“How much for these over here?” the tall man in overalls asked.

“Those are brand new, I just got them this morning. Check them out,” the toothless clerk said, gently handing over a torch. “This bad boy right here can burn for twelve hours straight no wind is gonna be strong enough to put these out.”

The tall man studied the torch admiring its craftsmanship. He ran his fingers over the leather wrapping and smelled the soaked rags.

“I can hardly smell anything. Are you sure this stuff will burn?”

“Mister, that is the torch they use in Base One. You do know where Base One is, don’t you? It’s the stuff they use to light up the big pyramid,” the clerk said disgusted.

“Really? That’s why it’s odorless…”

The clerk nodded closing his eyes like a guru after stating something mundane and stale. “ It’s distilled using crystals. You know about crystals?”

“I’ve just read an article about healing crystals. I'll take two for now and give me a pack of Vulcan menthols,” the man said buttoning his overalls. 

“Have a good one mister. If you don’t mind me asking what do you do for a living? Most people can’t afford these…” the clerk said scratching his whiskers.

“I’m an engineer. I design the Juno bridge.”

The tootles clerk smiled. “I love that bridge, it’s so straight and sturdy. How come you used copper for the statues instead of bronze?”

“It’s a long story. Politics, funding… Hail Cesar, have a good one.”

“Hail Cesar, you too mister,” the clerk said sniffing the fancy torch.”

If you skipped the dialog I’ll sum it up for you: a Roman engineer bought expensive torches from a shop. Biggus Dickus was his name. No, not doing that. His name was Fabianus. Let’s see what famous invention he will create.

Fabianus walked the cobbled stone roads pushing his way through the crowded market. Vendors displayed fruits, oil, fish, and meat all blending to create a pleasant smell. A black-haired woman caught his eye. She was dressed in a beautiful red toga. Her large jugs glistened in the summer sun as she inspected a plump apple. Fabianus was spellbound.

“I can handle those for you if you would let me,” the man struggled to say while drooling.

“Would you? Oh, that would be lovely, yes, please. Careful there a bit slippery it’s been a long hot day,” she said her teeth in a perfect class I Angle occlusion. She sighed as he manhandled her oily jugs and the burden of the heavy load lifted from her shoulders.

“Some oil spilled but these clay jugs are of good quality. There’s no crack in them whatsoever.”

“Wow, that’s so big. Is it heavy?” she asked biting her lip.

“Go ahead, feel it,” he grinned.

“It’s so hard. I’ve never seen such quality torches before. Your wife is one lucky lady.”

“Actually I’m not married,” he said knowing the adverb wasn’t necessary.

Her hand slipped and locked his elbow in a bone-crushing vise. “How so?”

“I’m always working at least that’s why my last girlfriend broke up with me. I build large structures: bridges, cranes, roofs, etc.”

They walked the flowery gardens the shade of the olive trees shielding the couple from the summer sun. 

“I’m looking to solve an ancient problem, something that has stood in the way of greatness from the beginning of time,” Fabi said.

“So you’re a scholar too. My, my you are fascinating. I love your overalls,” she said working her magic. “What is your greatest challenge?”

“It’s the material we use,” he said. “When first discovered copper was the material of choice for builders. Now we use bronze but I feel that we missed something throughout the ages. There must be a material out there that has all the strength we need to build towers stretching up to the sky.”

She grabbed his head and kissed him hard. The young woman moaned as his hands crushed her tiny waist. The torches and jugs would have to wait. They hurried back to his place where the two enjoyed each other's company. She smiled as Fabianus rose to get another jug of wine from the cellar. 

“I knew this would be a good day,” she said.

“Is that why you wore this red dress,” he said filling the cups with ruby-red wine. She drank a mouthful laughing as a few drops rolled down her breasts.”

“I knew the Gods would bless me today. The signs were everywhere. I couldn’t imagine they would introduce me to such a fine man.”

“Signs? Are you a priestess,” he asked while hiding his sudden erection. She laughed and pulled him back in bed.

“I’m an oracle. My dreams and visions guide the Emperor, they seek my wisdom to go to war, make peace, or plant crops.” 

Her words sent shivers down his legs not knowing why he was suddenly afraid.

“It was written in the stars that we would meet today, my love,” she said kissing him. “The stars that fall to Earth are nothing compared to your gift of love.”

A flash exploded behind his eyes. Fabianus froze. The woman's voice was drowned by the ringing in his ears.

“The stars that fall onto…the ore. The ore inside those rocks.”

Her hands cupped his cheeks. “What are you saying Fabioanus?”

The man swallowed. “The ore inside those sky rocks must be the material that is strong enough to support heavy structures.”

Her gaze was one of sympathy. “My love, none can touch the star-rocks but priest. It’s punishable by-”

“Crucifixion. I know,” he sighed, looking like death warmed over.”

She smiled, mouthed him and they pushed away his sorrow with their love-making. None discovered iron ore until centuries later. But if was too late. The Savior, the Messiah, was never crucified with iron nails binding Him to the cross. His death and resurrection never happened. So all of humanity was fucked and died and went to hell.

March 25, 2024 12:03

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.