The Trojan Prom

A high school retelling of the Trojan War, in which the decision over who the prom queen should be leads to one of the greatest feuds at Homer High School. ©2017. Cover by Mercury Winters

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1. The Trojan Prom

“I’m obviously going to win prom queen,” Aphrodite said, wearing a haughty smile. “After all, I am the prettiest goddess in the world. Not to mention a heck of a matchmaker!” She gave a knowing look.

Hera shook her head. “I’m going to win,” she said, her voice pointed. “I can give people power beyond their imaginations. Besides, I’m with Zeus.” She flipped her hair. “That gives me an advantage.” 

Athena gave her a patronizing look. “In that case, many girls are in your position!” Hera’s eyes flared but Athena cut her off before she could speak. “It’s me, of course. Nothing can match the knowledge of power.” She gave the two goddesses a patronizing look. “Not that I’d expect either of you to understand that.”

“Please!” Aphrodite scoffed. “Beauty and love are much more important than being a smarty-pants. Love is what makes the world go around, after all!”

“Power can give someone anything they want!” Hera snapped.

“Power doesn’t matter if your IQ is low!” Athena barked.

The three women proceeded to argue over one another, throwing hand gestures around and raising their voices in the tiny recreational room that had occupied. They were so busy that they didn’t even see Zeus, who was leaning against the door frame. He had already seen enough and was already turned around to leave.

Zeus groaned. Why three goddesses argued over who won prom queen, he would never know. He’d never understand women. Well, he did understand them, but not in that respect. Speaking of which, didn’t he have a date with—

Zeus shook his head. Now wasn’t the time to think about his forgotten date, or another girl’s heart he had managed to break by not showing up again. If Zeus didn’t sort this mess out with Aphrodite and Hera and Athena, he knew he’d never hear the end of it, especially from Hera. He already had enough of her complaining about his infidelity. Seriously, she shouldn’t be surprised by that anymore!

An idea struck him like lightning, which was rather ironic, given who he was. Quickly, he made his way through the hallway. It was crowded with students, as always—Homer High School was the largest school in the district. Zeus passed by several squealing fangirls (and a few males as well) until he ran into a group of gods: Ares, Poseidon and Hermes. 

Zeus didn’t even have to announce his appearance; as soon as he had stepped over to them, they turned and faced him. That was the joy of being the most powerful god of Olympus, which, coincidentally, also made him the most popular guy at school.

“Hey, Zeusy,” Poseidon said casually. “What’s up?”

“I told you not to call me that.” Zeus rolled his eyes, then turned to Hermes. “I’m here to see you, actually.”

“Ooh, did you get into a fight?” Ares interjected. He wore a mischievous grin. “Because if so—”

No, Ares. Obviously you would have been the first person to know, right?” Zeus rolled his eyes. Ares always wanted to start a fight. It was so often that it was almost pathological. Luckily, Ares had the decency to shut his mouth and left, along with Poseidon, for Zeus to speak with Hermes alone.

Hermes whipped out a a grape and started eating. “What’s up, dude?” 

Zeus let out a sigh as he explained. “Aphrodite, Athena, and my girlfriend are fighting over who should win prom queen.”

“Wait, which girlfriend?”

“Hera, of course!” Zeus rolled his eyes, and when Hermes opened his mouth to speak, he cut him off. “It’s driving me crazy, Hermes, and if I don’t deal with this soon—”He shivered. “Well, if they're any other gods besides us out there, may they help us all.”

“So what do you want me to do?” Hermes leaned against his locker, mischief gleaming in his eyes. “Prank them? Say, ‘I’m sorry, but none of you have won!’”

“Definitely not.” Looking to make sure no one else was listening, he whispered, “Get Paris. He’s the only one who hasn’t voted yet, making him the only tiebreaker here.”

Hermes raised an eyebrow. “Why can’t you just talk to him?”
“You know him better than I do. I don’t want it to look like I’m picking favorites. Besides, this is a sneaky thing to do,” Zeus added. “Don’t you like doing sneaky things?”

“Do you even have to ask?” Hermes smiled. “I was just curious.”

“Good.” Zeus nodded. “Talk to him today and let me know when it’s done.”

“Got it.” Hermes turned to leave, but suddenly stopped in his tracks. “By the way, who did you vote for?” he asked.

“Aphrodite,” Zeus said. “It was hard to choose from all the choices of girls, but I’d figure that she’s the fairest of them all.”

Hermes snorted. “I can’t wait until Hera hears about this.”

“If you tell her, I’ll kill you,” Zeus threatened. 

“It was a joke, Zeus! Lighten up.” Hermes shook his head. “Whatever. I’m leaving.” 

