Battle at the Car Wash
There is a constant struggle between the gods that is fought every day. Normally this is confined to the hearts and minds of the wavering souls that walk the desolate earth. However, there are those among us that take the fight to the mortal realm, the gods battling as avatars for eternal conquest.
Our story begins in the quiet suburb known as Addison, Texas. The day was a Tuesday, which began much like any Tuesday. The sun rose gracefully in the East illuminating the frustrated mob of citizens trying to get to work, but stuck in a glut of gridlocked traffic. The slow bumper-to-bumper line of cars moved at a snail’s pace inching its way along towards inevitable doom.
In the midst of this terrible traffic was a gleaming angelic white 1976 Ford Thunderbird, a truly magnificent sight to behold... or at least it would be had it not been pelted with insects, dirt, and car exhaust fumes on its trip up here from San Antonio. Fortunately this driver’s destiny was leading him to a local car wash.
The Thunderbird turned sharply into the unsuspecting establishment’s parking lot, nearly jumping the concrete curb. Its engine roared with a rush of regal feline fury, as if a thousand housecats were purring at once, signaling to all in the area its divine presence.
The door opened, a steel-toed black leather boot hit the pavement, and within three seconds the driver was out of his car ready to face his nemesis. His skin was pale with spiky blonde hair and steel blue eyes hungry for bloodshed. His clothes spoke for his commitment to purity swaddling him in perfect white slacks, an immaculate button-up shirt and stark white trenchcoat that flowed in the morning breeze.
The help was quick to assist this perfectly posed person.
“Good morning, sir!” a sun-crisped old man sporting a polo shirt and ballcap called as he rushed up. "Do you need the full treatment?"
"Excuse me?" the fair-skinned fellow asked, never lifting the tension from his face.
“Y'know, wash n' wax, vacuum n' shampoo, detail the inside,” the fast talking old timer clarified. "It's only $32.99 and save your receipt, ‘cause we guarantee your wash for two weeks in case it rains."
The mysterious man was not moved. "I am looking for a man who answers to the name Hank Anderson. Do you know of this one, fair wash man?"
“Oh yeah, that’s the manager!” the old man said.
“Then I wish to see this Hank Anderson at once!”
“Oh yes, sir. Yes, sir! … uh he’s not in any trouble is he?” the wash whelp whimpered.
“No... no trouble at all,” the stranger smirked. “Now go and retrieve your manager, lest I gouge your eyes from their sockets and feed them to the carrion eaters!”
A few minutes later the manager’s office door opened and out stepped a portly and balding pale-skinned man. His gray hair was styled into a messy and rather unconvincing combover.
“ARE YOU THE ONE KNOWN AS HANK ANDERSON!?”
“I’m Hank. How can I help you today, Mister...?” the portly man nervously asked.
“I go by many names, but you know me as.... Mithras!”
“I’m sorry, son, but I don’t know you,” Hank shrugged.
Mithras reached into the back seat and took out his sword. It was a heavy single-edged cleaving sword; the thick blade’s mirrored edge glistened in the morning sun. “Why do you conceal your true form in that fleshy man-suit? Do you fear me?”
Hank took a step back. “What’re you talking about?”
Mithras gritted his teeth. “SHOW YOURSELF, DEMON!”
Suddenly there was a sound as if a terrible crash of thunder ripped through the air in a flurry of horrific screams. Hank Anderson was no more, and in his place stood a twelve-foot-tall purple dragon. Two rows of blackened barbs traversed down its spine extending out to a terribly thick tail. Its muscles rippled refracting sunlight off his lustrous scales in the morning sun.
"Ah, Mithras," the dragon bellowed. "I would say it is a pleasure to gaze upon your countenance again, however I do not wish to be untruthful. The last time we met you were merrily drenched in the blood of five-hundred Roman soldiers."
“They were loyal to me and were willing to make sacrifices.”
“Yes, however it was unnecessary for you to slaughter them yourself,” the dragon said.
“And what of your followers, Tiamat? Where have they all gone to?” Mithras huffed.
“You know what happened at Etemenanki! I need not explain it any more!” Tiamat the dragon growled and brandished thirteen clawed talons. “Now let us do battle, but first...your vehicle appears filthy. Do you wish for my employees to demonstrate their car washing talents?”
'"Employees you call them, Tiamat! What happened to the slaves?"
"Slavery is frowned upon in this mortal world," Tiamat huffed. "You know full well that I consume my slaves when their tenure is done. However, that was the old way. In the spirit of the new way, and just to show I am such a nice person, I will give your vehicle a complimentary double hand waxing."
"Very well, beast!” Mithras bellowed. “I shall relinquish my transport vessel unto your...employees to truly see what divine sanitary gifts you have bestowed upon them.”
“Charlie!” the dragon roared. “Take this man’s vehicle and clean it thoroughly inside and out. Give his car the same care you would give your own swaddling babe.”
“Uh...” the sun-crispened Charlie stammered.
“Charlie, I may be an entity of chaos from the depths of the sea,” Tiamat growled, “however, I am still your boss!”
“Uh y-yes, sir,” Charlie said, and turned to Mithras. “What air freshener do you want? Cherry or lemon?”
“I desire the orgasmic aroma of fresh cherries in my vessel!” Mithras said, pointing his fearsome blade at Charlie’s sun-baked head. “However, be forewarned, employee Charlie...for if I discover a scratch on the glossy paint or a stain on the pristine white leather seats then be it on your head!”
