David sat down at the fold-out table and slid his briefcase over its simple, plastic finish. He unsnapped the locks. The precise sound was at odds with the flutter of butterflies and the aimless foraging of the brown rabbit. The precise sound of his papers, too, as he shuffled and tapped them on the table, was a loud but not uncustomary interruption of the meadow’s placid pleasance.
At this point, the tap was a precaution more than a habit, a request for the skies to part and not douse his suit with rain, as they so easily would, should his presence be overlooked—or simply ignored.
“Uranus—” David began, before he was interrupted by a sputter of sleet.
“I SEE YOU, MORTAL,” came the explosion from the heavens.
“Sir,” David said. “I am here to serve you these—” and he held aloft the documents (held them aloft and as far from his shoulder as his arm could stretch).
A bolt of lightning arced from a black cloud and blew the documents into flaming confetti.
David blew on his fingers and reached into his briefcase for the bandages and the ointment.
“YOU DARE?” The thunder rolled off the clouds like a drum tumbling down a narrow canyon.
“Mr. Sky, we’ve been over this three-thousand nine-hundred and one days before—not counting pagan holidays—and I really must insist that you consider your wife’s request.”
“DO YOU KNOW WHAT SHE DID TO ME?” The words lit up the sky in fearsome Greek.
David brushed a layer of snow off his lapel. “Yes, Mr. Sky, we’ve discussed this many times.”
“IT IS AN UNFORGIVABLE OFFENSE.”
“All the more reason to honor the divorce, Mr. Sky. You and your wife have been living separately for many thousands of years now.” David consulted his notes. “I believe we can classify it as an eon, which, in most jurisdictions, qualifies the two of you as legally divorced anyway. At this stage, as I’m sure my predecessors have pointed out, signing the documents is merely a formality.”
“I HAVE NO USE FOR YOUR KIND, ADVOCATE.”
“Uranus, I understand your frustration—”
“SATURN SEVERED MY MANHOOD WITH A SICKLE FASHIONED FROM THE SHINING STARS, MY WIFE HIS ARCH ACCOMPLICE.”
David clasped his hands. “On an intellectual level, sir, I understand your frustration. Divorce can give you and your wife the closure that will begin the healing process.”
“MY RAGE FUELS THE BURNING SUMMER.”
“Yes, well,” David said. And that was all he said. The clouds raced over the part in his hair and three tornadoes circled the meadow with the subtlety of tornadoes. He closed his briefcase and held onto his tie to keep it from bruising his lips.
When the chaos diminished he cleared his throat. “I will continue to represent your wife, Mr. Sky, for to refuse her would bring unimaginable shame on my family—not to mention my firm—, so I, once more, request that you consider hiring a counselor of your own.”
“YOU PERSIST BECAUSE GAEA PAYS YOU IN EVERLASTING BOUNTY.”
David was thoughtful as he straightened his tie. “Eternal spring in the vicinity of my house does wonders for our mortgage, true. And my wife is quite fond of her garden. But that is perfectly in keeping with the client-attorney payment contracts of Smith, Smith & Pythagoras. A client pays within their means.”
“MY WAGES ARE THE STORMS OF RUIN AND THE DESOLATION OF CLOUDS.”
“I could recommend a public counsel, if you would be amenable,” David said.
“ANY MORTAL THAT DARED SPEAK FOR ME I WOULD FASHION INTO A CONSTELLATION OF ENDURING PAIN.”
David frowned. “Is that price negotiable?”
The sky let loose a gradual, capitulating rumble. “JUST SO LONG AS IT’S NOT CHRISTIAN.”
David jotted a note on his phone. “Too forgiving?” he asked.
“THEY TOPPLED ROME,” came the sigh from the sky. “I DON’T CARE HOW NICE THEY ARE, YOU JUST CAN’T TRUST MONOTHEISTS.”
“Well it takes all kinds,” David said. He gave a formal nod to the clouds and stepped gingerly over the brown bunny gnawing its way to the edge of the meadow.
“YOU KNOW, WHEN I WAS GROWING UP WE DIDN’T EVEN HAVE MONOTHEISTS,” the heavens cracked.
David nodded as he unlocked his car, parked at the edge of the woods. “I know,” he said.
“THAT’S JUST HOW I WAS RAISED, MORTAL. IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME, AT THE DAWN OF CREATION. WE WEREN’T SO WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO SAY. WE WERE TOO BUSY LAYING DOWN THE FIRMAMENT.”
“I appreciate that,” David said, putting his car into reverse and slowly backing down the gravel road.
“YOU ASK MY WIFE IF SHE REMEMBERS LAYING DOWN THE FIRMAMENT. SHE KNOWS WHAT I MEAN.”
“Uh-huh,” David said, waving as he turned onto the main road.”I’ll tell her Uranus is a real class act.”
“DON’T BE CHILDISH,” the thunder shot back.