A Cunning Plan

I've got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel.

Rowan Atkinson, The Black Adder

"My dearest Penelopos," cried Odysseus in her turn, "How was I to know I still had a home here with you? It has been nearly twenty years. You could have remarried, you could have held bitter feelings toward me, and making my presence known might have endangered all our lives with the suitors."

"I would be willing to face anything for a few more moments with you," said Penelopos holding her close.

Odysseus looked up sharply at Eurykleia. "You must not let anyone else know I am here without my say so. Do you understand?"

Eurykleia solemnly nodded. The nurse then left the rejoined lovers to themselves, with only a momentary backward glance and a smile.

Odysseus abandoned herself to Penelopos' arms, whispering over and over again in as many endearing ways as possible how much she loved him. How she would have liked the moment to last forever. Eventually, Odysseus pulled out of her intimate embrace to speak seriously with Penelopos, "We have a significant problem with the suitors," she said, "It took some convincing for Telemakhe to accept that I am her mother. However, now that she has, we have already made some plans for dealing with those predatory young men.

"After everyone has gone to bed we shall be moving the house weapons to within our reach, but out of anyone else's. With a few exceptions we shall also be locking the servants up, so that they will not be in the way when we finally confront the suitors."

"Ody, you leave for war," said Penelopos stroking her hair, "You come home and it sounds like you are preparing for war."

Odysseus shook her head. "That lot want power," she said, "They do not seem to be too concerned about how they get it. Unless they are summarily dealt with they may prove to be deadly to us all in the not too distant future. Look, tomorrow I want you to announce that you will give Telemakhe's hand to whomever can string my bow and shoot an arrow through twelve iron axe-helve sockets. Perhaps when they find that I alone can perform that task, they will be intimidated enough to back down and leave, though a few of those men more than deserve a shaft through the heart."

"I love you Odysseus," responded Penelopos, "I do not savour violence, but I will do as you ask."

"I love you too, Pen. How I long to share our bed with you tonight, but I must keep this disguise for one more evening. Let me kiss you yet again, then I must be off to Telemakhe's side, putting tomorrow's events in place."

Odysseus and Penelopos clasped one another in an embrace as close as jam and bread only twice as sweet. Their lips touched and sucked at one another as if to draw that essence they had missed from one another so long.


Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps