Cletus sat in a nice, grassy field, foggy and confused after teleporting off a spaceship in mid-hyperspace jump. As Cletus played with butterflies and flowers, dark clouds formed in the air above. A bolt of lightning shot down from the sky, electrocuting the poor caveman. His vision blurred over. Blue light blinded Cletus completely. A shadow the size of a mountain moved through the light toward Cletus.
“I have awaited your arrival, Old One,” a monstrous voice said, thunder echoing around Cletus as the shadow spoke.
“Who are you?” Cletus asked.
“I am Zeus, Lord of Olympus, most powerful of the gods, ruler of the skies,” the voice boomed. “I am sending you this vision.”
“I kind of already belong to one god,” Cletus said. “His name’s Buddha. He’s pretty cool. Maybe you know him?”
“Silence!” Zeus less as he hit Cletus with several more lightning bolts. “I will give you a great power to accompany that which was given to you by the fat, peaceful one if you agree to protect my son. He will be born of a mortal woman, and my wife Hera will try to kill him. Protect him, and you shall be rewarded.”
“Fine, just let me go,” Cletus agreed.
Cletus launched through the sky in a bolt of lightning. He landed in a massive explosion of fire and earth. As he crawled out of his crater, he noticed the day had grown dark.
Bastard wasted my whole day, Cletus thought.
Cletus smelled blood in the air around him. Cletus assumed some predator had killed an animal. If something had indeed killed something else, Cletus intended to steal the prey and eat the animal himself. Cletus set out stalking toward the scent of fresh blood.
Ten minutes later, Cletus came upon a house. Inside, a woman wailed in pain. Realizing the scent came from human blood disappointed Cletus. Then, he shrugged. Food was food. Cletus entered the house without knocking. Inside a man stood looking at the floor. Not far from the guy, an ugly woman kneeled with a basin of hot water and some rages. Another woman lay naked and screaming beside the ugly woman. Upon further inspection, Cletus realized the screaming woman’s loins appeared to be a frightening mess of blood. The thing looked like a sickly yellow abyss that stared back at Cletus. Cletus jumped back and looked away.
“I did not need to see that.”
“Who are you?” the man asked, only then noticing that someone had intruded into his home while he, his wife, and the ugly maid enjoyed the most unusual party Cletus had ever seen.
“I’m Cletus. I came because I smelled blood and heard screaming. What the hell is wrong with her?”
“My wife is giving birth to our first child,” the man said.
“Okay. So, the one screaming is the baby fountain. The ugly one is the midwife. Who’s the girl in the corner?” Cletus pointed to a woman tied up in the corner of the room, struggling to free herself.
“What are you talking about?” the midwife asked.
“What do you mean?” Cletus asked. “There’s a woman right there in the corner tied up with white cloth. She’s wearing a robe, has olive branches in her hair. I think she may have three breasts. She may or may not be glowing gold as well.”
“That’s Ilithyia!” the midwife shouted. “She’s the goddess of childbirth. I feared that she had abandoned Alcmene since the baby still hasn’t been born. You can see her?”
“Yeah, she’s tied up over there,” Cletus said. “I came here to get food, and if this lady is just gonna sit there tied up while all the childbearing is happening, I’m going to eat her.”
At this, Ilithyia screamed. While she jumped away from Cletus, the goddess managed to fight her way out of the ropes, as well as her robes. The naked goddess walked over to Alcmene and placed her hand on the pregnant woman’s stomach. Almost immediately, a baby slid from Alcmene’s loins. While the midwife cleaned the child and cut the umbilical cord, Ilithyia spoke to Cletus.
“So, you can see me?” the goddess asked.
“Yeah, why can’t they? Are they stupid? I mean, it’s cool if they are, but I feel that it’s something that I should know beforehand in case I decided to sleep with the ugly one.”
“No, I can see lightning in you. You’ve been given the Eyes of Zeus. You were chosen to defend this child from Hera’s wrath?”
“Yeah, how’d you know?”
“Who do you think tried to stop the child from being born?” Ilithyia asked.
“Sounds like a few gods I’ve met before,” Cletus said.
