House of Atreus: Concluding Scene

© 2016 Hank Quense

Wally awoke when the sun rose above the level of the neighboring house. He had strange dreams of another visit from Zeus. It took him a minute to get oriented with his ever-shifting problems. His agent had called late last night to tell him the GWA had agreed to let him defend his title. With the wrestling problem solved and Joey the Nose taken care of, he only had to worry about the ancient Greeks overrunning his house. He put on a sweat suit and opened the door.


He raced down the stairs and into the smoke-filled kitchen. Nestra stood at the sink feeding pages from a book into a fire in the sink while holding a slice of bread skewered on a knife.
Agamemnon sat at the table, whistling to himself while Ajax polished his shield.

“I can’t find the hearth,” Nestra said. “How do you cook your meals?” She had a split lower lip. The bunch of hair missing from the left side of her head gave it a lopsided look. Her right ear was discolored and swollen, but she still looked gorgeous.

Wally turned on the faucet and extinguished the fire.

“Mem! Indoor water!” Nestra flashed a ravishing smile at Wally.

The smile almost knocked him off balance. Giddy from her closeness, he said, “Watch.” He turned a burner knob on the stove.

When the burner ignited, she gasped, then said, “Oh, Mem. I’m going to love living here.”

“What!” Wally glanced at Agamemnon. The king returned the look through a half-closed left eye. His nose was redder and broader than before and a hunk of beard was missing. “What is she talking about.” Wally knew he wasn’t going to like the answer.

Agamemnon stood and limped over to Nestra. He wrapped his arms around her and said, “We worked it out last night. Since you can’t or won’t produce a son, we’ll do it. The House of Atreus will continue.” Agamemnon grinned at Wally. “Zeus approved our plan last night.”

“And while I’m pregnant, we’ll live in this palace of yours.” Nestra winked. “There’s lots of room.”

Wally had trouble breathing. All his previous problems palled alongside the idea of these Greeks living with him for nine months. He knew he couldn’t be around Nestra much longer without falling hopelessly in love with her, even if she was a murderess and his grandmother a few hundred times removed. How would Agamemnon react when he noticed? Sweat broke out on the back of his neck

The king grinned. “And while Nestra makes the baby, Ajax and I will scout around. When we find a rich palace, we’ll loot it. For my son’s inheritance.”

Wally’s forehead turned clammy. He felt light-headed. He pictured riot police, guns drawn, surrounding the house.

“You’ll have to raise the baby, of course,” Agamemnon said. “Since Zeus wanted this child to be born, he’ll take a personal interest in its welfare.”

Zeus! Wally’s stomach churned.

“So, you’ll have go to Mount Olympus once a year to give him a report.”

Wally leaned over the sink and vomited

“Huh?” Nestra said. “I’m the one that’s supposed to do that.”

That concludes House of Atreus.

In May, you’ll find out what happened to one of Frodo’s descendants in Saving the Shore. Frido is mayor of the Shore and the town has a yuk problem. Yuks are like orcs, but they’re aren’t as friendly. Frido and the wizard Mamzer go on a quest to recover an ancient, powerful artifact to help with the yuks.

House of Atreus Scene 6

© 2016 Hank Quense

Ten minutes later, Wally heard a husky voice say, “Hello, boys.”  He broke away from the TV and hurried into the kitchen.

Clytemnestra stood just inside the kitchen entrance. As before, her beauty took away his breath.
“Planning a party?” Nestra leaned against the wall, laughing. “Because you’re about to have company.”

Agamemnon stared open-mouthed at his wife. “Nestra,” he managed after a few tries.

Ajax squirmed.

The front door crashed open, and Joey the Nose barged into the kitchen with four pistol-totting thugs. Agamemnon and Ajax snapped out of their funk. Before they could reach for their spears, Wally shouted, “Don’t move. They have guns.”

“What’s a gun?” Ajax asked.

“A weapon,” Wally replied. “A modern weapon that you don’t know about.”

Both Greeks looked intrigued by the idea of new weapons.

“Shaddup!” Joey the Nose yelled. He hadn’t noticed Nestra who still leaned against the wall, smiling. Joey and his goons had charged passed her. “I’ll do the talkin’.” He was tall and bulky with a huge nose. His brown hair was slicked back from his forehead. A smell of a cologne overdose accompanied his presence. To Wally, he said, “We got bidness to discuss.”