Another thought hit Zeus; he grabbed Hermes’ arm before he left again. “Oh, and one more thing. You can’t tell anyone about this. Paris is basically getting paid to vote. Okay?”

“Of course, Zeus.” Hermes smirked. “What would be the fun in learning the truth?”

And he was gone within a flash.

 

***

 

It didn’t take Hermes very long to find Paris. He was surrounded by a group of adoring girls, of course. Next to Zeus, he was definitely the most popular guy at school. Popularity was appealing, Hermes figured, but it was so much more fun being the god of mischief. Messing with people and getting away with things? He wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

He shook his head. Enough sidetracking, Hermes. He was on a mission. Refocusing his attention on Paris, Hermes walked towards him—but found himself separated behind a wall of fangirls. Hermes groaned. And here I was hoping things’d be easy!

Hermes’ mind worked quick. He turned back to the girls. “There’s a giant python in here somewhere!” he screamed.

At least that got their attention. One girl turned on him and rolled her eyes. “Enough with the jokes, Hermes,” she said. “There’s no snake in here—”

Hermes snapped his fingers behind his back, and a faint pop sounded followed by a snake slithering on the premises of the school. The girl who had called out Hermes’ fluke earlier screamed and ran with the others. Soon the hallway was empty, sans Hermes and Pais, of course. 

Paris sighed. He was used to Hermes’ antics by now. “Why’d you have to do that?”

“It was fun,” Hermes shrugged. “And besides, I had to get your attention. Couldn’t exactly do that with your screaming fans.”

“Fair enough.” Paris folded his arms over his chest. “So what do you want, Hermes?”

“A favor, actually,” the god admitted.

“A god? Asking me for a favor?” Paris let out a laugh, but then saw the look on Hermes’ face. “Oh, you’re serious.”

“Surprising, I know.” Hermes gave him a cheeky grin.

Paris stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Well, I’d be foolish turn down a service for the gods,” he said. “But what’s in it for me?” 

“Depends.” Hermes inspected his nails absently. “Out of Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite, which goddess has the power to grant you your greatest wish?”

Paris’ mouth went agape. He looked as if he forced himself to regain composure. “I’m listening.”

“The girls are arguing over which one will win prom queen,” Hermes said. “Zeus is sick of it, and asked me to ask you to do something about it.”

“Why me?” Paris asked the obvious question.

“You haven’t voted for anyone yet, so that makes you the tiebreaker,” Hermes said. “And that’s saying something, considering that Zeus, the playa of all playas, voted before you.”

“Okay, I get it.” Paris rolled his eyes but his tone was still full of curiosity. “But who am I supposed to choose? They’re all goddesses, man. This isn’t an easy decision.”

“Good point…”Hermes hadn’t thought of that. Curiously, he looked around the room until he found posters of the goddess advertising for prom queen. He pulled them down and handed them to Paris.

“Here are their advertising posters,” Hermes said, handing them to Paris. “They have a little description about each other on them, if that helps…”

Shrugging, Paris picked them up and examined them. Out loud, he read them. “Hmm…Hera could give me power…could be nice…Athena, wisdom…maybe…Aphrodite, the most beautiful girl in the world—”

His jaw dropped at the last one. Turning to Hermes, wide-eyed, he repeated, “The most beautiful girl in the world? Aphrodite could give me that?”

“Of course. She’s the goddess of beauty and love, dude.” Hermes gave him an Isn’t-It-Obvious look. “But just remember that she gives you the prettiest girl, not prettiest immoral,” he added quickly. “Aphrodite’ will bite your head off if you said otherwise.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Paris said absently. “Okay, well, it’s obvious who I should vote for now.” Turning away from Hermes and the posters, Paris walked over to the ballot. Hermes yawned as he waited for him to cast his vote. Now that this task was over, he was bored. He almost considered flashing away until he saw Paris approach him. 

“I guess that wasn’t so hard,” Hermes said. “That ‘loveliest girl in the world’ bit was just too hard to resist, huh?”

“Of course it was!” Paris exclaimed, as if this were the most obvious thing in the world (Hermes didn’t necessarily agree). “I can’t imagine that. Gods, what it’d be like to be with a woman more beautiful than Aphrodite herself…a girl as good-looking as I am!”

Hermes rolled his eyes. His ego is almost as big as Zeus’! “Well, my work is done here,” he said. Hopefully there was something else fun to do, something more mischievous. “Thanks, dude.” 

Hermes turned to leave but stopped in his tracks. “Oh, yeah, and you can’t tell anyone that Zeus put you up to this,” he warned Paris. “He’d would rather not start a giant fight between powerful goddesses—it could cause a war as great as Titanomachy!”

“Got it.” Paris nodded. “Thanks.”

