Beware Egyptians Bearing Gifts
Cupid was whistling as he stuck his head into his father's main audience chamber. "Hey Dad," he said cheerfully, "Mom said you. . .GAH! What in the name of Gaia's garters is that?"
Ares, who was slouched down in his throne staring at the offending item in the middle of the room replied, with more than a touch of sarcasm in his voice, "What does it look like?"
"Um. . ." Cupid came closer to study the hideous thing that now stood in front of Ares throne. "It looks like a bunch of . . .but it can't be, can it?"
Ares sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. "It is. It's the result of that stupid treaty with Egyptians."
"Oh." Cupid reached out and poked at an item protruding from the surface of the object. "Then they are, um, mummified, are they?"
"Yup." Ares came to stand next to his eldest son and stared up at the thing that towered above him. "Six hundred and eighty six sets of mummified male genitals, formerly belonging to some unlucky Greek soldiers."
"Lovely. You want to explain this?"
"Oh, few hundred years ago, we were at war with Egypt. Athens, technically, not all of Greece. So, Athena leads this army into Egypt where they promptly got their asses kicked."
"And a few other parts, from the look of it."
"Yeah." Ares went and sat on the steps leading up to his throne. "The Egyptians like to cut the genitals off of their vanquished enemies."
"Yeah." The God of War propped his elbow on his knee so he could lean his chin on his fist. "Now, I have nothing against the odd spot of battlefield cannibalism, under the right circumstances. Eating an enemy's liver or heart, burning their bowels as a sacrifice but this is just. . .weird."
"So, a couple of hundred years ago. . ."
"Three hundred and twelve. You were just a kid then."
"Yeah. Three hundred and twelve years ago, the Egyptians defeated a Greek army and cut the dicks and balls off of the bodies, mummified them and had them mounted on what?"
"A sandstone stele. There is an inscription on the back, explaining it all. Written in hieroglyphics. I don't know why those damned Egyptians like to lord all their knowledge and wisdom and crap over us when they can't even figure out a simple alphabet. Amanapterous or Assholio or somebody was the general. I guess his men gave it to him as a present."
"And the Egyptians gave it to you? Why?"
"Egyptians are big on having all their body parts preserved forever when they enter their Afterlife. Now that we are at peace, I guess they felt a little guilty. They figured all these poor guys were hanging around, unable to screw in the Underworld, because their dicks were missing. I tried to explain that these soldiers were probably burned on pyres and that we only worry about the souls, not the bodies, but nobody listened."
Ares sighed again. Cupid came and sat down next to him. The God of War continued. "I tried giving it to Hades but he said, once a soul arrives, the psuedo-coporeal body it possesses is intact, no matter what happened to the real body in life. The guys those cocks belonged to are complete in the Elysian Fields or wherever they ended up and he wasn't about to track down six hundred souls that had been dead for three centuries to try to restores their dicks even if they didn't have them."
"Mom told me they are that way in Chin. Eunuchs have to hang on to their balls so they can be buried with them. They keep them in jars preserved in alcohol."
Ares snorted in disgust. "And they are always going on about how cultured they are. Shit. Keeping balls in jars is disgusting." He gestured at the stele in his chamber. "At least they look lifelike."
"Yeah." Cupid got up to study some of the members more carefully. "Nice work, really. You can tell they took the time to keep all the original characteristics. Every cock really is different. I bet this guy was popular with his wife."
"Check out the one on the top corner there, to your left."
"YOW! Very impressive. Guy must have been part bull. Balls are pretty mismatched though." He stopped as he wandered around the back because he realized there was someone lying on the floor behind it.
"Oh," said Ares. "I thought Priapus might think it was interesting but he fainted when he saw it. I forgot he was still back there."
Cupid peered down at the lesser god. "Hey, he's flaccid. I've never it that way before."
"I have and don't ask when." Ares flicked his wrist and Priapus vanished.
"Wait a minute, you weren't planning on trying to foist this thing off on me? I mean, come on, Dad, I may take after Mom in a lot of ways but I do not have her taste in decorating."
"I thought about offering it to 'Dite but figured she'd think it was gross." Ares face screwed up as he imitated the Goddess of Love's voice.
"She'd be right. It is. Why not just. . .wonder if this guy was this crooked in life. . .get rid of it. The bodies were burned. Why not burn it as well?"
Ares frowned. "I thought about it but I don't know. Someone went to a lot of effort several centuries ago to carefully preserve every damn dick. And it is supposed to be a warrior's memorial. Somehow, just throwing it out seems. . .impious? Wasteful? I don't know."
"Well, you can't keep it. It's hideous. I don't want it and neither, obviously, did Priapus. Isn't there someone else you could give it to?"
"I thought about Discord or Deimus and Phobus but decided that was too warped even for me. The thought of what they would do with it. . ." Ares shuddered. Cupid did as well. "I mean, these dicks did belong to Greek warriors, even if they were sworn to Athena. They deserve to be honored but where can I put the thing where it would be preserved but I'd never have to look at it again."
Cupid, who has finished his assessement of the mummified members, stopped to study one pair in particular. They were mounted near each other and reminded him of someone. He turned to his father and gave Ares a sly smile that reminded the God of War that the God of Love was his son.
"I know a couple of warriors who would want to honor the memory of the fallen dead and who might feel obligated to keep the damn thing."
Iolaus froze in mid-step. He was certain that the enormous black box had not been sitting just out side his back door when he went to the privy but it was there now. It was as tall as his house and nearly as big around. Cautiously, he approached and noticed the tag hanging off the black linen cord. His partner's name was written in on it in neat script.
"Hercules," called Iolaus, "you better come out and see this."