Excerpts

Fractured Fragment Friday: “Goddesses” (and a Coupon!)

Sometimes monologues come unbidden in my mind, through one of the many voices that wander about in there. One day, a man irritatedly grumbled that “There must be a dozen of them on this beach. I hate goddesses…” I wondered who this man was, and what might happen on a beach full of REAL Goddesses, and so “Goddesses” was born.

Here’s the blurb:

A young man lands a seemingly perfect job serving a beach full of scantily clad women. But one should not be too eager to undertake labors proffered by goddesses. Find out why – read “Goddesses.”

And here’s this week’s excerpt:

You hoist the jug-shaped drink carrier on your left shoulder and step out betweenGoddessesCover the Grecian styled cabana’s pillars. The sun is bright, so you shield your eyes with your right hand and survey the exclusive beach. You’ve never seen such a collection of well-heeled, oiled and bikini-clad goddesses up close, and you’re glad you switched jobs. This sure beats looking at the world through a welding mask.

You had your misgivings about the uniform for the club’s Greco-Roman section; the tunic felt too much like a dress, the leather sandals felt awkward, and slippery in the sand. You wondered if you would have been more comfortable working one of the other sections, but most of the getups you saw were just as silly and uncomfortable. And let’s face it – looking at a beach stocked like this, a speedo would be even more embarrassing than usual. You need the extra cover.

“Hey! Hephaistos!” the bartender who goes by Apollo shouts to you.

None of the attendants use their own names. Yes, you understand that the aliases are chosen to match each beach’s theme to maintain the ambiance, and they told you that the previous porter also went by Hephaistos, but you can’t help thinking that your name-tag is that of a crippled god because of your own handicap.

“Get those drinks out there before the ice melts!” Apollo commands.

That isn’t a real concern – the faux jug is also a thermos, but no use in arguing the point. You spot the customers Apollo told you to look for – a group of three women sitting near the outcropping on the right that closes off this section from the Norse beach. You start the trudge through the sand and wish they had let you go barefoot; you’d have more control of your errant left foot, and your limp wouldn’t be as obvious.

The view helps. Management told you not to ogle, but it’s hard not to notice so much well-toned and tanned skin lying about like this. Sure, the beach is females only, but he can see how they’re all aware of him, how they position themselves to look more appealing as he approaches. If they’re not here to be looked at, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

One of them – midway between you and your customers – stands up. She’s wearing a plain, tan bikini that barely contains her. Heck – depending on the light, the fabric blends with her skin so well, she might as well be naked. She stretches, arches her back so her long, blonde hair hangs almost to her butt, and in the gap between her back and hair you can see the three women watching you. They’re probably wondering what’s taking you so long.

The blonde exhibitionist straightens up and blocks your view, and you’d swear she smiles at you. You can’t help watching as she prances down to the water. The waves seem to part as she dives in and disappears between them. You imagine diving in after her for a moment, then shake it off and return your focus to the task at hand.

Not that these three are hard to look at. A brunette in peach catches your eye, then another in turquoise rescues you from staring too long at the first, but then both leave your mind for a blonde in tan who looks so much like the one you just watched dive into the ocean, you glance down at the surf in time to see her strutting back up the beach.

“Yes, I saw you watching Venus,” her almost twin says.

You think you’re even luckier than when the day started – now you know her name. But then you remember that no one at the club is supposed to use their real name – even the members opt for theme appropriate aliases.

“Don’t bother yourself – that one’s just a cheap imitation,” she continues.

“They all are,” the one in peach says.

“All?” you ask.

You look to where Venus is laying back down on her towel, all stretched out. You manage to force your eyes beyond her briefly to the two brunettes lying beyond her, one in peach, the other in turquoise; they’re a matched set for your three customers.

“Wouldn’t you rather be looking at the real thing?” your near-nude patron says. “I’m Aphrodite.”

She stands and poses for you, that same arched-back stretch that Venus used, and you have to admit – Aphrodite does seem to have an edge. Of course, it could just be that she’s closer, and there’s no question she’s playing to you.

“What do you think?” Aphrodite asks.

“We’re not getting embroiled in another of those beauty contests,” the one in turquoise says. “I think we’ve all matured enough to avoid that.”

“Athena, you’re no fun,” Aphrodite pouts.

“And he’s no Paris,” Athena says.

You know a little of your mythology, and you have Aphrodite and Athena here. You’re not supposed to fraternize with the members, but decide to chance it. You look peach in the eye.

“Then you must be Hera, but you don’t look like anyone’s mother,” you say.

“Well, you’re a clever one,” Hera says, and her smile says your gambit paid off.

“Oh, let’s just have those drinks,” Athena says.

Yes, Athena is the killjoy in the group.

“Right away,” you say.

You’ve been enjoying the view so much, you’ve forgotten your job, and even the fact that the faux jug is still on your shoulder. You set it carefully on the sand and kneel before it as you twist the cover off, then offer each of the goddesses their drink from a position of obeisance. Hera accepts your offering of a milky-white Ouzito politely, and Athena her own more imperiously. Aphrodite’s is a more colorful Peach Margarita, but as you proffer it, her hand slips from the stem to yours and lingers, and her gaze transfixes you.

“I like this one,” she smiles, and it’s obvious she’s not talking about the drink.

Hmmm… Three jealous goddesses and a contest. I think fraternization may be the least of our hero’s worries. “Goddesses” is a fantasy fiction short story. It’s available at many online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/954501

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0727SSQTB

“Goddesses” is also included in the collection Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies. (The next ten people who purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code NQ72T will receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for TEN stories – such a deal!):

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/906524

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KFQGLSR

<<<>>>

Swordsmaster4Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready for reading.

Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.

The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?

Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/954501

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WNK79FM

(there is also a paperback on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691904910 )

<<<>>>

William Mangieri’s writing can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri

To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress:  https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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