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Target Practice
by Peter Howard

‘Don’t give me that, baby, you’re doing this.’

‘But mom,’ whined Erin, ‘I’m already good enough, you’ve never had a problem with my aim before.’

‘Before?’ said his mom, ‘before the last time you missed, you mean?’

Erin looked down at his sandals. He kicked at the dirt which seemed to be laughing at him, or maybe just giving him directions he thought bitterly.

‘It was an accident,’ he pleaded, ‘could have happened to anyone.’

‘Maybe,’ said his mother, ‘but it happened to you, and look at the result? Consider the consequences of your actions once in a while could you, Er…’ she paused, she’d agreed to use the new name even if her new daughter in law only wanted it to spite her. Still she pronounced it with difficulty and the word didn’t feel right, ‘consider the consequences, Erin?’

‘It wasn’t so bad,’ he said shifting the weight of the quiver, ‘it all worked out in the end.’

‘All worked out!’ said his mother incredulously, ‘the woman killed both her sisters, your aunty is besides herself with the violation of her property, your uncle’s mad at you for making him get involved, and you know what a thunderous temper he has,’ she paused, ‘you nearly started a war, Erin, and lets not say it all worked out for the best because you ended up marrying her!’

‘Most of that was because of you, mom,’ said Erin a spark of defiance in his eyes.

‘That,’ she said, ‘brings us back to your aim, doesn’t it?’ his mother walked back a few steps and turned sharply, ‘now point that thing at the other thing, and hit it!’

While Erin went about his target practice he tried to block out his mother grumbling but it was hard, she had the tendency to be heard when she wanted to be.

‘Send you to do a simple job…’ he could hear her saying, ‘tripped and fell on his own arrow, for Zeus sake…’

The target was more than two miles away, and Erin found it over and over again even with his mother grumbling in his ear. When he had worn the target out and it could no longer stand up under its own power he rounded on her in triumph.

‘Happy now?’ he said.

‘Happy? No, Erin I’m not happy, I’m not happy about a great many things, but it looks like we’ll have to live with them doesn’t it?’

‘Come on mom,’ he said slinging the bow back around his shoulders, ‘at least you got some grandkids out of it.’

‘Yes, and look what happens to them!’

‘What does happen to them?’

‘You’ll have to wait and see won’t you,’ she said with a flourish, ‘and the next time you decide to bribe me with the death of all living things on earth,’ she said meaningfully, ‘be sure your new wife isn’t within reach or I don’t care what Zeus says, we’ll find out just how divine our new goddess really is,’ she shook her head, ‘the goddess Psyche and Erin, honestly!’

With that his mother vanished. Erin remained still. The trouble with being the son of the Goddess of Love was that she was all passion and often didn’t think things through. That and the fact she could become invisible.’