Monday, August 27, 2007

The Despair of Medullia

I met Medullia in the ticket office. She used to be a powerful goddess in the Greek pantheon until she made the grave mistake of falling asleep in the bath and going over her allotted time. She might have got away with it if Discordia hadn’t booked the slot after her, but Discordia was so popular that her baths were attended by a full cohort of nymphs and handmaidens.

The embarrassment suffered by the goddess as she waited outside the locked door of the bath worked her up into such a frenzy that when Medullia came out she found all her temples thrown down, their walls scattered to the winds.

With no temples to speak of, Medullia began to lose worshippers. A god’s power is dependant upon his (or her) belief index. This is why we get missionaries and crusades: they serve the triple purpose of recruiting more believers, reducing your opponent’s worshippers and grabbing whatever riches you can for the glory of the mortal head of the church. With the loss of her worshippers, Medullia lost her power and her cats of war – originally depicted as a pride of great white tigers – became reduced to a handful of common or garden tabbies.

Now she hangs about the anterooms of the Underworld (we annexed the Underworld when Pluto ceased to be worshipped and had to re-mortgage) bemoaning her fate and asking for handouts. A prayer here, a packet of kitty chunks spread on a forest stone there – it all serves to help her regain a little of her lost self-esteem.

She was in the ticket office begging the clerk the let her go back to that fateful bathtime and not oversleep. Such a minor alteration of history, you might think, but had she not lost her power, her cats of war might have served to sway the tide of battle during the First Macedonian War and thus prevent the expansion of Rome.

The clerk denied her the ticket. You have to be careful when you muck about with time travel. Gods help those who try to alter history. They’re sneaky like that, gods.
Before you know it, you could leave the idyllic twenty-first century of Celtic tranquility and be plunged into – I don’t know – Christianity or something.

Why are you laughing?

Anyway, the clerk looked at my thirty page application for a purple ticket and passed it. Southend is a place where nothing has ever really happed. Nothing world-shattering, at any rate. The biggest thing to happen in Southend since the 1950s was the demolition of the Hotel Victoria to make was for the putrescence of a shopping centre. Certainly nothing that I could do in 1955 would be history altering.

I was on my way to find out what happened to Lydia.

Until the morrow. X

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