A very late 9/11 story. Dedicated to all the victims. Take no offense form this story, mortals.
"Now then class, who know what tomorrow is?"
I rasied my hand. "Zach."
"Tuesday, of course."
Everyone laughed, but the teacher gave me a cold hard look. "Very funny. I guess everyone except Zach knows what tomorrow is, so the homework on it will be on my homework website and I want it tomorrow. Class dismissed."
I made a beeline for the door. Have I ever told you that I'm always out the door first?
As soon as I got out of school, I called my dad.
"Hello George. How's it going?"
"Same ole, same ole."
"That includes the homework?"
"You said it."
"Will you do it this year?"
I was going to say, "I haven't done it for the past seven years, why would I do it now?" But then I remembered something else.
"Okay, bye George."
I walked to the train station. I caught the E train to Manhattan. On the train, I took out my binder and started to do my "homework." Of course, I wrote a long report by the time I got off, and I walked into my cousin James as soon as I got off the train.
I think I should introduce you to James a bit. He's also a demigod, but he's claimed. His father is Heracles. Yes, Heracles as in Hercules. He's also short. Very contradictory. He's also insanely strong (duh) but his real obsession is food. Brazilian, French, Korean, Australian, Sudanese, as long as it's foreign, he loves it.
"Where have you been! The new restaurant is going to open soon and we're late!"
You see? All about the food.
"What kind? Pacific? Irish? Colombian? Samoyedic?"
"Korean! My favorite!"
Another thing about James. He has a different favorite cuisine every twelve hours or something. Once, he came to school with me on Bring a Visitor to School Day and he told my class his favorite cuisine was South African. When I Skyped him that night, it became Japanese.
"Great. I love Korean food."
Before I knew it, he darted off for the stair. I took my report, tore into pieces, and stuffed it in my bag.
"Goodbye, homework." No one was ready to hear my story yet.
Let me tell you that story. The story of how I lost my mom and unborn younger sister and my dad lost his job. Lots of losses, right?
September 11 was an ordinary day, busy Manhattaners going on about their business. I was with my mom at here workplace. It was about 7:45-ish or a bit later.
"Bye girls! See you in January! Zach, say bye to Matthew and James."
This was the same food-loving James here. His mom worked with my mom, and Matthew was just a mortal who could see through the mist.
"By-by Matt-heu and Jay-ems," I said. I used to struggle with words, but now I can give a lecture if I want.
"Byeee Zac-uh-ree," they said in unison.
We were halfway out the door when James mom suddenly said, "Oh wait, don't leave yet! We have something for you!" You see, when you're leaving my mom's shop, and someone stops you, you could almost be certain you'd be there for another half an hour or so.
Anyways, she handed my mom a huge box. "It's it."
It? It? Yes, it. It was actually something they sold in the store.
Hold on, I'm probably confusing you as to where the store is what and what the store is. The store my mom worked at was a small souvenir shop directly east of the North Tower. I know, you're thinking, "Oh, those Manhattan tourist shops. Chinese people. Knockoffs. Fakes, etc etc." Not this store. Nah, they had real things like Murano glass and Congo rubber. Real epic. Anyways, my mom really liked this one thing in the store. It was like a LEGO set, like a whole LEGO set of the whole island of Manhattan. Every building and warehouse, really the real definition of everything. It was Russian. "MADE IN MOSCOW" printed on every side. Very big. Very important. Very obnoxious. VERY expensive.
"You shouldn't have! Where did you get the money?"
"Oh, just a few savings and cuts here and there. I always knew there was a reason I kept a penny jar since I was five."
You see that? Twenty two years of putting pennies in a jar! At two pennies a day, that would be about 230 dollars! Just about enough to buy it. Wow. My mom must have meant something to her.
Anyways, I keep sidetracking. Like I said, once you come back in, it's hard to get out. It's like there's a magnet in the store to keep you from getting out. I would never experience that in my life again though.
Anyways (I say that a lot, don't I?), our moms eventually went to the back and drank coffee and tea and told stories blah blah blah blah blah. James, Matthew, and I picked up our toys again. Now you see, there was always one thing we wanted to do. There was a model of the Bell X-1 in a cabinet, and we had been searching for the key that cabinet since the first time we saw it. On that day we just happened to find the key. We opened it and started palying with the plane.
All of a sudden, we looked out the window and saw a plane crash into the North Tower. We used to call the North Tower "Big Guy" and the South Tower "Little Guy" because of their relative heights. At the time James had the Bell X-1 in his hand and he flew it into the box my mom got. You know what I mean, the "it" box. It broke. We saw smoke coming out of the building.
"Hey, there's smoke coming from Big Guy, why isn't the it smoking?" asked James.
