Eros and Psyche

1

The mysterious and beautiful Aphrodite stood in a supermarket, her dark sunglasses hiding her aghast eyes. Her lipstick-stained lips were parted with abhorrence as she looked at the enormous snake-like queue to the checkout. Although all the checkout desks were open, the oversize queue was behind only one. The other cashiers looked at the queue with some irritation and jealousy. The one cashier that was serving every man that ever shopped for vegetables was a young woman called Psyche. The adoring eyes of the shoppers explained why she was the only cashier they were queueing behind: she was incredibly beautiful, with glossy black hair, deep dark chocolate coloured eyes and cashmere skin that would outshine a goddess.

"Oh she's so gorgeous." A young man within Aphrodite's ear shot cooed.

"Yes. Her name's Psyche isn't it?" The man's friend added.

"It is. You know I think she's even more beautiful than Aphrodite herself." The first man said. Aphrodite was outraged when she heard this. In rage, she swiped her hand against the cornflakes stacked on the shelf next to her so two boxes tumbled from their resting place and showered cornflakes all over the floor. Then Aphrodite stormed to the exit.

For years Aphrodite had been the face on every magazine, the most prized model and every artist's muse; she was famous for her beauty and worshipped by millions. But now there was this commoner, this pleb, this checkout girl stealing all her glory. It was wrong and unfair! Aphrodite let out an exasperated scream, stomped to her car and drove home.

Once she arrived at the top of one of the tallest buildings in the city she flounced out of the lift into her home, the penthouse. She dropped her coat and matching handbag on the marble floor and screamed.

"How dare she!" She declared. "How dare that Psyche challenge my beauty! No-one is more beautiful than me!" She strode angrily into her living room and then upstairs and in and out the bedrooms.

"EROS!" She screamed. She wandered back downstairs. "EROS!" There came no reply. She came into the kitchen where her husband was studying the financial pages of the newspaper. He was the owner of the biggest steel industry in the country and liked to read about how well his company was doing everyday before lunch.

"Hephestas!" Aphrodite declared loudly. "Am I beautiful?" Hephestas looked up at her calmly; the gentle waves of her hair cascaded onto her shoulders, her lips were puckered into a rose-like pout and her fingers placed firmly on her slender hips.

"Of course you are dear." He said, scratching his beard.

"Look! Look at my skin!" Aphrodite said walking up to Hephestas and pulling the paper away forcing him to look at her face.

"It's lovely." Hephestas said, trying to grasp the paper back.

"Not a wrinkle in sight!" Aphrodite declared proudly. "And my hair! It's so thick and soft. Feel it!" Hephestas reluctantly stroked his wife's strawberry blonde hair.

"Yes it's very nice." He said, almost bored.

"And what about my bum?" Aphrodite said turning around and pointing at her backside.

"You have a very nice bottom dear." Hesphestas sighed.

"I do don't I." Aphrodite said aggressively. "It's firm and shapely- damn it! It's the best arse in the whole world! So how come people are gathering in their hundreds to gaze at some chav in the supermarket and saying that she is more beautiful than me!"

"Erm..." said Hephestas.

"This girl needs to be taught a lesson. No-one is more beautiful than me! I've got to punish her!" Aphrodite said. "Where's Eros?"

"I don't know," said Hephestas, "he hasn't been by today, he's probably still at work."

"Fine I'll call him." Aphrodite said whipping out her phone and dialling her son's number.

The young and handsome Eros was leaning against his desk in his office listening to an incredibly ugly man called Claude talk about his problems. Eros earned his money as a psychiatrist and Claude was a client, an extremely unattractive one, not that it usually mattered. Claude was short, fat, balding, unshaven, wore poor fitting clothes and looked in need of a good wash. Eros was thankful that his phone rang because above everything else Claude's halitosis-seasoned voice rumbled on and on in the most tedious fashion.

"I should take this." Eros said spying his mother's name on his phone's screen. Eros walked out of his office into the hallway and answered his phone.

"Hello?" He said, closing his office door.

"Eros, my darling, I need a favour." Aphrodite exclaimed. Eros put his free hand in his pocket and leaned against his office door.

"What is it?" He said with some suspicion.

"I need you to set a woman up with the most vile, disgusting, hideous creature to walk the earth." Aphrodite said excitedly. Eros turned around and looked back into his office at Claude who was picking his nose and then wiping his finger on one of Eros' expensive leather chairs.

"That would be Claude." Eros murmured. Aside from being a psychiatrist, Eros had another job, for which he received no payment, but enjoyed immensely. Eros was a matchmaker. As a matchmaker he was legendary, but although most knew his name few knew his face. Even his clients would have difficulty picking him out of a crowd as he very rarely met them in person. Usually, a person contacted Eros, having heard of him through a previous client, and asked for help winning a particular person. Eros then put into motion some clever romantic schemes that made it easy for love to bloom, without even having to meet the person. He was adored by many, and hated by just as many.

"Well whoever," Aphrodite said, "just make sure he's hideous. Use one of your Golden Arrows. I want her to really suffer!" The Golden Arrows Aphrodite spoke of where drugs that could inspire passion in a person, and they could make even the ugliest, meanest person in the world seem attractive. Eros looked back at Claude: this girl would probably need a double dose.

"Alright, alright..." Eros said exasperatedly. Eros knew his mother could be kind and generous and underneath it all she was a good person, but she was also short-tempered and unpredictable.

"Who is it that you want to be enamoured with this vile creature?" Eros asked his mother.

And Aphrodite explained, "her name is Psyche, she works at the supermarket just down the road from you."

"Okay." Eros replied. "I'll get to it."