On my first day at the Hades branch of Ladbrokes, Perseus turned to me and said…
No one would even notice if Icarus crashed through the earth and landed here. If he smashed down through the polystyrene ceiling tiles. If he hit the chairs that sit in front of the thirteen identical television screens sending a shower of losing betting slips and little plastic pens into the air. No one. Nobody. Would bat an eyelid. These zombies would continue to pace between the form and the counter, chasing long lost dreams.
Could they ignore the corpse? Oh yes. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard that one. Some old guy comes in, breathes his last, has a heart attack and crumples to the floor a hushed collection of old cloth. The rest of them will just step over him as if he wasn’t there.
Nothing matters except the next race. The next bet.
Admittedly this time will be different. There will be blood and cracked plumage. There will be bone jutting out of home-made wings. The air will dance with feathers. Be heady with the scent of molten wax and eiderdown. It won’t make a difference. You will be able to map their meandering by the ruby-red footprints that spread out from the Rorschach diagram seeping from the quivering figure in the room’s centre.
Prometheus will still chase his money and shout obscenities at slow horses and unreliable dogs. Ajax will still stare for hours at the Racing Post waiting for answers to rise from the cipher of the text. Athena will still sit in her corner in a royal-blue ball gown, an unlit cigarette in her frown, pondering the remains of her inheritance. Nursing a long empty sherry glass that is wrapped in the racing pages of a free newspaper she might, at best, look over to the scene of the previous day’s tragedy and mutter something about another dumb malakas who should have flown Olympic.
Read more of Benjamin’s work on Who the fudge is Benjamin Judge?