"My mommy says smoking is bad for you. I think it is smarter than Big Guy." said Matthew.
We went to tell our moms about our new discoveries.
"Mommy mommy! Big Guy is smoking and a plane broke the Big Guy, and, and, and, James hit the it box!"
They stared at us in disbelief until Matthew's mom said "These boys sure do have imaginations."
Then they laughed. Offended, we went back to play. Then we saw a plane crash into the South Tower. Matthew said "Uh-oh."
A big policeman came barging into the door that same moment.
"Hel. Lo-sir. May I intress you in sum fine qualty producks?" said James to him. He was mimicking what his mom said when a rich-looking person would come into the store.
"Boys, you have to leave right now. Where are your parents?" he panted.
"In the over there," said Matthew as he pointed at the back.
He ran to the back. Meanwhile we started to put our stuff away.
We were almost outside of World Trade Center grounds when Matt's mom realized that my mom and James' mom weren't there. James and I ran back for out mothers but the policeman grabbed us by our shirt collars. "Sorry boys, can't let you go back there. It's too dangerous."
"Maybe he's right, son," said a voice from behind me.
"Dad, dad, mommy's in there and the store felled down!" I explained.
"Don't worry," he said, "everthing will be fine."
He took out his phone and made a call to his boss. "Mr. Kapper, sir, you see--no, not that--but I--well I told you so, didn't I? What? Wait, wait, wait, what? They did that? Tell them---no you tell them--hey listen to me if you want to live, Mis--you can't fire me--that's--what do you--same to you, Jew!" And so my father lost his job.
Our whole entourage stayed there for hours. Matthew's father, who flew in from Buenos Aires that morning, came too. Mine and James' mortal uncle came to join the party. Eventually they found my mother when they were cleaning up. They sifted through her purse, looking for ID. "Is there anyone who has lost one Angela Stanton? Repeat, Angela Stanton?" My father grabbed my hand and ran. Halfway there he realized what we would see and brought me back to everyone else. "Wait here, okay?" I agreed and he ran back.
My father called for our car and the driver came sooner or later. He drove my father and myself to a funeral home.
I think you can guess what happened next. That Friday we held the funeral. Only a few people were there. After the funeral, we went home. After the driver parked the car, he said "Mr. Stanton, sir, Mr. Kapper has informed me that you are no longer in his service, so I am no longer in your service." "That's great, Edwin. You can take your stuff and leave."
After we ate at the restaurant, we went on a tour of the city, just looking around. I know what you're thinking: "You live there but you still need to look around?" Yeah. What's your problem.
As we turned a corner, we ran into the Empire State Building. Suddenly the all the wars came back to me. The Titan War, the Gaia War, the Rebellion of '46.
"Goodbye, Zach." James said. He snapped me back to reality.
"What-oh, okay, bye Jay-ems." He smiled and disappeared into the building. He was going to see his father, like every Tuesday.
As I walked to the train station, I thought about every 9/11 since 9/11. Then I remembered the store. I almost walked into the train, but then I backed off and headed back up the stairs. "Maybe it's time I go back."
I took a different train to the World Trade Center. There, I saw 1 WTC under construction. Then I saw the memorial pools. Not far behind that, I saw a small box shaped building. I smiled and walked towards it.
Guessed what it was yet? No? It was the new store.
I opened the door and heard chimes. I gazed around and suddenly I saw a tall, blond, green eyed boy. "Hello, Matt-heu."
"Hello Zach. Been a while."
"Not long enough," I joked. He punched me in the arm.
"So who's here now?"
"Ah, just me and my mom. We just opened up again."
Suddenly he started steering me towards a broom closer. He started talking again in a whisper.
"Listen," he said, "I have some news for you."
"I did some research. It turns out that I never met my dad because he was serving in the military. Guess what?"
"He was part of the SEALs that went to Abottabad."
I widened my eyes in question.
"Really. And he was a son of Enyo. And guess what!"
"Bin Laden was really working for Kronos! It turns out that Olympus used to be atop the Twin Towers. And Kronos hoped to bring down the gods by letting his minions, Al-Qaeda, take care of them for him so he could come and take over the world."
"But it turns out that even though Bush never listened to your dad, the gods did. Your dad told his mom and she listened and the gods moved to the Empire State Building."
I stared in shock, and shock, and more shock. "What else do you have to throw at me?"
"Lots of things. Most recent wars and events in the Cold War were instigated by Kronos. He had hoped for the Soviet Union and the US to attack each other. I also learned that the gods switched between the two countries a lot."
"I'll tell you more later. Meet me at the gyro stand at 7 tomorrow."
"You got yourself a deal."
As I entered my apartment building, I thought to myself about what I had learned today.
I just have one thing to teach you folks: The gods are way more intertwined in our lives than we think.