Three elderly men sat on a park bench.
“Looks like a storm brewing.”
“Nothing to do with me.” The man in the middle asserted quickly.
“Didn’t say it did.” The first man returned slowly.
“You say that now, but we both know you don’t mean it.” He growled deeply. “Whenever there’s trouble you automatically think of me.”
“It’s just conversation! Besides, it’s not you that’s the real trouble-maker of our home.”
The heretofore silent man smiled, amused, as he patted the dog at his feet. His eyes were closed as he enjoyed the breeze passing through the nearby trees.
“And what are you smiling at?”
He sighed, opening his eyes out of habit. “Enjoying the day, brother.”
“Leave him be.” The man on the other end of the bench sighed. “You know he doesn’t get out often.”
“Do any of us?” The man in the middle grumbled. “I remember when we could have had a time of it on a day such as this one.” This was said wistfully and the other men nodded in agreement. Now, they just enjoyed the quiet.
A warning rang out, “Look out there!”
With lightning reflexes, the middle man caught something as it flew towards them. The contact made a resounding smack, but he barely noticed. Opening his large hand, he realized how wrinkled and faded it had become after all this time. He stared in fascination at the round object in his palm.
“It’s gold.” He whispered.
“It is. Look again!” He asserted, shoving it in the other man’s face. His hand shook, but whether from age or something else, who could say.
“It’s merely a ball.” The third brother’s calm voice interrupted.
“What did you think…?” The first brother began, then stopped as he looked again. He paled. “It really does look like an apple…”
“Can I have my ball back?” A youth stood in front of the men, shifting uneasily from one foot to another.
“Give the boy back his ball.” The third brother prodded the man next to him.
Eyes narrowing, the man with the ball looked critically at the youth before him. “Doesn’t look like a scamp…” He began, clearly unconvinced.
“Nothing like … your spawn…” The first brother’s eyes were wide as he leaned closer to have a better look.
“Is … there something wrong with him?” The youth asked uncertainly.
“My younger brother is reminded of an outing long ago. There was … another … yellow object…” The third brother paused. “It did not end well.”
The youth frowned, looking from one old man to the other.
“We’re frightening the boy.” The third brother sighed, shaking off the memory. “Here… catch lad!” Quick as silver the man snatched the golden ball and threw it into the air.
Catching the ball, the youth looked again at all three old men before joining his friends that had walked over to see what was happening.
“Everything okay?” One of the boys asked.
“Yeah.” The youth shrugged. “Just some old guys talking like they’ve never seen a ball before.” He scoffed.
The dog growled, shifting uneasily.
“Easy, Cerebus.” The man patted the dog. “They mean no harm. We should be getting back before we’re missed.” He heard his brothers grumble as they got to their feet and began walking behind him. They walked in silence for a time.
“You think they found out we were gone?” The first brother asked quietly.
The youngest brother shrugged. “What do you make of it, Hades?”
Hades heard the concern in Zeus’ voice, though he tried to hide it. He knew without seeing it, the worry in Poseidon’s walk. “It was merely some boys playing. But … you know all too well what comes of not inviting her.”
All three men shivered. If only people realized even the gods didn’t like to cross Discord.
Note: If you don’t already know it, check out “Golden Apple of Discord”