Where is Cupid when he is needed women always ask. Men usually ask more or less the same but with the difference that they actually specify a bit more and give exact size and measurements. The difference between women and men and the difference within the difference. “Vive la difference!” Afroa giggled but it wasn’t funny really. She was an abnormality in her world and she wasn’t allowed outside it just so that the world could be protected from her destructive effects. No. She had had nothing to do with this recent global warming, no; it wasn’t her fault the world was getting a bit hot and spicy. She had been fenced up and tied to a post and left there to admire little sights that remained during the day. At night Afroa was actually blindfolded and literally carried to her bed as she refused to go to sleep. More than once she had had to be given some kind of sleeping concoction so that she let everyone else in the realm work in peace and quiet. The work was very intensive and hot; many extra fletchers had had to be recruited this last year because of the world’s over population. Mr Vals, the saint in charge of the factory said that people were more loving to each other and that’s why they had extra work. Vals was happy, he always was anyway. More work for them meant more work for the fletchers and then later on more work for the doctors who had to fix and mend broken hearts and right at the bottom of it was Mr Propty Pet who owned the largest housing estates chain in the whole world. He was actually the owner of all the buildings on earth but he never let anyone on just so that he could avoid paying extra taxes. He was a mean guy and he was eager to have all these fletchers work harder. Soon the people who lived cosily in just one house as a happy family would have to live in different houses; he would have more money with which to pay for more fletchers who in turn would produce more arrows and then would of course infect more people of earth. Mr Propty Pet was from earth too but he had been living so high up in the clouds that he really thought he was immortal. The only immortal in the whole place was actually Vals, the manager, or at least that’s what was believed by almost everyone, and whoever dared to disagree was forced to say it was true under duress. Torturing as such was forbidden there but there are many ways in which to torture without infringing the law and the sickest one of them and the favourite by large was the trip to the hairdresser’s. Everybody begged not to be sent for torture to the hairdresser’s as they always came back with a different colour hair if they were lucky or with no hair at all if it was the usual case.
There wasn’t only a Cupid around; there were thousands of them, all wearing little g-strings and fury wings studded with pearls. How they flew was still an unresolved mystery to everyone and not one worth bothering Mr Vals about. At first there had only been the one and only Cupid but all theses genetic meddlers ended up making perfect copies of it which turned out for the best for Mr Propty Pet; the more little Cupids he had wandering about the more people would get together and buy a new house.
Afroa had been sent to the hairdresser’s quite a few times in her life, in fact up until recently Vals had decided to have her torturing technique changed and instead of sending her there, she was made to walk near it, even in front of it but was not allowed to set foot in it no matter how much she wailed that she wanted to get in. She had apparently come to like being tortured or perhaps she had the hairdresser’s under her influence because she had never come out hairless, on the contrary; every time she was tortured she came out beaming in delight showing off her new colours on her hair.
Afroa knew things couldn’t go on like this for long; she was fed up of seeing how beautiful prairies and golden fields of wheat turned into paved streets full of houses and shopping centres. Enough was enough, people couldn’t live off just on love and water, they needed a bit more action, no need to buy a house for privacy, no need to hide from anyone; green fields of grass or snowy mountains were the perfect place for true love. Her anger took her right where she was needed most: the centre of Europe. Cupids were hiding in the most incredible places from where they shot their arrows at unsuspecting people. No one was spared; teenagers were even hit twice just to make sure they plucked up the courage to ask a girl out. Old ladies were only shot at if they walked by themselves. Deafness or the lack of a limb wasn’t an impediment for these little Cupids. Afroa even found one hiding under a flower pot, so without a second thought she took a nearby watering can and watered the plant and him and then took him to the hairdresser’s that was next door. Little Cupid screamed his head off as he was dragged into the hairdressing parlour. Afroa waited till they had finished with him and was delighted at the result. That little Cupid had different colour highlights done, from light gold to dark gold and had had extensions too; his hair hung loosely all the way down his waist in voluminous curls. She had almost forgotten was she was supposed to do until she saw a couple of very well dressed young men. She decided to be naughty.
She didn’t have to use arrows, she didn’t have clones, she didn’t need them; her love was infectious all by itself. Suddenly those two men started kissing each other on the pavement, they dropped their briefcases right there and their arms went around each other. A couple of passing ladies dropped their shopping bags as they stared at the sight and two old men went over to pick those bags up for the ladies. They took the ladies home and while the ladies put the kettle on the fire, the men went to look for the stereo player and find some decent music to dance to. Suddenly no one was interested in tea but in kissing practice instead.
Young men and women were found frolicking on the parks and just about everywhere else in town, not even buses were safe. Offices were hit the hardest. Phones went unanswered; computers blipped unceasingly and lifts stopped working too. Afroa moved from city to city until she had covered the whole of Europe. Her eyes moved eastwards and then westwards. Both parts of the hemisphere were done systematically although she didn’t really have to do much to infect everybody. Houses sales dropped dramatically in a very short time, clothes shops had to close, doctors had to join the social security queues and even lawyers were begging to be road sweepers. Cupid fans were outraged at the devastation, doctors were out of work, psychologists were out of work too and so were lawyers; clothes shops workers had to abandon their buildings and stop work; even the cinema industry had gone down. Nobody wanted to go to the cinema anymore, nobody wanted to read books either, nor even newspapers. People just threw their clothes on the floor or wherever it was easier for them and went for cuddles anywhere they happened to feel the urge. The most careful ones did hang their clothes on the washing line, but the main reason was that the clothes came in handy; they gave good shade in the garden and scared flies too.
Vals was raging at headquarters, there was no time for torturing anyone; he sent all the Cupids out with all the arrows that had been left and told them to hit absolutely everybody and that if they saw that naughty Afroa, they should corner her and fill her with arrows.
Cupids had a better idea; they would just follow her and be done with it, after all, everybody seemed to be having fun. Why couldn’t they have a bit of fun too? Mr Propty Pet promised them pink sunrises every morning, he told them he would build each Cupid a little palace, he would give them anything they wanted. He begged on his knees for them to restore love and order and the torrent of tears that came out from his eyes made the little Cupids feel sad for him. Poor Mr Propty Pet, he had nothing but his buildings, his buildings and them; Oh, and Mr Vals too, but he didn’t count, even if he was the manager.
Afroa was caught in the silliest way, no need for arrows. They had placed Mr Propty Pet on a little barge and placed a beautiful girl on another. They were sure Afroa wouldn’t resist a loose couple on a barge. And they were right, as soon as she saw them she went towards them and was surprised when Mr Propty Pet turned to her and told her that he would be her slave, he would do anything so that love and order was restored. Cupids held their breath, Afroa was going to fall in the net of love but Mr Propty Pet made a mistake though, he cried. Afroa changed directions and moved by the tears of her opponent, she went over to him and put an arm around him. She kissed him. He disappeared in a puff of smoke. And so did she.
“Yeah!” Cried Vals from above. “Alright you little Cupids, back to work, there’s lots to mend.”
“What about Mr Propty Pet?” asked one of the Cupids.
“There will be another one; a name makes no difference” Answered Vals.
“What about Afroa, is she really gone?”
Vals looked at the young Cupid, rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.