“Thank Zeus,” Hermes said back. “He’s is the one who hooked you up with this. I just did it for fun.”

Hermes winked and flashed away, leaving a very happy Paris behind.

 

***

 

Everyone was abuzz on prom night. The auditorium had been decorated in a fashion akin to ancient Greece—white columns were spread throughout the room, there were structures of ruins, and everyone was dressed in togas. There were several gorgeous flowers placed at the front of the room, courtesy of the goddess Demeter herself. The tone was perfect.

Paris had never seen the school so excited before, though he understood why. Besides the fact that it was prom night, word had spread that Paris, the tiebreaker, had finally voted. Since no one but Zeus and Hermes knew how Paris had casted his vote, rumors on who we elected spread like wildfire

Paris himself was very pleased. He usually didn’t care about stuff like this, but now, he was finally getting something out of it. He was finally getting a girlfriend who could match his own good looks from the goddess of beauty himself! How great was that?

Eventually, the time came for the  prom queen and king announcements. Of course, Zeus would win. Despite his devastatingly good looks, he was no match for the king of the gods. It was a bit unfair, Paris reflected, but tonight none of that really mattered. Tonight he’d meet the girl of his dreams. 

Zeus, who happened to be the announcer, came up on stage. He had to tap the microphone several times to get everyone’s attention, which didn’t take long. Once he did, he smiled. “Thank you, everyone, for you attention,” he said. “I didn’t bring you out here to just look at me, of course, although that would be some nice eye candy for you folks”—he paused to wink at them, which led to screams bouncing in the auditorium—“but enough of me! Let’s announce this year’s prom king and queen, shall we?”

The audience clapped and squealed wildly; Zeus waited until after it died down to pull the votes from the ballot.“All right,” he said, anticipation “This year’s king is…”He paused for dramatic pause, though everyone knew what he was going to say. “Me!” Zeus wore a large grin on his face.

Everyone clapped even louder this time. Is that really a surprise? Paris thought. He just wanted to get this over with—sooner or later his hot date would show up. He turned back to Zeus to see him Zeus place the crown on his head now and beamed at the audience. “Ah, another win,” he said ever so modestly. “I love being an incredibly attractive immortal.”

There was some mild laughter at this before Zeus went on. “And now, it’s time to announce the prom queen, of course! One of my lovely dates for the evening!” He winked again.

Zeus went for the ballot again and pulled out the card. After glancing at it for a moment, he smiled, though he already knew who it would be. “This year queen goes to…Aphrodite!”

A loud applause erupted from the audience, followed by a loud, “WHAT???” Paris turned around to see the shocked looks on Hera and Athena’s faces. For a moment, Paris felt bad for not voting for either of them. They were goddesses, after all.

But that feeling quickly went away as soon as Aphrodite spoke. “Thank you, thank you, everyone.” She smirked. She really was quite stunning “Of course, I’m not surprised to have won—I mean, look at me! I’m gorgeous!” 

She giggled with everyone else before going on. “But none of this would have been possible without Paris,” she admitted. She turned towards him; soon, Paris found all eyes in the audience doing the same. “As a reward, I promise I’d give him the prettiest girl in the world—mortal, of course!” She snapped her fingers. 

Out of nowwhere, a lovely young woman showed up by her side. Paris’ jaw dropped. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her hair, her eyes, her lips…Was she a goddess herself?

Aphrodite carried the young woman’s hand and brought her towards Paris, who’d forgotten how to speak. “Paris,” Aphrodite said, sounding proud, “Meet Helen, the most beautiful womanon the planet!”

Paris heard Aprodite speak but was no longer paying attention to his words. He couldn’t stop staring at Helen, just staring at her, and still not believing that someone so beautiful could actually exist. 

“Hi,” he breathed.

Helen smiled—even her smile was beautiful! “Hello, Paris. You look handsome.” She offered him her hand. “Care to dance?”

Paris was about to respond when someone shouted, “Hey!” He turned around and saw a guy shoving his way past the audience to meet Paris and Helen. His face was red with anger. “That’s my girlfriend! Tell him, Helen!”

Helen didn’t say anything. She just stared at Paris, mesmerized.

Before Paris could respond, Aphrodite rolled her eyes. “It’s too late, Menelaus. I put a spell on Helen so that she loves Paris and Paris only now.” Her voice was sweet as honey. “She’s all his.”

All mine. Paris took Helen’s hand and headed towards the dance floor when he saw Menelaus

marching towards him. Paris increased his steps, not letting go of Helen’s hand, until they were bolting away from the jealous boyfriend.

“YOU’LL PAY FOR THIS!!!” Menelaus shouted, still running. “I DON’T CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES! I WILL HAVE HER BACK!!!”

 

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