Joey’s men laughed. An unpleasant sound.

Still smiling, Nestra drew her bronze sword, grabbed a handful of Joey’s hair, yanked his head back and placed the sword blade against his throat. “I was here first. You have to wait your turn.”

Despite the sword, her smile dazzled Wally; every time she smiled his heart did back flips.

Joey made mewing sounds.

“Tell your men to put their weapons on the floor. Slowly.”

Joey waved his hand at the men and they bent over to place the guns on the floor.

“Tell them to leave.”

Joey jerked his thumb over his shoulder towards the door.

The men left.

“State your business.” Nestra lessened the pressure on Joey’s throat.

“This guy screwed me and I gotta even up the accounts.” Joey pointed to Wally.

“How much did you lose on the match?” Wally asked him.

“Ten grand.”

“What? That’s all.”

“There ain’t too many suckers willin’ to bet onna wrestlin’ match.”

“I didn’t plan on winning the match, but the champ pissed me off.”

“I know. I was sittin’ ringside. I saw him give you the knee.”

“Okay. Let’s split the loss. I’ll give you five thousand.”

“It ain’t the money. I told a lotta people you wouldn’t win. I lost face. Now, I gotta hurt you, so people can see what happens if someone crosses me.”

“Ahh.” Wally understood the man’s problem. No one would be afraid of Joey if he didn’t regain face. “How about this? I’ll put my left arm in a sling for a week. I’ll tell everyone that I fell in the bathroom, but I’ll make it sound unconvincing. You can tell people whatever you want.”

“You call that a plan?” Joey waved a hand. “I gotta see you with casts and crutches.”

“Nestra is getting bored,” Agamemnon said. “When she gets bored, she likes to watch blood flow.”

“Agree with the man’s suggestion.” Nestra moved the sword and a thin line of blood appeared on Joey’s neck. “I am getting bored.”

“All right. I agree. Now let go.”

“That’s a good little boy. Now you go straight home to your mommy.” She released Joey. He massaged his neck and looked startled to see the blood on his hand. He began to snarl something at Nestra who moved the sword point closer to his stomach and smiled.
Joey fled.

“I suppose you came here to kill me?” Agamemnon placed his hands on his hips.

Nestra gave him a ravishing grin. “Not unless you interfere.”

“Interfere with what?”

“My plan to end your silly House of Atreus. It’s gone on long enough.”

“So, you plan to kill this innocent man.” Agamemnon bounced on his toes and looked ready to attack.

“No.” Another smile. “I only have to geld him.” Nestra stepped towards Wally.

Wally backed up until he bumped into the sink. “Do something,” he shouted at Agamemnon. “It’s your fault she’s here. She followed you.” Conflicting emotions battled inside Wally: terror because Nestra advanced toward him and elation because she came closer.

“Stop moving.” Nestra aimed the sword point at his crotch. “Take it like a man.”

Agamemnon bellowed a war cry and charged.

Nestra sidestepped and cracked him on the head with the hilt of the sword. Agamemnon crashed to the floor and slid into the door to the guest room, knocking it open.

Wally cowered by the sink.

Agamemnon jumped up, spun around to face his wife. Blood dripped from the back of his head. “You’ll not end the House of Atreus. Not while I live.”

“Whatever it takes.” Nestra smiled again.

Agamemnon moved closer to her, his body hunched into a fighting stance. She thrust the sword at him. He grabbed her arm and twisted around. Nestra, still holding the sword, soared through the air, narrowly missing the kitchen table.

Her gown slipped up to her hips and Wally gasped as he noted that Mycean woman didn’t wear underclothes. Nestra scrambled under the table and leg-whipped Agamemnon as he ran passed. He fell headlong to the floor.

Wally noted that Mycean men also didn’t wear underclothes. The two climbed to their feet and circled each other. One of Nestra’s magnificent breasts had slipped out of the gown and Wally gawked at it.

So did Agamemnon and he almost lost his head when Nestra launched a sweeping sword stroke. Agamemnon raised his left arm just in time to block the blow by hitting her forearm. The sword flew across the room.

Nestra skipped backward, massaging her arm.

