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Mari and Maju

by Sara Genge

Mari twirled her red umbrella and ignored what the wet pavement did to her burgundy skirt. She wouldn't have gotten far as an Earth Goddess if she had been afraid of dirt. The Guggenheim rose in front of her, torrential rainfall tumbling down the curvaceous structure. She was considering moving here to Bilbao. She'd spent the previous cycle in Anboto and hated leaving the village, but tradition decreed she had to change houses every seven years and Mari was a stickler for tradition. Hence the red dress. Chicken legs would have been in order, but too conspicuous for the city.

The goddess strolled down Abandoibarra Etorbidea, stopping to jot down the phone numbers posted on the balconies. She made some calls and with each new price her spirits sank lower. She was looking at a fifty year mortgage if Maju and she worked full time and the children finally left the house. Last time she checked, Mikelatz and Atarrabi were four-thousand years old, but age never stopped Iberian children from staying at home and expecting their laundry to be washed and folded. It was another tradition, and one Mari hated. She sighed and pulled out her mobile.

"We could always go somewhere else," Maju suggested.

"It's no use. We never stay long enough to pay the mortgage..." She heard Maju's groan on the other side. The bank would ask why they kept moving. In Spain, you were supposed to buy a house and stick to it. The banks were getting suspicious and, judging by the occasional static on their phone line, Mari suspected the police were onto them too. The fact that none of them seemed to age (let alone die), didn't help put the authorities at ease.

"How about that little cave in Ondarra?" Maju asked.

"It's small, and I hate the whitewash."

"Well, the kids could repaint it... About time they did something around the house. What do you think, darling?"

"Humid," Mari answered. "We could move out of Euskadi. I've heard houses are cheaper in Andalucia."

"You're a Basque goddess, dammit!" Maju burst out. "There must be something we can afford inside the Basque Country."

Mari hung up. She ducked into a bar and when she emerged her frock was a sensible brown. Screw tradition. She'd had enough with this moving business. They'd stay where they were. She'd only wear her chicken legs when she felt like it. And as for the children, they'd have to
beat it.

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