[image description: A wee bearded chap in overalls and a tall pointy red cap stands on the red rubber of a plunger that’s a little taller than he is. He looks confident. Text reads, “121, Splunge, Small God of Plumbing – In homage to the brilliant Rien Poortvliet.”]
Like all gnomes, Splunge lives in perfect harmony with his environment. Unfortunately for him, his environment happens to be household plumbing. Every unwashed toilet is an affront to his name. Every untidied sink stands as a reminder that he, once hailed as an unbelievable miracle, is now nothing more than an unwanted chore.
He would call upon the gods of chifforobes and chamberpots, if they were still anywhere to be found; the old god of chamberpots has since transitioned to become the small god of Hospice Care, utterly essential to those who need her, all but forgotten by those who don’t, who would rather not consider her existence. He would call upon those old and half-forgotten deities, and ask them to remind the world that it could be so much worse than he, with his convenient plunger and his caustic chemicals.
But that power is not his to hold, and there are drains to be cleaned and clogs to be removed. So he does what he can with what he has in the time that is allotted to him, and he wonders when humanity forgot that he was the iconography of a miracle. That the lack of shit-buckets and worrying about whose house sat higher on the hill than those around it was his gift to them, and gifts, when unappreciated, can be reclaimed.
Splunge is in perfect harmony with his environment. He just wishes, on his uncharitable days, that his environment could learn to be in harmony with him. And then he stops his wishing, because the drain is backed up again, and someone has to take care of business, so that everyone else can keep on taking care of business without complication.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: