“The Goddess’s Resignation,” by Laurie Brown-Pressly

Aug 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

I read through the company-wide email and my hands tremble. Although I recognize the entire middle section as my work, I read it through four more times to be sure. My work has Reginald Douchebag O’Donald’s name on the by-line. Then, I remembered. Our Thursday evening meeting ran long. I’d grown weary of Reginald’s leering and his double entendres, and I was ready to go home. While our team was waiting for our boss to approve a draft, Reginald asked to borrow my laptop for a last minute change to his fantasy football roster; his computer wasn’t connecting to the internet. Sure, I said, and slid the machine across the table hoping this would keep him distracted until the boss returned. How could I have been so naïve? Now he has used my work to get the promotion.

My eyes are burning to betray me. But I will not cry. The last time I allowed myself to cry, I flooded the Nile. Instead, I think. I decide to confront Reginald directly, hoping he will confess and repent.

Reginald sits behind his desk and offers me a seat. His chair is not standard office issue. It is large and ornate and is meant to make him appear like a king on a throne. Instead, he looks like Edith Ann. I, on the other hand, am Alice in a diminutive chair so close to the floor that my modest B-cups are practically resting on my knees.

“You can’t prove anything,” he says before I even open my mouth. “And I need this promotion more. I’m the breadwinner in my family. Do you know how much private school costs? Besides, with those long legs, you won’t be single for long. Then, this ‘career'”—yes, he used air quotes—”of yours will just be a hobby.”

I slam his office door on my way out. His dishonesty and sense of entitlement only irritate me. But the comment about my legs and the insinuation that one day I will become a complacent bride who relies on a husband incenses me. In Egypt, I resurrected my husband. In Hebrew, I am the divine She. According to the Greeks, I am the embodiment of the Book of Wisdom. Some even call me the precursor to Madonna. But in the here and the now, I am a mere woman with nice gams.

As I make the long walk down the institutional gray hallway, I consider summoning a funnel cloud to suck Reginald out of the building and whirl him into the darkest corner of the ocean, but in the here and the now, I no longer handle problems with over-reaching power or magic. Instead, I go into my office and gently close the door. I sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor and close my eyes. I inhale through my nose and hold my breath for a 12-count. Then, I slowly release the breath through my mouth just as Sid coached me. Some of the anger lets go of my being. I take three more deep breaths before I calmly compose a group text to the IC—my inner circle.

Me: I was passed over for the promotion. Reginald got it instead. SMH. He even stole part of my report and used it as his own work. FML. I need a night out. #humaningishard

Jesus is this first to respond.

Jesus: New phone. Who is thou?

I’m not shocked by his antics. I expect this kind of whimsy from the accomplished illusionist who loves to make everyone ooh and ah by walking on water, turning water into wine, or pulling a baker’s dozen baguettes from his small man’s purse to feed unexpected guests. But today, I am not in the mood. I tell Jesus to knock it off, reminding him I was there just a month ago when he bought his new phone—the Infinity 316 or something. I watched him sync with THE Cloud and copy his contacts. I add that he texted me just yesterday saying he was going fishing with John.

Jesus: JK. LOL! Seriously, you must try to love your enemy. If you want peace, you have to forgive Reginald.

Me: Is that what your dad would do?

Jesus: The Almighty? Heck no! He’d probably send the guy a gaggle of frogs infected with leprosy.

Athena: Let’s grab dinner and troubleshoot this. Algonquin at 7?

I can’t remember existence without Athena, my sister in spirit. We’ve marched shoulder to shoulder into battle. We’ve endured the worst of humanity and divinity, but we’ve toasted the best. Her resolve complements my creativity and keeps me grounded.

Me: Good idea Athena!

Dalia: Yes! I have a coupon for a free appetizer!

Jesus: Love their house wine. I’m in. Anyone up for a pedicure first?

Sid: Sorry I can’t make it. Freyja and I are going to see Teen Spirit—that Nirvana cover band. Keep us in the loop tho.

Rama: I may be late. Order for me. Fish and chips—no tartar.

Jesus: No takers on the pedicure? You shouldn’t neglect your feet.

Sometimes, I feel Jesus is too in touch with his humanness. Or maybe I am just envious of his ability to adapt.

I’m lost in thought, so I jump when my phone buzzes. Freyja is texting just Athena and me.

Freyja: Male mortals seem to cause a lot of this world’s problems. Sorry I can’t be there for you tonight. Remember Sophia, chin up or your crown will slip.

I smile remembering the first time I met Freyja the feminist. She was brash and braless, yelling into a megaphone at an equal pay rally. Later that night, she joined Athena and me for drinks. Up close, Freyja was quite beautiful. I only had to listen to her talk for a few minutes before I realized she was quite savvy. That night, she drank ale and fiddled with her ornate necklace as she raged against the current corporate structure that demonizes critical thought and marginalizes women. Between rants, she bragged that her beloved home country of Iceland was a leader in bridging the gender gaps, and she quoted Margaret Atwood. Her wit was swift and sharp, and Athena and I recognized her as a kindred spirit.


I leave the office early and hit the gym. With each cardio kick, I imagine my long legs connecting with Reginald’s head. By the time I finish my workout, my long black hair is wet with sweat. In the locker room, I get a PM.

Jesus: Ran into John at the nail salon. Mind if he comes to dinner?

