honeybees working a frame
New Brood on a split hive frame
© Wayne Davids

Successful Hive Split!

Against the advice of most experienced beekeepers (I know, I know, listen to the advice) I split both of my first year hives since they were doing so well. I did Hera Hive first, followed 9 days later by Persephone Hive. It was late July for the first split (23rd) and then August 1 for the second split. Both of my original hives were packed with bees and I decided to give it a try.

Both splits started well initially, however I did lose the first one, the Hera split. They were doing well, I was feeding them, and suddenly they just crashed. I failed to realize it until too late, but the original hives were robbing the weaker two. The forage bees from the split loaded up on honey and sugar water from the feeder, took it back to the parent hive, and then showed all the other workers where the free meal was located. Things were great, until they weren’t and I did not recognie the robbing behavior until it was too late for that first split. When I opened the split I found numerous dead bees in the bottom, the brood hatched out, and the resources pilfered.

When I realized what was happening I moved the remaining split hive across the yard, as far away as possible, from the original two hives and reduced the entrance to the smallest opening possible. I then took one more frame of brood from the stronger hives and bolstered the fledgling split with more bees to hatch. The moment those bees hatch, despite being initially from another hive, they will consider the new hive home which means they won’t migrate back to the old queen. 

I kept my fingers crossed for several weeks, checking the hive regularly from the outside, but only opening it to replace a pint feeder jar I had housed in an empty medium deep honey-super over the frames of brood. On August 24th I opened the hive, inspected for the first time, and was delighted to see open brood and eggs in the new hive. 

They successfully raised a queen and she was now laying. My first shot at splitting hives and I am batting .500. That being said I won’t try a late season split again like that until I am much more comfortable with my bees. I got lucky, and I know it. If I hadn’t been doing daily exterior inspections of my hives and recognized that the stronger hives were robbing the weaker, then I would’ve lost both of them and a lot of bees would’ve been wasted. Instead I did get one more hive out of it and it still has two months of nectar flow from grasses and late flowers. In addition, I do plan to feed them through the fall to bolster their numbers.

Next year I hope to do some splits again, but in the spring when the bees are naturally pre-disposed to swarming. Since the split replicates a swarm, to the hive, it seems more natural to me. Also, since the springtime is a nectar rich time, the bees are far less interested in robbing or stealing each other’s honey. With this being my first year I wasn’t ready for how fast a honey robbing situation happens. But now I recognize the behavior at the entrance to the hive since I have seen it first hand.

Included below are pictures of uncapped brood, eggs, and the bees steadily getting honey ready on the edges of a frame in anticipation of the queen laying brood in the middle.

Uncapped Brood

Newly capped and uncapped honeybee brood
Uncapped brood dots the frame and the small larvae can be seen inside as the nurse bees attend to them. © Wayne Davids



& Some More

multiple uncapped brood cells in a honeybee hive
Multiple uncapped cells in a new, split, honeybee hive. © Wayne Davids
Honeybee frame ready for queen to lay eggs on
This frame was drawn previously in the parent hive & I used it in the split. While waiting for the new queen to emerge the workers dutifully packed the corners with honey & left the center open for her to lay eggs
© Wayne Davids
Honeybee comb with difficult to see newly laid eggs
More hive comb just started to be re-populated by the new queen. The right side has eggs in many of the cells, but they are hard to see here.
© Wayne Davids

Finally in the above two pictures you can see the empty frame I took from the parent hive when I split them. It had contained capped brrod, but most had hatched. I took the empty drawn frame and stuck it in the new hive so they had a jumpstart on some frames. While waiting for the queen to hatch they packed it with resources and got it ready to receive eggs.

The bottome picture is a frame being worked after just having had eggs laid on it. The lower right side has some eggs visible, but I apologize they are hard to see. They will be capped once the nurse bees take care of preparing the new egg to grow and develop.

Thanks for sharing in this with me – hopefully my next post will involve harvesting at least a wee bit o’ honey.

