A Fast Ship

Before dawn Odysseus awoke. Her stomach rumbled with the need for more food. So she rolled over to the edge of the bed and just reached her trousers and a shirt from a low dresser nearby. Under the sheets she managed to pull these items on before emerging into the cool air of the bedroom. It was still too early for the servants to have lit a fire in the fireplace. She donned a few more clothes, then padded down to the kitchen to see if she could find any good leftovers tucked away in the Frigidaire.

When she made it to the kitchen she discovered that King Alkinoos was already there sipping on a short black. He was happy to have her join him in the morning quiet. After fishing around in the fridge she collected some smoked octopus and perch, which she popped into the microwave and then made herself a hot chocolate.

Soon Odysseus had finished her repast and the King had finished reading the sports page of the Ancient Times. He invited her to to take a walk with him down to the port where he could show off the pride of Skheria. Odysseus certainly appreciated the look and feel of a fine ship. She could remember the ship she had that day she sailed off to Troy, a Lord Mercury Windstar with fluid handling, superb responsiveness and over 40 standard safety features. She gladly accepted his kind offer.

By the time they made it to the docks she could see a few parents heading toward the beach with their children to do some clam digging. Young feet pounding the sand in play is a clever way to scare the clams to reveal themselves. As the clams push themselves deeper into the beach, they leave a telltale dimple marking where the adults need to dig. Though some children are as happy to play at spotting the dimples, as chasing one another around during an early low tide.

They both sat down on a bench that overlooked several piers and threw dry bread at the seagulls. King Alkinoos pointed out this or that ship and their individual features. It was a nice way to begin the day.

A small girl with dark golden braids and grey eyes espied the two on their perch and scuttled off to a couple of town councillors standing nearby. She tugged on their robes. "Sirs, do you see that man sitting with the king? He is a very important foreign dignitary sent here by the divinities. Are you going to be at an assembly meeting this morning with them?"

The councillors turned their gaze to the king speaking so casually and yet animatedly with this well-dressed stranger. This could mean a new and lucrative trade treaty that the king was arranging for himself first. They looked down at the girl, ruffled at their ignorance of what events led to this meeting. "Of course we shall be at the assembly." Before long all of the lords and councillors had heard of this meeting and were gathering at the assembly grounds.

The king was as surprised as anyone when he heard about the meeting as a few councillors engaged him in conversation beforehand. With Odysseus he made his way before the amphitheatre.

"My noble Phaiakians," resounded the king's voice to the assembly, "Send me your fastest ship and your finest crew, we are delivering this excellent gentleman to his homeland, then join us for a festal day at the palace!"

A Festal Day

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps