Fiction Fantasy Funny

Free Will


In a verdant garden at the oxbow of the River Styx, Spanish viridian green ferns wave at the breeze. Saffron colored umbrellas dot the landscape, like a Christo installation in Monet’s garden. In a far corner, a squat woman stands by a bench, slowly licking a triple decker dripping ice cream cone. Her face is ancient and wears a permanent amused scowl. She has the grace of movement of a former dancer but clearly doesn’t do that much anymore. Her hair, red gone graying in that way it does, is piled nonchalantly on top her head. Her humor is evident in her laughing eyes. 

Let’s call her Marge. The Goddess of No Self Improvement.

Out of eyesight, in the far right corner behind her lovely chubby shoulder there is a bronze dedication plaque that reads: 

“Goddessville... paradise of the pantheon

Dedicated to Gaia & Mary.” 

The breeze becomes much stronger and blows Marge’s words toward us. Let’s see what she has to say.

Part I

When we created those Homo Sapiens, me and the Girls, I tried to tell them that we should build in some planned obsolescence just in case. But that self-righteous right-wing of the Pantheon said, “No, let’s see how it plays out, what could they possibly do wrong, give them a shot at it, blah, blah, blah.”

So, I went along with it, secretly glad that the engineering of this new species included some silly notion of free will. That’ll do it, I thought then. That delusion will lead them to an untimely end. And sure enough.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start from the beginning.

Back in the day, when females were on top of the game, we Goddesses had a system for divine creation. The new thing had to have a benefit (helpful, fun, pretty), come about quickly (if it couldn’t be done in a day, forget about it), and relied on consensus (not everybody had to like it but everybody had to be able to live with it). We had nothing but time to go about it tin those days. Kind of like pregnancy before the first kid is born. 

So, one day, after creating the Milky Way (named of course for the chocolate bar we Goddesses are so fond of), and before we got busy on the other side of the universe, someone came up with the idea of decorating one of the pretty little balls inside the galaxy. The little blue and green ball. So cute the way it gleamed and spun. Sent it a bright star later named Sun, and a moody moon. We put some plants and rocks and lots and lots of water. We made sure that everything got a bit of starlight each spin and had sunlight often. It took the best part of a day to get it all humming. 

It all went along pretty smoothly for awhile. Then the flaws starting popping up...small at first, barely noticeable. Kind of like when you drop a cup on your nightstand accidentally and a little chip in the paint happens. You are more worried about the broken cup for awhile but the next morning, you notice the paint flaw. Then pretty soon, like a week later, your eyes skitters over it when you put down your morning coffee on top of the boo-boo. Not long after that you can’t really remember what it looked like before the chip. 

And that goes on until another flake or two becomes dozens and you realize one night as you turn off the light that you gotta do something about this mess...maybe a new table? Maybe buy some paint? Then, you start to notice everything in the bedroom and how the curtains are dirty and the mattress sags. 

Anyhoo, that is how it went with these humans. A little chip here, a little stain there, and pretty soon the flaws become more than you can ignore. Plus they were multiplying like mad. We were surprised about that. When we put them together, we didn’t realize that their procreation parts would become such an obsession. That poor little green and blue ball was getting overrun.

Again, getting a bit ahead. Oh my goddess, where to start? Well, as we say in nirvana, begin at the beginning. That’s a little bit of a joke here, you see, because there is no beginning and there is no end. 

They were so cute and clever at first. I thought they were going to be like some of the other little gems we had set down there to play. Like the hummingbird. I mean, just look at that creature.   All that fluttering and dipping. Such a joy. And the agate. Rough exterior. Beautiful middle. Then there’s the patterns on a zebra. And the glow of a deep sunset. And the feel of a baby kitten’s rough tongue. The smells of blooming roses. So many home runs down there. It’s hard to believe how the Star (so far) of the show, those little evolved monkeys, got so messed up.

First thing that gave me an inkling of how wild this ride was going to be was when the mega fauna started disappearing wherever the human went. All those big dudes we created, the giant elephants and the huge wombats and humongous armadillos started looking appetizing to that little mammal, the human. So what with the hunting and the stress, all these big marvelous creatures died out. And that little squirt, the smart, fast human kept on traveling around to other continents and killing off the big ones. For eons.

Next, they started planting stuff for food and putting other mammals to work for them. They used worms to make silk. And the silk to make clothes. And the clothes as cover for their parts. Then, they saw how fish get around and made boats, and how birds fly and made planes. And they made up stories to tell each other, and music and numbers and money. Fire wasn’t good enough and sunlight wasn’t long enough so they created electricity. (Juno the Sky Goddess and mother of the stars wasn’t crazy about this idea.) All the while, their needs were gobbling up water and trees and mountains of granite along with living breathing bits of life. 