Until next time-
Wayne Davids

Flowering sage

Brown Turkey Figs, Tomatoes, Herbs, and Preserving it All

Brown Turkey Fig
Brown Turkey Fig Bushes
Ladybug on a fig
Ladybug on a fig. Not just the honeybees enjoy the sweet treat.
Honey bee feasting on an over ripe fig
Honey bee feasting on an over ripe fig

Brown Turkey Fig

My two Brown Turkey Fig bushes in a photo taken this spring. I can tell it’s a Spring photo because of the number of dandelions. I’m going to go with the excuse that I left them for the bees, but my neighbors would quickly point out that the dandelions far preceeded the apiary. 

Now that August is here, the figs are in full swing the honeybees have no interest in dandelions anyway, they are feasting on the figs that I miss and get over ripe on the bushes. Pollen and nectar are spotty to scarce so the bees delight in pulling sugar straight from the figs which will be converted into honey once back in the hive. As fall approaches they become more aggressive about packing their hives with resources, i.e. honey and pollen, to sustain them through the winter.

Anyway these bushes are powerhouses that are several years old but really just started coming into their own last Summer (2020) when they produced 22 pounds of figs between the two of them. As of this writing (August 23, 2021) they have produced 20 pounds so far and are on track to beat last year’s number.

So what do you do with 20+ pounds of figs? I’m glad you asked, let’s check it out.

Raw & Dried

Figs are great right off the bush. In fact many of mine never make it to the scale so the harvest numbers I gave above are probably skewed low. Figs are relatively low in calories, packed with fiber, and a good source of daily potassium. Their high sugar content means they have a natural sweetness that needs little augmentation from refined white sugar. As such they can be eaten plain, doused in cream or honey, blended or served atop a bit of ice cream just to name a few possibilities. A favorite midday meal, for me, during the heat of the summer is sliced tomatoes from the garden topped wth a wedge of mozarella, fresh basil, and then drizzled with either straight olive oil or my honey – olive oil vinaigreitte. A side of a few halved figs provides a sweet complement to the dish.

Dried, figs are a sweet treat that resembles a dried date. A great snacking food or participant in homemade trail mix they provide a nice pick me up in the form of fructose carbohydrates.

Brown Turkey Figs
Brown Turkey Figs
Brown Turkey Figs in the crockpot
Brown Turkey figs in the crockpot awaiting their transformation to butter
Fig Butter, finished and canned
Fig butter, finished and canned

Fig Butter

Fig butter, like other fruit butters, is a mixture of spices, fruit, and added sugar cooked down into a preserves. It can traditionally have butter added to it to make it smoother, I however choose not to. I also limit the added sugar since the figs are already sweet and I am diabetic. I know, I know – if I’m diabetic I shouldn’t be eating them at all. That being said I do enjoy them, but only in moderation.

This method of cooking down and preserving fruit is easy to do and lends itself well to other choices such as apple, strawberry, and peach. All make delicious preserves.

Fig Leaves

Did you know that fig leaves can be dried and made into a tea? Fig leaves are high in calcium and phosporous and at least one small double-blind study showed a potential benefit in controlling glucose levels and reducing the need for insulin when drank regularly. To see the abstract for that study click HERE

San Marzano and Roma tomatoes
San Marzano and Roma tomatoes ready to be canned
tomatoes mashed before canning
A potato masher helps break up the tomatoes a bit before canning. I prefer to partially break them up, but they can be canned whole, or pureed and canned as well depending on preference
Hot tomato ladled into a canning jar
Hot tomato being ladled into a canning jar before being processed in a hot water bath


Canned my first tomatoes of the season, almost two gallons. Deer tore through my blossoming plants early in the season so I am behind, but it was still a good haul.
Canning tomatoes is a labor intensive process I learned as a child from my grandmother. My grandparents had a “garden” that took up about two acres; and grew a multitude of vegetables. I was far older than I should have been when I found out vegetables can be packed in metal cans. I had only ever seen them in Mason jars.

Here (top picture) you see my San Marzano and Roma tomatoes which are small dense fruits that are very meaty and designed to be used for cooking with a rich, heavy tomato taste.

If you are interested in canning or processing fruits there are plenty of how-to books on the subject as well as internet sites with instructions and videos. My goal here is not to instruct how these things were accomplished, but rather share my activities in the blog. Canning should always be performed under the most sanitary conditions possible, with defect free jars, unused lids, and the best possible disease free fruit. Canning times, procedures, and guidelines can be found in many sites such as this one from the University of Minnesota Extension Office.


