For Remi Paquette, I hope you enjoy it!
Ted, the accountant walked out on stage and looking over the assembled gods realized that this was not going to be a fun presentation.
Clearing his throat, Ted nodded at the crowd and then turned to his laptop, already connected to the big screen before them. He cleared his throat again and tried to steady his hand before turning back to the crowd.
He gave a weak smile as he fished the laser pointer from his pocket and aimed it at the pie chart on the screen.
“Thank you all for coming today,” Ted said and cringed as his voice boomed by some god’s will over the colosseum.
“I am one of the forensic accountants for Athena.” The crowd turned to look at her where she sat demurely at the end of the second row on the left. She had a small smile on her face but ignored them all.
“As I am sure you all know, most gods take a portion of the collection from the various churches dedicated to their name and use it for their whims on the various planets,” Ted continued. “Madame Athena is no stranger to these practices. Since the advent of the digital world in three of those planets, we have recently upgraded our own systems to track things this way and several gods have even taken classes in the many accounting practices so as to be as knowledgeable as any planetary creature in this nature.”
Someone laughed in the crowd and tried to cover it up with a cough but everyone turned to glare at Hermes. He scratched his eyebrow, middle finger up, his lips quirked.
Ted continued hesitantly. “It has come to the attention of Madame Athena that there are some unusual expenditures on the Earth region. Some of you haven’t dealt with Humans in half a millennium but someone of you are active and visit even now…”
“And we know who you are,” Athena’s voice blanketed the crowd. Ted cringed slightly before continuing. He pointed his laser to the screen. It reflected off a number.
“There are 30,116 visiting gods on earth at any given time…”
“Lies!” someone shouted from the back.
“Put a grape in it, Ares,” Hera shot back, “We all know our procreation is out of control there.”
Hermes choked out a laugh before the room once again gave Ted their attention.
“The problem is not so much the expenditures, odd though they are, but the issue is more with the amount of earth dollars being spent.” Ted cleared his throat again before continuing. He removed his glasses and wiped them with a handkerchief before replacing them and continuing.
“The total of all the various god collections on earth does not even cover the amount that is being spent. What that tells us is that at least one god is,” Ted stopped for a moment and looked at Athena. Her eyes narrowed. Fear rolled over him but he pushed through it. “Living on earth and either earning or stealing to create the funds.”
“How can you prove this,” shouted a deep voice. Thanatos. Ever since Hades started getting so much attention, the daemon tended to be a constant voice at any meetings with more than five gods in attendance.
“What if you live there less than six months of the earth year?” a soft, polite voice asked from seemingly everywhere. Ted thought it might be Hecate.
And he was stumped. He couldn’t recall any law against such a thing. He saw Athena change positions in her chair. Ted started to sweat again. He was supposed to be the expert. Pulled from earth almost year ago, Ted had been sent to the libraries to learn every law on finance and exchange that could be found. Every scroll unrolled, every tablet translated. He had been given the gift of all language by Athena herself and had been content until she forced him to attend the gods in this manner.
Ted gave a silent prayer but after seeing the sudden smirk on Hermes face, his backbone straightened slightly.
“If you were to refer to earth laws, specifically the rules of the Unites States of America, then a person living in one state for more than six months constitutes a homestead. However, there is no law requiring homestead for someone living there for less than six months. From all the tombs I’ve read here in the library of Asgard, I find no reference for or against living somewhere for such a time.”
Ted stared at his feet and waited. The purpose of his presentation was to weed out the gods living on earth and potentially wreaking havoc on their economy. He risked a glance at Athena who was definitely the instigator. She sat, thinking he thought.
It was Hecate who spoke again. Her voice crept in from the sides making you query if she was beside, behind or in front of you. “I have been spending much time in this place called Vegas. I like it. Reminds me of the old days.”
A chuckle from the back. Was that Odin? Ted scanned the back. Odin generally was front center but he seemed to be staying clear of these notions of Athena. Ted scrunched his brows as he guessed why. Perhaps Odin too was enjoying Vegas periodically.
“I too enjoy earth for longer duration,” a calm voice floated easily over the crowd. Several gods and goddesses turned around to stare at Lokey. “What?” His eyes shined with mischief, “It’s fun. I’m fond of the gambling, the smokey rooms, the hot girls, the thieving, the whoring…”
“Enough!” Athena’s voice echoed hushing everyone as it went before it cut off like someone had pulled the PA plug. There was an odd noise and then the end of Athena’s sigh echoed around the room.
“Ted, why don’t you go ahead and pack up. Please leave your slides as I would like to review them again. Directors of the Board, I request your presence in Valhalla for brunch and discussion on the handling of this overage we are experiencing in the mortal realm.
There was some muttering, a few boos and a cat call. Ted wondered the purpose of the cat call and then remembered present company and gave up. He packed everything up quickly and left the stage. Ten minutes later he slipped into his apartment, a small but suitable affair just off the Garden of Eden replica and near the Pool of Life. He grabbed a bag of popcorn and sunk into his favorite chair. He had survived another day. His contract would be up in one month, two weeks, three days.
Ted flipped on the TV and with a toss of popcorn into his mouth, he prepared to outsmart the contestants of Jeopardy again.