I sigh. Jesus knows I’m not crazy about John. He tries to emulate Jesus but just gives off that Single White Female vibe—except in the case of John and Jesus, it’s more of a Celibate Jewish Rabbi thing. John’s pompous, and he constantly brags that he is Jesus’ bestie, like we’re in kindergarten. Despite his friendship with Jesus, John simply isn’t one of us. Besides, right now, I really just wanted to be surrounded by my IC.

Me: If John comes, Dalia will beg off and Rama will use his “special diet” excuse to avoid dinner.

I add The Scream emoji to let Jesus know he’s pushing my buttons.


At dinner, everyone listens patiently as I share my story and my frustration.

Dalia asks if I really want to be part of the corporate machine. “Why don’t you join me at the non-profit? We can redistribute some wealth together. The non-profit can always use someone with your wisdom, Soph.”

Jesus nods his approval.

Athena eats the olive out of her martini. Then, she focuses her grey eyes on Dalia and reminds her of my massive student loans. Although Athena is a daddy’s girl and never has money problems, she is judicious. If I leave my job, I will need to find another one or risk ruining my credit.

When Rama arrives, he encourages me to issue a formal protest in writing. If that doesn’t work, he suggests I organize the other female workers—be a real-life Norma Rae.

Athena jokes that in the old world, she could have simply turned Reginald into a spider.

Jesus tries to ignore Athena and suggests I turn the other cheek.

His idea is virtuous, but virtues don’t pay student loans. I lament that if I were still in Egypt, I could train an asp to bite him. But we are here and we are now.

Since we are here and now, Athena says I must approach this problem logically. The IC members help me generate a list of my attributes. I screen shot my original report to offer as evidence. Then, I email my boss to request a meeting. By the time the entrees arrive, I feel better. I can make a coherent argument and support it with reason and evidence. However, leaving the restaurant, Athena pulls me aside and proposes I update my resume just in case. She reminds me Sid’s dad is loaded and may be able to offer me a job—even if it’s just for the short term.


The next morning, I find an email from my boss waiting on my phone. He wants to take me to lunch to discuss my concerns. I send another group text to the IC to let them know about the meeting. Within minutes, my phone blows up.

Apparently, Jesus has reconsidered and thinks I need to take a bolder approach with Reginald and my boss.

Jesus: Don’t be afraid to knock over a few tables to make your point.

Rama: Ignore JC. Treat your boss the way you want to be treated.

Dalia: Good luck. I just know that everything will work out.

She attaches a picture of a dog dressed as a leprechaun. It makes me smile.

Sid: Take deep breaths. You’ve got this girl. When this is resolved, you should schedule a juice fast to rid your body of the stress toxins. I can hook you up with my juice guru.

Athena: Stay calm and make your points clearly. Appeal to his sense of reason.

Freyja: But stand up for yourself. Don’t take any crap.


Over Caesar salads, my boss admits Reginald’s report is similar to mine. (It’s word for word.) He tells me I am doing a great job and should definitely apply for the next management opening. He suggests Reginald could serve as my mentor. I tell him about the leg comment. He gives a nervous laugh and rationalizes that Reginald probably feels the stress of the new position. Then, my boss reminds me that he will be paying for lunch and changes the topic to the weather. Apparently, our area is under a flash flood warning, but I don’t think I have anything to do with that. I let him drone on, and when I’ve finished my salad, I order the most expensive entrée. I eat half, request a doggie bag, and then order two desserts. As I am eating my feelings and a slice of chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, my phone vibrates.

I check the screen to see a social media memory, a picture of Athena, Meddi, and me. We are smiling, arms linked, unaware that Meddi was in such an abusive situation. Within months, she would disavow us, her sisters, and begin a descent into madness. Athena and I would watch, helplessly as the darkness overtook her. But in this picture, Meddi is whole and we are happy.

I take another bite of cake. Then, I give my two weeks’ notice.

Back home, I watch the raindrops roll down my window pane while I update my resume and eat leftovers. Athena and Freyja stop by. Freyja eyes sparkle as she pulls a bottle of bright red nail lacquer, a nail file, and a bottle of wine from her purse, “We thought you could use a spa night.”

Athena goes to the bathroom and returns with a hairbrush and three plush beach blankets. She spreads the blankets out and gives me a wistful smile, “We can pretend we are back in the old world, looking out over the blue sea with temples that were erected for us at our backs.” I smile back, knowing she had also seen the old photo of three young goddesses.

I am thankful for everyone in the IC but especially for Athena and Freyja. They get me. We remind each other that we are more than beauty, that we are more than shadows of the masculine. For wisdom goddesses in the here and the now, the struggle is real, as real as it was for the forgotten goddesses, for Dinah and Agnes.

Athena pulls the brush through my dark hair that is still damp from walking home from work in the pouring rain. As if she can read my mind, Athena says, “Male against female. Humanity against divinity. The struggle will continue as long as the moon pulls at the sea.”

“That’s uplifting,” I say flatly.

“But there will be other days. Other jobs. Other challenges. Other successes. And we have eternity to balance the scales, to shatter those glass ceilings.”

“I can’t use ‘magic’ in the here and the now,” I make air quotes as I say the word magic. “But I can probably kick through the glass with my long legs.” My words are thick with sarcasm but my spirit is renewed.


Laurie Brown-Pressly is an English Instructor at Greenville Technical College in SC. Her writing has appeared in WOW! Women on Writing, and Stoneslide Corrective. She is a wife and proud mother of one human teen and two cuddly rescue dogs. She enjoys Cubs baseball, Stephen King novels, and ice-cream, and her favorite David Bowie song is “Ashes to Ashes.”

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