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Back in Town

David Soyka has worked as a newspaper reporter, English teacher, and sanitation engineer (a.k.a., garbageman). These professions prepared him for his current occupation writing corporate communications. You can find him at prose-net.com.
Odysseus is back.
Back from the wars. Back from the western edge of the world. Back from whoring with Circe.
Back to murder Penelope's lover and his family. Back to take what is rightfully his....
Penelope, body and soul.
The hero and his son return from the slaughter, plan new plunders as they plant their asses at the table and demand drink after drink. Because they are drunkards.
Penelope serves. She opens her mouth. She spreads her legs. The bed does not move from its mooring.
She wipes blood off the floor. She eats an olive. Swallows the pit.
To celebrate his return, Odysseus goes to sea and catches a monster of a fish, a king of the salty sea, laid to the table by the spear of the nobler and more brutal beast.
Penelope is instructed on how to prepare the sea monster, how to bathe it in olive oil and salt, season it with thyme, and bake it over coals, properly prepared as the hero learned from Polyphemus.
Penelope smiles and nods. She has another recipe in mind. She goes to the temple of Athena and prays. She memorizes the instructions. Thoroughly.
She bathes the monster in tears, seasons it with her urine, wraps it in palm leaves. Props its mouth wide open. A circle of poised teeth.
Dinner is served. Odysseus stares down its throat.
The sea monster flexes its jaws.
And feasts.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 2nd, 2015


Short stories are hard, short short stories even harder. Maybe because it riffs on a story everyone already knows (though, when you come down to it, isnít that the case with all stories?), this one was easy. Everything just fell out from the first line. I always thought Odysseus was an incredible jerk for a hero.

- David Soyka

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