Husband and wife closed, grappled and danced around the room. She grabbed a handful of beard and tried to rip it off his face. He had a fistful of her hair and twisted her head around. Agamemnon tripped over a fallen chair and stumbled forward, pushing Nestra in front of him. Together they staggered into the guest room. One of them knocked into the door and it slammed shut.

“Do something,” Wally said.
“Not me.” Ajax shook his head. “I’d fight the entire Trojan army single-handed before I’d tangle with her.”

A loud crash came from behind the closed door. Wally smacked his forehead with the palm of his right hand. “They broke the bed.”

“Stop that,” Nestra yelled. “Fight fair.”

“Let go!” Agamemnon roared. “That hurts, you know.”

A deep laugh came from Nestra.

“That’s it then,” Ajax said. “The fight is over.”

“Why? What happened?”

“Those two haven’t been laid in three thousand years. We won’t see them until morning. Late morning.”

Wally looked at Ajax in astonishment. “What are you talking about?” Muffled giggling came from the guest room. “Oh. Never mind.”

Wally felt a pang of despair as he went to his room on the second floor. He wished it was he, not Agamemnon, with Nestra. He lay down. He thought of Nestra and Agamemnon downstairs. He knew he wouldn’t sleep.

To be concluded.

House of Atreus Scene 5

© 2016 Hank Quense

Wally stayed home the next day and spent the time chewing on his fingernails. The reality of Zeus’s existence bothered and confused him. Last night, he had convinced himself that he should get a date and ‘accidentally’ knock up the woman. His resolve returned in the light of day, and he discarded that plan. He would remain steadfast to his convictions, the gods be damned.

The Greek warriors popped in periodically to harangue him to get a woman. At each appearance, Agamemnon seemed more agitated than before. He constantly glanced over his shoulder. Wally sympathized with the old king but didn’t feel any great compunction to help him solve the problem.

Wally sat in his living room watching the Six O’clock news when he heard their latest arrival in the kitchen. He went to them. Agamemnon looked disconsolate. He sat at the table, head in his hands. Spears, shields and helmets lay on the floor.

“What’s going on?” Wally gave Ajax a questioning look.

Ajax rolled his eyes.

“I sense Nestra closing in,” Agamemnon said. “She’ll try to make my mission fail and then Zeus will destroy me.” His voice cracked from tension.

Ajax patted the king on the shoulder.

“What a woman!” Agamemnon gazed out the kitchen window with a wistful smile on his face. “Beautiful, clever, vicious. But, a lioness in bed! I can’t count the number of times she broke this.” He tapped his crooked nose. “She cracked my ribs more than once.” He took a deep breath, still smiling. “She would always try to knee me in the balls so she could be in control, not me. By the gods, that hurts. Maybe things would have turned out differently if I didn’t spend ten years fighting the Trojans.”

Agamemnon’s reverie disturbed Wally, as if he was jealous of the old man. One more issue to fret over. His wrestling status worried him. Joey the Nose frightened him. Agamemnon and Ajax scared him. Zeus terrified him. But, Clytemnestra petrified him — when she didn’t fascinate him. She seemed the most dangerous of the bunch. After all, Agamemnon just followed orders, but something else drove his wife.

He went back to the news program.


To be continued.

House of Atreus: Scene 4

© 2016 Hank Quense

When Wally went running the next day, the two thugs kept an eye on him, but didn’t come close. He had to do something about Joey the Nose. As well as his other problems. Such as Nestra. The image of her bought a grin to his face and an ache in the pit of his stomach.

He reached his home and recalled his wife’s plans to fill the ten-room townhouse with children. Now he lived alone in the old, rambling house. Alone, except for ancient Greeks that kept popping in. He opened a beer and took a swig. Maybe he should stay inside for a while. If Joey the Nose didn’t see him on the streets, maybe he would calm down and talk. Without breaking Wally’s legs. He sat down at the table.

Agamemnon presented a different challenge. The method of producing a baby hadn’t change in the last three thousand years, but the king obviously didn’t know or care about modern mores in the area of romance and marriage. In the last two months, he had gone out on a few dates, but didn’t have a serious involvement with any of the women. Even if he wanted to accommodate Agamemnon, he had no idea how to go about it except via a lengthy process leading to marriage because he wasn’t going to hire a surrogate mother. After all, what good was producing a son if the kid didn’t have a family to raise it properly?

