The eternal Venus…is one of the seductive forms of the Devil. - Charles Baudelaire
“It’s settled then; Xoblah will tell Her.”
“No, it is not settled! Why does it always have to be me who brings Her bad news? She’s started to call me ‘Petrel’ because She says my arrival always presages a storm.”
“But, sweetie, that’s just it; when you bring Her bad news She just calls you names, but whenever anyone else does it she’s set upon by dozens of cats, or thrown out of Heaven, or some other horrible thing. Remember the time She turned Ardath into an incubus?”
All eyes turned to the named girl, who softly moaned “It was awful!”
Xoblah sighed; “All right, all right.” She hesitated for a moment and then asked, “What name is She using these days?” The others looked askance, coughed or pretended not to hear the question. “Well?”
Empusa (who seemed to have been elected spokeswoman) answered in a low voice, “Ishtar.”
“What? You want me to bring Her bad news while She’s using Ishtar? She only goes by that name when She’s in an especially belligerent mood! Can’t this wait for a few years until She starts using ‘Venus’ or ‘Astarte’ again?”
Empusa gave her a pained look. “The longer we wait, the worse it will be.”
Xoblah knew she was right; the goddess hated being kept in the dark, and if She found out that the succubae had failed to tell Her about this problem in a timely fashion, they’d be lucky if She didn’t hurl them all into Tarterus for a few decades. Still, she needed time to build up her courage before facing the inevitable. “Why must mortals be so difficult?” she asked, to nobody in particular. “Why must they complicate everything? Out of the goodness of Her heart, the Love Goddess Herself recruited us, gave us eternal beauty, and empowered us to give the gift of sexual bliss to worthy mortals who weren’t getting any for whatever reason. And at first it was such an easy job!”
“Even that wasn’t so bad,” said Empusa, “once we learned to stay away from the Christian priests. It wasn’t until they somehow managed to convince themselves that sex was bad for them that it got really difficult.”
“But it really looked like things were improving again after the Seventeenth Century,” said Xoblah. “And the past few decades were as good as any; wasn’t it a laugh when we would appear as mortal women, and then the men would send their experiences with us to be published in magazines and everyone assumed they were making it up?”
“Those sure were fun times,” sighed Relah. “But now it seems like they’re all afraid of us again. The other day one insisted I provide him with an identification card, then kept asking me silly questions to prove my age.”
“Wait until you get one who wants to know where the hidden camera is,” said Empusa gloomily. “Or one who just wants to sit and watch porn with you.”
“The ones who insist on asking permission for everything are the worst,” opined Ardath.
“It’s no wonder so many of them can’t even get it up without pills,” sulked Xoblah. “What are they doing to themselves down there?”
Nobody had an answer, nor any idea of what to do about the situation; the solution would require godly wisdom. And as much as Xoblah hated it, she knew Empusa was right; for whatever reason, she had the best chance of presenting the problem to their mistress without provoking one of Her infamous tantrums. And there was no point in putting the ordeal off any longer; it wasn’t going to get any easier if she waited.
She soon found the goddess in the garden, having Her hair done by a nymph. As soon as She noticed the succubus, She called out “Why, if it isn’t the stormy petrel! And I was so enjoying my afternoon up until now.”
Xoblah smiled weakly, and tried to console herself with the thought that perhaps being turned into an incubus and having to deal with mortal women for a change wouldn’t be so bad. But somehow, she just couldn’t bring herself to believe it.
One Year Ago Today
“Wife Swapping” is the original name (and also the one I prefer) for the activity many now refer to as “swinging”.