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Mjolnir
by Brian James
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The Viking gods have been banished from Asgard by Odin. Today they make the best of life on Earth. Thor is a professional athlete, Freya a prostitute, and Loki sells cheap products on QVC. Lurking in the background of their lives is a prophecy; one that declares that their time is at an end. Ragnarok is about to throw the gods into a state of civil war and the one who controls the hammer of Thor may be able to change the arc of destiny.

 

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FREYA

Freya tore up the letter and threw it away. She had moved from Michigan to New York to get away from Odin’s harassment. Apparently she hadn’t moved far enough away as this was the third letter he had sent to her in a week. Well, not exactly Odin. His pet sycophant, Simmons, was the one pestering her through the mail. Apparently the bastard wouldn’t take no for an answer. That or he was afraid of what Odin would do to him if he did. Either way it wasn’t her problem and she just wished he would go away. She had enough trouble with creditors constantly chasing her. She didn’t need Odin on her back again. The envelope that the letter came in was sitting on her makeup stand. She tore it to pieces with the same enthusiasm that she destroyed the letter. With that done Freya turned back toward the mirror as the pieces settled in the garbage can amongst the candy bar wrappers and discarded pasties.

She checked her makeup one last time, and teased her amber hair into something that would look appropriate on Sunset Strip or Spring Break in Daytona.

“Just a little more blush…” she said as reached for the brush.

Her high, Nordic cheekbones were one of her most striking features—she wanted to make sure they got the notice they deserved. She then adjusted the bra that held her other “most striking features” in place, checked her stockings for runs, and snapped the elastic around her thigh. She was satisfied with the fit. Sexy could quickly descend to comical if the wardrobe fell apart before its time. Janet Jackson had proven that.

With her pre-flight done the goddess stood up and checked her outfit in the mirror one last time to make sure that Victoria was truly keeping her secrets (at least until someone paid to see them). Once satisfied that she looked perfect, Freya walked out of the dressing room and toward the stage.

She could hear the music from the other side of the door. The voice of Celine Dion came crashing through the wall that separated the rooms from the stage. Freya shook her head and wondered how people could listen to that sentimental garbage. The song was dripping with so much cavity-inducing sap that it should only be played after a disclaimer from the American Dental Association.

Just as Freya was grabbing her throat in a mock, retching motion, the song ended. She composed herself during a moment of silence as the DJ cued up her music. The quiet was shattered by the deep resonant sounds of a very large bell as Freya burst through the door, hips swaying to the ringing and the wild guitar notes. Hot stage lights reflected off her snow-white skin as she wove a hypnotic spell with her dance. She seduced the crowd with graceful athleticism, unbridled sensuality, and a transcendent beauty that most couldn’t describe without having to wipe away a tear of joy. She was the Goddess of Love, turning the crude, bludgeoning sounds of Metallica’s, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” into a celebration of the erotic.

By comparison to her, the other girls were Clydesdales. They would gracelessly clomp around the stage, taking off their underwear for the scraps from the audience’s wallets. Freya didn’t play the “lingerie for loot” game with the bachelor party crowd—she didn’t have to. She was probably the only stripper in the free world who could leave her audience feeling emotionally spent with only the poetry of her movement. No actual stripping was necessary for her to be the club’s top draw.

Her dance ended in the usual shower of dollar bills. She bent over in the most provocative ways possible to pick up the tens and twenties, arching her back while lowering herself towards the money. Once she had collected a couple thousand dollars’ worth of other people’s hard earned cash she blew a kiss back over her shoulder and headed backstage.

In the dressing room she pulled on her robe and ignored the catty looks of hatred from the other jealous dancers. She stuffed the wad of bills into a high-end wristlet purse and enjoyed a few quiet moments with a bottle of water and her thoughts. She poured some low-calorie energy powder into her drink. It turned the water purple but obstinately refused to taste like grapes. She looked into the bottle and wondered if the combination of chemicals that went into making her “not grape” drink had any real energy boosting effects on the physiology of a goddess. After a few moments of this train of thought she decided that she didn’t want to know; if she was going to get through the rest of the night on placebo power, that would have to be good enough. She finished her drink, tossed her robe into a corner, and went out to work the room.