A loud metallic clank made Wally slosh beer over his hand. He turned and saw Ajax banging his spear against his shield. A scowling Agamemnon stood by his side.

“We court disaster, ” Agamemnon said. “Zeus doesn’t brook delays.”

“You showed up yesterday for the first time.” Wally placed the can on the table and wiped his hand on a dish towel. “In case you don’t remember, it takes nine months to produce a baby. And that’s after I find a woman.”

“What do you mean, ‘find a woman?’.” Agamemnon looked surprised. “You go to a man who has daughters, you give him a few sheep and you get a woman to produce sons. It can’t be any simpler.”

“Leave me alone.” Wally waved a hand at Agamemnon. How could he explain to this exile from antiquity that life had changed since he died?

“Wait a minute!” Ajax raised his spear. The point embedded itself in the ceiling.

Wally made a face at the damage. A small snow storm of sheet rock dust fell when Ajax yanked the spear free.

“Maybe,” Ajax moved aside and scowled at the dust, “Wally doesn’t like women.”

“Ahh. He likes men, perhaps?” Agamemnon gave him a squinty-eyed look.

“Or sheep,” Ajax said.

“That’s disgusting.” Wally folded his arms on his chest.

“Sheep aren’t disgusting.” Ajax shook his head. “But goats are.”

“True.” Agamemnon nodded. “The nasty buggers always try a head-butt at the critical moment.”

“Are you two talking from personal experience?”

“Well, we didn’t have very many women in our camp at Troy,” Ajax replied.

“A good soldier can always adapt to the field conditions.” Agamemnon said.

A rumbling sound engulfed the house. Wally’s chair bounced and danced about on the floor.

He grabbed the edge of the table to keep from falling. The beer can rocked and fizzed.
Agamemnon moaned.

Ajax looked like he wanted to cry.

Both dropped their spears and shields and removed their helmets.

The kitchen ceiling evaporated as did the second story ceiling. A huge figure filled the space. At least fifteen feet tall and proportionally wide, the figure wore a white tunic, had a snowy beard and his white eyebrows bent into a frown.

Agamemnon fell to his knees, “Hail Zeus, Allfather of the gods.”

Ajax prostrated himself.

Zeus carried a bundle of lightning bolts in his left hand. Six feet long, they sparked and writhed and filled the room with the pungent stench of ozone.

“Agamemnon, King of Mycea.” Zeus’s deep, booming voice grated on Wally’s nerves. “Have you procured a son for the House of Atreus?”

“Great Grandfather, it is only two days since I crossed the River Styx. These things take time.”

Grandfather? Wally blinked a few times.

“Time? It takes you puny humans about two minutes. Why do you delay?”

“Customs have changed since I ruled Mycea.” Agamemnon clasped his hands and hung his head.

“Is this him?” Zeus pointed the bundle of bolts at Wally.

Wally’s knees quaked.

“Yes, Almighty Sire.”

“He looks virile enough. Fetch a woman and get on with it. Remember. Returning to Hades is not the worse thing that can happen to you. Ask the Titans. If you can find them.” The god laughed.

Zeus vanished and the ceilings returned.

After his nerves settled down, Wally asked in a high-pitched voice, “Why did you call Zeus Great Grandfather?”

Agamemnon didn’t seem to hear the question.

“Because it’s true.” Ajax replied. “Zeus begot Tantalaus who begot Pelops who begot Atreus who is his father.”

“I’m descended from Zeus? Maybe three hundred generations ago?”

Agamemnon stared at the wall while biting his lip. Finally he turned to Wally and said, “We border on personal disasters because of your stubbornness. Zeus doesn’t have a great deal of patience and the longer you delay, the more time Nestra has to ruin my plans.”

Wally ignored Agamemnon and said to Ajax, “He’s afraid of his wife, isn’t he?”

“Anyone in his right mind would be afraid of Nestra. She’s more wily than Odysseus and fiercer than Achilles.” Ajax had a wistful look in his eyes. “I think she is even more beautiful than her sister, Helen.”

“Should I worry about her?”

“If you’re smart you will.” Ajax chuckled.

“Nestra always tries to ruin Agamemnon’s plans. It amuses her. So she’ll probably try to kill him or you. Or maybe both of you.”