That was nothing compared to the carbon footprint left by these clever beasts. And the mess. I mean, I just want to send them to their rooms to clean up. Plus, they are awful to one another. Mean girls, those lighter shaded ones, arrogant about it too. “Me, first, then you, maybe, if it suits me.” That’s been the motto for the last couple of eras. That Industrial Age was an environmental nightmare. The Information Age just compounds the problem. What is the next Age going to be labeled? If there is a next one.

Well, me and my sisters thought that’s the way the mop flops. We try to stay ahead of these little buggers. There are still beautiful waters and fields of flowers and a sky as vast as their little pea brains can comprehend. How much can they really do in the long run?

So we have a get together to try to decide how this little corner of the universe should proceed. Should we use a cleaner or a solvent on this stain? Or maybe just let it alone and see if they can do an auto-correct? Or an auto- annihilation? Niamh and Devi are pretty persuasive so we decided on the leave ‘em alone option. Qu’an Yin disagrees but feels she can live with taking a chance. Tara just sends blessings...she hasn’t a mean bone in her body. She leads the prayer.

“People of Earth. Farthest from our shining sun...but still close enough should you decide (remember, free will) to come around to your beginnings, we love and accept you.”

Despite the prayer the end seems near. Fires, floods, earthquakes, dust clouds, and a plague of a spiky little virus wearing crowns. Too late to take back free will. Too early to let the comet come on down upon them. It will be interesting to see if they can get themselves out of this pickle. 

Part II

Just as I was starting my third double scoop cone of rocky road ice cream, the gong sounds for an emergency gathering of the Pantheon of mixed-origin Goddesses. Uh- oh, I think, wonder what has got these girls’ knickers in a twist? Should have known, I suppose, after just explaining to you all about the mess down there on Earth. Well, I tried to tell them at the beginning, but did they listen? 

Artemis calls the meeting to order. She gets to be our chairperson whenever there is a crisis somewhere in the universe. Her hunter instincts lend an air of calmness to the emergency and she has such a deep voice it carries well over the din of competing languages. Parvati gives the blessing and things settle even more.

“Please listen, ladies. We have a really big crisis happening down there on the blue marble and a subcommittee has intervened. We need to get a consensus vote before we move along. We’ll make sure you can all live with this fast, simple, fun and pretty idea.”

The ice cream drips on my fingers but I hold up a sticky thumb to agree to whatever they want to do. Artemis doesn’t let me get away with it.

“Hold on, Marge. We’ll give you the details before you endorse this whacky idea. And you might have something to add if I remember your original vote on these Homo sapiens. The ice cream can wait for a New York minute.”

Oh, sister, I think. Here we go.

“Anyway,” Artemis continues, “ we believe it is time for a heroine.”

There is a buzz among the group, lots of chatter about what that might look like. We gals sure do like a good superhero movie and this promises to be a doozy. Hands shoot up and Artemis shakes her head.

“Before we get too excited let me explain what we are proposing. Then we’ll go to vote.” Artemis then proceeds with the basic plan.

1) Look for a potential miracle worker on the dating websites

2) Contact her

3) Give her some special powers

4) If it works keep earth spinning, or

5) Shut it down (I added the last as an amendment)

Well, this is easy enough to go along with, as amended. It passes with unanimous thumbs up.

Using those new fangled key word search engine doohickeys, the committee quickly uncovers a likely heroine. In a small literary magazine, a site intended to match like- minds with one another, we see:

“In the morning, you will find me resting briefly in the gap before the out-breath. In the afternoon, I walk lightly with a small carbon imprint. In the evening, I relish good food and good conversation. At night I dream that I am modest, caring and reliable. And in my wildest dreams, I admire and aspire to be *SelflessSmartStrongResilient.*


P. S. Only non-smokers need reply.”

The attached mugshot is a smiling round brown skinned face, with a dazzling gap toothed smile. A group of corkscrew curls rose above high arched brows and soft eyes. 

That response gets us interested. We immediately contact her, Miss Giggle/Jiggle to learn more about her potential as the Savior of the Planet.

To: Dream-weaver

From: True Love

Re: How do I know you are real 

I am not a bot. Are you? I don’t smoke. What do you think about these things? Political division, Global warming, Salvation

I swear to goddess, here is her answer.

To: True Love

From: Dream weaver

Subject: Real Enuf

Wow, you give me too much credit for wisdom and insight. This is all I know. Breathe in. Breathe out. But I will give this a shot. 

Political division is a sign of free will. That is the human condition. 

Global warming is the result of free will. People exercising their “right” to grab all the goodies for themselves. That is the human condition. See above. 

Salvation? This is interesting. Salvation from ourselves? From political division and global warming and volcanoes and floods and fires and asteroids and ecological collapse and nuclear war and pandemics? Who is going to save us from ourselves?

Our response is swift and urgent. So urgent that we text instead of email.

” We should be together.”

Then we use a little Goddess juju on the text., love juice concocted by Aphrodite. It’s magic.

Part III

Our entire relationship is online. We tell her that we live far away (true) so it won’t be possible to meet. We tell her that the place we live is “just out of this world” (true). We tell her to trust her instincts, and with our help she’ll be amazed at what she can do (So so true) The only thing that we fudge a little on is our real identity. 

This is the beginning of our binge-watching the adventures of this earthling. We watch it like a movie. This is how it went down:

“Jesus.” (*Jesus is Mary’s nice boy. He is the one they worship where Dream-weaver lives. But they often call on him when they are pissed off.) “Do I have to say it AGAIN?”

Dream-weaver is standing, all 5’2”, tall, shouting into her iPhone. “You heard me. All of it. I got a feeling. No, never mind your advice. Put all my savings in this new company,Delphi.” She’s telling the stockbroker we tipped her off about what to do.

That’s the beginning move in her stock market windfall. With some of the winnings, the Girls and Women Educational Initiative is founded. The goal is to make sure every woman on the planet will live up to her potential through education and a reordering of the political power system. No small effort but the only one guaranteed to save the environment, ensure the beneficent use of biotechnology, and procure civil liberties for one and all.0

She takes the leftovers of her windfall and buys herself some self-improvement. New teeth, a good haircut. A nip and a tuck. The Golden Door claims 50 pounds and it never gives them back. She puts herself out there on social media and gets a bunch of Twitter followers. She goes on dates. Men want her money. Women want her influence and goodies. 

Poor Dream-weaver. The looks, the money, the fame makes her like most who find themselves so fortunate, thinking that she has all the control. The movie we watch from above worries us goddesses. Maybe our hopes for her as savior will not amount to a hill of green beans.

In an effort to turn it around we do a Hail Mary pass. We send her a dream. This should clear it up.

A beautiful waterfall thunders down in front of the spot she is standing. The water breaks onto rocks as it plummets, breaking apart, then coming back together in a stream, down into the river below and flows beyond her vision into an abyss of time and space. Words appear.

The magic carpet of solutions flies within reach,

fueled not by carbon but by creativity.

Mother Earth calls to her female children, urges them

learn more and longer, have fewer to feed

divert your maternity to our fields

as bounty and beauty combines.

Breathe deeply and proceed with these dreams.

A large animated figure appears. It is Ziva, the Slavic Goddess of Fertility, naked as the day she was born. “Go forth and stop multiplying,” she commands. “Teach the girls. Educated women know their limits.”

Namaka, our beautiful Hawaiian goddess of the sea, appears next, carrying basket of cleansing algae to eat the pollution of the oceans. Limu (seaweed) spills from the basket into the water to feed the dying species of coral and fish.  

Aura, Titan Goddess of the Breeze whispers to Dream-weaver in a breathy voice, “Farms of windmills must lay upon the land. Look offshore for better power. And work on ways to save the birds.”

The miracles occur, one after another. With a band of followers, the girls education effort begins to pay off. Population numbers drop. Alternative food sources are invested by educated women. Matriarchies spring up all around the globe. Women’s peace marches halt wars. Led by a 13 year girl student, oceans are restored.Then a multi National girls leadership group of expands the educational programs to all corners of the world. Wetlands are restored by a series of inventions by girls in STEM programs. A girl from Scandinavia starts a successful campaign to reverse climate change all over Earth.

Dream-weaver uses a light touch on the people and a firm grip on the plan as she works madly to restore her planet before her little droplet of water moves back into the big river. 

And we, the Pantheon of Goddesses, including, me, Marge, the Goddess of No Self-Improvement vote to renew the blue and green marble for another go around. Total consensus. 

For now.

June 26, 2022 19:36

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Charlotte Morse
07:38 Jul 02, 2022

I see you're a newby like me - what a great first story! I loved angle, it's so different and refreshing but covering the real problems of the world today. Well done 😀


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Minerva Noiropp
04:17 Jul 02, 2022

I had to see if the email address was real. Sigh. It wasn't. I loved the story!


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