To can tomatoes they are first dunked in hot (but not boiling) water for several minutes which causes the fruit to swell in the skin. Then transfer them directly into an ice-bath, which causes the fruit to shrink rapidly and loosens the skin. From there I usually cut off the stem end of the fruit and squeeze the pulpy tomato flesh out of the skin, which is discarded. 

From there the skinned tomatoes are cooked down, then ladled hot into canning jars along with an additional acid source and salt added to each jar. Lemon juice is often recommended, but I prefer lime. It has a higher acid content, and we always seem to have it on hand becuase of, you know, margaritas.

It is a time consuming process and I find it elicits an almost trance or meditative state from the repetitive nature of the operation. Music and good conversation can help break the monotony.

It can be oddly peaceful as well. I use it to think and reflect on all manner of things as the fruits pile up in the pot and the skins in the bin marked for compost. I find that because the skins can take some time to break down, and they add an acidity that my soil doesn’t need, I reserve them for around my azalea and rose bushes or my garlic bed.

For a thorough list of plants that love acidic soil check out this site.

Herb Update

Just took my last cutting of herbs this week. Rosemary and sage are all that are left. I will probably save a bit for seasoning, however I have several friends who smudge and they have requested  herb bundles, so I am trying my hand at making them this year. My chives stay with me year round so I just cut those fresh when I need them. In addition I cut some fig leaves to try the fig leaf tea I discussed above. 

I have a dehydrator, but I only use it for jerky or for drying fruits and vegetables. I like my dehydrator and it does very well for me, but for delicate herbs I prefer the old fashioned method of hanging them. This (top picture) is my east facing kitchen window with rosemary, sage, and the fig ‘tea’ leaves hanging in it. It doesn’t get much sun because the Rose of Sharon bush outside, despite being pruned back heavily this spring, has grown up and blocked much of it. I will remember next year to really scalp it. The flowers are lovely, but it grows like a weed, blocking my kitchen window and sometimes encroaching on the AC compressor.

Next post should hopefully be an update on the honeybees and harvesting some honey.

Thanks for reading ‘Brown Turkey Figs, Tomatoes, Herbs, and Preserving it All’, and here’s to your bountiful earth magic.

sage, rosemary, and fig leaves hanging in a kitchen window to dry
sage, rosemary, and fig leaves hanging in my kitchen window to dry
flowring chives
A few remaining chives peeking thru the short wooden fence with their flowers

Gardening 2021 – Herbs, flowers vegetables backyard garden

Red hibiscus just after rain
Red hibiscus blooming in the summer rain. © Wayne Davids

Hibiscus blooming in my vegetable garden. Many people recommend flowers in the garden to attract pollinators, which is a good idea, but mostly I just enjoy the color.

Vegetables 2021

My garden this year has been a struggle for sure. June brought several marauding deer who ate the tender tops of many plants and uprooted others, ripping them from the ground. That was followed closely by a July of no rain and searing +90F temperatures for the majority of the month. To add insult to injury, I have neglected it more than in previous years with my attention to my bees.

The irony is I added bees to help with the garden, but my time crunch in establishing the bees has led to me neglecting the garden. I am comfortable it is a process and once I establish a routine I will be better able to manage my time around both pursuits.

Today’s blog entry is a collection of pictures from today (Aug 01, 2021) after we received the first appreciable amount of rain we have had in several weeks.

Cantaloupe (Melon)

Cantaloupe ripening on the vine
Cantaloupe ripening on the vine
© Wayne Davids
Vines and runners carry nutrients to the melons throughout the summer. Melons require above average amounts of water and are one of the plants heavily dependent on pollinators like bees and moths. This is because the male and female reproductive organs are not on the same flower, but rather seperate flowers on the same plant. Hence a pollinator must travel to a male flower first, then a female flower in order to be successful at producing fruit.
Canta loupe (musk melon)
Another of my unripe cantaloupe. I love melon and eagerly anticipate their ripening in late August
© Wayne Davids
Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon, one of my favorites. I have several on my property.
© Wayne Davids
Rose of Sharon blooms decimated by Japanese Beetles
Rose of Sharon blooms, dead on the ground, decimated by Japanese Beetles © Wayne Davids
Better Boy tomato with Brown Marmorated Stink Bug © Wayne Davids



Gardening 2021 – Herbs, flowers vegetables backyard garden

The deer, the heat, the lack of time all have worked against me this year, but so has another enemy. 


Japanese beetles have been notorious this year. I never use traps, because they draw beetles from surrounding areas to my property. But this year they have been relentless on both flowers and vegetables, so I did put up traps which have been marginally effective but they continue to plague me.

In addition I have an infestation of the common Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. They can devastate a plant in no time and the murderous fiends took out both my zucchini and my yellow squash with no mercy. They will eat fruit, but often they decimate the tender leafy parts of the plant along with the flowers.

Even so, I never use pesticides. I plant enough that the bugs get a portion. I have cultivated a strong habitat for butterflies over the last five years, and now this year I have added honey bees. 

I can’t afford to spread poison on my plants for their sake, or the sake of my family.

Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers
Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers © Wayne Davids
Roma tomatoes sprawling everywhere
Roma tomatoes sprawling everywhere © Wayne Davids
Ripe San Marzano Tomatoes
Ripe San Marzano tomatoes. © Wayne Davids
Leeks gone to flower surrounded by yellow broccoli flowers
Leeks gone to flower surrounded by yellow broccoli flowers © Wayne Davids
Better Boy tomatoes on the vine
Better Boy tomatoes on the vine
© Wayne Davids


Wrapping it up

I keep a spreadsheet every year of how well my garden does. Daily weights of what I pick, when, and how much. Yes, I am a garden geek. But it helps me when I get excited or over enthusiastic to remember I didn’t get my first tomatoes until 4th of July last year either. The spreadsheet keeps me grounded and since I plant at very close to the same time each year it has become a scheduler for me to determine what I need to be doing next. 

It sounds like work, as I type it, but I do enjoy it. 

My garden is lagging last year in production. I had a tough year with deer, rabbits, insects, and time management. The good news is I have already harvested almost 2 gallons of honey from my bees. A more than acceptable tradeoff for having less cucumbers so far. 

I garden because I love working with the dirt and it grounds me in ways that many people don’t understand. I take my good years with my difficult years, but I enjoy them all.

I hope if you’ve gotten this far, you feel the same way.

Thank you and may your harvest be blessed.

Red Cascade rose hips
Red Cascades are open pollinated, non-hybrid flowers. As such I do occasionally get seeds that germinate. © Wayne Davids
Red Cascade Climbing Roses
Red Cascade climbing roses; masses of small yellow flowers that provide a lovely backdrop.
© Wayne Davids

Maybe Just One More Thing from the Herb Garden…

flowring chives
Chives flower readily and will gladly overwhelm a small space if allowed.
© Wayne Davids
Sage flowers
My favorite flowering herb for scent and attractiveness of the flower. Honey bees love flowering sage!
© Wayne Davids
Dill, gone to seed
Dill flower heads, gone to seed. Most dills will gladly re-seed if conditions are right. Leave a few tops uncut and let them do their thing. You will be rewarded by vigorous growth next spring.
© Wayne Davids
Cilantro gone to seed (coriander)
My cilantro long gone to seed, which when ground are coriander. This year I let most of my herbs go to seed to boost my herb garden next year.
© Wayne Davids


Wayne Davids stuck tractor

Initial Site

Site Work - Wayne Davids Apiary
My ditch before I started widening & deepening




Site Work Wayne Davids Apiary
In progress




Site work Wayne Davids Apiary
Finished water retention area to improve drainage & provide convenient water for bees


site work wayne davids apiary
Finished water retention area, different angle


Wayne Davids – My Apiary (Part II)

Welcome back, I’m Wayne Davids and this is the first step in my Beekeeping journey. My first problem I ran into was the extremely wet, low, area I wanted to place my hives. We have hard clay soil and it has very poor drainage, multiple rains would leave it a muddy mess for weeks at a time. I have very limited choices for my hive location since my wife is pathologically terrified of bees. Not allergic mind you, just terrified. We needed to come to an agreement on getting the bees and where they would be located. The back corner of the property was the spot, but it can be very muddy.

