The Hercules Detective Agency The Case of the Missing Trident
No Problem Too Large or Too Small, Reasonable Fees
Proprietor Hercules (Roman name), also known as Heracles (Greek name), also known as Herc (Nickname)
Hercules was cleaning the harbor at Athens of some rocks and reefs. He was paying back a favor he owned Athena, the goddess who watched over Athens and the safety of its people. Hercules was enjoying himself. The water was just the right temperature - not too cold, not too warm - and Poseidon had made the waves small and playful that day. Plus, Hercules was getting a good workout carrying all those rocks. Anytime he could get a good workout made Hercules happy. It also helped to keep his muscles in shape.
Hercules heard someone calling his name. He knew that voice. It was Amphitrite, Poseidonís wife. She was always trying to get Hercules to marry one of her daughters and live under the sea. Hercules did not want to deal with Amphitrite, not on such a lovely day, not on any day. Looking around, Hercules spied a cave in the side of one of the reefs. He quickly ducked into it.
Hercules had expected the cave to be dark, but instead, it was lighted by some tiny glowing sea creatures. The cave looked almost magical. Hercules decided to explore a little more. He noticed the further into the cave he went the brighter it got, so he continued on.
He finally stepped into a well-lit chamber and looked around. This chamber was colorfully decorated with cushions on the floors and hangings on the walls. Sitting in what looked somewhat like a throne was Poseidonís young son, Triton.
"Triton, what are you doing here?" asked Hercules, startled to see him.
"Hercules, welcome to my man cave! And now you know my secret. This is where I come whenever I want to hide out from my parents. I love them, but they do hover."
Hercules thought for a moment. "That was very clever of you, Triton. Nobody would ever think to look for you in a cave under Athens."
"Thanks, Hercules," Triton flushed a bit from the praise. "You are welcome here. I know you can keep a secret." Triton took a deep breath. "Actually, I'm glad you stumbled in. I need to hire the Hercules Detective Agency and I was wondering how to do it."
"Just tell me your problem, we crack a deal, I solve it, and that's it. It's easy."
Triton slumped dismally on his throne. "That's what you think."
Hercules laughed. "Good heavens, child. What did you do?"
Triton wiggled nervously. "Well, earlier today I was up on Olympus at my father's palace. I so rarely get to go to his palace on the mountain. Mom likes to keep me close and she does not like most of the other gods who live on Mount Olympus. She almost never goes up there, which means, neither do I." Triton sighed heavily.
"And?" Hercules nudged.
"The thing is, nobody was there. I was messing around with Dad's trident, pretending I was stabbing enemies of Greece, and well, I kinda stabbed the marble wall accidentally."
"Are you hurt?" Hercules asked quickly.
"Not me. But, I kinda broke one of the tines of the trident."
"That was unfortunate," Hercules agreed in understatement. "I can see why you're hiding out. But why didn't you just take it to Hephaestus and have him fix it? You were right there. Hephaestus can fix anything. He is the god of fixing and building, you know."
"I'm not a moron, Hercules. I know that. I had just decided to do that when my father showed up at the palace. I think he was looking for his trident. I had to run out the back way and I came down here to hide out."
"Are you afraid of your father?" Hercules wanted to know, in a worried tone. "Does he beat you?"
"No, of course not. He just yells a lot and gives me the look."
Hercules' look was rather confused.
"You know," Triton sighed. "The look! The look that says I'm so disappointed in you and you could do better if you just tried and your mother will be devastated and, you know, the look!"
Hercules had been on the receiving end of such a look himself on occasion, not from Poseidon, but from others. He contented himself with a nod.
"So?" Hercules nudged. "Do you want me to talk to your father for you?"
"Are you kidding! No! He would be so disappointed in me if I had someone speak for me. I did it and I will confess. But I would like to confess after it was already fixed when I return it. He won't be nearly as mad. He will still be angry, just not as much." The boy looked at Hercules with pleading eyes. "Hercules, do you think you could get the trident up to Hephaestus to get it fixed and then bring it back to me here?"
Hercules hesitated. It sounded rather sneaky to him and he did not like to be sneaky, especially when the gods were involved.
He was about to say no, when young Triton added, "If not for me, think of the people of Athens. You know how my father is when he gets mad. The waves will rage and cause all kinds of havoc."
The kid had him there. "Okay. But if I do this, you will have to pay me. You will owe me one favor that I can call in any time. That way it's not sneaky. It's just business."
"Deal," said young Triton eagerly. "Thank you, Hercules."
"I hope Hephaestus can fix this."
"You said he could fix anything," Triton was quick to point out.
