thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
violet was bad with money. she spent a lot of it. not on purpose, exactly, but the stuff seemed to disappear steadily as events fulfilled their natural course, like water draining out of a sink. of course, the money didn’t just get up and walk away.
hermes searched through her wallet, looking for change. nothing.
violet rolled over in bed. she’d been laying around for four days. now it was time to get back to work. twenty-four hour shifts took their toll, and she was tired. at least she hadn’t blown any more of her paycheck while she was asleep. her son had smashed his visor, and it would have to be replaced. she’d be paying for at least half of it out of her own pocket.
hermes didn’t carry any change. no pockets. and the machine only took quarters.
hermes was, among other things, the god of money. naturally he had plenty of stuff for himself, but the people he had to deal with often seemed to have trouble keeping it around. take violet. there was usually not much left for him to steal from her by the time she got paid. habitually, she lived from paycheck to paycheck. she kept him always on his toes.
violet wrenched herself out of bed and ran a comb roughly through her tangled hair. almost immediately she gave up, screwing her usual meshback cap down onto her pillow-formed head. some battles were not worth fighting this early in the morning.
hermes didn’t just give up. but violet had stymied his most creative efforts to put a cap on her spending. she simply did what she wanted to do, whenever she wanted to do it. there was no real strategy involved, she simply moved forward, here stumbling, there taking sure-footed, confident strides, one purchase at a time.
violet cracked open a pepsi. her son was back with his father. her parents were dead. she ingested the thick liquid easily, crushing the empty aluminum can against her forehead. after all these years, the maneuver still hurt. she dropped the can into the recycle bin and climbed into her truck.
laid rubber in the parking lot.