There’s an Elegant in the Room

01 Artemis C27 copy

5:25 a.m. The Interpol Lounge, First floor

Artemis “happened” in the halls of the LAs Interpol offices on a pre-dawn Monday morning.

Sam, the Interpol bartender, was busy washing glasses when he saw the maritime compass on the wall leap into a wild spin. Magnetic storm, he thought, and dismissed the idea, thinking, Hell, this is California. The Interpol bar’s dim lights blinked and failed. Now what?

The bar’s patrons, the agents of Interpol, turned their attention toward the fading moonlight that filled the wide doorway. The moon goddess/goddess of the hunt, Artemis, strutted by the doorway, then backed up to check out the agent with the ‘gift,’ the one that Interpol called ‘the god whisperer.’ She wanted to see what the big deal was about Bernie Benedict, before she headed upstairs to meet with her new friend, the Fijian shark goddess, Dauna.

Artemis’ short white tunic barely covered her six-foot-six athletic body. Her midnight blue braid swung around her bare white shoulder as she turned her head in search of her prey. 

Wounded and calloused, Bernie Benedict, the agency’s newest ‘star’ and investigator of divine apparitions had started drinking with the pre-dawn crowd. He looked up when he saw his co-workers, of all sexes, wheel their heads toward the door. His eyes followed their slack-jawed rapture. Artemis’ dark eyes beamed only at Bernie.

There was silence. A question had popped into everyone’s mind: Why Bernie? In their minds, another word followed: Bastard!

Artemis took in a second look, and giggled as she turned to leave. Bernie didn’t know why he was thinking, Uh-oh. I’m fucked. Shooting stars spun from Sam’s compass on the wall behind the bar and followed the goddess’ mighty stride toward the elevator. Eyeballs collided in the hallway trying to give her twice and thrice-overs.

There was a collective sigh and exhale from the lounge. All the agents had seen her—though they weren’t sure exactly what it was that they saw. There were gasps and tears, as a trail of broken hearts, dreams and longing had lain down in surrender, more than willing, hoping, to die in her wake.

And it was still only 5:30 a.m.

Bernie’s partner, agent Frankie Samidino, had stopped in mid-drink to fill his baby blues. Wow-wee-wow-wow. He’d forgotten all about the two twin Interpol code-breakers, both named Sheila at his side. The Sheila’s were all that, but nowhere near the divine “all” or “that” as the Olympian goddess in the moonbeams. Artemis never had to work at it. She just was.