Monday, February 2, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Chera and Thermos

Chera was a minor heat deity, relegated to reigning over lava in the domain of a mountain god. She wanted nothing to do with the business. She had it for cold – for sturdy ocean gods and their swim-tightened bodies, and for snow titans, and all their ancient extreme sports.

To be fair, there weren’t so many hot-blooded gods running around that northern archipelago. It was frigid and if she was going to fall in love with someone, he was probably going to have a beard of icicles. She became smitten with Thermos, god of waves that are almost cold enough to freeze. It was a low-paying job and Chera’s father forbid the relationship, which was a popular occupation for fathers in the age of myths.

Yet there came rumors that Chera and Thermos were getting on anyway. At first Chera’s father set people to watch her. She didn’t seem bothered, and like any competent mythological father, he figured if she wasn’t bothered he hadn’t done his job correctly.

So he confined her abstract to his island, figuring she was finagling through the lava. The great god spent many days watching his shore, seeing frigid waves lap coastal lava flows. Often he would order them frozen out of spite, uncertain if any of this counted as lascivious. Yet they always thawed, and he could prove nothing. Was his daughter up to nonsense?

Not according to her. When her sister, the goddess of expensive pumice people sail far too far to collect, asked, Chera said she and Thermos had already had millions of children.

Her father exhausted himself trying to find evidence of this, so that he could stop it. He put out challenges and offered impossible rewards that inspired travails for some of history’s great heroes. None of them actually succeeded, though, and became great heroes in more worthwhile endeavors.

What exactly she was bragging about went unknown for four hundred years. Even four hundred years later science was still slugging – its gods were lazy and enjoyed providing a slow trickle of miraculous discoveries. The one that revealed the secret of their romance came when a scientist identified a kind of water smoke. He called it “steam.”

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