* * * * *
Zeus and the Fates had eager grins on their faces as they watched, via the magni-scrying glass, Vanessa Ferrari slowly and gently lifting shrunken Bob Bullfinch toward her puckered lips. Yet, just as the Italian gymnast was about to kiss the upper torso of her naked little prize...
"Thunderation!!!" bellowed Zeus: "What happened? Where did he go?"
"I happened to him, Father," said a new (and decidely male) voice in reply.
Zeus and the Fates turned as one. There, standing behind them, was none other than Hermes: mischievous main messenger of the "gods!"
"Alright!" demanded Lachesis (middle sister of the Fates): "How did you find out? I thought your day job as American sports writer, 'Mark Curry,' would keep even you too busy to notice."
"Silly girl!" Hermes laughingly exclaimed: "Considering how fast I can get around, there is nothing that can escape my notice, for long."
"Fine," replied Zeus: "You've made your point and had your fun. Now, put him back and let us go on with our experiment."
"I'm afraid I must refuse, Father."
Zeus' entire form began to crackle with electricity at this impertinent reply.
"Please, calm down, Father. Long enough to let me explain, anyway."
With Lachesis and her sisters placing reassuring hands on both his shoulders, Zeus (reluctantly) did as requested. Following which, Hermes quickly ran back out the way he had come in. Swiftly returning with Thalia, the Greek Muse of Comedy!
And, there, in the palm of her outstretched right hand was Little Bob Bullfinch. Sound asleep.
"At my insistence, Thalia has agreed to draw a comic strip reminiscent of what the mortals call 'an animated cartoon.' The storyline depicted in that comic strip will be an automobile race between caricatures of Vanessa Ferrari...and Jordyn Wieber."
"Thalia and I think the latter deserves him, as a consolation prize, just as much as the former. But, we anticipated you might disagree. Hence, this proposal. And, whichever of these young mortals wins, gets to take the little man home for keeps. What do you say, Father?
Is it a deal, by the River Styx?"
Zeus looked at Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Each one of whom eagerly nodded her approval! So, Zeus (reluctantly) nodded, as well.
Whereupon, Thalia lifted her left hand, which turned out to be holding a scroll. At the same time, she carefully (though, not completely) enclosed her right hand around Little Bob. She then filled the gap in her right hand with the center portion of the scroll. At which point, she gave a nod to Hermes, who subsequently unfurled it.
Revealing a parchment seemingly as limitless as any of the tapestries woven by the Fates!
* * * * *
SOMEWHERE IN THE SECOND DIMENSION
When Bob woke up, he was initially disoriented. A moment later, however, he suddenly recalled everything he had been through. Yet, the gymnastic giantess who had been about to kiss him was nowhere in sight! Could that mean he really had been having a nightmare? And, that he was really still aboard that jetliner, en route to London, with his brother Gabe?
Two things swiftly proved him wrong.
First off; what he initially thought was a very narrow and uncomfortable bed soon turned out to be a giant flagpole...with a giant green flag hanging downwards from it. And, with himself, Scotch-taped to the underside of it!
Secondly? There was the near-deafening announcement that came over a pair of loudspeakers atop an even more gigantic flagpole.
"Ladieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees, and gentlemen. Today's race is a special, winner-take-all event. With Mr. Robert Bullfinch as first prize! Coming up to the starting line, in a 2012 Ferrari California, is that glamor gal of the gas pedal; Penelopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Pitstop!!"
Thunderous applause ensued.
"And, driving a custom-restored 1967 Ford Mustang GT California Special, her challenger. From Italy, via Bedrock, USA; Pebbles...PAESANOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
More thunderous applause. Following which, the announcer said:
"Last, but not least? The honorary waver of the starting flag for today's race; Trixie 'Mrs. Speed' RRRRRRRRRacer!"
Yet, more thunderous applause. When it finally subsided, the announcer asked Trixie if she was ready. She nodded. Whereupon, the announcer thunderously told her to wave the green flag!
Consequently, Little Bob felt a powerful surge of vertigo that left him seeing multiple (two-dimensional) images. While the announcer simultaneously screamed:
"AND, THEY'RE OFF!"