Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Conference of the Immortals

"What?" roared Zeus setting the summit of Mount Olympus a-tremble with his oratory eruption. Pegasus, startled from his luncheon buffet, discreetly and judiciously stepped out of the god’s line of vision. "Did I just hear what I think I heard?"
"No, no ... it's impossible. She couldn't have!" gasped Apollo. His glorious sunbeams paled at the mere thought of it.
"She did! "Zeus thundered.

"What's going on?" purred a slovenly but nonetheless Golden Aphrodite, rubbing Hypnos-bearing grains of sand from her eyes. "Can't a girl get some beauty sleep in peace?"
"It's Cat in Rabat," tattled Apollo.
"Oh, her again," said Aphrodite, rolling her eyes. "What's she done this time?"
"On her blog," the Bright One whispered in not very hushed tones. "She and that husband of hers went to Chefchaouen this past weekend. And before they left she blogged about it and actually wrote 'what can possibly go wrong?’"
"She didn't!" shrieked the laughter-loving goddess, throwing back her head and dissolving in gales of derisive glee.
"She did!"
"Well no one reads her anyway." And with a wave of her pearly hand, She of the Beautiful Buttocks dismissed the subject.
"He does," whispered Apollo, pointing at the prestigious black thundercloud forming to his left.

"Oohhhhh!" bellowed Zeus, shaking his head like a maddened bull, scattering scores of tiny thunderbolts in its wake. "The hubris of it all! Has she learned nothing? She must be punished for once and for all! Bring me Swift-Footed Hermes. Summon Rosy-Fingered Dawn. Convene all the gods."

An hour later, the entire Olympian pantheon was seated before the Son of Chronos.

"I have given this much thought," announced Zeus. "Her punishment is to begin the day after tomorrow."
"Why then?" the Nereids asked, cowering a bit under his wrath (scores of thunderbolts were still flying haphazardly from his head).
"Traditionally, we have meted out our justice to Cat in Rabat during her return trips,” intoned the All Wise One.
"But it hasn't really worked, has it?" quipped Artemis of the Golden Distaff, a little too petulantly for Zeus’ taste.
"Has it?" repeated Echo.
"The day after tomorrow," repeated the Cloud-Gather with, if possible, even more authority. "Any suggestions?"

"Well, they've been given a lot of conflicting information about bus times so they really have no idea what times any of the buses leave Chaouen," began Hera, her ox-eyes widening in malicious delight. "So let there be a bus waiting for them, taking them to Tangier – not Fez like they’re hoping. Let them bask in the allusion of movement. But it mustn't be a CTM bus. And ..."

The gods and goddesses leaned forwards, craning their heads towards her as one.

"And," she continued, savouring their anticipation, "Let the bus break down."

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"But before it breaks down," suggested Odysseus, Raider of Cities, "I could place a mother behind directly her, along with her fretful seat-kicking child. The mother will have motion sickness and vomit the whole way there!"
"Way there!" repeated Echo.

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"Excellent! You are resourceful Odysseus!" said Zeus approvingly, nodding his head sagely. "The bus will break down. For one hour, let us say. What else?"
"In the middle of nowhere," added Bright-Eyed Athena.
"Nowhere," repeated Echo.
"Yes, yes,” said Zeus. "That goes without saying. Now what else?"

"When they arrive in Tangier, they will be unable to catch a taxi to the train station," chortled earth-shaking Poseidon, setting off a small seismic wave along the east coast of Japan. "No taxi driver will stop for them. They'll have to walk to the train station."
"The train station isn't that far away," objected Golden Aphrodite.
"True," conceded Poseidon, his giggles submerging a small island in the Pacific known for its batiks and excellent coffee, "but they don't know that. Have them follow the signs to the station, running along the streets, huffing and puffing and lugging their knapsacks the whole way – all the while still trying to flag a cab."
"And they'll get there with just fifteen minutes to spare. But―" Storm-Footed Iris mused half out loud, half to herself.
"But?" coaxed the gods and goddesses in unison.
"First class will be sold out! No! - the entire train! The entire train will be sold out!" the Rainbow Goddess squealed in delight. "They'll have to wait 3 ½ hours for the next train!"
"Next train," repeated Echo.

"Bravo! Brilliant! Huzzah!" cried the gods, applauding raucously.

"Ares," Zeus turned his steely gaze on the Man-Slayer. "Did you have ONCF remove all of the seats in its train stations as I instructed?"
"Yes," nodded the God of War. “Shortly after the security levels were raised. Now, no one can blow up a train station in Morocco with a handful of explosives and a bench. I confess that I still don't see the logic in this but it's been effective in annoying passengers."
"It needn't be logical. This is Morocco," sighed Zeus. "Anything else?"

"Perhaps they could try to arrange a grand taxi. He will try to overcharge them by 50%." suggested the god of the Silver Bow. “They know the right price – they’ve travelled from Rabat to Tangier before.”
"Hmmmm, not too over the top Apollo?" queried Zeus.
"I don't think so. Besides, you wanted to punish her."
"Yes," acknowledged Zeus. "But Mr. Cat in Rabat will be there and he isn't really to blame."
"He married her," Hera of the Golden Throne reminded him.
"True ..."
"True ..." repeated Echo.

"One last thing," the lame god Hephaestos suggested." Can we put them in a train compartment with four women and a smallish girl. The women will each possess cell phones possessing incredibly annoying ring tones. Some Tchaikovsky, some gangster rap, maybe some rai. At ear piercing decibels. And they should receive phone calls continually. Remember, it's a 5 hour train trip."
"Excellent!" nodded Zeus. "Will the child have her own seat?"
"No," laughed the famous craftsman who was clearly enjoying this. “By rights she should have her own seat because she's certainly old enough. But this way she can go from lap to lap and be uncomfortable and fuss and whine a great deal. Besides, it will be far more believable that her mother lies about the child’s age to secure a free seat."

"Excellent!" boomed Zeus, "Enough! I will leave the details to Ares of the Glinting Helmet, Curse of Men. He will give everyone their instructions. With a little good luck, what should take them 4 hours will take them 14 hours!" He clapped his hands to disperse the gods, scattering scores of tiny thunderbolts and finally compelling Pegasus to search for greener – and quieter – pastures.

Thus, did the President of the Immortals mete out justice to Cat in Rabat.

"Cat in Rabat," repeated Echo.


squindia said...

fecking brilliant!

sorry about the return trip mishaps though.

madrid will be a welcome change I imagine!


Me and my camera said...

I'm confused.

The trip so far hasn't gone according to plan?

I'm so bad at figuring out allegories...

BTW, was that pic heisted from an old Hercules cartoon?

Cat in Rabat ( كات في الرباط) said...

That's right Herc, that's right.

Me and my camera said...

I always thought Newton was a little "light in the loafers" - er "hooves".

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Poodlerat said...

Hilarious. I'm sorry to hear about your misfortunes, even if they do make entertaining reading.

sue b said...

the only thing that would have made it even more perfect would have been a bad case of dysentery. maybe next time. i have enjoyed visiting Morocco vicariously through your blog and wish you well in your next adventure,

cory said...

this is the most perfect post ever. anywhere.

in the waiting line said...

don't know you, but loved reading the article.

found your blog looking up "Sale Sucré Agdal" in google, go figure

...heading for a late night snack here in Rabat...