What If? A New Urban Myth for Our Times by Barbara Ardinger

What if Daedalus had not been imprisoned and forced to build a labyrinth to hold a monster-bull that would eat everyone who dared to enter its domain? (Is it true that that monster-bull was named Donald?) What if the three Mother Goddesses took off their aprons and went out into the world to survey its peoples and its troubles and to bring aid and comfort (much more useful than thoughts and prayers) to everyone in distress?

“Well,” says Queen Bettycrocker, “the first thing we can do is look at all these walls. They’re all over the place. They separate people. That’s not good.”

“You’re right,” agrees Queen Saralee. “People should be neighbors, and neighborhoods should be areas where children can safely play and safely go to their schools. And eat good lunches, too.”


The third queen, Jemima, nods. “It’s past time for us to act. We need to banish that awful trio of devils and, yes, not only feed our people, but also restore forests and wild places and, gosh yes, make the neighborhoods safe. Where do we begin?”

The three Mother Goddesses walk along one of the innumerable paths beside a wall until they come to a comfy glade shaded by a sacred oak. They look around at the neighbors, most of whom are trying not to be noticed. The three Mother Goddesses find seats on an splintery old bench.

‘Let’s get down to business,” one Mother says. “Our first order of business is to disarm those three devil-kings who think they’re immortal—what they really are is immoral—and take away their destructive powers. Let’s start with that Orange T. Rex who’s quacking all the time at anyone he can find to listen to him. Take away his voice, to begin with.”

“Yes,” says another Mother Goddess, “and next we go at that Devil Elon and take away his money and give it to people who need it. Shut him up, too.” .

“And then” says the third Mother Goddess, “there’s Vlad the New Impaler who thinks he’s the tsar of the world. Yes, they’ve all got to go. ”

Next, they summon Daedalus the Builder. “I want to help you,” he declares. “How about changing these unending walls everywhere into rows of sacred trees? And gardens!” When asked how he will begin, he replies, “I was given insufficient funding and inferior construction materials in every land where I worked on building walls. Those walls are unsteady. We can hire teams of strong young men and women to knock them down and pulverize them. Recycle them by repaving the streets and adding good things like speed bumps. For starters.”

Queen Bettycrocker nods. “And feed ’em good food while they’re working. No more starving workers. Oh—what about that Orange T. Rex? Daedalus, can you knock down towers and take the nameplates off hotels?” When  he nods, she adds, “Make it all affordable housing. And maybe crumple him up and flush him down his golden toilet….”

The other two queens smile and Jemima speaks up. “Y’all know I’m no one’s aunt and everyone’s aunt and I’m plain-spoken. Right? Well, I know what to do with that Devil Elon. Take that little Twitter that hangs down between—well, you know where—and cram it where the sun don’t shine. Then march him into one of his spaceships. Invite his selfish billionaire buddies along for the ride. And shoot ’em all waaay out to where the sun don’t shine.”

As their audience, which now includes more local people, applaud, Queen Saralee speaks. “As for old Vlad, lay him out on his twenty-foot table. Tie him down. Then fold that table up over him and load it onto a tank, and send it out into his war. The good guys’ll bomb that table with him in it to smithereens.”

By now the whole neighborhood is applauding and laughing. The three Mother Goddesses stand up. “Time to make it happen!” they declare. They decide one of their first tasks is to organize food banks and free kitchens that serve food actually worth eating. They also begin collecting every gun anyone knows about and piling them up to be burned. Soon they also visit homeless people and explain what will be coming. At the same time, Daedalus picks up a clipboard and his phone and begins recruiting people to pull down the walls. They’re glad to have real work, and within a few months, most of the endless walls have been destroyed. Now that walls are disappearing, guns are being melted down, and streets and stores and schools are safe again, people can walk freely and find new friends and new homes. Families are reunited. Folks begin planting the new gardens Daedalus has designed. All the gardens feature smart plants and bird and squirrel feeders and sunny and shady spots with benches where people can linger. Even the trees begin to look healthier. Daedalus also designs composting and recycling stations where the walls used to be.

“Look!” say the citizens and their visitors. “Civilization and kindness are returning! Hooray!”

And the three devils? The Mother Goddesses appoint three teams of honest, unbribable project supervisors, men and women who are actually competent to carry out their assignments. The first team escorts the Orange T. Rex to a courtroom where he is questioned by a panel of unbiased judges. Found guilty of many crimes, the Orange T. Rex is taken to the remains of Daedalus’ original labyrinth and parked in the center with the mad bull, which is still stabled there. There is roaring, but the doors remain closed and locked.

The second team sets out to look for Devil Elon and finds him hiding in a fancy car parked just outside the Stock Exchange. He is playing with his Twitter. He is escorted to the nearest space complex and led into his newest spaceship. After some of his friends join him, they are indeed shot off to where the sun don’t shine.

The third team takes flight to that ancient, beautiful, and cultured land now ruled over by Tsar Vlad. They break into his palace and rope him to his long table. It is folded around him (which takes some sawing and hammering), and then this package is hauled to the war zone. Boom! Crush! The third devil gone.

And what about the three Mother Goddesses and their helpers now? The Mother Goddesses are taking good care of all the people, whether individuals are friendly to them or not. No longer terminally hungry, no longer isolated, no longer in constant wars, no longer in danger of infection, the people come to worship their Mother Goddesses and life goes on considerably improved. Daedalus keeps busy, too. There is always a lot for him and his employees to accomplish.

BIO:Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (barbaraardinger.com), is the author of Secret Lives, a novel about crones and other magical folks, Pagan Every Day, a unique daybook of daily meditations, and other books. She really enjoys writing her monthly blogs for FAR. Her work has also been published in devotionals to Isis, Athena, and Brigid. Barbara’s day job is freelance editing for people who have good ideas but don’t want to embarrass themselves in print. To date, she has edited more than 400 books, both fiction and nonfiction, on a wide range of topics. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her rescued calico cat, Schroedinger.

Author: Barbara Ardinger

Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic. Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every Day, Finding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations. When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.

8 thoughts on “What If? A New Urban Myth for Our Times by Barbara Ardinger”

  1. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS. I’m always glad when readers get the puns and the allusions and the jokes. Brightest blessings to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

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