Romulus and Remus
Life is Strife with Eris
[Deep in the Underworld, an audience of ghosts hoots and hollers in a dark, cave-like television studio.
The handsome Romulus stands and waves to them as Eris, a goddess with dark wings and a nasty look on her face, frowns from a chair behind him.
The goddess holds up her hand and the audience shuts up.]
Eris: Sit down, Mr. Romulus.
Romulus: Don't mind if I do. Hey, what a great studio.
Eris: Don't try to flatter me.
Romulus: I'm serious. Oh, I also have to tell you that I love the name of your show. Life is strife, that's for sure. I'm the son of Mars, so I know.
Eris: We prefer to use the Greek names for the gods on this show.
Romulus: Ares, Mars, he's still the same god of war, and he's still my dad. A lot of people question some of the things I did back when I was founding Rome. Maybe I was too violent or ruthless, but how could I help it? I mean, my dad is war itself.
Eris: Did I ask you to get introspective?
Romulus: Ha! I like you. I really do.
[He turns to the audience]
Romulus: Let's have a hand for Eris, huh?! Wow, what a goddess!
[The audience of ghosts claps and screams.
Eris jumps up and stomps her foot.]
Eris: Shut up!
[She rounds on Romulus, with her feathers bristling.]
Eris: You listen here, buddy. You may have been the first king of Rome, but you don't rule here. Sure, they made you a god after you died. Sure, you get to live on Olympus and all that. But that doesn't make you any better than any of us down in the Underworld.
Romulus: Whoa... heeeey, I gotcha. No worries. Wow, when you get all vicious like that you remind me of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled me in the wilderness when I was a baby.
Eris: Yes, Lupa... here's a question for you Mr. Big Shot Roman: were you alone when Lupa found you?
Romulus: I... well... no... not exactly.
Eris: What do you mean?
Romulus: Well... I... my brother was with me.
Eris: Oh yes, your twin brother. What was his name again?
Eris: You two grew up together, didn't you? Suckled by a she-wolf, fed by a woodpecker, taken in by Fastulus the shepherd.
Romulus: Yeah, that's all true.
Eris: When you found out your true identities, you fought together to get revenge on your great uncle Amulius, who kicked your granddad Nomitor off the throne of Alba Longa. Side by side, you threw down the evil uncle who forced your mother, Rhea Sylvia, to be a Vestal Virgin and tried to drown her in the River Tiber after Ares seduced her and she gave birth to you two boys.
Romulus: What's with the history lesson?
[Suddenly, a dude who looks a whole lot like Romulus stalks onto the stage with a drawn sword.]
Remus: Maybe she just wants the audience to know just how big of a jerk you are.
Eris: Oh, you remember your twin brother I see. Your twin brother... who you MURDERED!
Audience: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
Romulus: What's the meaning of this?! My agent didn't say anything about him being here.
Eris: I love a good surprise, don't you?
Romulus: Yeah, not so much.
Remus: What's the matter, bro? Scared to face me?
Romulus: I've never been scared of you!
[Romulus leaps to his feet, ripping his sword from its scabbard.]
Remus: Oh, are you going to cut me down again? Huh? Cut me down for another stupid reason like where to build our new city?
Romulus: The Palentine hill was obviously way better than the Aventine. Anyway, you mocked me by jumping over the wall I was building.
Remus: It's just a stupid wall! I was your brother!
Romulus: Hey, I'm sorry, alright?
Remus: Sorry! SORRY! You kill your own brother, and all you can say is sorry?! You are the reason Rome turned into such a violent empire. It began as a place that sheltered criminals, murderers, and thieves, and you were their corrupt king!
Romulus: I gave people a second chance! A new start! I also took in runaway slaves and others who had no place to go.
Remus: Yeah, and guess you got knocked out of the running for the Nobel Peace Prize after you and your gang of Romans tricked the Sabines into coming to play games, then kidnapped their virgin daughters!
Romulus: The Sabine women came to love us! We made peace with their people. We joined with them and the Lapiths too. Eventually we became one Rome. Rome, the city that became the greatest empire the world has ever seen. An empire that brought light and learning wherever it spread.
Remus: A brutal empire that enslaved all those it conquered! Rome was founded by the sword, expanded by the sword, and slain by the sword. You wouldn't believe how many were down here celebrating when your corrupt empire finally fell to the barbarians.
Romulus: How dare you!
[Romulus lunges at Remus with his sword. Steel clashes on steel, as Remus parries the blow.]
[The twins growl like wolves as they thrust and parry all around the studio.
Eris turns to the camera with an almost peaceful look on her face.]
Eris: Ahhhhh, the sons of war. I knew they wouldn't disappoint. Okay, well, we're going to go ahead and wrap this up. It could go on for a long time since one of them is immortal and the other is already dead.
[She looks back at the brothers fighting one last time.]
Eris: Beautiful, huh? I guess it isn't just life that's strife. Death is, too.