In March 2020 I began widening a small ditch (far left picture) that ran the length of the back property line to widen and deepen it so that it will hold more water. I then graded and smoothed the excavated dirt to raise the surrounding area in order to allow it to drain better. The final result was acceptable; a twenty foot by sixty foot enlarged ditch that is about a meter deep most of the way throughout (right hand picture). The dirt that came out was spread and smoothed to create several swales and fill in low areas so the water would drain into the newly expanded ditch “pond”.

I have included some pictures below, and you are free to chuckle at me getting the tractor stuck several times, once having to wait a day or two for the ground to firm up before being able to pull it out with a pick-up truck. Nevertheless the end result works for me and it provides a natural catch that the bees would need later in the season when the temperatures soared and the hive can be consuming a liter or more of water per day.

site work wayne davids apiary
Fun in the mud – stuck tractor
site work Wayne Davids Apiary
More clay coated tires



The second part of my site preparation involved having ‘stands’ or bases for the hives to sit on. Hives should ideally be around 18 inches off the ground. This elevates the hive entrance to reduce entry by mice or insects but also keeps the hive dry, makes an easy landing and take-off the bees, helps keep out larger predators like skunks, and finally is a good height for the poor beekeeper to be moving heavy boxes on and off the hive which can easily weigh fifty pounds or more.

Wayne Davids "Hera" Hive 2021
Current Hera Hive with two supers and two deep brood boxes – and while it is leaning in the picture, I fixed that afterwards and adjusted the hive on the cinderblocks

For myself, I used cinderblocks as stands. One stand had 2 courses (16 inches) and one stand has 3 courses (24 inches) so I could get an idea of what worked best for me since I am 73″ tall (185.4 cm). What I found was, that at the beginning of the season, when I only had one brood box, the taller stand made for much easier work since I had far less bneding over. Now, however, I have two deep brood boxes and two honey supers. With a 24 inch stand the hive is getting tall, close to my shoulders. This becomes difficult to work with the boxes since they are almost at eye-level.

Next year I intend to doule stack cinder blocks (16 inches) and then lay 2 paralled 4×4 (actually 3.5″ square) posts across them as I have since seen done. This will put the hives 19.5 inches off the ground. High enough to keep out pests, but still low enough to manage.

Both hives shown on pavers and cinderblocks
Hives shown on cinderblock hive stands and leveled pavers.

Finally, I had several slabs that used to be walking stones on the side of our house when we bought it in 2009. I removed them, but being one of those people who hates to throw things away, I kept them stacked on the edge of the property. They paid off as bases to stack the cinderblocks on after I leveled them. It is important to keep the hives as level as possible since bees orient their comb vertically. Hives that are tilted or slanted can end up with a mess inside as the bees try to build their comb on the vertical inside a tilted box.

My next installment will talk about the arrival of the bees. Both my hives came from local beekeepers so I didn’t receive either through the mail. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you are enjoying my journey.

All images © Wayne Davids


raw, local, unpasteurized honey



Setting up

Site Work




Placing bees

Maintaining their health

Extracting honey


Starting my own apiary has been a dream for many years, one I intended to pursue in 2020. Then 2020 arrived, and everything that came along with it. I decided, however, that 2021 would not get away from me, and so in the fall of 2020 as well as winter 0f 2020-2021 I began purchasing equipment and materials needed to pursue this dream. In addition to the bees, and hives, there are is a surprising amount of gear needed and I have had a huge learning curve from the beginning. Over the next few months I am going to share my experiences here, and what I have learned. It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I am thrilled to be experiencing it and living it. 

The simple honeybee Apis mellifera pollinates approximately 80% of the world’s crops, and it is in dramatic decline. A world without honeybees is a world that will struggle to feed it’s almost 8 billion person population, even more than it does now. For that reason, and others, I started my small apiary, in my small corner, to help honeybees have a fighting chance against a host of environmental, social, parasitic, and chemical factors that endanger it’s continued existence.
All images © Wayne Davids


bees on a frame producing brood


hive brood boxes & honey supers


yours truly in a bee-jacket

bees on a frame producing honey


bees with partially capped honey



After returning to Gaea from the Underworld Dinlas quickly discovers that making money is harder than it looks. Having set up his business he quickly realizes there is more to it then just calling yourself CEO, but never doing any work. Fortunately the smart-mouthed cigarette smoking God of Hate and Jealousy is cunning enough to figure out how to work both sides of the street.


