Zeus vs. Jerry, The Therapisteus
A Short Story by Scott Warfe
Written using the suggestion "Suddenly I woke up among strangers."
Originally featured on 01-19-2011
As part of our series "The Benefit of Doubt: Stories Written to Explore Domestic Violence and Abuse"

All I am saying is there is a double standard.

 

Don’t give me that look, Jerry. I’ve seen the power chart.

 

Treating her like a servant. Making her feel bad about herself. You don’t think Hera ever treated me like a servant, or made me feel bad about myself? And yet, where in Hades is she?

 

Well, I’ll tell you where she isn’t. She is not here. She is not in court ordered counseling. We are talking about the woman who sent two serpents to kill Hercules when he was an infant. Does that not bother you? That’s infanticide, Jerry. IN.FANT.I.CIDE. And, your okay with that?

 

What? I hardly think I am “shifting responsibility.” I’m simply wondering why she is the one that gets to come out of this smelling like laurel.

 

Is that all your going to do? Your just gonna sit there and quote the Duluth Intervention manual?

 

You know what? I’ll quote it for you: “Like any person or group at the bottom of an abusive hierarchical order, she is thought to be there because something is wrong with her. He defines her this way, and the system backs him up.”

 

You know what else? Let me quote to you from the Book of Deuteronomy, And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. I’m not a Christian, Jerry, you know that, but I know good reasoning when I hear it. This isn’t about me “labeling” her; this is about facts. And the facts are: she had it coming.

 

The system is backing me up? Do I need to remind you where we are? Do I need to remind you that a male judge ordered me to come to these sessions?

 

Let’s just go over facts. Io: not only did Hera curse IO with an eternity of being a cow—though genetics would have gotten her in the long run—but Hera also, in a blind rage, stung Io into madness.

 

Okay. Let’s talk about Tiresias. If you remember correctly, Hera struck him blind for saying that men give ten times more pleasure than they receive during sex. Is that reason to blind a man?

 

No, it should be reason to celebrate him.

 

I can go on. Lamia: Hera killed her children. Semele: killed her. Gerana: turned her into a crane. Echo: that one explains itself.

Sure. I may have flirted with a couple these women, Jerry. Just because I’m Zeus doesn’t mean I’m not a man. I have a healthy appetite for intercourse. I can’t just turn it off and on like a lightening bolt.

 

I’ve read the restraining order, Jerry. Thank you.

 

You’re absolutely right. Knowing what I know now: that I was going to have to endure these two hour sessions with you, I would have thought twice about, as she says, “hanging her upside down from the heavens.”

 

I am not interested in talking about Hephaestus.

 

This is not an “accountability” issue. I just don’t feel like talking about it.

 

Why don’t you go back to quoting me the Duluth manual.

 

Yes. According to Hera—consider the source—I threw Hephaestus off Mount Olympus because I was repulsed by the site of him. I hardly think that explains the situation.

 

Well, for one, I’m a hot head, Jerry. Lightning bolts, raging bull: there is a reason why I am associated with these things. I have a bit of a temper. I’m not denying that.

 

Secondly, if you would let me finish, is that Hera knows that I am prone to anger and she uses that to her advantage. Is it a wonder she always shows up when I am having an innocent conversation with another woman?

 

I am willing to take responsibility for my anger, if she is willing to take responsibility for angering me.

 

Okay, Jerry, I’ll play your little game. In my own words, I had just come home after a long day at work. It was a really stressful. I had been dealing with this whole Metis thing—you know, Metis, the goddess of wisdom. So, when I got home, I was in no mood to deal with Hera.

 

God, it was so long ago. Let me see: Metis, at the time, was preggers. And, supposedly, the kid was mine—we didn’t have the luxury of DNA tests or the Maury Povich Show to prove parentage. Anyway, so I thought the kid was mine, which was really problematic because of the prophecy about Metis giving birth to a child who would grow to be more powerful than me.

 

Well, needless to say, I was freaking out. Obviously, I needed to—how should I say this—abort the issue, if you catch my drift. The problem was that I couldn’t just take her to a planned parenthood. So, I did the next best thing I could think of: I ate her. God, I’m just realizing how much I sound like my father.

 

By the time I got home, I had this splitting headache, and all I wanted to do was go to bed. But, as soon as I walked through the door, Hera started giving me Hades, raving about Hephaestus.

 

Basically, she was pissed that my illegitimate children came out with Herculean strength and chiseled looks, while my children with her always seemed to have some defects.

 

I was feeling affronted. She kept screaming that I had given all my good sperm to other women. We didn’t have the scientific advancement that we are so accustomed to now, so we didn’t know that sperm was renewable.

 

While she was screaming, all I was thinking about was how I didn’t have any good sperm left, which meant I probably didn’t need to eat Metis, which meant I could have avoided the splitting headache. Anyway, I wanted to see the damage first hand, so I went into the nursery. The kid was sleeping in his crib. And, you know how kids usually cherubic and all when they sleep? Well, Hephaestus was hideous. No joke, Jerry, he looked like a frog lying on its back. He had these clubbed feed and uneven eyes. He was repulsive.

 

Meanwhile, Hera was a screaming at me, my head was pounding—I’ll remind you this is the pre-aspirin era—and I was staring at this ugly kid with clubbed feet. And, I just snapped. I opened the window, and I tossed him out.

 

What could I have done differently? Well, honestly, I think I handled it pretty well. I think that Hera overreacted a bit.

 

Well, my family lineage is something I take pride in. If I came out looking like Hephaestus, do you know what my dad would have done to me? He would have eaten me. No joke, Jerry, he ate Hades and Poseidon. Did you know also he castrated my pappy? And, I’m not talking a Lorena-Bobbit trim. I’m talking a full buzz cut. Could you imagine? He was a violent cuss. I saved their lives, you know. Maybe, we save that for a different session though.

 

Really? I guess we are. Those two hours flew by.

 

Okay. Next week: roleplaying and action plan.

 

Well, anyway, say hello to your wife for me.

Read More By Scott Warfe

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