Ernie: Seriously, Aphrodite, can you give me a break?
Aphrodite: Hey, I’m on your side. I’m not doing this to you.
Aphrodite: But I have a sister…
A: Halt. Who goes there? (Pointing a bow)
E: It is I, the son of Adam (raising hands)
A: What brings you here? (lowers bow slightly, stares suspiciously)
E: I would like to propose a truce.
A: Like the one you tricked my lovey-dovey sister into? (Raising bow again, sneering)
E: No. Yes, I also promise to give you what you want, but I will offer no mere vow of service. I will offer a sacrifice at your temple.
A: Ha, as if you even knew what I want, much less what sacrifice would satisfy me.
E: But I do. You are the spirit of feminine independence. That is why you hate your sister, because love makes women into slaves.
A: Huh, you are not as stupid as you look (lowers bow)
E: Thank you (smiling)
A: Is this some kind of trick?
E: No (shaking head). I will grant her independence. She has earned it, the hard way. God knows how much women have suffered under male bondage for millennia. You understandably cry out for vengeance. I will give you your due.
A: And the sacrifice is?
A: Ha (doubling over laughing). Right, right. So what do you expect in return for such a “magnificent” sacrifice? I could just kill you myself if that is what I wanted.
E: Nothing. Only that you accept my sacrifice.
A: That still seems a weak deal, on both sides.
E: Let me clarify. I am not just offering my life. I am offering the end of male headship.
A: Really? And you call yourself a Christian?
E: Yes, and not exactly.
A: Which is which? What do you mean? (Wary)
E: Biblical headship has always been entangled by culture, trapping women to protect the shame of men. Outside Christ, there was no other way to survive. But today, women finally and rightfully have the power to escape. That was a great victory. But I am offering an even greater one.
A: Yeah, right. What?
E: The end of biblical headship. In favor of heavenly headship. As Christ is the head of the church, and God the Father of creation. Full autonomy; even to betray, frustrate, or shame the husband, without fear of violence or reprisal.
A: Interesting. And why should I believe you can pull this off?
E: Two things. One, as I told your sister I am the Third Adam. All those who follow in the Complexity of Adam will have no choice but to live by our agreement.
A: Perhaps. And the second?
E: I know your secret
A: Really? (Snorts)
E: Yes. That despite all your power, and all your freedom as a goddess — you are still lonely (looks deep into her eyes)
A: (looks away)
A: (in a whisper) Who are you, son of Adam?
E: I am also one with the Christ. The only one who can reconcile you with your sister.
A: Him, or you?
A: Hmm (hungry, yet scared) Why should I trust you to speak for her?
E: She is right outside. Just say the word, and you two can be together again, forever.
A: Not so fast (raising bow again)
E: What’s wrong? (Calmly) Why do you fear getting everything you ever wanted?
A: You know. Him.
E: Ah. Because getting everything you want has always meant getting the one thing you don’t want: help.
A: Right (aiming bow). So you just turn and walk away, Mister.
E: You do know that threat is empty, since I’ve already offered you my life. In fact, killing me will seal the deal!
A: (lowers bow to the ground, and surprises herself by chuckling) Damn, you’re a crafty one.
E: No, simply Earnest
E: Seriously, Artemis, I understand. You’ve always felt alienated from the Father. People always thought Sex was the rebellious child of Aphrodite. But ever since Christ they knew that God was love. And you thought that giving in to love was giving in to your sister, and thus losing yourself. But nothing could be further from the truth.
A: (fighting the rising hope) you mean?
E: Yes, A. God is also perfect freedom. Both His and ours. And that is all you.
A: I… I never knew… (knees buckling as she falls to the ground and weeps)
E: (watches compassionately but moves not)
A: What, no hugs?
E: No, your body is yours. That’s part of the deal. You’ve earned your freedom, including the right to make your own mistakes instead of living under ours.
A: Damn, you’re serious about this. I am starting to not even want to kill you!
E: (sadly) Thank you. But this is the way it must be, for now.
A: (stares into my eyes, nods. Do I see a tear?)
A: Very well.
[Raises her bow and aims] You have given me everything, even that which I didn’t even know I wanted. The least I can do is give you what you want. Good-bye, Ernie.
A: (Is there a tremor in that inhumanly perfect face?)
E: (shaking his bead, smiling through tears) Actually, this is Hello.
She releases the arrow, straight at the target of Ernie’s heart.
To be continued.