The first thing I learned is that being mortal is harder than it looks.  I gotta admit, these brainless mortal meat-sacks really do endure a load of shite.  Grandfather Zeus agreed to me setting up shop outside the Olympus Complex, but that meant I pay rent.  Me, pay rent to some mortal.  In addition I bought a computer, apparently everything in the world is now done by computer and I needed to learn how to use one.  It is nice that I have been able to watch and absorb a lot of the current and past media on it.  Since that helps me blend in better when I move amongst mortals.

Business has been slow.  I go to the courthouse every day and talk to the bail bondsmen, but nobody is interested in doing business with me.  No one wants to deal until I make a capture, but I can’t make a capture until someone is willing to deal. No money coming in means no money to pay for office equipment or furniture, so the building is still empty.  I’ve been sleeping on the floor in the office with Jealousy and Hate. They go out every night after midnight to hunt for dinner. Rabbits, stray cats, the other night it may have been a homeless person. They smelled awful in the morning and I had to give both a bath. All in all though, I’ve had worse accommodations.  At least it isn’t Tartarus. There, I was lying on the bare ground with Titans moaning and sniveling all around me.

On a positive note, I discovered coffee.  Puts quite a buzz in the brain first thing in the morning.  I’ve been going to a place down the street, Sal’s Delicatessen, and getting coffee in the morning.  When I haven’t eaten for a day or two, then I indulge and get a thing called a bagel with a schmear.  Still not sure what the schmear is, but it’s good.

Today, I’m sitting and sipping my coffee while trying to come up with a grand plan to get this thing working, when I see two guys come in and start talking to Sal behind the counter.  I can’t hear what they are saying, but it’s clear that Sal is unhappy. I keep watching and after a few minutes, Sal goes in the back and comes back with an envelope. He gives one of the guys the envelope and they leave.  I hear them say as they go out that they’ll be back tomorrow. I finish my coffee and as I’m headed out, I stop at the counter to talk to Sal.

“Hey, what was that all about?”

Sal glanced over at me and answered, “Nothing.  Thanks for coming in, now mind your own business.”

“What?” I said. “That looked serious.  What was that about?”

I guess Sal must’ve warmed up to me being there every morning, because looked around and said, “It’s a protection racket. They make all us shop owners pay them each week for protection.”

“Protection from what?”

“Protection from them coming and tearing the place up.  Or worse, busting both my kneecaps.”

“Who does this?”

Sal looked around again before whispering, “A guy named Eddie Pastorini.”

“Pastorini?” I said aloud. “Sounds Roman to me.”

Sal shook his head. “No, he’s Italian.  He’s a wanted felon.”

Now I was listening.  “Wanted? Like by the police?  Is there a reward for him?”

“Sure, a big one.  Only thing is no one has ever lived to collect it.”

“So, if this Eddie guy was gone, would that make your life easier?”

Sal shrugged. “Maybe, but probably not.  Most likely someone else will just take his place and charge even more.  I mean, there are people running scams like this all over the city.”

That’s when it struck me like a ton of arch-stones.  A plan for exactly how to make the money I need. The idea started in the back of my brain and raced forward, like a cool breeze on the neck, that made me shiver.  I felt startled by the suddenness of it.

“Sal,” I said as I turned back to address him, “what would you and the other business owners think if I said I could get rid your problem?  Specifically, I will get rid of your Eddie problem in exchange for half what he is charging. Then I will make sure you’re protected after that. For me, if I need any of your services, well, I get them for free. Is that a deal?”

Sal looked thoughtful.  “Well, yeah, I suppose. I think I can speak for everyone when I say we would take that deal.  I mean, do we have a choice? But are you gonna take on Eddie by yourself? He’s got fifty guys working for him.”

“Don’t worry about me.  I’ve got backup. Just tell your friends to get their money together.  I also need a list of all the businesses, so I know who everyone is and what everyone does.”

“Okay, you got it.  Good luck. Just so you know, if they carve you into little pieces, I’m gonna swear I never heard of you.”

I nodded and waved my hand as I headed out the door, then fumbled to light a cigarette as I trotted across the street toward the warehouse. 

This was going to be a good night. I needed to get everything ready, especially my girls.