Wally’s stomach clenched. Zeus’s appearance had obliterated a number of his long-held beliefs, and scared the crap out of him, but he sensed that Nestra’s appearance was a greater danger. Joey the Nose may have to get in line to get a piece of him.


To be continued

House of Atreus: Scene 3

© 2016 Hank Quense

Back in his kitchen, Wally sat at the table and paged through the sports section looking for an account of last night’s match. An image of the woman in the Park kept popping into his head and made concentration difficult. Buried amid the help-wanted-ads, he found a two-paragraph blurb that misspelled his name. So much for the glory and fame of a world title.

Agamemnon cleared his throat and Wally ripped the paper in half.

“Stop doing that!” he snarled at the king. “You scare the shit of me when you pop up out of nowhere.”

For a moment, Agamemnon looked perplexed. He frowned and said, “Ajax reports that all you did was run around a park when you went out.”

Ajax appeared and nodded in agreement.

“You have to get a woman pregnant.”

“You’re not in your Greek kingdom, so don’t tell me what to do.”

“I didn’t give you an order.” Agamemnon sighed. “Zeus did. And the god is quite unreasonable when his commands are not followed.”

“Making a baby is a lot of fun,” Ajax said. “What you do is—“

“I know what to do!” Wally glared at the two men. “I don’t take orders from mythical gods.”

Agamemnon flinched. Horror written on his face, Ajax’s spear clattered on the floor when he released it to make a sign with his right hand. Both men glanced over their shoulders.
“Listen to me, fool.” Agamemnon glared at Wally. “You must be about Zeus’s work.”

“I saw a strange woman in the Park.” Wally tapped a finger on the table. “Is she with you?”

Agamemnon started.

“Describe her,” Ajax said.

When Wally finished, Agamemnon bit his lip and wiped a hand over his face.

“It must be Nestra,” Ajax said. He didn’t look too happy.

“What the hell is a Nestra?”

“Clytemnestra is my wife,” Agamemnon said. “I’ll be the laughing stock of Hades if she murders me again.”

“Your wife murdered you?” Wally’s mouth dropped open.

“When the king returned from Troy, Nestra plunged a dagger into his chest,” Ajax sad.

“How can she kill you again? You’re already dead.”

“In mortal form, we are subject to mortal hurts.” Agamemnon furrowed his brow.

“Same as the gods,” Ajax said. “At Troy, a number of them got hurt playing warrior.”

“And your wife left Hades? Like you did?”

“The bitch must have followed me.” Agamemnon nodded. “You must get a woman pregnant. Immediately.”

Wally made an obscene gesture at the king.

After a pause while he gnawed on his upper lip, Agamemnon said to Ajax, “Come, old friend. We must seek her out before she destroys our quest.”

“Wait.” The king’s last remark puzzled Wally. “How can she mess up your quest?”

Agamemnon disappeared without responding.

With the Greeks barely out of sight, his cell phone chirped. “Hello?”

“Wally, what the hell were you thinking?” His agent, Jim Abner, sounded exasperated.

“About what?” Wally grinned to himself.

“You told the GWA you weren’t throwing any more fights? You could have just said that you wanted to retire. It would have the same effect.”

“They’re bluffing. I’m now the champ so I’ll have to defend the title. I know it. You know it. They know it.”

“Well, maybe.”

“Make sure they pay me the whole amount for last night.” The winner had been guaranteed two-hundred thousand dollars while the loser received a hundred grand.

He disconnected and turned his thoughts to his visitors. He half-believed in a Supreme Being, but not in organized religion and he sure as hell didn’t believe in storybook gods. Yet, Agamemnon and Ajax couldn’t be denied. They cast shadows and the two guys in the Park saw Ajax. So, they weren’t ghosts and he wasn’t hallucinating. And then there was Nestra. Why did she scare two combat-tested warriors? Wally sensed something unusual about her. Something important.


To be continued

House of Atreus: Scene 2

© 2016 Hank Quense

Dressed in a sweat suit, Wally left his three-story town house on East 70th Street and trotted to the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park. Dull gray clouds sat over Manhattan, low enough to encase the tops of the high-rise buildings south of the Park. The streets and sidewalks glistened from rain that didn’t fall as much as it hung in the air.

