Mourning Becomes Eclectic
A few months into the war, Uselysses felt torn between two factions of the Achaeans: The philosophical Elias, and the un-killable Barnes. A cherry just in from the world, Uselysses found solace with Elias and his crew, listening to “Jefferson Airplane,” and smoking enough of Lotus to blind an ox. Uselysses favorite the part of the song was where the white rabbit would bite it’s own head off.
Uselysses had fought the characters in a “Police” song.
A few years into the Trojan War, Uselysses A brilliant tactician, he would eventually impregnate Troy and catalyze the downfall of The Trojan Army.
After the war, a more subdued Uselysses boarded his vessel for open waters. , He needed to relax. He was tired of smiting those who would oppose him. The Furies; now they were some chill folk. Uselysses had partied with them before. Dressed in baseball gear, towing Louisville Sluggers, he’d joined in during their pursuit of Orestes.
He was standing at the edge of the boat now, and the water beckoned. He thought he heard the voices of the sirens, and remembered one time hanging with Clapton, talking about his time with the Harpies. Clapton was enthusiastic about turning the experience into a song, but Uselysses wasn’t as keen; don’t worry, Clapton had said, I’ll change your name and everything.
Then the sonofabitch had cut him out of any royalties.
Uselysses slunk below deck. He lay down on his bunk as they rocked on the open water, and soon Uselysses was consumed by visions from the depths of Hades.
He felt the presence of the beast. It sat across from Uselysses, frothing at the mouth. A ring through his nose and horns sharp enough to impale the hide of the Nemean Lion, the creature before him snorted pure animosity. A foul animal, with a fiery anus, the Minotaur, half man, half bull: All Cop.
“Take it hit off this.” The Minotaur held out an intricately carved meerschaum.
“What is that?”
Uselysses could smell the burning lotus flower and desperately wanted to sample the magic elixir. The lotus was most potent when smoked, and right now a single toke would take him into the stratosphere. He could forget about his problems, the new nightmares he’d begun having about his role in the war. The lotus flower would alleviate all of his paradoxical thoughts. The Minotaur held out the pipe and nodded.
“Can’t do it, brother.”
Uselysses, supine, stared at the ceiling of the boat.
“What you think you’re some big shot, Mr. Hands?” The Minotaur said.
“Don’t call me that.”
“Big deal. You did some crafty stuff with a horse; I’m surprised they didn’t call the ASPCA.” The Minotaur let out a snort and took another hit.
“You can go back to Hell for all I care.”
“You visited Ajax lately?” The Minotaur added.
“I don’t want to talk about him.”
Uselysses turned over, so he didn’t have to see the beast before him.
“I did things in the war…”
The Minotaur’s voice filled Uselysses’ head, and he wasn’t certain whether the creature was even there anymore, or if the words had sprung up from deep within the recesses of Uselysses’ mind. The boat, his affliction, the gentle rocking of the water, all of these things disappeared until he was enveloped in darkness.
The path snaked around the beachfront, through a shantytown or two full of the blind leading the broken. Uselysses felt no anguish, nor pity for these people, just vertigo from land sickness, and his wounded pride.
They had both sought the armor of Achilles; Ajax fiercely determined, how he was to be denied? Hadn’t he proven himself a more than capable warrior on the field of battle? He couldn’t understand the nature of the world, how it didn’t fit with his concept of right and wrong. Unable to contemplate a life devoid of the values he’d spent his life adhering to, he took his own life.
In that moment, wracked with guilt over his part in Ajax’s demise, Uselysses fell to the ground and wept.
Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. He’s also taught English and writing in New York, Hong Kong, and Virginia. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His work can be found in links on his website: asdavie.wordpress.com