The two sipped their aperitifs; one gazed outward, while the other turned inward. Günter noted a tall, thin woman with dyed blonde hair and red lips entering the brasserie with a short rotund man, wearing a black suit, black tie, and a white shirt. His thinning hair was pulled back and shining from pomade and reflected light. She placed a manicured hand on his round shoulders and pouted. Her nails glimmered red against his gray skin and Günter thought of Athena springing forth from Zeus’ head. Her imagined armor gleamed in the light of the Lipp and he sighed, wishing for her attention. He decided to use her in his novel that was percolating to the surface of his conscious mind. He imagined sitting at his typewriter tapping the scene out beneath the single electric light that hung from his dingy ceiling on the Rue d'Italie. He prayed for the gods of modernism to aid him in his creation.
Paul did not notice the woman; instead, he reflected on the phrase “head-birth;” his black eyes glazed over as he turned his vision inward, tracing the roots of the expression, seeking the source of the myth of the birth of the parthenogenic goddess. He immediately thought of Hermes as mid-wife and imagined Athena, as a reincarnation of Neith, the Egyptian goddess of war, who nursed a crocodile at her breast. Paul was a master of slow-reading and metaphors. Already his mind hopped from stone to stone of the mephitic scree of archaic images that lay submerged in his memory. Already, he was cataloging images to produce a poem of disparate associations. He etched crocodiles and ankhs, goddesses and shields, into a fabric of metaphors to express his vision of being. He sank deeper, looking for original images in the ooze of the Nile. He scraped his poem onto papyrus; he employed hieroglyphs to strike the flint. Embers and sparks flew in the summer night and mosquitos buzzed through the marshes.