Dealing daily with the weight of expectations was rubbish. He opened his front door to find a group of weirdos camped out beside the wheelie bin. He tried to sneak out, but they sank to their knees and chanted: “Dionysus the beautiful.”
“I’m not Dionysus, I’m me. And I’m not beautiful.” Then he ran away.
At work, he took out his thyrsus. Like everything else at Godsworld, the fennel stick was falling apart. Its pine cone was stuck on with Blu-Tac and the ivy trailed loose. Really, he thought, this place is a joke. He’d taken the job thinking it would be fun, perhaps meet a few girls, he hadn’t expected to work with a cantankerous leopard.
“Feeding the lions is about to start,” said a tannoy announcement. He sighed.
At the lions’ den, a boy with cherub curls pointed at the spot on Dion’s nose, now the shape and colour of a holly berry, and giggled.
“You’re a joke, call yourself a god?”
I’m not really a god, Dion thought desperately, I don’t know who I am. He’d run out of fake tan and couldn’t afford to buy any more until pay day, and he hadn’t been to the gym for weeks.
“I want my money back,” the cherub shrieked.
Then three things happened at once. The leopard pulled a baby from its buggy and ate it. Dion hit the cherub over the head with his thyrsus. And a beautiful Italian boy with Michelangelo curls and no spot on his chin, stepped in to break up the fight.
“Ciao, he said, “I’m Bacchus.”
Dion went home to get drunk.
© Sandra Danby
*inspired by George Condo’s portrait ‘Dionysus’
2011: shortlisted in the Southbank Centre’s ‘George Condo: Mental States’ flash fiction competition www.southbankcentre.co.uk
2012: published by Ether Books @ www.etherbooks.com
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
I AM NOT A GOD a #shortstory by @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-10