Me in the Marvel Universe:
Me in the Marvel Universe
Ever Since Odin Started Doing My Laundry...
...Now that's not a phrase most people hear every day. But it's just business as usual for me.
Ever since I got declared a deputy champion of Death, I've been trusted by Death Herself with assignments of some importance, often enough that I can rightfully call her "The Boss". For instance, when the Towers fell, I was there to help clean up. The firefighters there probably saw a lot of me, but they don't talk a lot about minions of Death if they don't have to. But anyway...
One Saturday afternoon, I'd just gotten home from a bike ride, and was about to do the laundry, when a stocky old guy came through my apartment door. Never mind that the door was closed; it was still there after he came through, and still closed. Okay, a ghost. I've seen a lot of those, but other than my Mom, they usually don't just barge in.
But this guy was different from most ghosts. For one thing...
- I have this really annoying toothpick that supposedly once belonged to the Norse god Odin. One never thinks of the gods picking their teeth, especially if one learned of the power and majesty of the Norse Gods by reading Marvel Comics... but hey, the Vikings were an informal lot, and Odin was a Viking god.
- This toothpick is the size of an icepick. Which looks like it might fit this ghost, because he's about as tall as my ceiling.
- The toothpick has a mind of its own... and right then, it had a mind to fly right to this ghost's hand! Immediately, he started picking his teeth with it.
And he wasn't just rude and uncouth, he had attitude. He said thunderously, "I Bring A Missive From Thy Mistress." And he shoved a scroll at me.
Any woman who has the right to command me has earned the name "Mistress", so I considered asking him to narrow it down. But since he was a ghost, I figured he came from Death, and Death qualifies. Besides, most other women don't send me scrolls.
So I opened the scroll, and it said:
The bearer of this message is the Northland godling Odin. He is dead in valiant battle. By right from his own belief system after life, he has therefore earned admission to Valhalla.
However, there is some controversy to his disposal. Some entities fear that Valhalla is not enough distance from those who loved him, and lack of that distance would defeat the purpose of Death. But none of them want to be his host, for they fear the Legions of Asgard will wage another Odinquest someday and trample slush through their brimstone banquet halls. They say Odin is my problem now... which is our problem. It annoys.
Therefore, until a lasting solution to this problem is found, I commend this dead thing to your care. Your home shall be his dwelling place. Your commands over him shall have my power. When he is difficult, I invite you to ask him how he taught his son humility.
So, I asked him to step aside while I took a shower and thought about this. He promptly tripped over my laundry basket.
It's a rather small apartment, so everything's in the way; besides, this guy was about half the size of my living room. But still, ghosts don't trip usually, unless they're in a City of the Dead. I guess this really is his afterlife destination now.
Odin didn't take well to the obstruction... "Hela take this hamper!" I just had to respond...
- "Get used to it. You live here now."
- "Mortals such as you do not command me! For I am Odin, Lord of Asgard!"
- "Mortals such as I do command you now, because you're dead. And just to make sure that trick works... You take that hamper. Put that laundry in that machine there. The contents of that basket. Put it there. Open that hatch. That compartment. No, the lower one. Yes, that's it. Now pour that container into the compartment until I say stop. Stop. Now press that button. " And he did.
- "Now wait until I've taken a shower." And he did.
The sweaty clothes I'd been wearing didn't make it into the laundry, but I had a shower and thought about things.
No, I usually don't like roommates. But sometimes it's worked out for me, when they realized I'm the landlord. And if I can believe Death Herself, I'm definitely the landlord here. Given how The Boss really wanted it, I decided I might as well interview a prospective roommate.
Shortly thereafter, Odin and I had a talk about humility, and established that he really had to obey my commands. He was surprisingly okay with that. It seems he had dominion over the dead himself once, in Valhalla, so he has to respect the commands of Death.
I eventually taught him how to do the laundry. He handles all my menial work now; he seems to have a talent for it. Perhaps he was a micro-manager when he ruled.
- Ever since Odin started doing my laundry, I can predict exactly when the dryer buzzer will go off. He's good at tinkering with timepieces. All my electronic appliance clocks are perfectly synchronized now.
- Odin's good at bringing in food, too. I live far enough from Chicago that we have forest preserves... and when Odin first went out shopping, that meant fresh goose and occasionally venison for dinner.
- He's not supposed to, because they're protected species around here, but that didn't stop him. I had to tell him that these are royal forest preserves and the king claims all the animals, even if they stray outside the preserve boundaries.
- Odin wasn't accustomed to this sort of restriction. When he was king in Asgard, he had his own preserves there, but he never claimed all of any kind of property. Fortunately for the Cook County Forest Preserve District, I have to obey their dictates, and Odin has to obey mine.
- Odin grows carrots in my garden, too. They surely are big and tender, even without cooking. They must be carrots of the gods.
- The garden was actually Odin's idea. Ancient Norsemen went to great lengths to get edible food, and their gods were no exception. The carrots of the gods just grow faster than mortal carrots, and they're sweeter, and they grow in wintertime.
