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WolfSinger Publications

Don't Write What You Know;

Write What You Care About -- Passionately!

Big-G City
- S.D. Matley

Veronica  Zeta, youngest child of Zeus and Hera, is at last CEO of the immortal  owned and operated corporation, Olympus, Inc. The biggest project on her  agenda is creating world peace, but first she must depose her  bloodthirsty brother Ares, God of War. To do so, she must deploy a  supernatural force called The Power, which can demand a terrible price.

Zeus,  former CEO and Ex-Lord of the Universe, struggles with identity issues  after his retirement. The bright spot in his life is babysitting his  toddler granddaughter, but his marriage with Hera is foundering and he  longs for someone to confide in.

​Hera's  new campaign, a mortal lifestyle series of books and seminars called  Marvelous Marriage, is a huge success. The face of this project, small-g  goddess Candy Smith, has become a media celebrity. Hera, Goddess of  Marriage, revels in the market share she's stealing from the "adult"  industries owned by her rival, Aphrodite.

​But  Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is ready to fight back! Employing a  photo-shopped tabloid cover photo and a box of enchanted chocolates, she  disrupts the personal life of Candy Smith and goads Hera into executing  her own sabotage plan.

​The  lives of these Olympians collide when Veronica succeeds in deposing  Ares, and pays for deploying a large dose The Power with blindness,  anguish and, possibly, death. But how can an immortal die? The answer  lies in an old family secret, daringly unearthed by Zeus in the eleventh  hour.


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Week One – Monday


David  Bernstein and Clifford Essex descended the steep slope of Seattle’s  Madison Street, bound for the waterfront. Young Bernstein spoke with  increasing frustration, his head tilted upward to address his companion,  who was six-foot-nine.

“They’ve  totally screwed it up,” David said, shouting to be heard over the  rumble of rush-hour traffic. “Thank Zeus they didn’t tear down the whole  Alaskan Way Viaduct. The traffic jams would be ten times worse.”

The  State Department of Transportation had finally agreed to replace  Seattle’s elderly raised highway (that many considered an eyesore) with  an underground tunnel. The construction project had stalled early on and  the result was far from scenic. David shook his head in disgust just  thinking about it.

David  had changed little in the five years since he’d discovered he was half  immortal. His dark curls were still an untamed mop, his brown eyes still  framed by thick-lensed eyeglasses, his body still wiry and slightly  undernourished. But now David knew he was not twenty years old—he was  something over 2,000, and his mother was not social worker Thelma  Bernstein of Salt Lake City, Utah, but Hera, Goddess of Marriage.

“See?”  David pointed downhill to the two-level raised highway, framed by  office towers that loomed on both sides of the street. “That’s the  section where I first spotted Ralph.”

Ralph  was another immortal, a god of small-g status who’d been the one and  only structureling assigned to disseminate his molecules throughout the  Alaskan Way Viaduct. Structureling support was a technology Zeus had  invented millennia ago to reinforce under-engineered buildings, bridges  and the like, designed and constructed by mortals. The transition from  molecular dissemination to computerized support, as led by Clifford, had  recently been completed world-wide.

“So Ralph said,” replied Clifford after a pause.

David  wondered at the edginess in Clifford’s tone. The same day David had  discovered he was Hera’s illegitimate son, Clifford had learned Ralph  was his own father.

“Do you guys see much of each other, now that he’s retired?” David ventured.

“Rarely,”  said Clifford, his lip barely curled in what looked like a sneer. “He  and Mum are stopping at Mount Olympus next week before they start their  cruise.”

Clifford  and his mother, Briana, had also worked as structurelings, he in  Seattle’s Space Needle and she (most recently) in Big Ben. Briana, too,  had retired. Ralph’s rekindled romance with Briana was the talk of  Seattle’s immortals.

“Sounds  nice,” David said. He tried not to think of Hera, his own biological  mother who had the nurturing qualities of an iceberg. Veronica Zeta,  David’s half-sister and new CEO of Olympus, Inc., had assured him Mom  could be quite caring, but he had his doubts. Not for the first time  David wondered if Hera treated him coolly because he was the fruit of  her only known infidelity to Zeus.

“Ms. Zeta mentioned you’d be coming to Mount Olympus soon?” Clifford said, his voice eased to its usual British clip.

“This week,” said David.

“Splendid. Your first time?”


