It was a blue sort of Saturday when the gods came to town. You couldn't really tell they were gods; not by looking at them, at least. One was tall and skinny and sort of long, like a sweater put through the wash too many times. He was rather old looking, and wore an old postman's uniform, matching rings carved like snakes, and brand-new running shoes. A dog started barking as soon as he turned onto Main Street, and he only had to look at it once to silence it.
The other was slim and fast, not walking leisurely like the old one, but rather hurrying like he had somewhere very important to be. He wore a sleek black suit with shiny silver cuff-links and big sunglasses, and he did not know how to silence a dog. Old Mr. Dugas' dog nearly gave itself a heart attack barking at him before the postman stared at him and he quieted. There were only two of them. I doubt the town could have handled any more. It was one of those tiny towns in south Missouri where everyone knew everyone else and it was just barely acceptable to say "y'all" in everyday conversation. As it was, the town did have one noteworthy thing: a sign in its bar that loudly proclaimed that it had the Best Beer in the Country!
That was why they were here. Running into one another, however, was an unintended side effect.
"Herm," said the slim, fast one in grudging acknowledgement.
"Nun," said the long, skinny one, much more genially as he sat at the bar and reached for his beer. "How are you?"
"Busy, as ever," he replied, sitting next to the old postman and flagging down the bartender. I imagine they made quite an odd picture, yet no one could really remember what it looked like. "These teenagers are running my off my feet." A perceptive watcher would notice that his hands were never still, tapping out unseen message after message on the bar.
"Sounds exhausting," said Herm, taking another long, leisurely sip of his beer.
"It is. I barely have time to get a drink these days," Nun's beer arrived, and he chugged it in one long draught, wiping a hand over his mouth, and waving for another. Still, his fingers were never still. "You old timers have it easy."
"Perhaps," Herm paused, mouth moving without sound to deliver a message of his own. Then, he took another sip of his beer. It really was quite good. Possibly even deserving of that loud sign in the door.
"You could help, you know," Nun said, and with those five words his façade cracked a little. A swift, agile businessman no longer sat next to Herm, but a rather young looking man with a too-tight suit and glasses that seemed a little big for his face. Certainly, Nuntius was powerful, Herm mused, but he was so young. Born a few years ago, but already with so much responsibility. His fingers hadn't stilled once, not even to drink his beer. Only one of him, and thousands of messages a second.
To his credit, Herm actually considered it. "No," he said after another sip of his drink. "I think I've had quite enough of messages, thank you."
Nun laughed a bit. "Odd thing for a messenger god to say."
"Not a messenger god. The gods' messenger," Herm corrected him, and for a moment he looked very old and very tired. His twin snake rings glinted in the low light of the bar. "And I still have some work to do now, even if I am mostly retired."
"Well," Nun drained his second beer without hesitation. "If you ever get tired of delivering letters, old man, let me know." He stood, straightening his suit with twitching fingers. "We'll see how you can handle texting."
Herm laughed. "I'll stick to my own messages, thanks." He raised the last of his beer in a salute. "But I wish you the best of luck, my friend." Nun tipped him a cockeyed salute and vanished. No one in the bar noticed, or even really remembered that the old postman sitting at the bar was with someone. Herm chuckled to himself as he drained his drink. Those new gods, he thought. Always off in a rush somewhere, never knowing how to relax. He tipped his chair back with a sigh. Yes, retirement was much better, even if he never got offerings anymore. Oh well, he thought. At least the beer was free. And he vanished as well, leaving behind his empty pint and a very confused barkeeper wondering where three empty glasses had come from.