He jogged north, passing clumps of early-flowering jonquils and tulips. By the time he reached the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he felt loosened up and his headache had diminished so he increased his speed. Once his brain nudged itself back from oblivion, he pondered the situation. Agamemnon’s demand was an embarrassment. Wally’s wife had died in a traffic accident eight months ago. They never had any children during their five year marriage, although they had tried. Medical tests hadn’t established a definite reason, but hinted that the problem was his. He stopped the testing after his wife’s death because he no longer wanted to know the answer. Now this guy from the dawn of history shows up and demands he have a son. What if he can’t? What would Agamemnon do? The guy might go crazy and throw the spear at him.

Then there was the problem of his wrestling title. The GWA would be pissed off, and may not let him defend the title.

Who could have foreseen that Walter Pappas, son of a Greek immigrant, could have such rotten luck? A football scholarship to Penn State, four years as a starting defensive tackle, an All-American selection and a guaranteed first round pick in the NFL draft, all had flowed down the shitter when he wrecked his knee in his last game as a senior. With football no longer an option, he had decided on a wrestling career under a stage name.

He ran south on West Drive until he reached the Sheep Meadow area where he began walking to cool down. His cell phone rang. “Hello?”

“Wally, what the hell were you thinking?” The question came from Arnold Stutz, the president of the Global Wrestling Association.

“The sunovabitch kicked me in the balls. Twice. And the referee saw him do it both times and didn’t do anything. The second time, I got mad and beat the shit out of the creep.”

“That’s no excuse. Weren’t you wearing protection?”

“Of course I was.” Wally sucked in air to keep his temper under control. “A knee in the balls hurts even when you’re wearing a cup.”

“What are we going to do? This is an embarrassment, you know. We can’t have wrestlers winning whenever they feel like it.”

“That’s your problem. From now on, I fight to win.”

“Wally, be reasonable—“

Wally hung up. He felt better now that he had told someone off, but he may have destroyed his wrestling career. He could almost hear his agent’s cry of anguish when he hard about this conversation.

By the Children’s Zoo, two men in sweat shirts and jeans approached him. “Hey!” the older one said. “Joey the Nose wants to talk to you.”

A shudder danced up and down Wally’s wet spine. Joey the Nose was a local gangster chieftain. “Why?”

“He gotta a problem with you winnin’ last night. You was suppose to lose, you know.”

Oh shit! Why was a mobster upset over the match? Did people actually bet on rigged sporting events?

“C’mon.” The two men moved closer. “The boss ain’t got all day to wait.”

Wally almost jumped out of his running shoes when Little Ajax appeared at his right elbow, spear pointing at the men and his shield positioned to cover both of them.

Mouths open, the two men stared at Ajax. The Greek warrior jabbed the spear at the closest thug. Both turned and ran.

“Where’d you come from?”

“Agamemnon asked me to keep watch. Can’t produce a son if you get killed, can you?”

“I can take care of myself.” Wally pushed the shield away.

Ajax nodded and disappeared.

Wally strode towards 72nd Street.

Near the entrance, a woman leaned against a tree, watching him. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen: voluptuous with shoulder-length black hair, green eyes, milky complexion. She wore a knee-length white silk gown banded under the bosom and pinned over her left shoulder. A belt supported a sword worn low on her hip, like an old-time cowboy gunslinger.

The incongruity of her beauty and the implied violence of the sword struck Wally immobile.
She smiled and Wally’s knees turned mushy. He slumped down on a bench and stared at the woman.

She winked at him and disappeared the way the Greek warriors did; now you see them, now you don’t.

Wally needed a few seconds to compose himself.

To be continued.  Scene 3 will be posted shortly

House of Atreus: Scene 1

Story Synopsis: Zeus is concerned that the House of Atreus will soon die out. He assigns Agamemnon, the conquerer of Troy, to fix the problem.

© 2016 Hank Quense
Wally Widebody, a.k.a. Walter Pappas, staggered into the bathroom, flipped on the light and screamed.

The face in the mirror wasn’t his.

“Hail!” The strange face belonged to a middle-aged man with a black and silver beard. A smashed-in, crooked nose marred an otherwise good-looking face. The man carried a spear in his right hand.

A second man, armed with a spear and a shield, stood further into the mirror. Wally, ravaged by a hangover, managed to get enough saliva in his wooly mouth to say, “Who the hell are you?”