Now that I have dominion over the dead, I qualify as a lord of the underworld. But I'm not a malevolent lord of the underworld; I'm trying to treat Odin like I would any other roommate who has no means of support. Under the circumstances, he seems happy.
- Of course I make him do chores. I hardly ever have to use my command voice any more.
- But I buy him food and drinks. Ghosts don't have to eat once they pass on to the afterlife, but they still like to. They pick up more mass that way, just like we do, but they piss and shit it away as ectoplasm.
- I also taught him how to watch TV. Odin really likes the world news reports. Also the Weather Channel. We have that much in common.
- Odin can read and talk in English! I'm not certain how; either that's a god power of his, or an afterlife power of mine. But it surely is convenient for me to leave him notes.
- Being literate, Odin has some extra leisure options. He doesn't like most of my books, especially not the Marvel Comics; he says they don't come close to really describing Asgard or the mortal world. But I've got him hooked on the World Journal Monthly. Odin's convinced that all their stories are true.
- Odin eventually got used to how my apartment is so much smaller than the Grand Palace of Asgard. He says, living here is like being on permanent campout, except with all those clever mortal devices like refrigerators and flush toilets.
- I let him leave the grounds whenever he's done with chores. Of course, when he goes out without me on his own time, he becomes just another ghost. So he doesn't go out often.
- He does go out with me some, though. I don't make him go to church, but...
- He can ride a bike tolerably well. It's kind of like riding a horse, or so I'm told, except bikes are more ornery to the beginning rider, and horses more ornery to the advanced. (Of course I have more than one bike; don't all the serious bike riders? So of course I can loan Odin a bike.)
- He loves going out to eat. Of course; doesn't everyone?
- He drinks like a Viking! But I do too, at least after a work week full of battles. So we get along fine.
- He actually kind of likes volunteering at the charity thrift store with me. It did take a while before he was comfortable with my overseer telling him what to do. But as a former ruler who actually cared about his subjects' welfare, he likes it when the poor are clothed.
WORLD JOURNAL |
January 2003 See Our Next Issue!
THOR vs. ZEUS vs. CHINA vs. N.Y.C.!
Why is Thor Here?
For the last few months, New York City has had a suburb from over the rainbow: Asgard, home of the Viking gods. And now, World Journal Monthly's own psychic Serena S. can tell us why! According to Serena:
- Asgard is now ruled by Thor, the son of Odin. Odin died last year, in battle against Viking flame demons.
- Thor's neighboring ruler and supposed ally Zeus of Olympus advised him that, if he cares about mortals so much, he ought to move the home of his gods closer to them. Thereby shortening his commute, as it were.
- Thor took the advice of Zeus literally; he moved Asgard into orbit over his own favorite mortal place, New York City.
- Of course, this got Thor embroiled in mortal affairs, to the point where China tried to shoot Asgard down with a ballistic missile. Of course, Thor was able to intercept the missile... but can he handle the next attack?
- And of course, Zeus was the first among the gods to condemn Thor for his interference among the mortals. Did Zeus have an ulterior motive?
What lies in store for Asgard and New York City? Maybe the gods don't even know.
For the most part, Odin is apparently starting to enjoy not being in charge for once. But he's kind of worried about his son Thor, who's taken over the kingdom of Asgard.
- Thor's been kind of meddling in human affairs lately... like a lot of new rulers do, when they want to find out what they can get away with. All the gods are getting involved now, especially Zeus.
- Odin's afraid his son will get in trouble with humans, as sons of gods often do. And, as may be expected, he's not too happy with his old ally Zeus. But still, he has to admit Thor's old enough (1400 years old or so) to make his own mistakes.
As for me, Odin's stopped calling me "mortal", since he's been more subject to mortality than I have so far. He still thinks I'm a little young to be a death lord, but he has no complaints.
But still, I wonder what cosmic effects might come from a mortal holding the Nordic Father God prisoner.
- It is kind of curious that while the rest of the United States as far south as Dallas, Texas gets hammered with winter weather this year, it hasn't snowed more than an inch at a time here in the Chicago suburbs all winter.
- It's as if I've gained power over the Origin of Storms, and it's responding to my subconscious desires. It's been great for my bicycling. But the farmers may be facing a drought come spring - unless I make the Storm God send some nice drenching rain, which of course has its own bad side effects.
- Death alone knows what else might be happening on a cosmic scale, while I make Odin do my laundry.
So it's probably a good thing that bunches of "entities" want to find Odin, so this situation probably won't last too long. But then, roommate situations never do last long for me. (28 January 2003)
Me in the Marvel Universe:
Odin, Thor, Zeus, and Death are all public domain. How about that. Admittedly, the interplay of these characters with China and New York City is from a storyline of Marvel Comics. Really. But still, the World Journal Monthly and the portrayal of Odin and Death in this story are copyright © 2005 by Eiler Technical Enterprises.