PAN: Hello, father.
HERMES: What are you talking about? I’m not your father.
PAN: Aren’t you Hermes?
HERMES: Surewho are you?
PAN: I’m your sonthe result of an irregular intrigue.
HERMES: An intrigue of goats maybe! How could you be mine with your horns and cloven feet and that tail on your ass?
PAN: If you sneer at me, it is your own son you make the object of reproach, and by association, yourself, since you’re responsible for begetting me. I’m just an innocent product of your overactive libido.
HERMES: All right, then. If I’m your father, who is your mother? Did I accidentally fall upon some she-goat in the barnyard?
PAN: You mock me, but think hard and see if you can’t remember taking a gentle Arcadian girl against her will. Why do you bite your thumb to find an answer? It’s not a difficult question. I’m talking, of course, about Penelope, the daughter of Icarus.
HERMES: If that’s true, then why do you resemble a goat more than your own father?
PAN: That’s a question I’ve asked myself more than once. After putting me off for years, she finally admitted that, at the time of your union, you had taken the form of a goat to avoid detection, and for that reason I am cursed to walk the earth with horns and cloven feet and a tail on my ass.
HERMES: I have to admit, your story does ring a bell, although I can’t quite recall the details. Still, do you expect me, a God who prides himself on his striking good looks, to have the reputation of fathering such a ridiculous-looking creature?
PAN: I won’t disgrace you, father. I’m a musician.
HERMES: Oh, what do you play?
PAN: The pipes. I’ve earned quite a reputation in musical circles. And I just scored a sweet gig with Bacchus, leading the dance for him.
HERMES: A musician? That’s fine for entertaining, but it’s hardly a respectable profession.
PAN: I’ve got other assets as well. You should see my flocksthey’re so numerous they stretch from Epidaurus to the Ionian Sea.
HERMES: A real man wouldn’t be caught dead tending flockshe would be out making a name for himself on the battlefield!
PAN: I distinguished myself so much at Marathon, fighting for the Athenians, that I was awarded a prize of valorthe cave under the Acropolis. If you go to Athens, you will see how respected is the name of Pan!
HERMES: Pan? Ah, yes, I’ve heard of you. But tell me, are you married?
PAN: Never! I have a healthy libido myself and could never be satisfied with just one wife.
HERMES: No doubt you’ve made love to many she-goats.
PAN: Is that supposed to be funny? I’ve indulged myself with many beautiful women, including Echo and Pitys and all the Maenads of Bacchus. And they certainly haven’t complained.
HERMES: That’s my boy! But listen, do me one favor …
PAN: Anything, father.
HERMES: Come give me a hug, but let’s keep this whole affair between the two of us, all right? I’ll gladly accept you as my son as long as you promise not to tell anyone about it.
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Copyright © 2008 by Baudelaire Jones
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