Freya ignored most of the men in the place. She already had as much of the cash as she was going to get out of the club’s working class customers. She was on the hunt for bigger prey. Even though she was a goddess, Freya didn’t allow herself the illusion that she wasn’t a prostitute. That ship had sailed eons ago when she traded sex with four disgusting dwarves for a piece of jewelry. The Necklace of the Brisings was an indescribably beautiful, almost magical, work of gold and jewels, but it still took an act of prostitution to get it. She never saw herself the same after that.

At work, Freya would find the guy with the biggest wallet in the room, slide into a seat next to him and turn on the charm. She would let them talk about themselves and feign interest in their stories. She would giggle at all the proper moments and whisper into their ears how sexy she thought each one of them was. Once the goddess had the man hooked she would lure him away for a private dance.

Most of her customers didn’t look like Brad Pitt or Gerard Butler so acting attracted was a bit of a chore for her. As she performed privately for one of these men she would do her best to find something about that person (no matter how disgusting, fat, ugly, or smelly) that she found attractive. It was on this single trait that she would focus while going through the close quarters act of a lap dance. If the night was right, and the money was big enough, she would offer other services to him. Prostituting herself was something that disgusted her tremendously; their sweaty hands touching her all over…with their smelly, hairy bodies on top of her…these were things she could do without. Their money though, that was another issue altogether.

Freya had never learned to live within her means. In fact, the very concept of a budget seemed about as alien to her as the space shuttle controls would be to a three-toed sloth. Budgetary issues and her desires were often at odds because it seemed hardwired into her DNA to want the best of everything. And as anyone who has ever been shoe shopping at Alexander McQueen knows, “the best” usually has a fairly hefty price tag. The gold and diamonds she wore were, of course, real. Her finger was adorned with a ring that had a fluted platinum band and a single massive diamond. The sheer size of the stone was a gaudy distraction from the artful cut of the rock and the aesthetics of the setting.

There was a time when she also owned a car—a bright red Aston Martin. Once again, it was a car of the highest quality. Unfortunately, she never really did get the hang of driving. Five cats, one skunk, three homeless people, a deer, and one congressman later, the police deemed her to be unsafe at any speed. To her credit, when they did eventually drag her into court on a vehicular manslaughter charge for the death of the unfortunate congressman, she left her lawyer behind, spent three hours in the judge’s chambers “negotiating,” and managed to successfully plea bargain down to a charge of speeding. The state took away her license for ninety days and the judge’s relations with her raised the bar for what he considered really good sex. His marriage was never quite the same and he eventually went into a deep depression. Three months later, on a brisk October morning, the judge shot himself in the head. He left a suicide note that mentioned extreme sexual frustration. He also named Freya as his sole heir. To this day his last will and testament is possibly the most contested legal document in the history of New York.

Freya had become accustomed to a very high standard of living. Back in the old days, when she was worshipped as a goddess, maintaining this standard was easy. Everything was simply provided for her by the people who loved her and the gods who lusted after her. Living in modern America just wasn’t that easy. For Freya to live the type of life she was accustomed to required money and lots of it. For her entire existence, Freya’s only marketable commodity had been her beauty. In the early days it was enough to just be beautiful. Only once did she have to exchange sexual favors for something she desired. The world had changed since that time and now her day-to-day livelihood depended on the money she was given for her sexual prowess. Every time she would sell herself to another man she felt less like an object of worship and more like a piece of recreational equipment. Freya was no longer the unattainable goddess; she was a pricey toy for rich men. For however long it took the guy to complete the act…she belonged to him—a possession.

It was after two in the morning when Freya left the club. She didn’t go home immediately. It was her habit to walk the streets until sunrise after a night of trading her dignity for cash. She enjoyed the solitude. Her work clothes were wadded up in her bag as she traded the lingerie and stockings for baggy fitting jeans and an oversized Red Wings jersey. Her hair was wadded up in a tight bun and covered with a scarf that tied under her chin. Any traces of makeup were scrubbed off her face. This walk was something best done in privacy so she dressed in a manner that would almost guarantee a lack of male attention.

While wandering the streets of the city Freya would fill her mind with any distracting thoughts she could muster. Events from a thousand years ago would be relived, her grocery list would be created, and new recipes for herring would be considered.

Usually by the end of this walk the feelings of shame and anger were successfully suppressed and the events at the club would be a distant memory, tucked neatly into the dark corners of her subconscious. The thousands of new dollars stuffed into her purse would be the only evidence remaining of her night’s work. Of course there was the occasional unpleasantness. A woman on the streets alone, even one dressed as sloppily as she was, would sometimes be a target for a mugger, rapist, or a John with really bad taste. On this crisp, early morning the unpleasant event drove a 1973 Dodge Dart and was offering her twenty dollars for a quick roll in the back seat.

Freya was almost fatally offended. Even at her frumpiest that offer was an insult of enormous proportions to her vanity. She aimed a disarming smile at him as he waved the bill at her from out of the driver’s side window.

The undercover goddess approached his car as her slim fingers untied the knot that held her scarf on. The silk wrap fell gently to the ground and Freya undid her bun, allowing her hair fall freely about her shoulders. The amber mane shone in the light of the rising sun. The driver’s mouth gaped open and white drool started to collect at the corner of his mouth. He wiped it away, smearing most of it into the dark stubble on his face. Freya walked slowly across the street to where he was. Moving almost hypnotically she seductively removed the oversized jersey. It fell to the pavement behind her as she continued toward him. The driver was beginning to sweat. He nervously ran his hand over his hairless scalp. This was not what he expected. Under the scarf and baggy clothes Freya was every dream he had ever had of a woman come to life. Dreams didn’t hide under hockey jerseys and walk the alleys in the early morning hours like cheap whores, did they? He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. When she arrived at his open window he pulled the twenty-dollar bill back inside his Dart. Freya opened the car door and knelt down in front of him. She ran her fingertips along the length of his arm. He was now completely soaked in sweat.

The T-shirt he wore clung to him as if it was spray-painted on. Self-consciously he sucked his belly in, hoping she would not notice the rolls of fat lopping over his belt. Freya touched his neck and cupped the back of his head in her hand.

“What’s your name?” she said with a light and disarming grin upon her face. A gurgling noise from his throat was the only reply he could make. The more she touched him…spoke to him, the more obvious it was that he was completely intimidated by her. Freya’s touch felt like silk against his skin. She smelled like rose blossoms in spring. The sheer aura of perfection that surrounded this woman had him scared out of his socks.

“Was there something you wanted from me?” Freya whispered into his ear. Her lips brushed against his cheek and he went weak at her touch. He took a deep breath as his head fell back into her hand. Unconsciously, he raised the twenty-dollar bill to her. She took it from him and began to gently kiss his arm. The Goddess grimaced at the taste. It was like dirt, salt, and bile all at once but she remained composed.

“Do you want me to have this?” she asked.

Speech was now almost impossible for him. All he could do was wheeze, “yes,” and nod.

“Mmmmm…thank you for the money, sweetie. You are as generous as you are handsome,” she cooed into his ear. Freya took his hand and placed it upon her breast.

“Was there something you would like me to do in return? Perhaps…” she let his fingers wander across her chest as she spoke.

He began to nod more wildly as she moved his hand down her stomach and between her legs. Desire and anticipation were starting to overpower his sense of fear and inadequacy.

“Ohhhhhh, so that is what you want to buy from me. Baby, I just had to be sure.” Her voice was like honey as she spoke these words. She looked side to side very cautiously and then ran her hand up his shirt. He closed his eyes and felt his whole world go warm as she touched him. Then, without warning he was blinded by a flash of extreme pain. He shuddered as life left his body. Freya covered his mouth with her free hand to keep the man quiet but the driver was dead before he had a chance to scream.

Moments later Freya sat on the pavement, her back against the rear bumper of the Dart. She wiped as much blood off her hands and body as she could with her scarf. It was still early so it would be at least an hour before anyone discovered the body. The papers were going to have a field day with this one. It isn’t often that a man is found with his heart ripped out and lying in the seat next to him. Stuffing the twenty into his mouth would have been poetic justice for the insult, but money is money. She put it in her purse instead…along with the other four hundred dollars she found in his wallet.

Freya slipped the jersey back on. It was a deep red in color so any blood that she got on it wouldn’t show. She got up and made her way to the nearest corner, leaving the alley as quickly as she could. From there she waited for a cab to pass. With a weary wave at the yellow car she hailed her ride home. She was tired and a little stressed as she got into the taxi. Her thoughts were so focused on a warm bath and the comfort of her Manhattan apartment that she completely overlooked the strange mist that had filled the alley where her victim lay dead.


Brian James is a professional writer whose work has appeared in a number of mainstream publications. In the past he has written articles for the Detroit Free Press, The World Poker Tour magazine, Classic Rock Magazine, Audi’s various publications, and a score of websites. While working with the World Poker Tour, and a subsidiary website, Brian was also responsible for celebrity and player interviews.

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