The father walked up to Cletus. “Please, since you freed Ilithyia and aided in the birth of my son, tell me your name so that he may carry it as well.”
“I already told you. My name’s Cletus, but you should call the kid Cletus Two or Clets or something else similar. I’m sort of going to be around for a long while, and I don’t need that kid ruining my good name.”
“I think we’ll call him Iphicles,” the father said.
“Suit yourself.” Cletus looked at the baby, who had been born with a full head of black hair. He then looked at the mother, a redhead. Cletus looked at the blonde father. He looked back at the mother. At the baby. At the father. At the baby. “Dude, you are most definitely not the father of that kid,” Cletus said. “She was getting porked by someone else. You should stone her to death and eat the bastard. Here, I’ll even help you. I’m super hungry.”
“Wait!” the father yelled.
“What?” Cletus asked. “Sorry, I don’t actually know where the hell I’m at, or why you’re wearing so many clothes, or how I know that we’re speaking Greek, or how I know Greek for that matter, but where I come from, that’s how this is handled. You kill the woman. Eat the kid. Find a new woman.”
“Listen, I’m Amphitryon,” the father said. “I’ll allow you to stay here in our home tonight as a reward for saving the goddess Ilithyia.”
Cletus slept in the same room as the baby, which sucked because the kid still smelled awful to the caveman’s sensitive nose. Cletus’s growling stomach kept him up since Amphitryon had failed to feed Cletus. The caveman contemplated the consequences of eating a baby that was possibly the child of the King of Olympus.
While weighing the pros and cons, Cletus heard something scraping across the stone floor. Lighting one of the candles in the room, he cast as much light as possible toward the noise. Two massive snakes coiled around the base the baby’s crib. One of them reared back to strike the baby.
“You aren’t eating my food!” Cletus shouted as he dove for the snakes. Cletus fought with the snakes, strangling them and tossing them about the room. After killing the snakes, Cletus ate them raw.
“Check it, Ifacletus,” he said to the baby, “this one had a rattle. Here’s your first toy. See? Your parents are deadbeats. I’m going to totally raise you as my own.”
Cletus looked up from his half-eaten snake as Amphitryon and Alcmene came into the room. “I saved your kid. You owe me three wishes,” Cletus said.
“Twice you have saved the life of my firstborn son,” Amphitryon said. “I must repay you greatly.”
“I’ve already told you this kid isn’t yours; however, gold will do nicely.”
“We have no wealth, but I can make you a member of this family,” Amphitryon promised. “I will adopt you as my foster son and provide for you until you are of age.”
“Despite my boyish good looks,” Cletus said as he scratched at his beard, “I’m pretty sure I’m older than you by a few thousand years. Who are you kidding with this foster son thing?”
“I could pay for teachers as I would for any other son. I’ll be sure to only get instructors who will teach you the finest arts that will reward with great wealth and fame.”
“That could work out,” Cletus replied. “I need a new gig ever since giving up on ruling the world.”
Cletus became Amphitryon and Alcmene’s adopted child. They had a horrible habit of calling the caveman Alcides instead of Cletus though. While there, Cletus wanted to be the best big brother ever and teach Ifacletus cool hobbies like ignoring their parents, spitting on things, pissing on people, pooping wherever he wanted, and being apathetic about everything. However, the kid seemed to be a master at most of those from the start.
Cletus learned to control the non-useless gifts granted to him by the Eyes of Zeus. The Eyes gave Cletus the ability to see and converse with the gods of Olympus. He could see spirits and other things that normally stayed invisible to regular people, like sound and smells. The Eyes of Zeus worked like being on numerous drugs at once. The Eyes increased Cletus’s reaction speed. His reflexes developed to lightning levels. The Eyes of Zeus led Cletus anywhere he needed to go with a trail of small balls of lightning. Cletus thought the Eyes let him see through his own clothes, but realized he had been naked for an extremely long time.
Amphitryon set Cletus up to become a painter. Cletus enjoyed art. He excelled at painting, but kept drawing boobs on everything. When his teacher told Amphitryon, Amphitryon became enraged. After Amphitryon chastised Cletus, Cletus progressed to just drawing dicks everywhere.