COPYRIGHT © 2019 WAYNE DAVIDS. Originally published June 18, 2019

I had a lot to think about, and the next few weeks would be busy for me. Plans like mine don’t just come together on their own, they take plenty of forethought.

I just set down my issue of Janie’s Weapon Systems and ground my cigarette in the ashtray when there was a knock at the door. The girls whined and perked their ears up so I gave them each a quick pat on the head and shushed them. I didn’t think anyone even knew I had rented this warehouse, other than Zeus. I approached the door.

“Who is it?” I asked through the heavy wooden door.

“It’s Hephaestus. Open up.”

I opened the door a crack and there he stood, Hephaestus; just as big and ugly as I remembered him. I opened the door wider and gestured for him to come inside.

“Uncle Heph, good to see you. I was going to call you for some weapons once I got situated.

The giant blacksmith shouldered past me into my office in the corner of the warehouse.

“Cut the crap. I wanna know what you’re up to, and it better not involve revenge on Ares or Aphrodite. In fact, it better…” He trailed off as he saw my two black wolves get up from behind the desk and move toward him.

“Wha-what are those?” he demanded as they curled their lips and eyeballed him.

“Oh, those are my two girls.”

“But why do you have them?”

“Well, they were a gift. I’ve been reading up on current events and culture here among the mortals, and they’re called support animals.”

“Support animals?” he looked at me and frowned. “I don’t think that’s what they are.”

“Sure they are,” I told him. “They’ll rip the throat out of anyone that tries to mess with me. I totally support that.”

Hephaestus shook his head. “Still pretty sure that’s not what support animals are. Who would give you such a gift?”


“Loki? The Norse God of Mischief?”

“Yeah. You know, Odin is really curious about how this whole plan of us all coming back is gonna work out. In fact, a lot of the other chief deities are following this thing pretty closely. Odin All-Father, Amun-Ra, Marduk of Babylon, Amaterasu of the Shinto, I mean the list goes on and on. I’m guessing if this thing works out and we start racking up followers, it’s going to become a regular pantheological mosh-pit down here.”

After a moment of him looking at me, I gestured to the two wolves and said, “Anyway, this is Hate and Jealousy.”

Hephaestus shook his head and said, “It’s not why I came out here.  Why aren’t you at the Olympus Headquarters like everyone else?”

“Because Grandfather agreed to let me rent this place. I’m going to be dealing with criminals much of the time.”

“Really? You are?”

“Yeah. I’m now officially what’s called a bounty hunter. When people don’t show up for criminal trial or skip out on parole, then I go out and track them down. Then they get sent back to prison. The technical term is bail enforcement officer.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

“I hadn’t either, but I saw a television show about this guy and his family who were bounty hunters. Once I realized I didn’t have to grow my hair long and call everyone ‘brah’, I warmed up to the idea. Anyway, Zeus agreed to give me a little leeway since he didn’t want unsavorys mucking up his new marble floors in the complex.”

“So this has nothing to do with your parents?”

I flared up at that. “They aren’t my parents, you know that. The closest thing I have to a parent is Hades. He was nice enough to let me sleep on the ground in Tartarus, if anyone could sleep with the Titans being tortured for eternity in that pit.”

I watched Hephaestus. He hesitated for a moment, then turned to leave. He placed his hand on the doorknob and without turning back said, “I’ve always felt sorry for you, Dinlas, but I will stand with my brother and my wife if ever I need to choose sides.”  Before I could answer he opened the door, stepped out, and closed it behind himself.

I went back and sat down at the desk. It and the chair were the only two pieces of furniture in the entire building. But that would change soon enough.

I thought about Uncle Heph. He strayed close to the truth. I didn’t want to see Ares or Aphrodite, but there was another Olympian I would prefer to avoid as well. It simply tore at my heart every time I saw her. Staying clear of the bunch of them would be best for me. Zeus knew that. The girls whimpered and nuzzled me, so I scratched behind their ears. After a minute, I leaned back in the chair, tapped out a cigarette, lit it, and inhaled deeply. I had a lot to think about, and the next few weeks would be busy for me. Plans like mine don’t just come together on their own, they take plenty of forethought.




COPYRIGHT © 2019 WAYNE DAVIDS. Originally published June 16, 2019