Luney Tunes

Penelopos descended from the staircase and crossed the dining hall, passing Palamedes without speaking a word. He went into the kitchen then a few moments later crossed the dining hall once more and back up the staircase.

Palamedes watched Penelopos' comings and goings bemusedly. When the prince crossed the dining hall a third time, he stopped him to ask if Odysseus had agreed to see him.

"I'm sorry," said Penelopos, "But you shall have to wait until dinner, then we'll see."

Dinner came and it was a sumptuous affair with roast pig cooked in a brown sugar and pineapple sauce. The diversity of vegetables to go with the pig was also impressive: yellow squash, green peas, orange carrots, blue corn, purple aubergine, and black and green avocado. However, the meal began without Odysseus. Course after course appeared and still the guests were encouraged to continue without her presence.

"Where is Odysseus?" Palamedes asked with concern. His travel companion, Lukian, also looked concerned that so far they had been unable to fulfil their mission in Ithaka.

"I had hoped she would make it to dinner, but she is having one of her turns," answered Penelopos, "Perhaps after dinner."

They were finishing their chocolate cake when Odysseus' voice could be heard crying from the fields outside. Palamedes leapt to his feet and dashed to the castle doors and out. Lukian and Penelopos followed.

Odysseus had yoked an ox and a Deere together to a plough. Beneath the full moon she slowly managed to drive the two animals forward sowing salt into the newly dug grooves. "VOOM? Mate, this bird wouldn't 'voom' if you put four million volts through it! E's bleedin' demised!" She sang out.

Palamedes and Lukian looked at each other and at Odysseus incredulously. Surely this was not the person Menelaus had sent them to retrieve.

Odysseus continued, "'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!"

With each step Odysseus watched the messengers' reaction. With each moment she felt as crazy as the act she was now putting on. "Go away," she thought at them over and over again.

Palamedes ran back into the palace. When he returned he had Telemakhe and her nurse with him.

"The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead," said Odysseus as she came to the end of a row and turned.

With one swift movement Palamedes grabbed Telemakhe and threw her in front of the plow. Odysseus, as sharp as ever, watched her daughter put in the way of death by her own hand. In an instant she swerved the plow narrowly missing her beloved child, then stopped. Odysseus burst into tears.

The next day Odysseus left with Palamedes and Lukian to Menelaus' court in Sparta and from thence to Troy.

More Than A Fluke.

Copyright © 1998 Katherine Phelps