A darkened bedroom. Gaia, goddess of the Earth, giver of life, mother of all being, is sprawled face down on the bed in a wrinkled gown. Several empty bottles lie on the floor.
Uranus and Pontus enter.
Uranus: Mother Gaia, arise! The cosmic wheel has turned and we once again celebrate the equinox! We rejoice in your exquisite balance of darkness and light.
Gaia stirs but does not speak.
Pontus: Mother Gaia, we exult in this moment of renewal! Come forth and preside over the divine harmony you have brought into being.
Gaia slowly turns over, and squints at them.
Gaia: You’ve got to be kidding. What time is it?
Uranus: It is the emergent season of splendor, the —
Gaia: The time, idiot. Clock time.
Uranus: A little past the sixth hour.
Gaia: Six. Christ. (Places her fingertips on her temples.) Do you have any idea how I feel? It’s like nails are being pounded into my skull.
Pontus: The rhythm of life pulses through meadow, river, and sea as what has ended now begins anew.
Gaia: Glass shards in my brain. Metal spikes.
Uranus: Mother Gaia, the dawning day gives seed to the fire. All creation, which sprang from your womb, is set to commence rejoicing, a cacophony of nature’s wonder.
Gaia: No way in hell. I couldn’t stand even the tiniest noise right now. (Sits up.) Dear Lord, the room is spinning. Just get out.
Pontus: The drumming circle will urge forth the buds of new life under tonight’s nurturing moon.
Gaia: Oh my God. Are people still doing that? They’re like three-year-olds. Just what this hangover needs. Endless percussion.
Uranus: The multitudes assemble to cleanse the ritual space and worship you with song and dance.
Gaia: Every spring it’s prancing and cavorting, chanting my name and obsessing about the plants coming up. Surprise. They come up every year.
Uranus: The creatures of the earth seek comfort in charting the cycles and marking the end of the dark season. It gives them a sense of control. But we have our own rituals planned as well.
Gaia: Of course you do. I don’t know why I thought my sons would be doing something productive.
Uranus: We’re just meeting up with Persephone and pouring libations. She got in late last night. Her mom left a message on your machine—she sounds over the moon.
Gaia: She always flips out when Persephone comes home. I don’t know why she lets that girl sponge off her eight months out of the year. Who’s watching the sky while you’re playing down here?
Uranus: It will be fine. That thing pretty much runs itself.
Pontus: Mother Gaia, your followers just want to worship you and celebrate the fertile legacy you have bestowed. I beseech you to indulge them a moment.
Gaia: Or what, they’ll chant me to death? How do you think they’ll respond when I throw up, which is going to happen if I’m vertical more than 30 seconds? I imagine that could be traumatic.
Pontus: How about going to the picture window in the living room? A crowd has gathered in the front yard. Just spread your arms before you and encourage them to revel in your bounty.
Gaia: I suppose if it will let them keep their illusions. But you’ll both need to help me over there. (Stands slowly.) Oh, wow. Keep that empty urn handy.
With each arm supported by a son, she shuffles with them into the living room and falls on her face, out cold.
Uranus: She didn’t eat anything last night. That’s the problem.
Pontus: Mother Gaia, soul and spirit! Awaken and—
Uranus: Save the flowery talk, we’ve got trouble. The natives are getting restless.
Pontus: (Shouting to the crowd) It’s not how it looks! She’s fine! She just had a late night!
Uranus: We need to get out of here. The first thing they’ll do is sacrifice both of us to her. As far as they’re concerned she’s the only God there is. Our status is worthless.
Pontus: Let’s leave her where they can see her at least. Where can we lie low until this blows over?
Uranus: Demeter will take us. She’s so manic about Persephone she’ll agree to anything.
Pontus: We can’t just show up empty handed. Mom always has vodka in the freezer. I’ll grab a bottle.
Uranus: Whatever you do, make sure it’s not that pomegranate stuff. Can you imagine the reaction?
Pontus: Mother Gaia! We’re leaving now! See you in six months for the autumnal!
From the living room, the sound of shattering glass and angry howls.
Uranus: Never mind the bottle. Out the back door. Next spring, it’s definitely back to Cancun.