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How It Really Would Have Happened

“You,” says Paris, “you’re the most beautiful.”

Aphrodite beams. “Set sail for Troy,” she says, “and she will be yours,” and vanishes.

The other two remain, glowering.

“My apologies, great Hera, mighty Athena!” says Paris. “But the three of you did ask me to choose, and it isn’t as if I could pick more than–”

Flames lick up around him. Aphrodite reappears, frantic, but Hera holds her back. Athena is growing taller, and the sky is growing dark.

“Perhaps you have misunderstood,” she booms, enormous, “what it means to be a fucking god,” and reaches down with her smiting hand.


“Now that’s a suitably epic conclusion!” smirks Odysseus, wiping blood from his spear.

“Epic?” says Athena. “That muse doesn’t exist yet, and this is the second epic ever, and its conclusion is me ex machina. Again.”

“I could have taken them,” says Odysseus, smearing bloody hands onto his bloody breastplate.

“Obviously,” mumbles Laertes. “You already killed their sons. And grandsons.”

“Whatevs!” says Odysseus, wading into bloody surf to blood the blood off his bloodblood. “I’m king again, at least until I die peacefully, in water, as prophesied!”

“Isn’t that something shiny?” points Athena.

“Wow!” says Odysseus, and strikes out from shore.