David  had recently completed his double-major in architecture and engineering  at the University of Washington, and he’d just been accepted to the  master’s program at Athens U! It was weird, though, because the program  was keyed to immortal time and took two hundred years to complete.  Veronica had told him to come to the City of Mount Olympus well before  classes started, to adjust to life in an all-immortal setting.

They reached the bottom of the incline and stood on flat pavement.

“That way,” David said, pointing left.

Clifford stepped into the street in front of oncoming traffic.


David  lunged forward as horns blared, grabbed Clifford’s elbow and tugged him  back to the curb. His heart, swamped with adrenaline, thudded in his  chest.

“Sorry,” Clifford said. “I’ve been at corporate so long I’ve forgotten mortal customs.”

“No  problem,” said David reflexively, then flinched. Veronica had  repeatedly asked him to drop the phrase from his vocabulary but it was a  hard habit to break, especially when he was stressed.

The  red hand on the crosswalk light changed to the white stick figure of a  forward-tilted man. They crossed the street and strolled down the east  side of Alaskan Way, under the still-intact section of the Viaduct.  Speeding vehicles thumped and growled above. The damp summer air was  gritty with Elliott Bay salt and the dust of ripped pavement. Ahead,  beyond the raised highway’s on-ramp, it looked as if a bomb had gone  off. A large section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct had been demolished. A  vast ditch yawned where the street used to be. Inside the ditch lay a  monstrous, round machine, dubbed Bertha by the local press.

“Great Zeus!” Clifford said under his breath.

The  underground tunneling device had been custom-built by a Japanese  company for the “tunnel option” project—the relocation of State Highway  99 from the Alaskan Way Viaduct to a two-mile long tunnel underneath  Seattle’s waterfront.

Clifford removed a digital device from his tweed blazer’s pocket and snapped some pictures.

“Incredible!” he exclaimed, sounding less than pleased.

“It’s broken down—again,” David said. “The project managers don’t expect to start drilling again for six months, at least.”

“How far did she make it?” Clifford asked as he clicked.

“Less than a thousand feet—of two miles!” David said.

“I  don’t wish to blaspheme,” said Clifford, “but perhaps even the Big-G  Gods won’t be able to repair this situation.” He turned and studied the  brick buildings just east of the infant tunnel. “Clearly we’ll need to  deploy additional staff to reinforce these,” he said with a wave of his  hand, “and if the seawall fails I fear we’ll have to call in Poseidon.  Ms. Zeta will not be pleased with my report.”

“How  is Veronica?” She hadn’t been in contact with David much since she’d  taken over as CEO. Last month she’d sent a congratulatory e-mail and a  one-way plane ticket to Athens International Airport for graduation, but  he hadn’t seen her face-to-face in a year.

“Ms.  Zeta is—” Clifford paused, no doubt phrasing a business-appropriate  response in his thoughts before speaking. “I believe Ms. Zeta is  progressing well with every project but may be feeling the strain of  full responsibility for Heaven and Earth.”

David  looked up and studied his friend’s brooding, grey eyes. Five years ago  Clifford and Veronica had been an “item.” David had heard rumors  (through other gods assigned to Seattle) that Veronica was now too busy  for personal relationships. Clifford, though a small-g god who carried  none of the blood of Zeus, Hera or their siblings, had been named head  of the Architectural and Computer Services Department. He reported  directly to Veronica. Their work relationship was close, but if he still  carried the torch for her…

“I guess I’ll see her when I get there,” David said.

“If she has time, mate,” Clifford said, his use of slang taking David by surprise. “If she has time.”

Suddenly  going to Mount Olympus didn’t sound like much fun. If Veronica was too  busy to see him and Clifford was overworked and mooning, who would show  him the ropes? His only backup was a heavily used copy of Edith  Hamilton’s Mythology,  tucked into his backpack. He’d read it on his flight to Athens and  learn enough, hopefully, not to make a fool of himself. But he was even  more worried about getting there. Veronica had sent instructions for  finding the portal to Mount Olympus, not the Mount Olympus mortals knew  but a city that existed behind-the-scenes. Was he god enough pass the  test?

“C’mon,”  David said to Clifford. He nodded in the direction from which they’d  come. “Let’s do Ivar’s for fish and chips. My treat, and you can tell me  what it’s like at Athens U.”

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