Ares is here to hang
I was minding my own business on the front porch swing when a bright-red Ferrari convertible shrilly screeched to a halt before my humble south Chico abode. Who should hop out of the driver’s seat but that ol’ dog of armed conflict himself, Ares, Greek god of war. Crawling out of the passenger seat, clearly boozed out of her mind, laughing maniacally, was the goddess of discord, Eris.

Neighbors poked their heads out of doorways or traipsed around from cutting the back yard to see what all the vehicular racket was about. Mrs. Potts looked up from her rose bed, Mr. Green stopped tugging at his lawn mower’s cord, and even the generally shy and reclusive Timokins crept out onto their front porch to investigate the source of this disturbance.

“Hey, man, what’s the what?” I cheerfully called from the porch.

The red-bearded bully only snorted his contempt, adjusted his brush-topped helmet and swaggered dramatically up the front walk, whistling “Over There” slightly off-key.

“I’ll tell you ‘What’s the what,’ you crumby little peace-whiner,” he bellowed, glancing around to make sure the entire neighborhood heard him.

“You tell ’em, bay-bee,” Eris managed, staggering to the porch and barely grasping the rail while trampling the petunias.

“My planet is moving back into primary position,” he boasted. “My dominance over mankind and all its aspirations is due to flourish, achieving staggering levels of destruction for the first time in thousands of years! See my works and despair!”

Well, it was dead silent after that particular proclamation. And, in just a few minutes, everybody slowly returned to what they were doing: Mrs. Potts weeding her garden, Mr. Green wrestling with his unstarting mower, and the Timokins inching back into their house.

Me, I just kinda sat there, my feet dangling, rocking slightly forward and back.

Then Eris suddenly lost her grip, plunging down into the petunias with a muted, mushy thwack.

“Somebody get me a revolver,” she muttered from somewhere below.

But Ares continued standing there, proud as a statue, his red-bearded chin thrust forward, his brilliant spear flashing in the mid-morning sunshine. But then I noticed his knees trembling ever so slightly.

Historically and mythically, Ares always was a big braggart … and flagrant coward.

“Somebody get me a gun!” Eris shouted. “Or … another drink!”

Ares continued to stand like a slightly wobbly statue, Eris muttering token obscenities. I sat there hoping they’d somehow just pick up and go away. Bug some other distant relation somewhere else in the world. But I knew better.

It was going to be a very long summer.

Weekly props
1. True identity of that washed-up “blob” in Chile

2. Atmospheric conditions on Pluto (or “Yuggoth,” if you prefer)

3. Mechanics who tell you your car is fine

4. Rev. Horton Heat at Brick Works Sun., July 20

5. Paladins and Diamonds at LaSalles Wed., July 23