While researching my Pompeii Report, I stumbled upon the above photo of “Pompeii’s unluckiest guy” on CNN, and he inspired the following skit.
“That’ll be 20 Euros even,” the ferryman said when he pulled alongside the dock. “Do you take ApplePay®, Charon?” I asked as I stepped off the boat. “Only Venmo. Watch your step, the Styx is choppy today.” Charon held out his QR code for me to scan.
“Cool, now, where do I find this Juno guy?” I asked.
“You mean, Jupiter?” he said, “Sorry, you’ve got to see Minos, first.” Charon pushed off away from the dock and headed back across the river.
“What about Aeacus and Rhadamanthus? Don’t they need to be there, too?!?” I wailed after him. “How can I get a fair trial with only one Judge Of The Dead?!?”
“Don’t worry, they’re both on sabbatical…at Sandals Sardinia, I believe,” Charon replied as his boat receded into the thick fog.
Turning, I saw a sign beside the dock that read, “Mount Olympos, 3km.” I walked in the direction of the arrow until I came upon an angry man sitting behind a desk along the path.
“Minos, I assume? Your sign has a typo.” I informed the man.
“Yes. Wait, what typo?” he inquired.
“Isn’t Olympos spelled with a U?” I asked. Minos exhaled audibly and sighed, “What are you, Greek…? Let’s get on with this! Some volcano erupted and there are thousands of people behind you.”
He reached into a cabinet and pulled a file with my name.
After mulling it over for a moment, Minos used his golden rubber-stamp to mark the file with “Plain of Asphodel” and pushed it across to me. “Give that to the guy at the gate…NEXT!”
I took the file, but didn’t leave. “I still need to see Jun--I mean, Jupiter!” I insisted.
“HEY! Want me to send you to Tartarus, instead?!?” he barked, waving the golden hell-stamp that would get me tortured for eternity by the Furies, “Try me, buddy! … NEXT!!”
I took the file and left.
Continuing along the path, I came upon another sign with three arrows pointing to the Plain of Asphodel, Fields of Elysium, and Mt. Olympos, respectively. I briefly considered deviating from Minos’ orders and hiking to Mt. Olympos instead.
When I reached the top of Mt. Olympos, I walked towards a Roman temple. Inside, a white-haired man in a toga sat, thoughtlessly turning a lightning bolt around in his hands.
“Are you Jupiter?” I asked, startling him.
“JESUS CHRIST! Where did you come from?!?” he exclaimed. “What the hell am I paying ADT for?!?” Once he calmed down, he took a closer look at me, and snapped his fingers.
“You’re that unluckiest guy from Pompeii, yeah? The one who took a cinder-block to the face!” he said, visibly relieved.
“I heard it was a doorjamb,” I corrected.
“Phew, I thought one of The Furies had gotten up here—you know, you gotta tent the place for a week to get rid of ’em,” he said setting the lightning bolt down on the table. “So, what brings you to this mythical realm, son?”
“Charon’s ferry.” I replied.
“Ha, good one! But seriously, what’s your issue? I’ve got shit to do,” Jupiter made a wanking motion with his hand.
“I just want to know why you blew up Mount Vesuvius?” I asked, “Thousands of innocent people died in that eruption—including me!”
“Oh, thaaaat,” Jupiter said, rolling his eyes. “The volcano was too tall, it was blocking my view.”
“Of what?!?” I shouted. “You live on a goddamn mountain!”
“Of Ischitella Lido, the little beach town near Naples. Tons of nubile hotties there, some of them even naked!” Jupiter walked over to his telescope and looked through it. “It’s like the Renaissance all over again, down there.”
“The what…? Look, why didn’t you at least warn us?” I pressed him.
“What are you talking about? I did warn you! I sent an earthquake right beforehand.”
“You mean, the one that hit seventeen years ago?” I sputtered, “Th-that’s what you consider right beforehand?!?”
Jupiter looked over at me, annoyed. “Uh, yeah. Bro, I’m immortal. Seventeen years is nothing to me—hell, I’ve taken shits longer than that.”
“How would anyone know that an earthquake meant the volcano would erupt?” I asked rhetorically.
“The Carthaginians would’ve gotten it,” Jupiter grumbled under his breath.
“Or, you coulda just come right out and told us!” I said, ignoring his comment.
Jupiter looked irritated now, “How? With a press release? Clay tablets? A talking bush? That shit’s just hacky, dude. I work in more mysterious ways.”
“Well, fuck me for wanting to know why I had to die when I had my whole life ahead of me,” I huffed.
“Umm, yeah…about that.” Jupiter paused as he stared through his telescope. “At most, you had another two weeks…”
“…Antonine plague?” I asked.
“That certainly explains the skin sores and constant diarrhea.”
I turned to leave. “So, then, the Plain of Asphodel is…?”
“Just down the mountain, then head West.” Jupiter said without looking up. “And if you see Minos, tell him he’s fired.”