‘It’s my name.’

‘Just, Er, Cerberus?’

‘Yes.’

The expression on the face in front of Gideon made it pretty clear he shouldn’t press the point so he completed both boxes with Cerberus. ‘Address?’

‘I don’t have one.’

‘You’re homeless?’

‘Not exactly. I did have a home…’

Gideon looked hopeful, fingers poised.’

‘…but this chap dragged me off.’

Gideon blanched. ‘You’ve been the victim of assault?’ He lowered his voice. ‘Abuse?’

Cerberus shrugged his shoulders. ‘It was a long time ago. I’ve moved on.’

Gideon relaxed. The extra forms if a client referenced any sort of abuse took an age and this one looked, well rather hang-dog so being a victim wouldn’t be a surprise. ‘You’re sure you don’t want to report this. It doesn’t matter if it was a while ago.’

‘I’d rather look forward.’

‘So the address?’

‘The underworld.’

Gideon typed and looked up expectantly. ‘Yes?’

‘That’s it.’

‘There must be more. A street, a postcode?’

‘I suppose, technically it was the Gates of the Underworld. I don’t think I ever knew the postcode.’

Gideon tried for sympathy as he added, ‘gate house’ to the address. ‘I imagine if it was the place where the abuse happened…’

‘It’s more that it was over two millennia ago.’

‘Two…?’ He eyed the client’s costume and gave a short laugh. ‘Oh, of course. Very drole.’ He stopped abruptly, rather discombobulated by the appearance of a long fang and electric green drool dripping from it. Whatever this one was on, it was another example of why clients should be subjected to mandatory drug tests. Really, it wasn’t safe. He glanced at the other questions. Probably worth cutting to the chase and getting rid of this one, soonest. ‘So Mr Cerberus, what sort of employment are you after?’ The look of confusion was one he was familiar with. ‘Let’s start with your previous employment.’

‘I was the Guard of Hades, master of the underworld.’

‘Of course you were. We’ll put security, shall we?’ A right one, he thought as he typed. ‘And you’d like to stick to security or are you hoping to branch out? There’s a position with a private detective agency that might suit.’

‘Does it involved ripping out throats?’

‘It might. I imagine there are clients who might want that as part of a cease and desist service. Mostly I expect it’s trailing people to find evidence for divorces.’

‘I’ve a good sense of smell…’

‘Really?’

‘Of course. I’m a dog.’

Gideon blinked, taking in the drool, the fangs, the odd squatting position Mr Cerberus had taken on the chair. He did look like a dog. ‘It’s a very convincing costume.’

‘Costume?’ Cerberus growled.

Gideon pushed his chair back. ‘It is a costume, right? I mean, you’re not really a dog?’

‘Have you not heard of Cerberus?’

‘We, of course, I’m aware of the myth…’

‘Do I look like a myth?’

A though struck Gideon, something that had featured front and centre in last week’s training. ‘That reminds me, I need to complete the section on preferred pronouns. He/him?’ He tried hard not to glance at the frankly unappealingly aggressive testicles that drooped off the edge of the chair, before hurrying on, ‘but of course you may be self identifying as a bi… a lady dog.’

Cerberus shook his head. ‘I’m a bloody canine that has lived for over two thousand years, locked away in a cave by that Pillock of a poet, Heracles because of the twelve labours.’

Gideon laughed nervously. ‘You know your stuff.’

‘I don’t know it, sunshine, I lived it.’

Another thought struck Gideon and he looked around and up. ‘Are you doing a Hancock?’

‘What’s that?’

‘Filming this to embarrass me.’

The silence was stony. Gideon’s eyes were drawn to the pendulous gonads, that swung like the clackers of some great bell about to toll for him. ‘This is a joke, right? I mean you’re a myth and…’

Cerberus leant forward, his breath smelling oddly of lavender. ‘I. AM. NOT. A. MYTH.’

Gideon leant back. ‘No, come on. This is just a story. You’re dressed up in costume. A very good costume, I must say but still.’ When Cerberus just stared, he hurried on, ‘Cerberus has three heads. And snakes, lots of snakes.’

Cerberus leant back. It looked to Gideon like he was trying to smile but it wasn’t doing much for him and even less for Gideon. ‘And you know this how?’

‘Er, I read the Odyssey. Homer?’

Cerberus nodded slowly. ‘We met. It didn’t go well.’

‘You met him?’

‘Short chap. Hairy legs like you’d not believe. Had this thing about deities, appeasing them. Never works. And no, I’m a large dog with one head, balls that match Achilles ego for volume and not a snake in sight. And I’ve been stuck in this cave for…’

Gideon checked his watch. His next appointment would be waiting and he prided himself on dealing with clients with efficient dispatch. ‘I’m sure this is very relevant but we are here to help you find a job. You do want a job?’

‘Course. I need the money.’

‘You need money?’

‘How am I going to get to Greece if I don’t have money?’

‘A two thousand year old talking dog? I think you’ll be fine.’

‘Aren’t you going to help?’

‘The thing is Cerberus,’ Gideon looked up at the receptionist doing a hurry up and finish sign, ‘ I don’t believe you. Or rather I don’t believe you’re a two thousand year old…’

Gideon never had a chance to finish. Cerberus shook his head and leapt across the desk, ripping out Gideon’s throat, before chewing ruminatively. The receptionist stared in horror as the arterial blood sprayed as an oddly symmetrical pattern on the ceiling. Cerberus licked himself clean and went and stood by the door. Someone would open it eventually. Even the Gates of Hades were opened. He looked at the exsanguinated consultant and tutted. A myth indeed. What a cheek.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Never Doubt A Myth #blogbattle #shortfiction

  1. Chel Owens says:

    “hang-dog?” “exsanguinated?” Oh.. Geoff….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. er…………. nice doggie………….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    Is it wrong that I found a story about a murderous dog extremely amusing? Very well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. aebranson says:

    As usual I enjoyed how the story unfolded. From Gideon’s reaction to Cerberus at the beginning, it seemed he considered the ‘client’ to be on the level of a ‘furry’, which he clings to until the bloody end. The hidden jewel is how people are willing to accept a male claiming to be a female but not a person claiming to be a dog … yet. 🙂 Oh yes, Cerberus proved he was no myth, although I wonder if he’s planning to guard the door of the employment office for as long as he did the gates of hell. After all, there’s not much difference….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: #BlogBattle Stories: Myth | BlogBattle

  6. At the top of your game, Geoff. Loved it and laughed. A lot. However, educate me if you will about ‘drole’. Is Gideon French? Or is this a dreadul pun about drollery in the dole office? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the ending. So satisfying.

    Like

  8. ellenbest24 says:

    Woah nice dog. > Pat pat < I will keep my hand firmly on my own throat until I leave. You mixed a bowl fit for anyone's guard dog. Hades you say … I think I will skip visiting Cerberus there. A bit of training wouldn't go amiss in my thinking … just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

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