Charlie acknowledged this threat and quickly took Mithras’ Ford Thunderbird to the vacuum station in back. Mithras did not tarry, and immediately charged the dragon who was also already advancing.
Mithras swung his shining blade with a ferocious vigor, which unfortunately missed the dextrous dragon Tiamat completely. Mithras swung again and again, but each attack was swiftly dodged. Tiamat retaliated and grabbed Mithras by the neck, and slammed his body into the pavement. Tiamat then swung its mighty tail and knocked Mithras into the stone facade of the office building across the street...
...causing thousands of dollars in property damage.
“YOU ARE WEAK, MITHRAS!” the dragon roared a terrible laugh.
Now the sheer force of the impact would be fatal to any mortal man, however Mithras had the good fortune to be a god. He crawled out of the rubble and stumbled to the street. He was fine, however the large amount of dust and debris had soiled his pure white clothes to a brownish gray.
“YOU SHALL NOT DEFEAT ME SO EASILY, TIAMAT!” Mithras yelled.
“I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT, MITHRAS! IT WOULD HARDLY BE A CHALLENGE!”
Mithras held his arm out to summon his majestic blade, which quickly returned to its master’s grip. He lept from the sidewalk to get back to the car wash, bouncing from rooftop to rooftop of the cars still stuck in gridlocked traffic. Normally the drivers of the cars would be a bit miffed at such a rude gesture that could scratch their paint, however they didn’t mind since they were getting a free show.
“YOUR MOCKERY ENDS HERE, BEAST!” Mithras shouted as he pointed his sword and fired a golden beam of energy at Tiamat. The dragon was not quick enough this time as the beam hit it squarely in the chest, knocking it back into a fuel depot at the nearby airport.
The fuel tanks exploded with a terrible force, sending metal and debris flying into the air. Normally this would be a devastatingly painful way to die for any mortal man, however Tiamat also had the good fortune to be a god.
“NOW WHO IS THE WEAK ONE?!” Mithras boasted.
From the rubble in the black plumes of smoke the dragon Tiamat emerged and fired a sweeping blue bolt from its maw, igniting the bumper-to-bumper gridlocked traffic and knocking Mithras into the three-story hotel across the street. The building toppled over, collapsing on itself and burying Mithras in a large pile of concrete and steel. The drivers may not have minded the stopped traffic to enjoy the show, however they may take slight offense to getting killed by a line of cascading fiery explosions and falling debris.
By this time the police had shown up to see what all the commotion was about. Because nothing really exciting ever happens in Addison the police weren’t really sure how to handle a situation of such deific proportions.
“Hey! Uh... can you guys.... uh stop that?!” the confused police officer stuttered through the megaphone. Tiamat responded by rushing forward and ripping the poor officer in half, which seems a rather excessive way to react considering the guy was just doing his job.
Mithras dug himself out of the collapsed building. By now the few surviving citizens with common sense had fled the area, leaving only our two combatants and the large number of not very bright onlookers. Tiamat picked up one of the flaming bits of twisted metal that was once a car and lunged it at Mithras.
The car missed Mithras and landed on a group of people trying to record the event on their camera phones.
“YOUR POWER HAS WEAKENED, TIAMAT! YOU CANNOT EVEN THROW A MERE MORTAL VESSEL CORRECTLY!” Mithras laughed.
“IT IS YOU WHO HAS BECOME WEAKENED, MITHRAS! I SHALL CRUSH YOU BETWEEN MY CLAWS AND FEAST UPON YOUR BONES!” Tiamat let out a furious shout. The two deities were so focused on their mutual destruction that they did not notice the dark swirling clouds forming in the sky, and didn’t pay attention until a great bolt of lightning landed right before them in the middle of the street. In the place where the lightning struck there was now a glowing portal of light.
“YOU’RE UNDER ARREST!” a familiar voice shouted from the portal, as a dozen men in bright white police uniforms stormed out and overpowered the two deific adversaries. Within the blink of an eye the two battling gods were on the ground and bound in glowing chains.
“Good work, boys!” a man in a dark blue trench coat and dapper fedora said as he strolled leisurely out of the portal. By all accounts this man looked, walked, and talked just like the famous former head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover.
“Make enough noise and soon enough the whole world will hear,” the mysterious man said as he puffed on a cigarette. “You’re supposed to be looking out for the people, not killing ‘em. What happened to being good stewards for the mortals?”
Something was clearly up, as there was definitely something off about this man.
“Who are you?” Mithras asked the mysterious man.
With a puff of smoke the guise was gone, and in Hoover’s place stood a tall dark-skinned old man with a bolo tie and feathers in his hair.
It was a ruse.
This phony J. Edgar Hoover was none other than Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit. The two dueling deities looked up dumbfounded.
“I’m sorry,” Tiamat whimpered.
“No you’re not,” the Great Spirit said as he strolled over to the car wash just as the 1976 Ford Thunderbird was getting finished with its complementary double hand waxing.
“Here you are, sir! Good as new!” the car wash attendant said, completely unaware that this person wasn’t the car’s proper driver.
“Thank you,” the Great Spirit said, as he handed the attendant a generous twenty-dollar tip. He got in the car and drove the pristine vehicle into the heavenly portal and disappeared.
“WHAT THE HELL?!” Mithras shouted. “Can you believe that?”
Tiamat started laughing. “Well, he is a trickster sometimes!”
“THE GREAT SPIRIT STOLE MY CAR!”