“Agamemnon, King of Mycea. I am your ancestor and I bring an urgent message from Zeus.”

Wally tried to recall where he had heard the names before.

“You are the last surviving male in the House of Atreus.” Agamemnon assumed a stern expression and wagged a finger at Wally. “The noblest line of Greek kings.”

“Who gives a shit?” Wally jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Get out of my mirror.”

“You dare to use that tone with me, the conqueror of Troy?”

Wally punched the mirror. Glass shards flew all over the bathroom while bottles and tubes spilled into the sink. He pawed through the mess, but couldn’t find a bottle of aspirin. He couldn’t find any band-aids either. Great! It was shaping up to be a hell of a day. And he couldn’t remember why he got drunk last night, except it had something to do with his wrestling match in Madison Square Garden. He wrapped a towel around his bleeding knuckles and left the bathroom.

In the kitchen, he took a beer from the refrigerator, opened it and swallowed a big gulp. A beer wasn’t as good as an aspirin but he had to do something to relieve his agony and to jump-start his clogged synapses. He sat down at an oval table and noted that he had slept in his clothes in the guest room adjacent to the kitchen instead of using his bedroom on the second floor. There had to be a good reason for his hangover. What was it?
Wally wiped the cold can across his forehead.

The beer sloshed down his face when the two men from the mirror appeared on the other side of the table. One moment he was by himself in the room, the next, there were enough people to play a hand of poker. Although to play cards, the other two would have to put down their weapons.

Agamemnon wore a sword belted on his hip, a leather breastplate trimmed in gold, a kilt-like skirt, bronze greaves and sandals. Underneath the armor, he wore a white tunic edged in purple, the same color as the crest on his bronze helmet. His bronze spear point almost reached the ceiling.

“This is my companion, Ajax from Lorca.” Agamemnon nodded his head towards the other man. “He’s called Little Ajax to distinguish him from Big Ajax, the one from Salamis.” Ajax had a black, bushy beard, his tunic was sand-colored and his helmet had a black crest. Otherwise the two men dressed in identical fashion.

“Leave me alone, asshole!”

“In Mycea, guests received a cup of wine as a welcome.”

“You’re not guests, you’re intruders.”

“He’s as big as the other Ajax,” Little Ajax said.

“You must produce a son.” Agamemnon pounded the spear butt on the floor. “Zeus founded the House of Atreus and he will not let it expire.”

“I don’t have a wife anymore.”

“This is a rich palace,” Ajax said. “Where are your concubines?”

“There aren’t any.”

Agamemnon and Ajax exchanged looks. Ajax shrugged.

Wally took another swig of beer. “If you guys conquered Troy, why aren’t you dead. Troy happened a long time ago.”

“Zeus commanded me to come here and tell you that the existence of the House of Atreus is in jeopardy.” After a pause, he added, “It’s not easy to cross the River Styx going the other way. I had to hit that idiot, Charon, in the head a few times before he’d ferry us across.”

“Okay. You told me.” Wally massaged his aching right knee, an indication that it must be raining out. “Now, take a hike back to Hades or where ever you came from.”

“I remind you I am a king. Speak to me with respect.”

“You’re dead. That means you aren’t a king anymore.”

Agamemnon glared at him.

“Well? Are you leaving?”
“Not until a son is born.” Agamemnon bent down and picked up a gold-encrusted belt from a chair. “This is similar to the war-belt I wore at Troy.”

Wally groaned. It was the heavyweight title belt for the Global Wrestling Association. Memories of last night overwhelmed him. He had fought the champ and was suppose to lose the match. No wonder he got drunk. The honchos in the GWA would not be happy campers this morning.

“I’m going to run in the park.” Wally stood up. The exercise would sweat out the booze from last night, and keep his knee limber. “See yourselves out, why don’t you.”

To be continued: Scene 2 will be posted shortly.

Creating Stories Now Available

My newest non-fiction book, Creating Stories, is now available.  It’s also on sale at half-price until April 15.

I’ve been writing fiction for over twenty years and this book contains everything I know about fiction writing.
I believe stories are the result of three critical elements: ideas, story design and story-telling techniques.  The ideas have to come from the writer, but my new book covers the last two in detail.


Check it out on Amazon