Cupid’s Day Off
Part 3: Carl’s Catastrophic Commission
A few days had passed since Carl completed his temporary commission as Cupid. He’d felt nothing but pride at how he handled the job. But for some reason he’d yet to hear from Cupid himself on what kind of impact his performance had made on Cupid High Command.
Nervously, he now sat in Cupid’s chambers waiting for the big man to arrive and tell him what he was hoping was very good news. His Valentine’s Day job had gone quite well and smooth after those first couple of cases. He’d managed to fit in at least a dozen more pairings and at least one grouping where he found the arguments far too common among everyone in the room. But all had been taken care of. Not a single one was left in disagreement. They all had allowed the magic of Cupid’s arrows and the power of lust to be their resolution to any problems they may have previously had. How could that not be a good thing?
Cupid had a look when he walked into the room. And it wasn’t a look of pride. It was a look that told Carl something was wrong. Something was clearly very bad and he only prayed it wasn’t anything to do with him.
“You,” Cupid said bluntly. “You stupid little sack of unicorn dung.”
Carl swallowed slowly. “Um... me, sir?”
Cupid stood there opposite the smaller man. “Yes you. Only you could completely ignore my direct warning about not using the lust settings so blatantly. Only you could pay absolutely no attention to my repeated warnings on not solving disagreements with arrows. And only you could completely ignore basic analysis of a pairing before firing the Cupidator 3000.”
Carl shrunk back a bit in his chair. “I thought everyone seemed very happy with the results.”
Cupid laid a file folder on the table in front of Carl. “Have you reviewed any of these biographical info packets on those you visited that day?”
Carl felt a bead of sweat break out on his forehead. “Er... not really. But they all seemed to be paired up well and the Cupidator 3000 assured me they were all compatible.”
Cupid strolled away, throwing his hands in the air. “Of course they were compatible you idiot. They all fell within the age range. But that doesn’t mean the pairings were appropriate. I told you, being a cupid is about responsible analysis. It takes a very fine touch to know what’s a good couple and what’s a wrong one.”
Carl was looking at his lap. “I made some wrong ones?”
Cupid stormed forward, slamming his hands on the opposite side of the desk. “You made all wrong ones, you poor excuse for a cupid.”
Flipping open the file, Cupid pointed to the first couple listed.
“You remember these two?”
Carl looked at the pictures of the woman and the younger man. “Yes, I found them arguing in the hallway of a public building. After using the Cupidator 3000, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other, ended up finding a nice private closet in the building and humping like bunnies. I thought they ended up very happy.”
Cupid rolled his eyes. “You pile of pixie paste, look at their names.”
Carl read the names, then looked up at Cupid confused.
“Oh come on, they have the same last name, doesn’t that tell you anything?”
Carl simply shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t a lot of humans have the same last name?”
Cupid slammed his fist down. “Yes, many of them are called families you clod. That pairing was a mother and son.”
Carl wasn’t entirely sure what that meant but figured it must’ve been wrong somehow. He looked back at the file as Cupid flipped the page.
“And this little group activity. You didn’t think it might be stupid to use the Cupidator 3000 five times on the same individual?”
Carl recalled this and knew it might be questioned but it was more than justified by the situation.
“I was only trying to make sure they were happy on Valentine’s Day. The one young woman was clearly argumentative with those other five young men. I felt that she ended up very satisfied. I know the young men were.”
Cupid was nearly turning as red as the heart emblem on his jacket. “Of course they ended up satisfied. They literally fucked the poor girl into the hospital. And then she got kicked out of the hospital for allowing them to stay in her room and continue fucking her brains out.”
“But they weren’t arguing anymore.” Carl said proudly.
Again Cupid seemed ready to attack the smaller man. “Look Carl, in the file right there it makes it more than clear. These six individuals were all fellow college students in a debate club. They were practicing for an upcoming debate when you decided to fuck things up by making them forget all about class assignments and instead screw each other like animals.”
“Oh...” Carl said quietly.
Cupid flipped through the remainder of the folder quickly. “Look at the mess you made. An older married cop and a college student, a married couple and their teenage babysitter, and what about the two at the church. Didn’t that strike you as somehow wrong?”
“The church?” Carl asked. “I thought that was fine, a man, a woman, nothing wrong. They weren’t even having much of an argument.”
“You’re right, they weren’t. But didn’t what they were wearing clue you in to anything?”
“For crying out loud, how did you make the top of your class if you can’t even recognize basic human professions? Those two were not even supposed to feel what you made them feel. It’s part of their job not to.”
“Why?” Carl asked.
“Because one was a priest, the other a nun, you toadstool.”
Cupid grabbed the file folder and walked away. “Just pack up your stuff and get out of here Carl. I don’t want to even hear your name in the same sentence as cupids-in-training again. Consider this your final meeting.”
Carl did as instructed, feeling completely defeated. He carried his bags loaded down with all his theories on how lust could create union and how the world would be a better place if disagreements were solved in the ways he’d tried to demonstrate. Carl wondered what he’d find to do now. His entire life had revolved around becoming a real Cupid, a trusted holder of the Cupidator 3000. Without that, he was nothing.
“Psssst... Hey you, Carl right? Come here.”
Carl looked towards the dark and dingy hallway he’d just passed. Someone was holding a tall metal door open and in the dark silhouette, Carl saw glowing red eyes staring out at him.
“Me?” He asked.
“Yes you, Carl, that is your name, isn’t it?”
Carl nodded and looked around again.
“Well get in here. You just got canned by Cupid right?”
“Yes.” Carl said. He spoke as defeated as he felt.
“Well Carl, this is your lucky day,” The thick gravelly voice said. “My associates and I have a special position that just opened up and we’d like to hear more about your theories on solving disagreements.”
Carl walked towards the door, passing the cobwebs and flickering light bulbs. “Wow, really? That would be great. Will I get to help couples like Cupid does?”
The door was only open a short distance but Carl could feel the heat from the room beyond. It seemed to glow almost as red as the eyes this strange dark figure had trained on his bags.
“Of course, that’s what we’re all about in this department. We have long held the premise that spreading lust on the earth is much more important than the Cupid High Command would have you believe.”
Carl stepped through the door into the hazy sauna of a room. “Wow, that’s exactly what I tried to prove. I just needed the Cupidator 3000 to prove it.”
The darkened faces of his new companions seemed to lighten a bit in the surrounding torches. “Well we have something much more powerful than a Cupidator down here. Allow us to show you what you’ll be working with.”
As Carl was led down some stairs and into a humid pit of a room, he realized that maybe things turned out well after all. He may not have proven himself to Cupid but at least someone recognized his efforts.
Cupid laid back in his chair with a cold towel on his head. Why did he have to take a vacation? Why did he have to leave for Valentine’s Day? And why couldn’t he have gotten someone better prepared than Carl?
He stared at the closed file folder. Fixing that mess was going to take forever and he just wasn’t up for it.
Banishing Carl from the cupids-in-training program wasn’t something he planned to do earlier, but sometimes he just had to make the tough decisions. Unfortunately that meant Carl was a free agent now and there were some competing ideals out there that Cupid now worried might jump on the opportunity to hire a man like Carl into their organizations. Some of them represented the darkest desires against mankind and having someone who actually served as a Cupid, even if only for a day, might be just the problem he didn’t need right now.
Now he knew why, Cupid thought. Now he knew precisely why he hadn’t taken a day off in so many centuries. One thing was certain above all others. He felt somehow positive this wasn’t the last he’d hear of Carl.