Since the art degree failed, Amphitryon hired a man named Linus to teach Cletus how to play music. Cletus sucked at everything except the lyre. Cletus learned to play the lyre like he had been born to do so. Cletus moved mountains with the instrument in his hands. Hearing Cletus play the lyre made women swoon and men weep. The kings of Earth bowed at Cletus’s feet whenever he played. Thanks to Linus, Cletus became the world’s first international rock star. At least Cletus would have done those things if Linus had not attempted to correct Cletus every time the caveman plucked a string. If Linus had not questioned Cletus’s talent with the lyre, Cletus would not have killed Linus with the instrument.
After Linus’s murder, Amphitryon banished Cletus to live in the mountains and take care of the family’s cows. This actually went well for a few weeks. Cletus lived on his own in the wild with nothing but trees and fields and cows around him. He only at to care for himself and all the cattle. Cletus needed adventure. Herding cattle bored Cletus. He found adventure in bare knuckle boxing with cows, which usually ended with Cletus eating the defeated cow. Often times he would just throw the cow over a cliff while screaming, “There can be only one!”
Once Cletus had slaughtered all the cattle, he wandered the mountains on his own. One day a trail of lightning balls appeared in the forests. Cletus followed the path to a small pond surrounded by willow trees. He heard small girls laughing in the clearing. From the water rose a tall, beautiful blonde with olive skin. Seashells and seaweed barely hid the woman’s delicate features. From the trees came a short, pale girl with shoulder length black hair and brown eyes. A full dress of grass and flowers covered the second girl from neck to ankle.
“We are nymphs sent by Zeus,” the blonde said.
“We are sent to reward you for protecting his mortal son, Iphicles,” the pale girl added.
“Hera no longer desires the life of the boy.”
“Zeus is giving you the opportunity to choose your reward since he forced you into his service.”
“I am Virtue,” the blonde said. “If you come with me now, Zeus will alter your destiny to ensure that you will live a peaceful life. You will have a life filled with women, riches, and happiness.”
“I am Pleasure,” the dark haired nymph told him. “To choose me would mean to choose a harsh, horrible, painful life, but it will be filled with glory and adventure.”
Cletus considered his options for a moment. “I’ll take you,” he said, pointing to Pleasure. “I’m not into blondes.”
Pleasure took Cletus’s hand and led him away into the forest.
Cletus lived a life of adventure. He discovered how to survive off the land and coax spirits and nymphs into helping him from the goat man, Pan. The goddess Artemis taught him how to make a bow and arrows. He learned how to correctly wrestle from Autolycus and even won several tournaments. Cletus captured and tamed a flying horse. Cletus killed a manticore and slaughtered a gorgon. Cletus gained a stable boy Iolaus as his chariot driver and best friend. Cletus murdered the Minotaur with only some string and his bare hands. Cletus agreed to save the city of Troy from a sea monster in exchange for magic horses, but when the king failed to follow through, Cletus destroyed most of the city. He killed the king and all but one of the king’s sons. He was attacked by the Dryopians while wandering the woods. After killing their king, the Dryopians gave up the king’s son, Prince Hyas, as a war prize to Cletus. Cletus employed the prince as a glorified pack mule. Cletus fathered the first of the Spartans and established the city of Toronto, Italy. He strangled Death and lost a drinking contest to the god of wine, Dionysus. Cletus even killed an immortal giant by choking the giant while holding it in the air.
Everyone in Greece knew the hero Cletus. Adventuring made him rich with many spoils including Medusa’s head, a golden veil, the Minotaur’s skull, a mirror shield, a helmet of invisibility, a magic box, and tons of other things Hyas had to carry everywhere. The city states made Cletus the High King of Greece, but since he never returned from exploring, they gave the title to Amphitryon’s nephew Eurystheus instead. Cletus ignored the slight because he married a princess anyway. Cletus married Megara, daughter of the king of Thebes.
Cletus and Meg produced several children, and life went well for a few years. Then, Hera finally decided to seek her revenge on Cletus for protecting Zeus’s bastard child. Hera enraged Cletus, driving him insane. He thought demons murdered his family. Cletus slaughtered the demons. His rage quenched, Cletus realized there had been no demons. Cletus had killed his entire family.
