Apollo's ass. -Totally unbelievable day.
Where to start?
Ok, just after lunch, word spreads about camp that there is to be a high level meeting amongst the generals this evening.
Just before supper, Odysseus comes up and asks that I hang around the commander’s tent until the meeting was finished.
Of course, I have a sinking feeling that this is about Misenus’ plan.
After eating, I headed over to the large tent where a pretty noisy congregation had assembled. Although I am Odysseus’ first in command, I was asked to wait outside, and I watched the big guy walk in chatting with Agamemnon, followed closely by Ajax and Achilles.
From outside the tent, I could hear very little. Actually, I was surprised how quiet the assembly was, considering how many people were in there. At first, I could hear Agamemnon, Grand Commander of all these forces, bellowing in his deep voice what sounded like to calls to order, and then some introductions. Then I heard the crisp, yelling voice of Odysseus. He was making a speech of some sort, interspersed with lots of long pauses. I imagine that these pauses were made for effect, or possibly to allow time for applause, but no applause came. Odysseus spoke for the better half of an hour. After that, I heard Agamemnon, and then quiet again.
It was quiet for about another hour, and then Agamemnon started shouting some stuff again in his loudest fog horn voice yet.
A few minutes later, people began to file out.
All of the Generals looked very serious and were eagerly accompanied by their captains and counselors who had been waiting outside like me.
However, when Ajax came out, he looked directly at me. He gave me this glare that was kind of strange: partially questioning, but partly accusing. It was sort of a “what-the-fuck?” kind of look.
Ajax isn’t just a General, he is a goddamned King. Feeling pretty unnerved, I kind of eyed my feet until he passed.
It was almost 20 minutes after the last of the assembly had filed out that Odysseus exited, just as he entered, gabbing with Agamemnon. Agamemnon had a big politicians grin on his face, and he kept rubbing and slapping Odysseus on the back. Achilles followed the two close behind.
Achilles wasn’t looking at Odysseus or Agamemnon. Instead, he was cooling surveying the guards and the last few aides that remained, almost as if he were trying to spot an ambush.
Achilles always acts like that when things get serious. He invariably gets more serious. Achilles is the kind of guy that, if you throw him a ball, will dive into the dust to catch it, even if a dive isn’t necessary. He’s got the kind of attitude that would just make him look like an idiot if he weren’t so goddamned skilled. Yet, Achilles is overflowing with skills, and the girls are really into him and his badass attitude. All of us guys simultaneously resent him and wish we were him.
Anyway, after a last hardy slap from Agamemnon, Odysseus, wearing the biggest shit-eating grin I have ever seen on his face, struts over to me.
“Eurylochus, we’ve got a lot of work to do, my boy.” He beams in an annoyingly General-like fashion.
Trying to ignore the “my boy”, I innocently and somewhat militarily asked, “What’s that regarding, General?”
At this, Odysseus paused. By the look on his face, I thought that he was going to drop the authoritarian tone, but then he sort of shakes that off, and in an even more commanding voice, he belts: “Eurylochus, we are going to build a wooden horse, a great wooden horse that is going to enable us to get within the walls of Troy.”
Fucking Zeus, I almost want to laugh, but I say something like: “Oh, like the thing that we discussed last…”
But I was cut short and Odysseus just went on: “I have decided that we should build a great wooden horse that can house many of our soldiers. We will then trick the Trojans into bringing this horse inside the city. From there, the soldiers can launch a surprise attack upon Troy. I am the head of this project, Eurylochus, and I will need your help, don’t let me down.”
With that, the General gives me my own slap on the back and he struts off.
I just stood there speechless, watching him walk away. Odysseus then shouts back to me, “Eurylochus, tomorrow morning!”
Anyway, I head back to camp, trying to process what had just happened.
So, here are some of my thoughts:
Is it really possible that the hair-brained plan Misenus and Polites drunkenly concocted around the fire last night is now the directive for an army of over one-hundred thousand men? -Is this how such decisions are made? And, perhaps even more difficult: Did Odysseus just claim the idea to use a vessel to infiltrate the city of Troy as his own?
And, why did he decide on a horse
Of course, we had mentioned a horse when Polites joked about Elpenor smuggling himself in its ass, but when Misenus and Polites discussed it seriously, we all agreed that a large idol, like a statue of Athena, would be much more likely to succeed in fooling the Trojans into accepting it into their gates.
Why did Odysseus choose a wooden horse
Is he afraid of plagiarism? -He surely must realize that he is taking Misenus’ idea as his own. Does he feel any less guilty building a giant wooden horse rather than the idol they had suggested?
And, furthermore, is the General so
dense that in opting for a structure other than an idol to Athena, all he could think of was the horse that Elpenor was supposed to violate?
Anyway, when I got back to the encampment, Misenus and Polites were waiting for me by the fire.
Seeing my face, Polites starts: “Let me guess, the General wants to build the wooden Athena?”
I shake my head: “Nope, he wants to build a wooden horse
At that Misenus and Polites exchange a glance of disbelief. They look at me, and I shrug. We three then just looked at the fire. We didn’t drink. We didn’t prod the logs in the fire. We just sat in silence for what must have been ten minutes.
It was Polites who finally spoke first.
“What a jackass.”