That’s what the other Underworld figures were calling him, but Charon couldn’t give a damn what they thought. He was sure it was mere jealousy. If they weren’t already in Hell, he’d suggest that’s where they should go.
The brilliant idea of upgrading his digs and appearance had been whispered in his ear by a recently deceased drag queen. Boomers through to Millenials, were no longer awed by the dark, sordid atmosphere they found themselves in after death, nor fearful of his rough, unkempt look. It was time for a makeover.
He sat down during a particularly quiet time and devised a business plan. He took it to Hades who looked it over and rubber stamped it on the understanding he got a slice of the profits.
Charon upgraded his rusty ferry for a luxury cruiser, reno’ed the cavern to imitate a bright sunny day on the Med, and man-scaped himself to look like a hipster barista — man-bun and beard included. A splash of Tom Ford cologne was the finishing touch. He’d switch people’s view of him, maybe even score a date or attract a mate and end his solitary existence.
Charon’s first trip across the River Styx as the new and improved ferry master had him as nervous as a nun at a penguin shoot.
The freshly deceased lined up in an orderly fashion, some somber, others disoriented. Denial, anxiety, and anger were always commonplace. Hopefully all his hard work would be a soothing balm. He stood on the deck greeting passengers and collecting their fare. A few poor souls were turned around for non-payment, he would collect them in a hundred years time.
‘Well, hello. I didn’t expect to meet someone so fetch down here,’ said the very last man to board.
Charon blushed at the compliment, well, what he assumed was a compliment. He had no idea what ‘fetch’ meant, but the fine specimen handing him a coin looked like he wanted to do the horizontal tango with Charon right then and there. Charon’s hand trembled as he held it out for the fare.
‘Hmm, I’ve heard it’s unwise to pay the ferryman till he gets you to the other side,’ the passenger said, winking.
Charon giggled. Giggled? Since when does a deity giggle? He blushed even more, feeling as if a fire was burning inside his head. He wouldn’t be surprised if he spontaneously combusted right then and there.
‘I’m Jeremy, by the way.’ Charon found his hand suddenly encased by hands both strong and gentle, an intoxicating combination. He would’ve happily drowned in Jeremy’s eyes, and that mouth was so sensual he felt stirrings at the thought of —
‘Any chance we could find an out of the way spot on this vessel of the damned?’ Jeremy purred.
Charon shook his head to clear it of his not so pure thoughts, then nodded enthusiastically.
‘I just had a spa installed below deck. Care to … christen it?’
‘Heaven,’ said Jeremy.
Kim Hart lives in the Snowy Mountains region of southern NSW, Australia. She writes micro-fiction, flash fiction, poetry, and has numerous novels in varying stages of completion. When she’s not writing she enjoys coffee, tea and Netflix.