To make reprimands for this, Cletus travelled to see the Oracle of Delphi. Cletus pushed through the crowd to the front of the line. When he made it to the Oracle, Cletus ordered Hyas to toss all their war spoils into the temple’s collection pot. A young, scantily clad girl in purple silk rose from a steaming pool in the center of the temple. Her glazed eyes focused on Cletus as smoke filled the room.
“What do you seek?” the Oracle asked.
“I killed my family because I hallucinated from anger,” Cletus said. “How can I make up for that?”
“You must travel to the court of High King Eurystheus and offer yourself to him in servitude to cleanse your soul of these sins,” the Oracle said.
“No. I hate Eurystheus. He stole my job. He’s a bastard. I’m not doing that. Give me something different.”
“I cannot. This is your only option for redemption. If you refuse it, then you will lose your god-given power.”
“The Eyes of Zeus aren’t that useful. I survived a long time without them. I’m pretty sure losing them isn’t that big of a deal.”
“You will lose all of your power, not only those given to you by Zeus.”
“So, if I refuse to serve Eurystheus, I’ll turn back into a regular caveman who ages and is dumber than most vegetables? To hell with that. What do I have to do again?”
“Vow before me on the power given to you that you will serve Eurystheus.”
“I vow that I’ll serve Eurystheus,” Cletus said.
“Vow on your god-given power.”
“I vow on my god-given power that I will serve that thief, or I’ll lose my immortality and knowledge.”
“Now go,” the Oracle said.
Cletus, Iolaus, and Hyas travelled for many days to reach Argos. Once there, they requested an appointment to see High King Eurystheus.
“What do I need to do for you to expiate myself of the sins that I committed against my family?” Cletus asked Eurystheus.
“Well, we could make it simple,” Eurystheus said. “I require you to perform only ten meager tasks to be released of your servitude.”
“Fair enough,” Cletus said. “Am I gonna have to wash your dishes and make your food? I’m just gonna go ahead and throw it out there that in no way am I ever gonna wipe your ass for you, and I’m not performing any sexual favors unless it’s with your wife or daughters.”
“Let’s do this one step at a time,” Eurystheus said. “Your first task will be to kill the Nemean Lion.”
“So, I’ve got to kill an animal. No problem.”
“The Nemean Lion is a horrid monster that terrorizes the city of Nemea. It fell from the moon rather than be born of any creature. Its skin cannot be damaged. To kill it is your first task. If you live, bring me the head of the Nemean Lion, Alcides.”
Cletus snarled. “My name’s Cletus, and I’ll bring your scary kitten back.”
Cletus and his companions stormed out of the castle. As they did, a woman in beautiful purple robes with peacock feathers in her hair began to laugh hysterically at them.
“What’s your problem, old hag?” Cletus asked.
“Just your current plight, Champion of the Gods,” she mocked.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I’m Hera,” the woman said, “Queen of the Gods. I’ve come to destroy you. I used my power to tamper with the Eyes of Zeus and make you see your family as monsters. I controlled the Oracle to make her tell you to come to Eurystheus and wager your immortality against whether or not you would become his servant. I’m the reason he’s High King and not you. He swears all loyalty to me like the good pawn he is. You crossed me, Cletus, by saving my husband’s illegitimate, mortal son. Now, I’m going to kill you, but not before destroying everything you love and all your name stands for.”
“Why can’t you just kill your husband?” Cletus asked. “I mean, he’s the one that’s sleeping around. It’s not like that’s the only time either. I’ve heard all the stories about how freaky Zeus is.”
“Silence you pathetic mortal. Do not pretend to understand the Gods of Olympus.”
“I’m an immortal too. You just said that yourself, and I understand more than you. You’re not the first god that’s meddled with my life. You won’t be the last either.”
“I’m going to destroy you!” Hera screamed as she disappeared.
“Whatever you say, oh mighty queen.”
From that point on, Cletus vowed his revenge against Hera. To spite the goddess, Cletus took up the title of Heracles, the glory of Hera.