Hercules shook his head. What is it with kids? The only time they seem to hear anything you tell them is when they are repeating something you told them just so they could win an argument with you. Kids were so tricky!
Hercules gathered up the trident and wrapped it in some cloth wall hangings to keep it safe, and to hide it he admitted to himself. He headed towards Mount Olympus. Much to his dismay, as he was heading up to Olympus, he met Poseidon coming down.
"Hercules! Just who I needed. I was on my way to hire you."
"What do you need O Lord of the Seas?" asked Hercules, in formal greeting, hoping to get Poseidon's attention on that rather than the bundle he had thrust behind his back.
"I appear to have misplaced my trident," said Poseidon. "I understand this is the kind of thing the Hercules Detective Agency does. I would like to hire you to find it for me."
"Me?" Hercules responded, trying to sound both surprised and interested in the job.
"I asked Hermes to find it, but he said he was the world's greatest deal maker, not a dog or a lost and found department, and recommended I hire you."
Hercules was carefully holding the wrapped trident behind his broad back where Poseidon could not see it. Before Hercules could say anything, another voice spoke up.
"Hercules," purred Amphitrite, Poseidon's wife. "The seals told me you were out and about on the shore today. I was hoping I could catch you. I need a minute of your time," she said sweetly.
"Leave him be," said Poseidon. "He is doing a job for me."
"I just want to invite him over for a meal," said Amphitrite, in her sweetest tone.
"You're matchmaking again," argued Poseidon. "I need him for something important, so leave him alone."
"You don't think the marriage of our daughters is important?" Amphitrite snapped back.
"I honestly donít want Hercules hanging around our palace. It will give the girls false hope. You know that Hercules does not want to marry any of our daughters."
"You are an old bully," snarled Amphitrite, her voice not sweet at all. "You think you always know best."
"That's because I do!"
Poseidon and his wife, Amphitrite, were famous for their arguments. They saw and heard nothing except each other when they were arguing. Hercules saw his opening and silently snuck away. He made his way to Mount Olympus and over to Hephaestus' forge. Hephaestus wasnít doing much that day, and ever since Hercules had brought him the enchanted talking tools Hercules had become one of his favorite visitors. The tools had been great company for Hephaestus. He enjoyed their chatter.
Hercules explained his mission.
"Sure, Herc. I will help you out. Does Poseidon know you have his trident?"
"Not exactly," mumbled Hercules. "But he did hire me to find it, and I have found it. It just needs a little repair."
Hephaestus held out his hand. "Give it here." He studied the trident. He nodded to himself. "This won't take very long so take a seat and talk with my tools a bit. They do love company."
Hercules moved over to the wall. As he did so, the tools hanging there immediately began to chatter away.
"I still havenít found another chisel to talk to," complained the chisel.
The tongs ignored Hercules entirely. He was in the midst of an argument with another tool, neither one of them paying much attention to anyone else. "One of these days," threatened the tongs. "I am going to grab hold of you."
"Yeah, right. I'd like to see you try," banged the hammer. Bang, bang, bang. "I'd smash you to bits!"
And so it went. The entire time Hephaestus was working on the trident, the tools kept up a non-stop chatter.
When Hephaestus announced he was done, Hercules breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank you, Hephaestus! Now to collect Triton, and get this trident back to his father."
And that is exactly what happened.
Much to Triton's surprise, Poseidon was not angry at all. He was in an exceptionally good mood. He must have won his argument with his wife. His good mood spilled over onto his son. Poseidon smiled. "Would you like to learn how to fish with my trident?" he offered.
"That would be great!" Triton brightened.
"You can open oysters with it, too," Poseidon told his son's happy upturned face. Without another word, the two of them disappeared into the sea.
"You're welcome," Hercules shouted after them, but of course, they did not hear him, or if they did, they both ignored him. Hercules went back to cleaning the harbor at Athens of some rocks and reefs. Athena was his half-sister, which counted for something. But she would not be happy if he left the job half done.
Later, once he was home, Hercules named this case The Case of the Missing Trident. He had no idea if either the son or the father would make good on their payment to him, but at least both cases had been solved without bloodshed or crushing waves. Hercules made himself a note on the cover of the file. The note read: Remember to thank Hermes for his recommendation. He put the file away with the other case files from the Hercules Detective Agency. Come to think of it, the god Hermes did owe him a favor. Perhaps this was his idea of payment. And then again, perhaps Hermes simply did not wish to risk Poseidon's legendary temper. Hercules could certainly understand that! Whatever Hermes' reason for recommending him, Hercules was grateful for it. Poseidon now owed him a favor, and that was a very good thing.