Odin sat on his throne and pondered on just how he was going to handle this.
He caressed the hilt of his broadsword, yearning for the old days.
Back then it would have been easy; you roared and bellowed, you drew your sword and cut bits off people until they understood what they had done wrong.
Now he, the High Father, king of the gods, was expected to conform to ‘Standardised Disciplinary Procedures’.
“Send him in,” he growled to a lackey.
After a moment, the Great Gate of the Asgard Hall swung open and in walked the God of Thunder.
Again, Odin was stricken by a lust for the old days.
Once a summons to the Thunder God would have seen mighty Thor striding into the palace, bearing his indestructible Hammer, all long hair, muscles, pride and arrogance.
However, Thor had retired last year to raise pedigree Shih Tzu show dogs with his ‘friend’ Bertie; so, a replacement had been required.
Martyn Whitstuble had seemed a good choice at first, different from his predecessor definitely, but with plenty of his own unique talents to bring to the job.
Whitstuble the Thunder God struggled under the weight of the Hammer, his symbol of office, but nonetheless bore it proudly for the sake of tradition.
In life he had been a meteorologist and TV weatherman and, though he didn’t need them, still wore his glasses as a sign of higher intelligence. He dressed as he had in life, in a smart light summer suit, shirt and tie. However, he had conceded to wear the symbolic winged helmet on the condition that he could add a felt brim, so that it now resembled the unholy offspring of a bowler hat and a rather dilapidated parrot.
“You wanted to see me, High Father?” he asked, politely tipping his helmet.
“Yes, Whitstuble, I did.” Odin stared hard at the god for a moment, controlled his temper and asked, “Settling in well, are we?”
“Yes, thank you, High Father. Quite satisfactory.”
“Good, good,” Odin mused. “No problems then? Got the hang of the equipment?”
“Yes High Father.”
Odin nodded, sagely, reaching for a parchment resting beside him.
“You lived in Southeast London, Whitstuble, I believe?” he asked.
“Yes, Lord Odin, I did.”
Odin thought he detected just the slightest tremor to the Thunder God’s upper lip; perhaps the little git had some courage after all.
“Not an area of the world prone to freak weather phenomena, Southeast London, I believe.”
This time Odin definitely saw Whitstuble’s Adam’s apple begin to dance.
“No, not especially, sir, Lord, I mean father, er, High Father.”
“Until recently, that is.”
“Really.” Odin made a show of consulting the parchment. “Ten deaths by freak lightning strike in the last month.”
“As many as that?”
“Oh yes, and all between six and nine in the morning and every one of them a postman.” Odin waited; Whitstuble flicked his eyes from side to side, like a man in an empty field looking for a miraculous emergency exit door to appear.
“Well, Whitstuble? I am waiting.”
Whitstuble laid down the Hammer.
“You shall have my resignation on your desk by four, High Father.”
Odin exploded, his rage made manifest by billowing smoke, shooting flames and sulphurous fumes.
“I don’t want your resignation, man, I want an explanation!” he boomed, leaping to his feet. “What by Loki’s bollocks did you think you were doing? Target practice?”
“Do you know the Post Office has come to a halt in that part of the capital, they want danger money and lightning rods before they even pick up the mail? Can you understand the mayhem you have caused? You all but begged me for this job, man, everyone else was against it, but I thought you showed promise. Now tell me why, why ten postmen in the area where you used to live have been crispy fried?”
Whitstuble took a deep breath in, squared his shoulders and faced Odin nose to nose.
“All right, then,” he shouted, snatching up the Hammer again and making it crackle with blue static fire. “Brimstone and hell-fire all you want. Yes, I killed them, all of them, and I’ll carry on until I get the right one. You know how I died? No? Then I’ll tell you. I was doing the weather on the News 24/7 networks, I’d just come off the night shift and when I got home, I heard my wife in bed with someone. I never caught the bugger, but he jumped out of the window so fast he left his Post Office uniform trousers behind and half a bag of undelivered mail. I ran after him and was run down by a milk delivery wagon. That’s why postmen. That’s why Southeast London, and that’s why I am the Fucking God of Thunder!”
Whitstuble stood panting, awaiting, unafraid, Odin’s retribution.
Odin glared hard.
“A matter of honour, then?”
The High Father smiled wide.
“I knew I’d picked the right man for the job,” he said, and waved a hand.
Immediately a very bemused and half-naked postman stood before them clutching his sack.
“Mr. Blackloch, postman, meet Whitstuble, THE God of Thunder. I believe you already know his wife.”
Len Hazell was born in 1964. He lives in a house Teesside in the North East of England by permission of the two dogs Sascha and Toby who think they own the place. He began writing short stories at a very young age but while working as a stand up comic and guitarist in various working men’s clubs throughout the North East of England he started to write songs, short stories and scripts. In 1985, he formed a successful comedy writing partnership with Chris Walmsley; Len wanted this partnership to continue but Chris stubbornly refuses to give up being dead.