The harvest goddess hated how long it took humans to get from one place to the other. Why couldn’t Zeus just arrange for them to pop back and forth like the gods did? While the plane was in the air, she decided to start dinner, her daughter, Persephone, would be joining her. The rest of the togas could wait until the contestants were in New York.
She tossed a salad and put a casserole in the oven. Fresh strawberries were in the fridge and she had banana sorbet in the freezer. As she set the table she heard Zeus say, “Hello gods and goddesses. Welcome back to Jagged Journeys.”
Mercury reported things on the ground were as crazy as they were in the air. Jane thought she was missing a limousine ride and welcome party, but all the flights were so mixed up the bride threw her plans to the wind and ferried guests around in taxis. Jane’s complaints lost them a few points, but her ability to pull everything from playing cards to snacks out of her carry-on kept their score almost even.
Isis reported, “All told, our contestants are ready for some help at one thousand fifteen points, but there’s not much we can do while they’re in the air.”
“That’s the way this cookie crumbles, Isis.” Zeus said and then asked, “Mercury, any hint of an arrival time?”
“Unfortunately Zeus, things look better to the passengers than they actually are. There’s one of those breaks you promised in the weather, so they’re looking out on a clear sky in New York; but, the plane is quickly running out of fuel. I heard in the cockpit that if we don’t land in the next few minutes, they’ll have to go somewhere else.”
Isis said, “How disappointing! Where will they go?”
“No way to know ahead of time, Isis,” the Messenger God replied, “but now it’s official. The pilot just announced the flight’s rerouting to Philadelphia.”
When Persephone arrived, she caught Demeter in front of the scrying bowl, “Good grief Mother, are you reduced to watching reality broadcasting?”
“Oh hush. Just because you live in the underworld is no reason to be such a downer. It’s Jagged Journeys. Don’t you want to see what your father’s doing?”
“You know I haven’t forgiven him for that whole pomegranate thing.”
“I can’t believe you. That wasn’t his fault. Zeus sent Hermes into Hades after you. Then you turned around and ate the pomegranate.”
“That’s what I mean. There’s always some kind of trick with him. First he sells me off in marriage to that necrophiliac and then there’s the pomegranate. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?”
“You know I was frantic about you when you disappeared. He immediately regretted the marriage contract and that’s why he sent Hermes. What’s a big brother to do when his little sister is so upset?”
“Well, most big brothers don’t have daughters by their little sisters – or by their daughters either. How is Aunt Hera, by the way?”
“You quit being sassy. Things were different back then. You and Hera sound just alike.”
“Fine, what’s daddy up to now?”
Demeter giggled a little and said, “Mommy, too, in this case.” She aimed the remote at the scrying bowl and backed up the action. “Watch this. The passengers were redirected to Philadelphia, but the terminal was being remodeled, so everything was boarded up.”
When Demeter found the frame she wanted, Zeus was saying, “So they haven’t eaten anything all day besides airline peanuts and cookies from Jane’s carry-on. How are they going to get anything in a closed terminal?”
“Actually, a divine team has pulled together for this rescue,” Mercury said, “Artemis, Greek Goddess of the Hunt, Demeter, in her role as Goddess of Barley, and a Roman god, Bacchus, are going to help our contestants. Bacchus is posing as a pushcart vendor in a neighboring concourse and the two goddesses provided the food.”
Persephone complained, “I can’t believe you wasted your harvest on this sort of thing.”
“Watch what happens!”
In the gate area, Bill said to Jane, “Look at these lines. I’ll never get to call the office.”
“You should have brought your cell phone.”
“Are you kidding? The roaming charges are ridiculous and it wouldn’t do us any good in Europe, anyway. They have a different platform.”
“I bet someday you’ll be able to use your mobile phones wherever you are, but what should we do now? I have a sugar high from all the cookies and I’m still starving.”
“Well, we’re going to be stuck here for awhile. We might as well see what we can find.”
As the humans wandered through the empty terminal, Jane repeatedly voiced her concern the flight would take off without them, but Bill forged on through the forsaken hallways. Eventually they happened on to the pushcart where Bacchus was arguing with another customer.
The contestants could barely contain their joy at the sight of food. Bill got in line and Jane guarded their pile of carry-ons, but he came back with only one hot dog and a soda.
“One hot dog? I’m starving,” Jane complained. “This is barely an appetizer.”
“Honey, it cost nine dollars!”
“For this? A dry hot dog and a lukewarm Pepsi?”
“We’ll be leaving soon and surely we’ll find something to eat in New York.”
“You’re right. We can’t blow the budget before we even get out of the States,” Jane mumbled through a mouthful.
“That’s my girl. Let’s see if the line for the phone is better,” Bill said, taking the hot dog from her. They wolfed down the food and headed back to the gate.
Persephone started to say something and Demeter waved for her to stay quiet.
“Our judges are having a difficult time with this segment of the game,” Isis said, “Some believe Bill and Jane should’ve stayed near the gate, as they were instructed. Others want to give them points for finding Bacchus’ food cart. Looks like Jane’s willingness to cooperate has helped. They just added twenty-five more points.”
Zeus said, “Kudos to Bacchus and the goddesses for coming to the aid of our travelers. Wasn’t he a scream in that apron? I’m really going to have to give him a hard time at the next org…uh, I mean symposium.”
“Look they walked right up to the phone without having to wait. Who are they calling Mercury?” Isis asked.
“Their first call was to their home phone. There were several messages from Tammy, most of which were upbeat, but the last one didn’t sound very hopeful. She left a phone number for them to contact in the morning, if they don’t make the flight to Germany.
“What a blow! How did they take it?”
“Without blinking they dialed information and got the number for the transatlantic airline. Their flight is still delayed. See how they’re glowing with hope. Not much to do now, except wait.”