Sam was up at the ungodly hour of 5:00am, making a racket as she got dressed for her morning run. I attempted to sleep through the noise but discovered that it was impossible to drown out her insanely cheerful humming. I crawled out of bed and began to carefully make my way to the kitchen for a much needed caffeine injection. Sam followed me, bounding along like an excited puppy. “Is she up yet?” This with breathless with anticipation. “Dunno,” I grunted. I’m not exactly eloquent at 5:00am. “OK, I’ll be back in a half hour. Maybe we can all have breakfast together!” Sam smiled at me. “Kay,” I grunted again. It really was the best I could do under the circumstances. I needed coffee!
Zeus stuck his cold doggy nose into the back of my knee to remind me that he had needs, too. Waddling to the back door, I let him out and stood for a moment, trying to remember what I was doing. Oh yeah, coffee! I turned around and headed back into the kitchen, snagging a coffee mug out of the cabinet. Zeus picked that exact moment to finish his morning business and demanded to be let back in with a sharp bark. I started and the mug crashed to the floor, breaking into a whole bunch of jagged little pieces. I said a bad word and walked carefully around the shards to get the broom out of the laundry room. Zeus barked again, but I ignored him. I may be half-dead at 5:00am, but I know enough not to let a dog into a kitchen sprinkled with ceramic shrapnel. Once I swept the mortal remains of the coffee mug into the trash, I let Zeus back into the house and stood again, trying to remember what I was doing, coffee. I reached back into the cabinet, finding another mug. I set it down carefully under the coffee maker’s spout thingy, loaded the coffee pod and pressed the button.
“What is that scent?” I looked up from my empty cup, marveling at the divine properties of java to find my visitor standing in the kitchen doorway, looking decidedly un-goddess-like. Her perfect designer toga was wrinkled and sat rather askew on her shoulder. Her hair had come out of its braid and was sticking out unbecomingly in many directions. Her left cheek bore a pillow crease, and she was shifting her weight from one foot to the other in what looked suspiciously like the pee-pee dance. “Morning,” I answered. Hey, what do you know? I was capable of coherent speech again. “Do you need to use the restroom?” Blank stare. “The restroom? You know… the bathroom…the toilet?” “Are you inquiring whether I require the use of facilities to relieve my bladder?” Hera lifted an eyebrow. “Yes. Forgive me. I am not accustomed to my body’s human needs, yet. I would be grateful if….” She looked down without finishing her sentence. “No problem. Follow me,” I said, putting my empty coffee mug down and walking past her toward the bathroom at the end of the hall. The scent of apples drifted through my nose. Seriously? That’s some fantastic perfume. I made a mental note to ask her about it later.
“Here you go,” I pointed. She peeked around me into the bathroom. “Ummm….” I pointed again at the toilet. “You sit here. The toilet paper is right here. When you’re all done, just push this,” I pointed to the seat, the t. p., and then the handle. “OK?” Hera frowned at me. “I must sit, and then push?” she asked. “What purpose does the paper serve? Must I make a record? I see no writing implements, if this is so.” I blinked in confusion, then burst out laughing. “Make a record! That’s hilarious! No, you use the paper to wipe…I mean dry yourself…you know…when you’re done.” Hera looked stupefied. I stopped giggling and explained the concept of toilet paper until she seemed satisfied. “Thank you, Elena,” she inclined her head gracefully, stepped into the bathroom, and closed the door.
I was back in the kitchen, seriously considering a second cup of coffee, when I heard the scream. I raced back and pounded on the bathroom door. “What’s the matter?! Are you okay?” The door cracked open and Hera’s horrified amber eyes stared at me. “I am hideous,” she whispered. “Huh?” I replied. “My face…” she touched her still-creased cheek, “My hair…” she tentatively reached up to the black spikes poking out from her head. “What has happened to me? I have become deformed.” I understood and didn’t have the heart to laugh at her this time. “You are not deformed,” I informed her as kindly as I could manage. “You just have pillow face and morning hair, that’s all. Your breath is probably stinky, too.” She looked appalled. “It’s okay. It’s just how you are in the morning. Most people are. I mean, look at me. I’m kind of a mess in the morning, too. No big deal.” She looked me up and down, doubt plainly written all over her face. “Can this be remedied, then? Can I be restored?” she looked ready to cry. “Sure!” I smiled. “A hot shower and ten minutes with the blow dryer, and you’ll be good as new!” She looked utterly mystified again. “Stay there,” I commanded. I ducked into Sam’s room and came out a couple of minutes later, carrying a pile of Sam’s clothes. “These should work for you.” I said. Grabbing a new toothbrush out of the medicine cabinet, I explained the basics of dental hygiene, showed Hera how to operate the shower, gave her a clean towel, and instructed her to come get me when she was cleaned up and dressed.
I was on my second cup of coffee when Sam breezed into the kitchen. Even after a hard run she looked fresh as the proverbial daisy, eyes shiny, cheeks flushed, hair perfectly bouncy. I stifled my jealousy, reminding myself of the mutant lumberjack that apparently occupied her sleeping body. Nobody is perfect after all. “Where is she?” Sam’s eyes crinkled with curiosity and humor. “In the bathroom,” I told her. “Apparently goddesses don’t get morning hair or pillow face, so she kind of freaked out. Lesson Number 1: Personal Hygiene.” Sam giggled. “Wow, can you imagine? She’s never had to take a shower, or brush her teeth, or anything, and she just always looks like that!” Sam nodded toward the bathroom. “Yeah, she didn’t know about toilets, either.” I said. “I had to explain what toilet paper was for.” I rolled my eyes. Looking up from my coffee cup, my eyes practically collided with Hera’s, which were filled equally with anger and embarrassment. She was standing in the kitchen doorway, freshly scrubbed and looking oddly vulnerable in Sam’s black yoga pants and Ohio State tee shirt, wet hair spilling around her shoulders. She tossed her head and turned on her heels, slamming the door of my bedroom behind her once she reached her destination.
“Great,” I sighed. Sam patted me on the shoulder sympathetically. “You didn’t mean to hurt her feelings,” she reassured me. “Just talk to her. I’m sure she’ll understand.” “I doubt it,” I huffed. “Besides, I have no clue what to even say to her. Ugh!”
Title – Chapter 9. Morning
Excerpt – Sam was up at the ungodly hour of 5:00am, making a racket as she got dressed for her morning run. I attempted to sleep through the noise but discovered
Tags – Sam, Kay, Zeus, Hera, Alla Reese, Alla, Reese, Olympian, The Olympians